The complete guide for immigrants


Table of Contents

About the Book


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About the Author


Immigrant Resources

russian version


Maine Sunday Telegram
Sunday, December 7, 2003 Immigration authority

Bates People in the News 2003
Immigration authority

What experts say:

Demin and Lambert's book "Welcome to America" is just what the doctor ordered. It is an excellent and necessary resource for people who are new to the United States whether they are refugee, immigrants, students, or traveling here on business. Newly arrived refugees to the United States will greatly benefit from the book, everything a newcomer would need to know from personal budgeting, clothing sizes, purchasing a car to choosing a place to live is extensively covered. For the new English readers, it is also a benefit to be able to refer back and forth from Russian to English.

The personalized, sympathetic stories also allow the reader to realize that they are not alone in the struggle to acculturate to life in the United States. Even native-born Americans could benefit from reading this book. The authors have covered details of our culture that many of us have never taken the time to fully examine. I strongly suggest this book to any reader. 

Jennifer Babich, Acting Program Director
Catholic Charities Maine Refugee and Immigration Services

American Reference Books Annual (ARBA) 2006

This enormous work is an excellent reference volume for Russian-speaking immigrants to the United States. The book is arranged in parallel English-Russian text, and contains very practical information that new immigrants often need to know but have difficulty finding on their own, particularly if they are still learning English. Chapters include practically anything one would need to know to live in the United States, including information on rental housing and utilities, how to find employment, shopping, credit cards, taxes, insurance, and education.

The information is written by a recent Russian immigrant and is geared toward those immigrants who arrive in the United States, many of whom are highly educated but generally unprepared for the culture shock that awaits them. In some cases, the book is too detailed; for example, in explaining property taxes the book provides a listing of property tax rates in cities across the country, and in the chapter on buying a house there is a listing of median sales prices in cities for 2000-2001. Since this information changes rapidly and only covers a limited area of the country, including it here seems a waste of space. At the same time, the explanation of areas such as auto insurance and television ratings is so thorough that many non-immigrants might find those sections useful.

This is an excellent reference book for public or academic libraries that serve a significant Russian population, but it also would be useful for other immigrants with a good grasp of English. It is a bit too large and expensive to be a handbook that most new immigrants can purchase themselves, but for those struggling to adjust to a new culture, this book is very useful and should be available in a library.

                               Terri Tickle Miller, Slavic Bibliographer, Michigan State Univ. Libraries, December 2005

Booklist, the magazine the New York Times calls "an acquisitions bible for public and school librarians nationwide," is the review journal of the American Library Association. "…recommended reference sources. For libraries serving Russian-speaking populations, this volume tells new arrivals everything they need to know about settling in the U.S., from buying a used car to applying for college. English and Russian versions of the text are on facing pages."

Mary Ellen Quinn, Booklist, March 1, 2004

Welcome To America, English-Russian Version is an immense and in-depth guide especially for American immigrants. Each two-page spread presents English information on one side and the same information translated into Russian on the other. Among the many topics covered this comprehensive volume are taxes, insurance, buying and selling a home, obtaining employment, learning English, medical care, credit and credit cards, social welfare and retirement programs, and much more. An extensively thorough yet down-to-earth practical and easy-to-follow instructional, and an absolute "must-have" for anyone braving the challenge of a new culture, legal system and way of life.

Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch,

Volume 3, Number 10 October 2004

Superb Bi-Lingual Guide for Russian and Other Immigrants,

 Although my family has lived in the United States since before the American Revolution, I have always been intrigued by the special problems of immigrants to this country. When the size of immigration was larger, many immigrant groups combined to create their own institutions to help new immigrants adapt. With legal immigration now quite limited, resources for new immigrants are scarcer while the complexity of modern life in the U.S. is greater than ever before.

To fill that void, you can rely on the fine work that Vitaliy Demin and his daughter, Olga Demin Lambert, have provided in this extensive and exhaustive volume. They write from direct experience of having come to the United States in 1993 from Russia. <...>

The format of the book provides a page of text in American English on the left hand page while the same text appears in Russian on the right facing page. Since I do not read Russian, I can only comment on the English section.

Although this book is designed to be most helpful to Russian immigrants, I would be astonished if it was not just as valuable to immigrants from other countries as long as they possess enough language skill to read the English version.

The book deals with the official and the unofficial equally well. I was especially impressed with the sections on learning English (in the context of my many years of service in English as a Second Language programs provided for immigrants), rental housing, car buying, employment, education, welfare and retirement programs and medical care. There's also good advice on cultural issues like the preference for people to bathe and change clothes daily, use deodorant, brush and floss teeth twice daily and so forth.

This book is so good that I found myself learning things I didn't know in the parts on rental housing and car buying. The material is easy to follow, with many tables of abbreviations, definitions, measurements and sources.

The section on learning English could have become the basis of a personal memoir that would have quite good sales just for its human interest value. The personal example of Mr. Demin in that section was very moving to me and set a helpful tone for the whole book.

I also tested the material for accuracy, and found surprisingly few errors. <...> I compared the book to various omnibus resources on similar financial matters written by those for whom English is their native language and found this material to be more helpful and more accurate.

If you are a prospective immigrant, a new immigrant or an immigrant who is still having problems adjusting, this book is a must read for you.
If you know such a person, this book would make a thoughtful gift.
We all owe the authors a debt of gratitude for their excellent gift to immigrants!

Reviewer:   Donald Mitchell "speaker, author and change consultant,

Let’s say you’re a Russian who wants to emigrate to America or is already here and having difficulty adapting to a new culture and society. This is a very common problem, but it has now been solved by Vitaliy Demin and Olga Demin Lambert who have published a combined English/Russian edition of The Complete Guide for Immigrants: Welcome to America. 

 This book, of course, will also work for those immigrants who need only read the English text. It is 1008 pages filled with tables, charts, and tons of information about how to rent an apartment, buy a car, open a bank account, find a job, pay taxes, and so much more that it is a virtual encyclopedia to successfully assimilating into American society. The authors represent two generations of a family that moved to the US from Russia in 1993. They arrived speaking no English and yet have made a successful transition. Their knowledge and experience infuses this reference to make the transition for other immigrants. This book is an American success story. 

Bookviews by Alan Caruba, February 2004,

What readers say:

 Best reference guide for life in America. Well written and organized book with great informative content. Very well suited for throughout reading or to be used as a reference for many of difficult situations encountered not only by immigrants but also for those who grew up in this country. I wish this book was available back when I was going through my growing pains. A lot of the questions I had to find answers for the hard way are covered in this very complete publication. To this day, after being in this country for over ten years, I still find new information that I use on daily basis. Highly recommend for anyone who wants to learn the ins and outs of the life in America. 

Aleksandr Rabinovich, Massachussets

Dear Mr. Demin, I am one the Reference Librarian's here at Portland Public Library. P. D. showed me your recent guide for Russian Immigrants, and I must say it is very impressive. I am very glad that we now own a copy, as this information is in great demand from many of our users. I have shown it to a few Russian visitors, and they were thrilled. 

Sincerely, E. T. Portland Public Library

This is a book for all occasions. Although there are many wonderful books written about all aspects of life in America, few of them give such detailed information about banks and bank services, credit, income, expenses, healthcare, etc. The book is intended for immigrants who are either still planning to move to the US or have already lived in this country for some time. · The book is also useful for people who do not speak English. · This book will make an indispensable addition to your library. · You absolutely need this information in today's world. Everything in this book is presented in a concise, clear, engaging manner--it's reading for both your soul and your mind. Read it and see for yourself.

 Irina Akhtareeva, Wisconsin. 

Hello Vitaliy and Olga!

My husband and I are writing to express our gratitude to you. Thank you for all the work you've done to help people who, for one reason or another, found themselves in a new country. Your work--your book-- is a real treasure. It has become a reference book for us. We refer to it in all life situations. It's our guidebook to America. I tell all my friends and acquaintances about this book. I tell them: order it, you'll be glad you did.

A little bit about us: My name is Elena, I am 63 years old. I have a degree in early childhood education and worked as a director of a day care center for 30 years. My husband worked as a driver in Russia; he is 66. We have lived in the US since 1999 and are planning to apply for citizenship soon. We are from Magadan and have come here to join our son. He has been here for 13 years, his wife is American, and they have three children. He has his own business, and we help him.

English is difficult for us, but we are already starting to communicate a little. I hope your book can help us with it, although it already is helping. Thank you once again - you are good psychologists; you know what is difficult for us here!

Sincerely yours, Elena and Vladimir Gaskov,
Anchorage, Alaska.

Dear Vitaliy and Olga!

I am very grateful to you for your remarkable book. It became a reference book for us. The first time I used practical information from this "Bible" for immigrants was while purchasing car insurance.

We are now studying the chapter on education, and I can say that in our three years in the US, we have not been able to find anything as useful or informative. If we had this information three years ago, it would have been a lot easier for our son to begin 8th grade, and we would also have chosen the right courses for him in grades 8 and 9. Choosing appropriate courses is very important for getting a good secondary education and preparing for the future.

Each section of the book has great practical value for everyday situations, both in the first days of immigration and many years later. Of course, just like any handbook, it will need to be updated regularly, but as of today, "Welcome to America" is the only publication that can make life easier for immigrants to the extent that it is even possible. You managed to gather a great deal of necessary information in one book, and this is the most CREDIBLE information available. Besides, you give references to other sources, which greatly enhances the usefulness of the book. Another huge advantage of this book is that it is bilingual.

Therefore, my family and I would like to express nothing but gratitude to you both, Vitaliy and Olga.

Yours, Igor Segal, Bountiful, Utah. 

Dear Vitaliy!

I want to express my deep gratitude to you for writing and publishing your remarkable book "Welcome to America." It is a true encyclopedia for all immigrants, a reference book for all those who want to achieve success and prosperity in America.

A little bit about myself: I came to America three years ago with my son, who was 14 years old at the time. And although I have two advanced degrees – in engineering and economics, my English was very far from perfect, basically at the level you wrote about in the book. I have also experienced all the emotions you describe in the book. There is no doubt that if I could have read your book in Russia or even shortly after my arrival in America, it would have helped me considerably with my adjustment to the new country and finding my place here.

Your book contains a lot of useful and very necessary information that all immigrants and all those who are dreaming of coming to America must know. The lack of basic knowledge about taxes, insurance, buying a car, renting and buying a home, looking for a job, education and many other things can cost one very dearly, and he or she will end up paying for mistakes made out of ignorance for a long time.

Now, working as a tax preparer, I see how much some Americans lose because they don't know things that seem very basic to me. I had to teach my husband, who has lived in America his entire life, how to budget his earnings to avoid many problems. As you rightly noted in your book, about one million Americans are forced to file for bankruptcy every year, many of them with above average incomes.

I would strongly recommend this book to all immigrants, even if they have already lived in America for more than three years, and especially to those who have just arrived or are still planning to come here. The money spent on this book will help them save time and avoid unnecessary anxiety and expenses in the future.

I would also like to commend you for the wonderful idea of publishing your book in Russian and English on opposite pages and for the excellent quality of this first edition. Also, your book is very easy to order and buy.

Thank you very much; I wish you prosperity and happiness.

Irina Notarian, Florida. 

May 28, 2004

To: Mr. Demin
ViOLa Publishing, LLC

Thank you for the personal note enclosed with my second order.
I first read about your book in the newspaper, and was impressed by the terrific idea. I ordered one for a good friend in Armenia (a government education official) who hopes to immigrate next year.
Meanwhile, I showed the book my Russian teacher at Bowdoin ... She seemed so enthralled that I ordered a second copy for her.
Although not my vocation, I have been very involved in a variety of exchange programs, mostly with Armenia and Japan, despite my Polish roots. Have you mentioned your book to exchange organizations such as Project Harmony and Flex./Pax?
All of our future(s) rest with such international cross-connections.
Good luck to you and your family and your endeavors. What a wonderful book you have created.

(Believe or not), I would like to order another (my third) copy of your book "Welcome to America". The more international friends see your wonderful book, the more want it.

When you will be working on one for each/every language?

Deborah Patten, M.D.


Hello, Vitaliy:

… your book is a great asset to our collection and really a very useful tool for immigrants. We bought 12 copies of your book for our branches.

Have a nice day, and looking forward to our collaboration.

L. A.
Coping Skills Librarian
Queens Borough Public Library 

Dear Vitaliy and Olga!

… I would love to have one more copy of your book for my son who is now getting ready to undertake the difficulties of immigrant life in America…

I am very grateful to you for your book. I can't wait to get home from work because in your very useful book I have found a very kind and wise friend. When I first came to the US, I went through everything you describe while looking for information about life in this country. You have kept me from many mistakes and bumps in the road as I turned to people who have arrived earlier but found few answers. People either forgot much of what they had been through or lacked the appropriate knowledge and did not want to show it <…> I would like to express my deep gratitude for your work, for your manual that will help me personally to get back on my feet and to help my children do the same.

You have given me renewed hope and faith in kind and intelligent people who are willing and able to help others. Many thanks to you.

With deep respect, Ludmila D. Iowa.

It is well known that having the right information is essential for taking control of one's life. Very often we immigrants lack the knowledge necessary for full integration into our new world and becoming fully functioning members of society. How much time, energy, and often money is spent trying to obtain the necessary information! Therefore I am deeply grateful to the authors of the book " Welcome to America " for the wealth of useful information presented in their work.

In two months of reading of your book I have learned more than during the previous three years of living in America. Besides, the English-Russian version of the book allows me to improve all aspects of my English.

Many thanks to you and best wishes.

The grateful reader. N. Zavlanova, New York.


 A unique encyclopedia for all immigrants.

This is a really useful book. Even after five years in America , I found plenty of new and interesting information. The author Vitaliy Demin, an engineer, was able to coherently present a lot of material on many different topics that is usually inaccessible to a general audience.

After reading this book, I found that the seemingly unrelated pieces of knowledge that I acquired from other sources now formed a coherent whole. I also have found information on many subjects that I thought were only covered in specialized literature. As we all know, specialized literature usually contains many unnecessary details and sometimes leaves the reader confused and disappointed. Insufficient knowledge of English can be another obstacle to understanding such literature. This book, however, covers many topics in a clear and concise manner, which enables readers to quickly learn about the subject they are interested in. Besides, the current book market does not satisfy the majority of immigrant needs. This book, on the other hand, contains answers to specific questions most immigrants have. In addition, the excellent synchronous English translation has given me the opportunity to take a fresh look at my English skills and to improve them significantly.

The only thing I regret is that this book had not been written five years ago when I first arrived in America . It would saved me so much time and frustration and would have kept me from making many unnecessary mistakes. I think this book is a unique encyclopedia for not just Russians, but for all immigrants.

 Olga Sapp, Jacksonville , Florida.


What EVERY Immigrant (and their American spouses) needs to have.

"Welcome to America" is a highly recommended book for anyone with an immigrant wife from any culture, although the Russian speakers tend to get the best benefit from it (at least I haven't found an edition for other ethnic cultures - but then again, I haven't really looked all that hard).. The topics covered are those that would be of interest to anyone from a foreign culture, particularly since the authors cover only what is here - and there is no mention of what is over there (overseas).  

I am a natural born and raised American and my wife is a recent Ukrainian immigrant with a teenage daughter. I wish I had known about this book more than a couple of years ago when they came here from overseas. I am not considered fluent in Russian (or Ukrainian), so explaining how things work (such as credit cards) has sometimes been a long and complex process. Even when my wife had acknowledged that she understood me, seeing the results of her use of the knowledge at something explained was usually very interesting. Sometimes the results are very good - other times, I had to re-evaluate my explanation and try to clarify.  

One day, my wife brought me a reference for this book by Mr. Vitaly Demin and Olga Demin Lambert. Our life has definitely changed since the day it arrived, for they have not put together this book on the fly while adjusting to America, it habits, characteristics, and institutions. They have obviously researched each topic they have covered to a fine detail - and it shows in the content and layout of the book.  

I particularly like the way it is laid out with English on the left side and Russian on the right. If my wife wants to point out something to me, she can easily show me where it is or tell me what page, and I can take a look at the text myself. Things she likes to show me have to do with previous explanations, sometimes along with "Why didn't you tell me this..."  

I won't go into detail regarding the content of the book since it is already mentioned in some of the other reviews on this site. I'll just add my two cents and say that they are comprehensive and correct. This book should be in every immigrant's (and their spouse's) household.

Kerry Kanemitsu, Indiana.



Welcome to America The Complete Guide for Immigrants

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