Moving to the USA from the UK

April 28 2020

If you are thinking of moving from the UK to America, you’ll join a long history of British citizens moving to the United States. Whether you are moving to America for work, studying in the US or moving to join family already living there, here are some things to bear in mind to ensure a smooth move and help you settle into your new expat life right from the start.


What Visa Do I Need to Move to the US? 

When moving to the US from the UK, you will need to ensure you have the correct documents to allow you to live in the United States legally. Whilst you can stay in America legally for up to 90 days on a traveller’s ESTA, if you wish to work in the US or stay there for longer you will need to apply for an American immigrant visa. Be sure to ensure that you have the correct type of visa for what you will be doing in the country, for example studying or working. You may also need to show that you have the sufficient funds to support yourself whilst you will be in the country. If you live in England, you may need to travel to London for an interview to gain your visa, an embassy in Belfast and Edinburgh are also available for those who would prefer to visit a closer embassy.


Working in the USA as a UK Citizen

If you are moving to the USA to work, you will need to ensure that you have the correct visa. Your new employer will need to sponsor your visa and prove that you have an offer of employment from them in order for you to work legally in your new country. Major industries in the US for employment include areas such as electronics, entertainment, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, finance and more.


Cultural Differences When Moving from the UK to the US

Whilst North America might share a language with the UK, there are a number of things that sometimes cause UK expats to experience a mild culture shock when moving to the US. The first major difference is the tipping culture in the US. Whilst tipping in the UK signals an exceptional job done, in most cases it is an expected thing when receiving a service in the United States. When dining out for example, a tip of around 15% is a common amount to leave your server in a restaurant. A tip would not be expected in a venue such as a fast-food establishment, however. Those studying in the US may notice a number of differences such as mixed subjects at degree level and different spellings for words whilst those moving to the more southern states may experience the famous ‘Southern Hospitality’ that may contrast greatly to life back home.


Money in the United States

As you probably already know, the United States uses the dollar as its currency. When moving to the US from the UK, it is important that you evaluate how much money you will need during the moving process and whilst you are living in the US. It is also important that you have money readily and easily available to you when you arrive in the United States from the UK. One of the best ways to do this is to open a local bank account upon arrival to the US where you can access any funds needed. This may also save exchange charges you may experience if trying to withdraw from your UK bank abroad. Some terms such as a ‘quarter’ (25 cents) ‘nickel’ (5 cents) and ‘dime’ (10 cents) might differ from what you are used to hearing in terms of money so it is worth learning these before you set off.


Weather in the United States

If you are moving to the USA from the UK in search of good weather, it is important to think about where you will be moving to. The United States is an immense country with extreme variations in temperature depending on where you will be. Southern states such as Florida for example, have year-round sun and get extremely hot during the summer months. Large parts of the west coast are filled with desert planes, but it is worth noting that areas such as northern California can get quite cold during the winter with snow in the mountains. Be sure to look up the local climate of the state you will be moving to before you set off to ensure you have the appropriate clothing.


Moving Belongings to the USA from the UK

If you are planning on moving your belongings to the USA from the UK, you will need to consider a few things in order to asses cost. Firstly, you will need to evaluate how much you will need to move, how much space would it take? Secondly, how fast do you need your belongings to be in the US? This will affect the types of shipping you will want to use to ship your furniture to the US. When budgeting for shipping your belongings to the US, it is important to check that your quote from your shipping company includes every service you will need to avoid unexpected costs late on down the line. 


Looking for a secure way to move your belongings to the United States? Whether you are moving furniture, your car or shipping an extra bag to the US for a year abroad Anglo Pacific World Movers has you covered. Get in touch now or call 0800 633 5445 to talk to a member of our team.

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