Everything you need to know about emigrating to the USA
Moving to America is a huge deal, so it’s important to have your facts straight. From understanding the processes involved to having a grasp of daily customs, there’s plenty to get your head around. Fortunately, we’ve explored the reasons you might make the move, how to emigrate, and the top places to consider.
In this article:
- Reasons to consider moving to America
- How to emigrate to USA
- Key things to remember when moving to America
- Moving to USA: The best places to emigrate
Reasons to consider moving to America
One of the most populous expat relocation destinations in the West, along with Canada, and Spain, the USA is home to over 700,000 happy Brits. Offering a multitude of practical, professional, and economical benefits, it’s no wonder America is widely considered among the top countries to emigrate to. Three key reasons to consider moving to USA from UK include:
You don’t need to learn a new language
Because the USA is an English-speaking nation, you shouldn’t find settling in too difficult when moving to America, besides getting to grips with the local dialect. Similarly, there is a nice balance between similarity and change when it comes to culture between the UK and US.
A lifetime of holidays on your doorstep
The beauty of moving to the USA is the variation of climate, landscape, and environment between regions. Sure, the country boasts popular city destinations, such as New York and LA, but its expanse and broadness also ensures much of the country is natural and beautiful.
At first glance, it might come as a shock that over half of Americans don’t own a passport, but, with sunny beaches, snowy mountains, forest trails, and everything in between all just a drive or internal flight away, you can enjoy a lifetime of holidays on your doorstep.
Plentiful living space
Because America is such a large country, it’s possible to find a home with surrounding land for a much cheaper price than the equivalent square-metreage in the UK. This makes emigrating to America a popular choice for families.
How to emigrate to USA
Before moving to USA from UK, you’ll need to go through a series of processes, both to ensure your legal residency and make your US transition that little bit smoother. We’ve outlined the key areas you should focus your attention.
Applying for a US visa
If you’re emigrating to America, you’ll be required to apply for an immigrant visa. Whether you’re moving for family or marriage, employment, or a better quality of life, be prepared to go through a stringent application process. In terms of the cost of moving to USA, expect an outlay of $325-345 per visa.
Alternatively, if you’re only moving to the USA on a temporary basis (for business, for example), you should obtain a non-immigrant visa.
Opening a bank account
When emigrating to the USA, you’ll likely want to establish a new bank account to simplify everyday processes and make getting paid easier. However, to do so, you must be able to provide the following:
- Your immigration paperwork i.e., your valid visa
- Your permanent address
- Proof of identity, such as your passport or driving license
Renting or buying in America
Fortunately, if you’re thinking of moving to America, property is generally more affordable across the pond. In real terms, the average house price in America currently sits at just below $300,000, while the average UK house price is estimated to be roughly $350,000. This, coupled with homes typically coming with more outdoor space, makes buying a home in America an attractive prospect.
If you’re looking to rent in the US, be prepared to offer evidence of your credit history or financial stability. For instance, you might be required to provide your employment documentation.
Signing up for health insurance
Arguably the greatest benefit to UK living is unrestricted access to the NHS. In contrast, upon moving to America, you will need to arrange your own health insurance to protect yourself against illness and injury.
There are various plans you can sign up to, with each offering different levels of cover, so make sure you’re fully clued up before you make the move.
In the UK, income is taxed up to a rate of 45%, with the top bracket affecting all those earning over £150,000 each year. However, in the USA, there are seven tax brackets, with the maximum rate of 37% only affecting those who earn more than $518,401 annually.
For context, the average American salary currently sits at $63,475, which falls into the 22% income tax bracket. Bear in mind, however, that, while income tax in America is relatively low, your salary will need to cover the cost of health insurance.
Bringing your pet
It is perfectly legal to bring your pet with you to America, whether you’re moving on a permanent or temporary basis. Before moving, make sure your pet adheres to their specific animal checks. The basic requirements for dogs, for instance, include:
- A valid pet passport.
- A health certificate, including confirmation that your pet is free from tapeworm and screwworm.
- The UK isn’t considered a high-risk rabies zone, but you should establish whether your state requires your pet to undergo a rabies vaccination.
Key things to remember when moving to America
You might have applied for a visa, signed up for health insurance, and founds a place to stay, but there’s much more to moving to America than following the formalities. We’ve drawn up a handy checklist of some of the most important day-to-day considerations to remember:
In the UK, VAT is automatically included in the price of products. However, in America, most states add a sales tax at the checkout. This can come to between 2.9-7.25%, depending on state.
The states that don’t impose sales tax are Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon. This is something Americans are accustomed to, so you’ll need to make it a part of your budgeting process moving forward.
In British culture, tipping isn’t always expected, and is usually reserved for outstanding service. However, in America, it is common practice to tip your servers, and a good habit is to tip at least 15% of the bill.
In the UK, the most popular sports are football, cricket, and rugby. However, upon emigrating to America, you will need to get to grips with the likes of American football, baseball, and basketball if you want to engage in sporting conversation with the locals.
When moving to America, you might be required to apply for a US driver’s license. However, as is often the case, rules vary between states, so you should check the rules before you emigrate. Importantly, once you’ve negotiated all the appropriate paperwork, remember that Americans drive on the right!
In the UK, full-time workers are entitled to 28 days of paid holiday. However, by emigrating to America, know that you are likely giving this up! Generally speaking, American workplaces offer around 10 days of paid holiday each year, which sometimes only applies after 12 months of service.
Moving to the USA: The best places to emigrate
If you’re moving to USA from UK, you might already have a selection of potential locations in mind. If you’re still a little unsure, however, we’ve highlighted some of the most top destinations for relocating Brits:
Texas is home to a booming job market, music scene, and foodie paradise, and Austin is one of the USA’s fastest developing cities. Couple that the warm weather and friendly locals, and it’s no surprise that the Southern state is so popular.
With gorgeous scenery and a booming local economy, Denver is poised to help you and your family achieve the American dream. In terms of the extra-curricular, Denver is also a hub of art and culture, and neighbours some of the States’ best ski regions.
San Francisco, California
Situated at the heart of California’s bay area, San Francisco comes with a high cost of living, but it’s worth it for the lifestyle. Electrifying art and culture, exquisite food, and stunning natural beauty come as standard here, whether you settle in the city or one of the neighbouring towns.
Situated between the ocean and the mountains, emigrating to Portland means having a world of weekend opportunity on your doorstep. A considerably cheaper place to live than nearby Seattle, Portland also boasts a fabulous food and drink scene.
New York’s north-easterly neighbour, Boston offers a vibrant city experience, with education and culture top of the agenda. If you don’t fancy city-living, enjoy the beautiful Cape Cod peninsular, with quaint seaside towns such as Chatham, Mashpee, and Sandwich.
Boasting beautiful beaches, a broad culture pool, and some of the South East’s finest food, Tampa also offers strong job opportunities. If you fancy the sound of year-round heat and an affordable lifestyle, the Sunshine State could be calling your name.
Emigrating to America is an exciting decision, so don’t let a struggling house sale back home hold up your dream move; receive an instant valuation of up to 85% of market value, and sell your house quickly with Good Move. For even more expert advice and industry news, explore the latest from us.