Moving to America

Moving to America from the UK has always been popular, even since before the Country was officially founded. The British influence means that Brits don’t tend to struggle when chasing the American dream. For information about how to move with pets, the cost of moving and a moving to the USA checklist read on.

Emigrating to the USA

The USA is a country with every imaginable landscape, from red rocks to green plains and from snowy mountains to white beaches. Consequently, there is a dream home for anyone. However, if you are planning to emigrate to the United States, do take into account the seasonal weather changes that you may encounter, such as tornadoes, blizzards, etc. The climate in the US varies greatly depending on which part of the country you reside. For example, most of the country experiences temperate weather while in Hawaii and Florida it’s tropical and in Alaska it’s arctic.

No Visa for 90 days

Like in most countries, moving to America requires a visa. However, the United Kingdom is one of the countries eligible for the Visa Waiver Program. This means that UK passport holders are eligible to enter the US visa-free for up to 90 days or less. The Visa Waiver Program is only valid for tourism and business (B-1/B-2 visa) or in transit(c-1) visas. Moreover, the VWP is subject to further requirements such as having a valid electronic system for travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel. For expats or people moving to America on a permanent basis, you still need to apply for an immigrant visa or a green card. Our visa page provides more information about this. With proper Visa paperwork, opening a bank account and getting a driving license in the US is fairly straight forward. Visit our page to find out more information on visas in America.

Moving costs

The USA is pretty far in comparison to the UK, so moving your belongings can take some time. There are two popular options when sending your belongings to America is by air and by sea. By air is obviously the most convenient way and can take as little as 1 day for you items to get to your new apartment. Sirelo can help you find the right moving company to help move your belongings safely and securely. The speed and convenience of air transport is quite costly meaning that the most common move is by shipping your belongings via sea cargo. The table below gives a rough estimate to how much different sized households will cost and the timing when shipping to America by sea.

Household sizeTimeCost
1 bed flat10-15 days£6,073 – £6,271
3 bed house10-15 days£7,084 – £7,388
5 bed house10-15 days£8,528 – £8,984
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Lowering your moving costs

Certain factors will make your move cheaper. Below we have listed the top 4 features that can make your move vary in cost:

  • Type of transport – Obviously moving your belongings by air is faster and more convenient. But higher costs are involved with this option.
  • Size of household – Bigger houses of course means more transport and higher costs.
  • Insurance – Insurance is important factor to make your move stress free. A good insurance however can cost a lot.
  • Additional options (Packing, storage) – These extra features can help assist your move but of course comes at a price.

Costs can be cut if some of these factors are controlled. But with cutting prices comes consequences, a lot more stress and work comes with cheaper prices. If you’re willing to pack all your belongings, disassemble and assemble everything it will save a lot of pennies! The far distance to America means insurance is advised but comes at a high cost.

Top tips when moving

Americas long distance means a lot can go wrong in your move. For long moves we advise you to take out insurance as a lot can go wrong along the journey. When packing your belongings it is also important to organize everything. Labelling boxes can make life easier when unpacking, we also advise to not pack too much in each box in case they need too be carried up stairs when arriving at your new apartment.

Unusual restricted items

  • Automobiles that don’t meet fuel emission requirements
  • Absinth
  • Straw and wicker items
  • Soil
  • Plants and seeds

Moving to USA

What not to forget

A visa should be number 1 on your checklist! It is essential to have a visa in order to live in America and it can take a fairly long time to apply for one. After this is sorted there are still a number of things you will need to arrange.

  • Health insurance – unlike the UK healthcare is not free, you will need to apply for health insurance as it will cost you a lot of money if you become ill and aren’t insured. Visit our page for more information about healthcare in the USA.
  • Check documents – Make sure your passport and all other forms are in date.
  • Social security number (SSN) – If you are liviing or working in the USA you must have a social security number so apply for this in advance.
  • Pets vaccinated – Your pets must be vaccinated in order to enter America.
  • Tax – We strongly recommend to contact the tax authorities before departure. They can help you with tax situations you still have to deal with before you leave.
  • Cancellations – Cancel your utilities and any subscriptions you have.
  • Mail – Get your mail redirected so important mail cannot be missed.

Bringing personal belongings – pets and cars

There are slightly different rules when bringing your pets / cars to America. It’s not as simple as bringing your furniture. Some moving companies do offer this service but it is quite rare and can end up costing a lot.

Moving your pets to the USA

There are a number of requirements if you are wanting to bring your pets with you to the USA. If bringing in a dog it must be healthy and are vaccinated against rabies as well as being older than 4 months old. Cats however don’t require a general certificate of health. All pets are subject to being inspected at the ports of entry and may be denied entry into the United States if they have evidence of an infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans. The long distance to America makes it difficult to transport your pets there. Most people bring their pets on board with them when flying; however each airline has different restrictions so make sure you check before. Some airlines specialize in helping you bring your pets abroad, such as petairuk. 

Bringing your car into America

You are required to complete EPA form 3520-1 and DOT form HS-7 when entering the USA with your car. These forms declare the emissions and safety of the vehicle. Cars cannot be imported into the USA if it doesn’t meet fuel emission requirements for America.

Moving to America

Living costs in USA

Similarly to most countries the cost of living varies depending on where you are going to live and how close to the centre of the city you are. Generally speaking prices of primary and luxury goods are more expensive in larger cities and places located close to the centre. Below you can find a rough guide of how much it costs to live in popular states in the USA. For more information, visit our page living in America.

CityCost /100
Las vegas20
New York70

Working in America

Work is a top priority for an expat or someone emigrating to the USA. You may already be employed by an American company and are moving to the USA on an employment-based visa. On the other hand, you may still be looking for employment. Whichever the case may be, it is interesting to know that the USA offers many work opportunities. Opportunities range from work in the film and music industry to work in the medical profession. The USA is especially interested in skilled professionals in the IT sector.

Apart from the generic ways of applying for vacancies, such as online or at an employment agency. You may find that unsolicited applications to companies are a good way to find employment. American employers normally recognize UK qualifications. However, it may be worthwhile to find out whether your UK degree will be accepted before applying for a job. It is also very important to know that that the USA has a different set of rules when it comes to work.

Applying online is also a popular way to search for a job, the most popular job sites in the USA are Glassdoor and Indeed. Other websites that are popular for finding work in the USA are Craigslist and LinkedIn.

  • A work week is generally 40 hours, but working overtime is quite common and often expected.
  • You may have to settle for fewer paid holidays than what you are used to. You will need to negotiate this with your employer. However, you can expect as few as nine paid holidays a year.
  • Consider joining a Union or reading the official employee handbook to find out more about your rights and duties.
  • Another thing you may have to negotiate is your benefits package, for example, health insurance and your pension plan.
  • It may come as a surprise that American companies do not always draw up a contract of employment. Moreover, even if they do, it may not protect you from dismissal from work without a valid reason. Likewise, you may hand in your resignation without a valid reason.

Additional information about America

In addition to the information on this page, visit our other pages for more information:

  • Taxes in America – Find all information about the tax system in the country.
  • Education in the USA – Everything about the different schools, education etc.
  • Working in America – Are you an expat and need to move for your work? Read here all about working cultures, finding a job, etc.

Request a free moving quote

If you are thinking about moving to the USA, we can compare the best services for your move. All you have to do here is to fill in the quote form. This will only take a few minutes and you can receive up to 5 quotes from moving companies that specialise in removals to America. This way you save soon up to 40% extra on your moving costs.