Tips for UK expats heading to the USA

Published:  27 Oct at 6 PM
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Whether you’re heading for the USA with a dream job in your pocket or simply planning to retire in the Florida sunshine, it’s best to find out what you’re letting yourself in for before you leave.

America is still a powerful draw for Britons fed up with their country of birth, and it’s certainly a great place to grow your career, but whilst getting there is easy, getting in can be tricky unless you have a job waiting or are being relocated. Applying for your visa is comparatively straightforward if you’re being sponsored by your employer in specific sectors such as medicine, law or engineering. It’s also possible to take temporary seasonal work in regions with a shortage of local labour.

Another alternative is a specific exchange visitor programme for those wanting to conduct research, teach or study. The world-famous Green Card is your passport to long-stay in the USA, available via employment or a job offer or, oddly, through the annual ‘Green Card Lottery’ which awards permanent residency to no less than 55,000 would-be migrants a year. The snag is that, each year, around 15 million hopefuls apply.

British retirees heading for Florida will still get their UK state pension, and it should be updated every year, hopefully covering price increases on basics. Foodstuffs are less expensive in general than in the UK, taxes are lower and, most importantly, if you choose your location carefully the weather is a great improvement on the UK’s semi-permanent grey skies and drizzle.

Travel across the huge country is cheap and fun on the long-distance Greyhound buses and, for those in a hurry, flights are inexpensive and go almost everywhere. Housing costs vary, dependent on your style, location and budget, but rental charges on average are cheaper than in the UK. If you’re planning on touring once you’ve arrived in order to get a feel of the land, motels from the basic to the semi-luxurious are everywhere.
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