The United States of America – the land of the free and the home of the brave – famous words written by Francis Scott Key that still hold true today for those moving to America and setting out to achieve their “American Dream.”
That said, due to the current economic and political climate it is becoming increasingly difficult for foreigners to both visit and move to the USA. With the recent travel ban put in place by newly appointed President Trump, people are more cautious about visiting or moving to America, with more obstacles in the way of acquiring a visa and finding a job. On the flip side, it is still not clear what a post-Brexit relationship will look like between the UK and the US. Our historic ties may grow stronger and there may be no better time than now to make the move.
Getting an American Visa
To stay in the US for an extended period of time (beyond the 90 days allowed on a tourist visa, aka the ESTA), you need to find an employer to sponsor your visa, or if you are an entrepreneur or investor, you can potentially sponsor yourself. The most common US working visa is the H1-B, but there are many others which may be more suited to you depending on your circumstances. The US Department of State offers a full list of US visas.
Finding a Home in America
In the beginning it may be best to rent short-term, (for example via Airbnb), or stay with a friend while you look for a long-term apartment lease. In New York specifically, there are many online sites (such as StreetEasy, Naked Apartments, RentHop, NYBits) that are great for finding the place of your dreams – which will most likely turn out to be a lot smaller than you think! Please be careful when using sites such as Craigslist or Spareroom, you can find great deals, but some posts are fake and should not be trusted. Always view an apartment with someone else before signing any documents or handing over money.
Moving Your Belongings to America
The thought of transporting your whole life across an ocean can be a daunting prospect, but using the trusted international removals service offered by Removal Services Scotland (RSS) can make the whole process a lot simpler and less stressful. Whether it be Los Angeles, New York, Seattle or Austin – RSS is on hand to ship your belongings anywhere in North America and give your new life the best possible start. A free and transparent quote from RSS can give you the peace of mind that you are not alone in safely moving your precious reminders of home, which can make all the difference when moving to America.
Taxes in America
Taxes can be a confusing business, no matter where you are from. The US system differs greatly between states, so it is worth doing your research into the deductions that will come out of your paycheck before moving to America. There is some key tax information depending on which part of the US you are moving to, as well as specific information if you are headed to New York.
Healthcare in America
Beyond tax, you will also most likely pay a set contribution every month to your health insurance. It is important to discuss health insurance and other health benefits (for both you and your family) with your employer. If health insurance is not something that your employer will contribute towards then it can be a very costly monthly expense that you should factor into your outgoings before moving to America.
Managing Your Money in America
Accessing your money when traveling anywhere in the world can be a huge pain. There is often a dilemma between taking cash with you (which could be stolen or lost) or face large fees from your bank. When traveling to the US for the first time, the Caxton or Monzo card can make life a lot easier. A Caxton card operates in the same way as your bank card, so it can be used online and in stores. You incur no charges when it is used and it is linked to your bank account so you can top it up via the app or online as you please. When moving to America long-term it may be worth opening a US bank account. Taking out both a credit and debit card will also help with your credit score, which is important in the US for renting an apartment or obtaining a phone contract.
Enjoying Your New Life in America
It can be hard to settle into a new home, especially when in a new country where they may be many culture differences. However, it is important to embrace the change, make new friends and build a life for yourself. Great places to meet new people include Meetup, thecnnekt, nearify, TimeOut, Sofar and citysocializer.
Whether it be the Trump administration, visas, or impending Brexit, don’t let anything stop you if moving to America is your dream. Be mindful of visa options, accommodation scams, tax and healthcare costs and accessing your money, but most importantly – take advantage of the many ways to make friends and enjoy you’re your new life! Nothing is impossible and Lady Liberty is waiting to welcome you to the Big Apple and beyond. Good luck!
About the Author
Lara Gilchrist is a Communications Consultant specialising in tech and innovation. Originally from Scotland, Lara has lived in New York City for the past 2 years. As someone who has already moved to America, she knows first-hand how to achieve your American dream more easily.