Thursday, 26 July 2012

Relocating - tips for moving to the USA (and elsewhere)

A note from Diana and Lisa: One of our readers submitted the blog, below, to share with all of our readers. It is a good reminder of some of the details involved in an International move. While the article focuses on moving to the USA, many points outlined are relevant to moving internationally....

 So You Want to Emigrate to the USA….

Emigrating to the United States carries a unique set of challenges, and it goes without saying that this is a major upheaval that requires a degree of certainty when making your decision. There are many factors to this move that should be taken into account and here is a ten-point guide to some of the challenges that you face.

1.      Obtaining a Visa
This is the logical first step once you have made your decision, but the process is predictably lengthy. If you decide that this is the right move for you and your family, then you will need to apply several months in advance. Therefore, it is vital that you have at least six months to run on each of your passports.
Each of the applications is considered on an individual basis, so you must be prepared to plan ahead before booking those flights.

2.     The Green Card
Many people mistake a US Visa for the famous ‘green card’. In fact, the visa itself starts you on the long road to US Citizenship, the process for which takes five years. After that qualifying period, the Green Card is subsequently issued. Therefore, it’s also important not to assume that the process of becoming a permanent US resident is a rapid one.

3.   Choosing your Location
America is such a vast country that you have so many towns and cities to choose from when it comes to setting up base. If you’re moving for work reasons, then your choice may be already decided to some extent, but you should always plan this aspect carefully. Identify some locations and look on their own websites to get a feel for the place. Suffice to say that New York City is very different to a small village in rural Wyoming.

4.       Family Upheaval
This is perhaps the one aspect that you have to consider more than all others. If you have a family, then you must be open to their needs and listen to their thoughts and views.If you have your own heart set on a move to the USA, then it can be easy at times to close your mind to other opinions and hear what you want to hear. Look for any signals of uncertainty before you make that decision, and remember - you can always come back, but it will have been an expensive process if you later change your mind.

5.       Removals
There are many specialist haulage companies available with years of experience in moving entire households across the Atlantic. Take your time to choose, get quotes, and look for reviews and recommendations on the 'net. This could be a perfect opportunity to de-clutter, too, and to dispose of any bulky items of furniture that you don’t need. Alternatively, if beds, sofas and other heavy items can be easily replaced in the US, then this will make for a cheaper and easier removal. Remember that if you have pets, you will be able to take them subject to the required vaccinations and a quarantine period.

6.       Finding a house
House prices vary greatly in the USA, but many UK expatriates claim that they were shocked at the increase in figures to those they were used to back home. As a result, many choose to rent their property, but this isn’t as short term a fix as it may seem.The rental market in America is huge and it is geared up to allow lifetime arrangements if they are required. As always, the advice is to do as much research as possible before you travel.

7.       Finding Work
It’s true to say that if you don’t have a job lined up in the US then you are unlikely to be granted a Visa. Therefore, the work position has to be finalised first and you cannot just come here as a job seeker.
Occasionally, you may get sent here by your company or, alternatively, you may be offered a job by a firm who then sponsors your visa application. However, many migrants are business owners looking to relocate and that is acceptable, but remember to get work in place before travelling.

8.       Insurance and Medical
As far as health insurance is concerned, that should only be arranged via a US based company. Your existing pensions may not be transferable, so you should check with your provider as to whether you can still make contributions once you leave the UK. Additionally, remember to arrange any travel insurance for your eventual departure.

9.       Driving
Apart from the obvious advice to remember to drive on the right, you should pay particular attention to your license. If you have an International Driving License then you can drive in the US, but you will have to renew this every year. Alternatively, if you pass a regulation US driving test, then there is no need for the annual renewal.

10.   Changes in Lifestyle
When you move to any new country, you will be experiencing new cultures and new personalities that are alien to you. Some migrants find it hard to adapt and never really get used to their changed surroundings.
If you can, it is a good idea to take plenty of trips to the US and immerse yourself in the country before you make it your permanent home. This should help you decide whether this type of move is right for you and your family.

Author bio:
This post was written by Simon Markland the MD of shipping and excess baggage specialists VOOVit. VOOVit are a low cost shipping and storage service who ship to Australia, South Africa, USA and worldwide. Visit them at

1 comment:

  1. I’m from Australia and studied in New York and I know of a few friends, like me, who was thinking seriously of moving to New York permanently but wasn’t quite sure. Some of them thus moved all their items into a low cost self storage facility and found work in New York trying to see if they could adapt to the life there. I won’t say this for everyone but getting a job in a foreign country can be tough and even more so in today’s economy. However, if you are one of the lucky few, storing your items in a self storage unit while you work there isn’t such a bad idea. You can always sell off your items when you decide to live there for good.