Moving to America

Last updated: September 16, 2019

Chasing after the American dream? If you are, this page can help you reach that dream by providing you with all the information you may need to know about moving to America. If you’re interested in finding a removal company, visit our top 10 international removal companies list.

Visas to America

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.

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.


Living in America

Maybe you’re interested in finding out about the difference between the east and west coast of America? Or maybe you just want more information on what the living costs are like? This section covers a few points on what living in America is like.

Discover America

Moving to America is a big decision, which is why you should have a good idea what it is like living there. To find out more about the culture, read our living in America page or visit the UK government website for information on living in the USA.

Also, as you know, America is a big country and the states vary from the East coast to the West coast. If you would like to discover which side of the country is for you, why not read our moving to Los Angeles and New York pages.

Moving to America

Living costs in USA

Similarly to most countries the cost of living varies depending on where you are going to live. Generally speaking prices 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 locations in the USA.

City scoresCosts per city
CityQuality of lifePurchasing powerSafetyHealth careCost of livingPollution
Los Angeles656756655867
New York555862557558
CityCappuccino price1L milk priceOne dozen eggs priceThree room apartment rent
Los Angeles£ 3,15£ 75,00£ 2,82£ 2.365,53
New York£ 3,22£ 0,81£ 2,84£ 3.413,00

Jobs in USA

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 if you are moving to America. 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.

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.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you are planning to work in America:

  • A work week is generally 40 hours, but working overtime is quite common and often expected.
  • Holidays are shorter and you may need to negotiate how many days you are entitled to 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.

Take a look at our working in America page if you’re interested in finding out more.

Moving to USA - San Francisco

Education in USA

Similarly to the UK, there are private and state schools, but there are also many other differences. Here is a rundown of the compulsory stages of the education system in the USA:

  • Pre-school: Pre-Kindergarten (3-5 yrs)
  • Elementary School: Kindergarten and 1st to 5th Grade (5-11 yrs)
  • Middle School: 6th to 8th Grade (11-14 yrs)
  • High School: Freshman/9th Grade, Sophomore/10th Grade, Junior/11th Grade and Senior/12th Grade (14-18 yrs)

If you’re interested in discovering more, you may like to read our education in America page, which goes into deeper detail.

Moving costs to America

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

Above you can see the average moving costs to America by sea. You can either move your belongings via sea or air. The speed and convenience of air transport is quite costly meaning that the most common move is by shipping your belongings via sea cargo.

If you are interested, you can look at our international moving costs page for information on shipping from the UK.

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Tips on Moving

After you have taken care of what visa you need, there are a few things that you may need to consider before you move:

  • 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.
  • Social security number (SSN): If you are living or working in the USA you must have a social security number so apply for this in advance. If you need more information about this, you can take a look at the Social Security Administration website.
  • Bringing pets: Your pets must be vaccinated in order to enter America. 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. For more information, you can read the CDC website or take a look at our moving pets abroad blog for tips.
  • Transporting your car: 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 they don’t meet the fuel emission requirements for 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. You can take a look at our taxes in America page for more information. Also, make sure that you find a company that can transfer your money into American Dollars, otherwise it can end up being expensive doing it on your own.

What Next?

We hope that you have found this page informative and that you know a little more on moving to the US. Below you can find some other pages that you may be interested in: