Cost of Living in USA on H1B or L1 Visa

How much Money can you Save in USA on H1B/L1 Visa? Living Cost ?

In Living in US by KumarUpdated : 458 Comments

One of the many drivers for many internationals to work in America on H1B or L1 Visa is the monetary benefits and savings they can make. The big question is how much money can you save in America ?   What are the typical expenses ?  How much is the cost of living in USA ?  Let me shed some light on these and give you some numbers for getting a high level idea.

In general, the net amount of money you can save is the total amount of money that you make minus the taxes and total amount of expenses that you incur for living. While you may make more money, you need to factor in taxes as well that a state can have to come up with nex expenses.

  • Net Savings = Income – ( Taxes + Expenses )

Let’s first look at the expenses that you would typically incur as an international on H1B or L1 visa.

Cost of Living in USA on H1B or L1 Visa ?

The below expenses are based on a big assumption that “You are married and living with your spouse, renting your own apartment” and  you are being conservative and not living an extravagant life with high end cars and expensive house rented.



Cost in USD ($)

Additional Notes on expenses

Rent ( double bed)


This can vary a lot by location you live. In bigger cities, this could be around $2500 to $3500 USD, depending on size and options.  In smaller cities, this could be like about $800 or less.


Typical car down payment, if you buy a decent small size car on loan. This can go up to $600 or more, if you go for BMW or more expensive cars.
Car Insurance


Car insurance varies a lot by driving record and place you live. You may pay double or more, if you live in big cities.
Car Gas


Average, if you have less commute. It can vary a lot by your travel. If you commute in high traffic cities, this can be as much as $250 USD.


If you have family plan with mobile carrier. This also can vary.


All the vegetables, snacks, etc. for cooking food. This may be more, if you cook more at home and your own country dishes…


Electricity + Cooking Gas + Water. This varies by region, in cold places, make sure you take where heat is included.
International Calling


Calling home and others in home country. This can be less now a days with WhatsApp and FaceTime
Eat Out


This varies by your food habits. Assuming you take a lunch box to office, this is just for eating out in weekends or occasionally.
Movies, shopping, other misc. expenses


This again varies. If you buy lot of clothes and other items, it will be very high.
Health Insurance (Optional)

100 to 200

This is optional as many of the decent employers give health insurance, so I will not add this expense for total calculations. This can be high as well, if you want a really good plan.
Total Expense



 You can even save more or spend more based on your lifestyle. I have not included any expenses related to your travel, buying clothes, other home setup things like Sofas, dining tables, chairs, etc.  Also, if you have kids, you will encounter some more expenses, which are not included in above.

Taxes you pay in US as H1B or L1 Visa holder

Taxes are a big part of your overall salary, you would end up paying anywhere around 35% as well depending on the state you live in and your status as single or married.

For example, If you make about $60,000 USD per year in USA, which is $5000 per month (Gross Salary).  For instance, if you live in a state like Wisconsin, your take home Net Salary  would be $3,600 per month ( approximate). See below from actual Payslip from Wisconsin state for someone making $5000 USD per month.

Pay Slip with Taxes in US for Wisconsin State

You can use something like ADP Pay Check Calculator to get an idea of Net Income that you will get after paying taxes. You can enter approximate numbers to get an idea. You can also read Taxes for Non-immigrant Visa Holders in USA to understand more.

Now that we know the Taxes and Expenses, let’s look at the savings.

How much can you save – Approximate Savings in State like WI ?

Based on above numbers, it comes out to below

Gross Salary  ( Per month)$5000
Net Salary   ( after taxes, per month)$3,600
Monthly Expenses$2345
Net Saving $1255

 All the above numbers are highly indicative and can vary based on state. Also, the take home or net salary varies by state with state taxes.

How can I estimate cost of living for other Cities or States in USA as H1B holder ?

There are two key things that you can look at to estimate the cost of living and how much you can save. As you can see from the above list, the biggest expense is Rent. If you check rental cost in a new city, you will get an idea. Also, next thing is to look at taxes in that state, once you have both of these, then you can use the numbers in above two tables and come up with your own living expense cost for any city in USA. In short, you need the below.

  • Rental Expense – How much is the average rent in a city
  • Taxes – How much are the state related taxes

The other expenses are pretty similar all across the US, except some insurance related things, factor in that aspect.

It is important that you understand the baseline savings that you can make, when you work on H1B Visa or L1 visa.  Just looking at 60,000 USD per year, without considering taxes and your expenses, will give you wrong perceptions about savings and your financial planning.

Did I miss any expenses ? How are your expenses living in US ? Share your thoughts in comments.

You can also read Cost of living in USA as Student on F1 Visa


Other Articles

Comments ( 458 )


    Hello all,

    I am planning to move to Houston, Texas. The interview is still on and we are yet to talk of salary and other remunerations.

    What will be the monthly expenses for a family of 3, like me, my wife and our kid. The expenses should include everything starting from rent, electricity bills, water bills, mobile phone bills, internet bills, school fees, transport charges, dining out 2-3 times a month etc. In the end if I want to have a savings of USD 2500 per month, how much should my salary be after all deductions?

    Kindly help.

  2. Raj


    Got an onsite offer for $66K in Greensboro. In India i would get ~13LPA for my next switch.
    Should I go for onsite or change my job in India?.


  3. BR

    Hi ,

    In india me and my husband getting getting 48L/A .I have opportunity to go US (Husband and 2 kids).
    My husband leave the job and come to us along with me

    1: which is best L1 or H1B.
    2: How much i can save in US.
    3: Is it good to go or stay back in india

    1. administrator

      it all depends on your priorities and future plans.
      1. H1B as it gives you option to transfer employers
      2. read the above article and calculate based on your salary that you can get.
      3. This is a personal decision, you need to be clear on your priorities and future goals.

    1. administrator

      It is pretty much same as what you see above. You need to do the math using the list of links and guidance given.

  4. Satender

    Hi All

    I am coming to NY end of this year on H1 with wife and a 2 kid of 9 and 5 yr.
    My company is offering me a salary of 100K/annum. Can some one please help me out, whether this is a decent salary. How much will be average cost per month & how much i can save per month.

    Thanks in Advance

  5. Dreamer

    Years of Experience : 4
    Current Salary: 39 LPA
    Offer in Santa Clara, CA: 176k USD
    Type: L1B
    Status: Single

    Is this fair offer? should i be negotiating more?

    1. TJ

      $37K taxes + $12K FICA/SSN + $9K insurance + $40 living expenses leaving you with 78K.

      Optional : You’d probably end up contributing to your company’s 401K – 19K + 3K in HSA/FSA for health insurance.

      If you end up contributing to your 401K/HSA-FSA, you’ll have approx. 56K to save. This again could change if your personal situation changes (as in you get married).

      56K * 70 = 39.2L.

      While 176K is awesome, I’d see if you can negotiate an additional 10% if you can.

      1. Dreamer

        Hi TJ

        Thanks for the detailed breakdown.
        Even my research pointed me to similar expenses and savings.
        Majority of the expense is towards the rent.
        Yes, I still have a chance to negotiate.

  6. Krish Dev

    Hi Guys,

    I am moving to Rolling Meadows, Illinois location with $90K salary from Hyderabad, India. Can you guys please help me how much I can save per month with this salary as a single person?


  7. Manoj

    I have offer of 87 k for Middletown – NJ location. My current salary is 14.5 Lacs in India. I will be traveling with my wife and 1 year son. Is it worthy to travel to USA??

    1. Ramesh

      For simple calculations :
      Post tax : 61k (30% for easy calculation)

      Min living expenditure : 36k

      Left : 25k you will have left.

      Living expenditure can be different based on your life style and child needs

      25k* 70 is approx in best case you will be able to save

  8. APS

    Hi ,

    I am currently getting 35 lacs INR in INDIA.

    But I got an offer of 100K USD from US NJ location. Will it be good for me.

    I have a 7 yrs old kid and my wife . How about the cost of living in NJ?

    can someone advise …


    1. KM

      Definitely 35LPA in India is much better than 100k in US staying with family.
      If you live a conservative life without too much expensive choices, your expenses might be around 2.7k-3k per month (rent, car, food, insurances etc Vacations, Trips etc not included). Your monthly take home pay will be close to 5.6-5.8k. you can save around 20LPA roughly. This might come low if you have unplanned expenses, Travelling to India etc. So you can decide.

  9. Gagan Chella

    I have an offer to relocate to US with 118,000 salary. My office is at NYC, probably I will be staying at NJ.
    I will be travelling with my wife and 2 year old kid.
    Can anyone please let me know how much in hand salary I will be getting in hand after tax deductions?


    1. Animesh Saxena

      You won’t be able to save 6 to 7k each month as described by someone. For 100 k you take home will be around 4300 each paycycle after both state and federal taxes. So 8600 is you each month salary. Now if you live a decent life you house rent for a good house will be atleast 1500. For NJ to NY commute you will spend atleast 500 and the rent I mentioned is if you stay atleast 1 hour commute from NYC. Now you will pay atleast 500 for the health insurance each month. Your house expenditure will be minimum 1000. I think that’s it and remaining is your saving plus I have not added any day care expenses if you want your kid to be in daycare. It will be atleast 250 each week.

  10. Ritika

    I am Ritika, my husband has an offer of 130K and I have an offer of 70K in north Carolina. I have 2 kids aged 8 and 6 years. In India we are together getting a package 45 lakhs per annum in Bangalore. What is the cost of living in north Carolina. After school, I may need to send my kids to care center for 2-3 hours or so. I am in dilemma please help.

    1. Ramesh

      Hi Ritika,

      Quick calculations to help,
      You both will togher in USA will make 200k , post tax 140 minimum will be in-hand for the family assuming 40% you guys spend that will leave u with 84k which is ~ 58lc INR.

      Similarly in India you guys make 45lc before tax, post tax that’s like 34lc, assuming you guys spend at 40% , you guys will be left with 20lc of savings in India

      So purely based on money savings I find this to be good to go for.

      Let me know if you wana discuss more based on my experience on this , connect on [email protected]

  11. Dinesh


    My company is offering me an L1-B Visa with a package of 120k + bonus in New York. In India, I have an offer in hand of 40 LPA in Hyderabad. My wife is already in US earning 72K. If I move to US, she can relocate from her current location to New York on the same package. My wife earns 10 lakh in India. Is it a good decision to turn down the offer I have in hand and move to US? I still do not have a VISA and I fear that what will happen if my L1-B gets rejected? 40 + 10 = 50 lacs in Hyderabad vs 192k in New York? Thanks in advance for your answers.

    1. Jayesh

      Hi Dinesh can you where did do your schooling from to get 40+lpa in hyderabad can you please explain. What do you do ? And what was the role offers and what company do you work for ? And how many years have you been in the industry ? And name of the company offering you such package ?

  12. Raju

    Hello friends,
    i got an offer to work in Rockledge, florida for $82,000 per year. Is this fair salary and able to save $2500/month with spouse and 2 kids who are in 2 nd standard?

    1. sharad kalla

      you can save but from the first three month, initial set up will cost you.
      And used car is one time expense and from second year you can save if you dont take out of state vacations or go to India.

  13. Rajesh

    I am going to relocate to NJ coming september. Please let me know the cost of living there and how much I can save.My family consists of two persons …. heard from websites need to pay lot of insurances …. anyone pls tell me the split up of monthly expenses…my salary will be around 85k … thanks in advance

  14. Anonymous

    Hi ,

    Getting as offer for 79K USD at Pennsylvania.
    How much will I be able to save along with my family. What is the average expense for a new born child there ?


  15. PLB

    Can someone give an estimate for Raleigh(NC) with USD 70K ? I have my wife who is expecting (she will probably shift after 6-7 months after i move and settle down).

  16. KJ

    Hi. I have an offer to move to Charlotte on an l1 visa. What would be the average cost of living and ideal salary levels? What would be savings if we consider a ctc of USD 6000 per month. My ctc in India is Rs9lacs(accomodation provided by company) . I will be moving with my wife and we are expecting a child soon.
    Thanks for the help.

  17. Gyan Pramesh

    Hi Everyone,
    My company is offering me to relocate to US (Office is at NYC) and the expected salary would be 130,000USD. This is is going to be L1 and my family consists of 3 members (we two and a 2 year old Kid).
    Can you please let me know is it good/fair/perfect offer and should I accept. Most probably I will be staying in NJ. Please let me know the cost of living there and how much I can save.
    At present I am in Pune and have an annual salary of 22LPA and I have 11 years of work experience.

    1. Suresh

      your Take home should be between $6k to $6.5k, your rent and household expenses should vary between $4.5k to $5.0, Your annual savings will be between $18k to $20K

      1. Gyan Pramesh

        Thanks for the response.

        Would you mind to share me the approximate monthly expenses. Please consider Having a second hand car
        2BHK for rent
        Transportation to office at NY by train/PATH
        Normal middle class living etc.

        1. rajesh

          I am going to relocate to NJ coming september. Please let me know the cost of living there and how much I can save.My family consists of two persons …. heard from websites need to pay lot of insurances …. anyone pls tell me the split up of monthly expenses…my salary will be around 85k … thanks in advance

  18. Kamal

    I am getting an option to move to us and they are offering me 150K and location is bay area.
    Here in india i am having a 35lpa package and my wife is also an govt employee earning around 5lpa. We have no kid.

    Do you think i should take this option and move along with my wife whom has to quit her Govt job ?

    1. .

      in terms of opportunity: yes! a good idea to move
      in terms of maintaining your current standard of living: I would say no.

  19. Simon

    hi not sure if i will got response how about cincinnati, i will be moving there for 65000 with wife and a son how much do you think i will have available for extra expenses

    1. Animesh

      65k is a low amount I must say. Even the city and state is a low cost state but still with a family of three especially with kid you won’t be able to save much. I must say if you are living a comfort life in India you are in a good situation. If saving is not a big deal for you grab and come

  20. Akash Gupta Shukla

    I have a offer from Amazon Seattle and travelling from India, on L1B Blanket visa I am being offered 110k$ base with 15k$ relocation and 40k$ RSUs.

    I will be living alone, ready to share apartment and I know to cook.

    How much I can save monthly?

  21. Aspiring

    I am getting 89k for working in Chicago,illinois. Could you please let me know any ballpark estimate how much i can save per month, I am living with a wife and son of 3 yrs old.

  22. Priyanka sachin


    I am Priyanka , my husband got offer $79600 per year . yet to decide city. how much do you think we should be able to save monthly?

        1. helloz

          i live in nj. there is a 7% income tax and sales tax too. also the rental will be around 1500. if u have kids pick a good school district. total expense will be atleast $2800. hope it helps.

  23. jony


    Currently i am earning around 40 to 50 lakhs per year in India(70K to 80K USD). I am about get an offer from a company located at San jose. How much can i expect/negotiate with my employer ? considering my current salary in India and living cost in San Jose.


      1. administrator

        You join a MNC, work with them for a year, ask them for on-site and convince them to sponsor L1 visa or H1B visa, that’s the simple process.

        1. Ayushi

          I have 4 years of work experience in schedule electric .Currently ,I have admit from Aeizona State University and also offer of 11 lakhs from reputed firm in bangalore .I am unable to decide which one to choose ?

          1. administrator

            It is your passion on what you want to do. If you are just looking to go to ASU for the sake of US immigration, may not be the best thing to do as it will be waste of two years of time….you may join the company and see, if there are options to go on-site. If you are passionate about education, then you can pursue your masters, but you should be ready to come back, if you are not lucky in H1B lottery…

  24. Sachin Sharma

    Hello Everyone,

    I will be moving to Foster City, California along with my wife and 3 months old baby . My employer offering me 87K . Please help me if this is enough to raise a family in very expensive city where rent alone is minimum 2600$?
    Will i be able to save 1000$ monthly? I do have very simple lifestyle so is of my wife.

    Quick response would be appriciated.


    1. AB

      Hey Sachin,

      You would get around $4300 per month. If your rent is $2300, Car EMI $300, $Insurance(Car) $100, Health $250, Gas + Electricity $150, Phone and Internet $100, Groceries $400, it is equal to $3600. You end up saving $700.

      This is very less liberty for buying clothes, eating out etc. Ping me over [email protected] if you need more info

    2. helloz

      no. you need atleat 110 in california. it has 8-9% state income tax and 7.25% sales tax. i would suggest you to ask ur employer to raise ur base to 105k atleast. even then u need to have good medical insurance, bonus and other perks to consider living there.

  25. Hustler

    I have an offer of USD 75000 from an American firm in Atlanta. I will be travelling in Nov ’18 (bachelor). Considering an average live (stay / food / lifestyle) how much do you think I should be able to save monthly?
    FYI, from ADP: Monthly net salary comes to USD 4264.

  26. Xaverian

    Hi All,

    I will be going to NJ with my Wife and 2 years old kid and my company is offering me 84K + 6K other benefits. Will this be Ok for NJ? How much I will be able to save?

    1. Abel

      Hi Xaverian,

      Only house rent will get vary from one state to another state and remaining expense are almost same in all state.. you can get a nice house for Rent in NJ between 1200 to 1800. for your salary surely you can save some amount until unless you held up with any medical issue

        1. My121Cents

          Yes I agree with Abel, except rent all other expenses are quite similar in living cost. Salary you mentioned is good but according to me you can expect $5-7000 more per year because in medical emergency we should have some more amount for safety side otherwise we would be under pressure all the time specially if you are moving with your kid.if you want to know more about Savings /expenses in detail ,,you can visit my channel “My121Cents”

  27. Samaritan

    Hello i want to live in america, if i have 90k usd on my bank account is there any posible i can apply for visa? If thatvis enough jow much money should i have on my bank account? Because they say there have a show money before your visa will grant or approve?

  28. Sean Bradford

    Thanks for giving this ‘ball park’ estimate of living on a visa in the US. I think a lot of times, good people forget to budget ahead of time. I believe you have given many some valuable information here.

  29. Irshad Nabeel

    Hi All,
    I will be relocating to NY office on L1 visa.
    Need your help to know how much salaray I should expect to spend a normal life.
    I will be staying with my wife and 1yr old kid.
    I heard NY is very expensive. What is the near by place to stay and commute daily for office.
    What is the avg. salary for an IT professional with 9+ exp? How much I can save at minimum?

  30. First time H1

    Hi All

    I am coming to Nashua-Newhampshire end of this month on H1 with wife and a kid of 2 years.
    My company is offering me a salary of 85K/annum. Can some one please help me out, whether this is a decent salary. How much will be average cost per month & how much i can save per month.

    Thanks in Advance

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