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Moving to the USA
One of the most powerful and diverse countries in the world, the United States of America encapsulates 50 unique states. Spanning 9.8 million km² and with a population reaching over 323 million, it is not hard to understand why the country is a powerhouse.
Living in the USA can be a life changing experience and, for some, the American Dream is truly still alive. It is a very popular expat destination and there are large communities of Mexican, Spanish, Italian, African American, Puerto Rican, Indian and Chinese communities who have resided in the States for generations. It is also a popular retreat for students who are enticed by America’s Ivy League institutions, impressive scholarships and state of the art teaching facilities.
Removals to America
With 48 of America’s states being larger than the UK in size, the concept of moving the country can be intimidating no matter how excited you are. Since the terrifying events of September 11th 2001, security into the USA has been understandably heightened and emigration is much stricter. However, as long as you have the correct visas and an experienced international removals team, you need not worry.
It doesn’t matter if you have a couple of boxes of belongings or an entire home’s worth of furniture you would like transporting to America, you know it will be in safe hands with Britannia Internal Movers. Having been in the business for countless years and moved clients all around the world, we have the expertise and international partners to tailor your move to the USA to your exact requirements. With unparalleled communication and with staff who truly care, you will be happy in the knowledge that your move to America will be seamless.
International Removals to the USA
Britannia International Movers like to get involved with our clients; we aren’t just a voice on the end of a telephone. Once you have got in contact with us about your move to America, an international removals expert will visit your property so that everything can be discussed in depth. This meeting will allow us to get to know you, understand the scale of your move and discuss any concerns or special requirements you have.
Whilst visiting, your move leader will also conduct an international moving survey to which will help you decide what is staying, what is being sold or recycled, and what is going into storage.
During this meeting you will be able to layout your budget, timeframe and any dates you have in your mind. These won’t be set in stone, but it is ideal for us to have a rough idea. It also allows us to distinguish if there are any additional services you may need. Your representative will then go away and put together an extensive international removals plan together based solely on your needs. This will then be forwarded to you for approval.
Additional Removals Services to the USA
With over thirty years of experience moving people from the UK to far flung global destinations, there is little that Britannia International Movers cannot handle. Need some pre-move storage? Want your car with you in the States? Fancy bringing your menagerie of pets along too? No problem!
Wherever you are moving to, we know the exact paperwork and visas you will require – we will even help you fill everything in correctly as we know it can be complicated! Our aim is to take as much stress away from you as possible and make the process a breeze. We have done this countless times before and we will give you every nugget of knowledge we have. You simply need to focus upon your new life in the USA.
Need some help packing your items safely? Want your pet with you in the States? Want to make the process as affordable as possible? Don’t worry, Britannia International Movers have it covered. Get in touch with us today or check out our additional moving services below.
Arriving in America
Flight times from the UK to America differ drastically depending on where you are travelling to. Flights to the West Coast and destinations in Washington, Oregon and California will take around 12 hours non-stop. The East Coast and locations such as Florida and New York take between 6 and 8 hours direct. However, your belongings won’t be there quite so quickly! However, given the correct notice, we can schedule your belongings to arrive just after you do!
Container shipping is our recommended method of getting your worldly possessions to America. The process can take several weeks door to door, but is much safer and more affordable than air freight. Customs clearance usually takes around 5 to 10 days if all the relevant documents are in check and this is something we will help you with pre-move. Once on American soil, our trusted State side partner will ensure the efficient and safe arrival of your belongings to your new home.
If you are planning a move to anywhere throughout the United States gives Britannia Movers International a call today on 0845 600 661. One of our international removal specialists and find out how easy it is to move to America. We’ll give you a full breakdown of the process and an idea of the costs of emigrating as well.
“This was our first time moving house and the fact we were heading all the way to New York made it doubly as daunting. However, we are now settled into our new apartment and we cannot thank Britannia and their American team for making the process as straightforward as they could. Thankyou for keeping our nerves at bay and answering every ridiculous questions I had! We couldn’t have done it without you!”
Emigrating to the USA
The melting pot of different cultures, and nations since Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic Ocean at the end of the 15th century, the USA has always been a popular destination with immigrants, and those looking for adventure, a new life and new opportunities. The USA is not only one of the strongest economic powers in the world, but offers an unparalleled mix of cultures, and lifestyles, varied terrains, and diverse employment opportunities.
The USA can offer incredible opportunities, high wages, and a sense of individual freedom. On the flip side, employment opportunities are limited by restrictive labour laws for expats, and the country has been hit recently by the financial crisis, which also affects employment levels. Living standards among the population vary greatly, partly due to the thin safety net, the fact that public health care coverage is not universal, and high further education fees. For those who manage to move permanently to the USA, there is great potential in a multi-cultural country that welcomes and values expats and encourages an entrepreneurial spirit.
Moving to America from the UK
Regardless of why you are moving to the States, we know that no home is complete without your belongings. With our thirty years of international removals experience and our fantastic American partners, we can have you and your things safely settled in no time. Our knowledge of the individual customs and visas of each state is extensive and there is nothing we cannot help with when you move to America from the UK.
You can transport your possession to America using a variety of methods. However, the option you choose will depend on how quickly you need them with you. Flying your items is ideal for urgent items, but can be very expensive. This is why most people opt for container shipping.
Shipping transit of groupage or shared load consignments usually takes 8 to 11 weeks to the East Coast and 11 to 14 weeks if going via the West Coast. Sole use containers will normally take 2 weeks to the East Coast and 4 weeks to the West Coast. However, transit times will also vary depending on the size of your consignment, customs or immigration delays and weather conditions.
Household goods and personal effects can be imported duty free, provided they have been owned for at least a year before arriving in the USA. Most containers arriving in the USA will be subject to examination by US customs. You must ensure you have the appropriate visa for entry into the USA – we will be. To import your household goods, we will provide you with the correct customs form, that must be completed prior to the goods leaving the UK.
American Customs Restrictions
When you bring your belongings into the USA, you should be aware that there are certain restrictions placed upon items that could be a threat to the country or the people who live there. It is in your interest not to bring the following items into America:
- Firearms and ammunition
- Inflammable goods & substances
- Plants and plant material
- Foodstuffs, perishables or otherwise
- Narcotics and dangerous goods
- Offensive materials
- Alcohol and tobacco
Pet Relocation to America
We understand that your life in America would not be complete without all members of the family, including those covered in fur or feathers. Most domestic pets can be shipped relatively easily across the Atlantic ocean provided you complete the necessary actions and paperwork.
Britannia work in partnership with a specialist shipper of animals who will be able to assist you in getting your pets to the USA, including all required vaccinations and documentation needed. Utilising the skills of our trusted partner will save any anguish or quarantine time.
Most pets will require the following:
- To be a minimum of 12 weeks of age
- Import permit from the Department of Agriculture
- Pet passport
- Rabies vaccination
- Tapeworm treatment (dogs only)
Importing a Car into the United States of America
The USA has strict emissions standards in place and only cars that have been manufactured in the country can be shipped across and used. Your Britannia International Movers representative will be able to help you further with this and provide advice.
When you move to America, you will inevitably need to transfer money from the UK to America and make payments before you touch down. Britannia International Movers can recommend reputable foreign currency exchange services to help protect you from exchange rate fluctuations, and save you time and money on international payments.
Travelling to the USA from the UK
Flight times to different American states are drastically different. The sheer size of the country means that, for many Americans, visiting far away family in another state is only achievable by air travel.
The West Coast features Washington, Oregon, and California. These are the locations furthest from the UK and non-stop flight times are upwards of 10 hours. The further east your location, the shorter the direct flight time from the UK. Journey times to central America fall either side of 8 hours and locations in the North East – Maine, New York, Pennsylvania – are accessible in just over 6 hours.
Due to the long flight times to some destinations, very few people tend to choose a stop-over service. However, these can work out cheaper. For some smaller airports, you may be required to board a connecting flight from a major city airport.
Some providers of flights from the UK to the USA include British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, American, Delta and United.
USA Visas and Permits
The US Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) allows British citizens to visit the US for up to 90 days without a visa. If you are relocating and/or working you will require a visa and these can be acquired by visiting the Embassy of the United States in London. The most desirable visa, known as a green card (I-551), is a permanent resident visa.
Living in America
America is larger than life; something most of us are not used to. Adapting to a completely new way of life can be difficult for those who move to the country. However, each of the 50 states adds something different to the makeup of the country. With a huge immigrant population as well, expats will never feel like a fish out of water as there will always be a community they can become part of.
The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States and the set ideals of liberty, opportunity, equal rights, democracy and equality is echoes through every aspect of life. It is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, a document originally published in 1776.
America is considered an excellent location to achieve; whether that is through a sports scholarship, educational programme or professional progression. There are countless opportunities to learn, grow and develop; which many expats are taking full advantage of.
However, whilst American culture does focus upon hard work and entrepreneurial spirit, they do equally know how to enjoy themselves and celebrate!
Weather in the USA
Being the fourth largest country in the world, weather throughout the US is varied due to its size and geographical features. One state can be deep in snow whilst another can be experiencing summer-induced forest fires from the heat.
Generally speaking, however, the East Coast states tend to benefit from a subtropical climate in the south to something more continental in the north. The West Coast has a Mediterranean climate, with cooler summers and mild winters the further you head north. Central America has extreme weather variations, with cold winters and balmy summers frequented by tornadoes.
Jobs for Expats in the USA
Hard work is valued in the USA and people often work over 40 hours per week as a norm and annual leave can only be as little as two weeks in some roles. East Coast cities such as New York and Boston tend to have jobs in financial fields where as Los Angeles, Seattle, and other cities on the West Coast are championed for technology, entertainment and development roles. Most jobs for expats in the central states tend to be in teaching or agriculture.
America is particularly interested in expats with medical, IT or marketing backgrounds.
Finding a Job in America
If you aren’t moving to the USA due to relocation by your current employer, you can use the sites below to help you secure employment. Alternatively, look for local ads in newspapers or on notice boards. Word of mouth is also an excellent way of finding a job.
Education in the USA
The first compulsory stop for children in America is kindergarten at the age of five. However, most children do attend pre-school before this. Whilst the school system can vary a lot state to state, most tend to follow the kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school route. School, in most states, is compulsory until the age of 16.
Most English speakers who move to America choose to send their children to a local public school provided that it is of suitable standard. These schools are free for expat children and enables them to have more interaction with children in the local neighbourhood.
Like many countries, there is a difference in the standard of education between public, private and independent schools. In America, securing a space in a fee-paying private school is not dependent on geographical location and many have boarding facilities. Private schools do come with a price tag but are significantly more affordable than international schools.
If you are only planning on staying the USA for a certain amount of time, it may be worth investing in an international school for your child so that they can study the curriculum they are used to at home and be able to pick it up again on their return. However, these schools are very expensive – an average of £14,000 per year.
Cost of Living in America
Educational costs aside, the cost of living in America is comparable to the UK. Many expats living in the States do not notice a significant loss or gain financially compared to life back in the UK. However, many do note that rent can be somewhat more expensive, especially in the cities.
The United States dollar is the country’s official currency and is often shown as $ or USD. Each dollar is subdivided into 100 cents. Currently there are seven dollar notes in circulation; $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 ad $100. Coins include 1, 50, 10, 25 and 50 cents, as well as a $1 coin too.
Opening a Bank Account in the US
Opening a bank account in America can be very confusing. The market is extremely competitive and there are countless providers offering different rates and perks. Sometimes, many who bank with a global provider will simply open a US-based account with the same provider or use their overseas account if only in the country for a short time.
If you will be in the States for the foreseeable future you may want top open a bank account. The identification and documentation required will vary between banks but, usually, you will need the following:
- Immigration information
- Proof of address
- Social security number (if you have one)
Cost of Everyday Items
Check out some of the items you are likely to purchase regularly whilst living in America below. Prices are shown in United States dollars and converted to UK pounds so you can see how prices match up.
|Item||Price USD||Price Converted to £|
|Milk (1 litre)||$0.85||£0.63|
|Loaf of white bread||$2.56||£1.91|
|Chicken breasts (1kg)||$8.55||£6.37|
|Pair of quality jeans||$41.49||£30.90|
|Ladies chain store dress||$34.36||£25.59|
|Cinema tickets (2)||£22||£16.39|
|International Primary School (1 year)||$18,000||£13,406|
The Cost of Healthcare in the USA
The States does not have a National Health Service like in the UK. Whilst some who move to the USA have their healthcare paid for by their employer if they have a relocation package, expats without such a luxury must pay for private healthcare insurance.
Medicare and Medicaid are two state-funded plans put in place for the elderly, disabled, poor and young. However, being a ‘regular’ citizen does mean you will have to pay for appropriate cover. Whilst no everybody in the USA is insured (and medical facilities will not turn you away) you would have to pay for your treatment yourself and the bills can be staggering.
Renting a Home in America
Many looking to rent a home in the USA tend to find properties using online portals – offering both short and long term lets. Local newspapers are another great way of finding homes to rent, as well as word of mouth. Estate agents can also help, but they tend to specialise in buying and selling homes rather than lettings.
After finding a property you like, you will need to fill in a lease application and prove you have enough money to cover the first month’s rent upfront and the equivalent of another month’s rent to cover a security deposit. A credit and background check is also carried out as standard. Having references from previous landlords will be helpful too.
Lease agreements in the USA are generally signed on a six-month or one-year basis. Whether or not the tenant will be liable for gas, electricity, water, refuse, phone and Internet bills will depend on the specific rental agreement signed.
Buying a Home in America
If you are working legally in the US you are able to buy a property and apply for financing. The banks can make expats jump through hoops when it comes to financing so ensure you have as much supporting documentation in regard to your finances as possible.
You cannot purchase a home in America without the expertise of a real estate agent. They will help you through the entire purchase process and help with negotiations and contracts. Unlike some countries where you can feel somewhat left to your own devices and constantly chasing your agent, in the US it is part of their job to help you to the finish line seamlessly.
Much of America’s culture has been shaped by the different ethnic groups which make it so rich. Native Americans, Latin Americans, African Americans and Asian Americans are some of the predominant groups of people contributing to the cultural makeup of the country as a whole. This varied population results in a unique blend of languages, cuisines, traditions, religions and ways of thinking. Regardless of their ethnicity or cultural upbringing, Americans are fiercely patriotic but embrace expats with warmth.
Languages Present in America
There are countless languages used in the USA, around 500 are used every day. The most common is English, specifically American English, which is the de facto national language of the country. Although all states recognise English as a national language, there are some which also count others. New Mexico recognises Spanish, Hawaii recognises its native speakers and Alaska has twenty five native languages which are official.
The top 10 languages spoken at home by most Americans are:
- American English
- Chinese (including Mandarin and Cantonese)
- Tagalog (including Filipino)
Again, due to the country’s cultural diversity, you can access virtually any type of worldwide cuisine in America. Each state has its specialty, however. New York is rich with Italian food, the Deep South is all about delicious soul food and the West Coast is rich with fresh seafood and many vegan and vegetarian eateries. Many states also have their own delicacies and specialities.
Some traditional favourites include key lime pie, pot roast, corn bread, biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, Alaskan salmon, grits, clam chowder, s’mores and barbecue ribs.
Public Holidays in the USA
There are 9 national public holidays per year in the United States:
- New Year’s Day – 1st January
- Martin Luther King Day – 15th January
- Memorial Day – 28th May
- Independence Day – 4th July
- Labor Day – 3rd September
- Columbus Day – 8th October
- Veterans Day – mid November (changes annually)
- Thanksgiving – 22nd November
- Christmas Day – 25th December
- Emigrating to the USA
- Travelling to the USA from the UK
- Living in America
- Cost of Living in America
- American Culture
- Public Holidays in the USA