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Moving to America from the UK is a huge leap. You will need to focus your energy on what you will do once you have moved to America so you’ll want the removal to be simple and straightforward.
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Party in the USA!
There’s no doubt that moving to the USA from the UK is a big move, but things can become a whole lot simpler when you have an expert international removals company to help you. At Compare My Move, we are partnered with a range of reputable removals firms and can help you save as much as 70% on the usual cost of shipping to the USA.
Sending belongings by sea is the most common option for people relocating to the USA. If you choose this option, you will normally be able to decide between a shared or dedicated container for your goods. Those moving the contents of an average 2-3 bedroom home will normally need a 20ft shipping container, though if your current home is larger than this you may be best served by a 40ft container.
If you are not planning a full house move, the most suitable option may be air freight as long as it is available. Costs for air freight to the USA are usually determined by weight, so sea freight may well be your cheaper option. However, if you do have the money and can access air freight shipping to the USA services, the convenience and swiftness may make them the most preferable option.
There are various factors involved in determining moving to the USA costs.
A 20ft container will normally cost between £1,700 - £1,850, with a 40ft container being available for around £3,140 - £3,500.
To give an example of air freights costs, you will normally need to pay around £2 per kilo to send your goods from London to New York. As a result of this, a typical 4-bedroom house loads can cost somewhere in the region of £4000 - £7000.
If you opt for sea freight shipping, you could be reunited with your goods in as little as 2 weeks. A dedicated container headed for the East Coast will take around a fortnight, and four weeks if destined for the West Coast. A shared container load to the East Coast takes around 11 weeks on average, whilst it can take around 14 weeks if it is bound for the West Coast.
Shipping goods to the USA is a more straightforward process than you might think as long as you are prepared for the move.
All the goods you are transporting need to go through USA customs. You will need to create a customs invoice for the shipment. The invoice will tell you how much you have to pay in tax and duties, so take time on drawing up this document. Descriptions need to be as accurate as possible. Any shipment over $2,500 will need to go through a formal clearance process.
Some items cannot be taken into the USA at all, whilst others will require an import licence. Items that you cannot ship with a courier include aerosols, dairy products, furs, fresh food, ivory, cash, animals, plants and tobacco. Please note this is not a comprehensive list.
You will also need to complete a Federal Communications Commission form if you wish to import electronics into the USA. Electronic items will need to comply with the FCC standards. Make sure this form is attached with the customs invoice.
You may be able to send non-perishable foods if they are in their original packaging. Any clothing you send must have been personally worn for a minimum of six months. Most garments worth below $200 should be exempt from duties.
It’s always wise to read up on USA customs regulations well in advance of your move. Remember to complete the CF6059B Customs Form and a CF3299 Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles. All containers will be examined by customs officials.
When packing your goods, you need to make sure everything is packed as securely and safely as you can. Here are some points to consider.
Many people decide to start packing early. This is because the process often takes longer than expected. It’s helpful to use several small boxes rather than a small number of large ones to make the transportation process simpler. Consider starting at the top of your home before working your way downwards to the bottom floor.
All boxes should be labelled with information about the contents inside them and which room they are destined for. Make sure you write the word ‘fragile’ on any boxes with easily-breakable and valuable items. You'll won't regret labelling your boxes when you rediscover them after weeks of transit.
Make sure you keep all your important paperwork together. Anything and everything you need for customs and visas need to be kept with you, to save much hassle at the border.
When you enlist the services of professional movers with years of experience to draw upon, you can avoid much of the stress that comes with relocating. It's worth doing right, and professional movers can help prevent damage and avoid unforeseen costs. Plus, remember that air freight must be professionally packed by law.
There are many things you need to be aware of when it comes to importing your car to the USA, so let's look at the basics.
You need to make sure your car is eligible for importation and whether you will need to modify it. There are strict regulations on importing cars that don’t comply with the country’s safety and emissions standards. Cars older than 25 years old are generally exempt from these restrictions.
You need to ensure your car is thoroughly cleaned before it enters the country. If it doesn’t meet cleanliness standards, you may be met with delays and costs. The main reason for this is that dirty cars can harbour unwanted pests.
US customs will require basic documentation including your Bill of Lading, your passport and visa, your V5 licence document and the NHTSA form HS-7. You will also need to pay import duty, which is based on the vehicle’s value as well as various other factors such as your status and the type of vehicle you are importing.
Moving pets to the USA is generally a straightforward process, here we cover the basics.
If you are importing a cat or dog into the USA and they have been resident in the UK for at least six months before departure, they will not normally need to be quarantined.
USA pet import entry requirements can vary depending on the state you are travelling to. Some dogs will need to be vaccinated against rabies 30 days before you leave. It’s a wise move to get in touch with the state veterinarian or the state’s Department of Agriculture for advice before you travel.
Most airlines will need a pet health certificate issued by your vet within 7 days of your departure. Animals will need to be shipped in a container that meets IATA specifications. Dogs need to be at least 30 days old when you board your plane.
Read our ultimate guide to moving with pets if you have any further questions about moving dogs to the USA.
Here's the basics of getting residency in the USA.
Green cards are residence permits that enable you to live and work in the USA on a permanent basis. To obtain a green card, you can ask your employer to make a petition or be married to a US citizen. You can also get sponsorship by a close relative who is also a legal permanent resident or a US citizen or gain a permit via the Department of State’s diversity lottery programme.
The procedures and costs related to obtaining a green card or USA residence permit can vary substantially and can depend on various factors such as your country of birth and the kind of application being made. Applications can take between six months and several years to be processed. Most people will need someone else to file their petition for them.
The lottery scheme gives 55,000 non-US nationals permanent residence each year, though the competition is fierce, with around 15 million people applying for it per year on occasion.
If you are granted a 10-year green card you will normally need to renew it within 6 months of its expiry date. Conditional permanent residents receive 2-year green cards and need to successfully apply to remove the conditions to remain in the country before they run out.
There are many different types of USA visas available, here's a brief run-down of what to expect.
Though making a successful USA visa application so you can work in the country isn’t always simple, your chances of getting one are higher when you have a job to go to or if an existing job is being relocated to the USA.
Types of USA visa UK commonly applied for include the H1-B non-immigrant visa, which is designed for skilled people working in engineering, medicine, law or maths for an employer that is sponsoring them.
The Temporary Non-Agricultural H-2B visa is designed for seasonal workers filling positions that cannot be taken up by local residents due to shortages of suitable people available.
Those wishing to teach, work, study or research in the USA may wish to apply for the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program. Those wishing to retire to the US can still get their UK state pension.
For a full run-down of Visa options in the USA and elsewhere, read our ultimate guide to Visas and residency.
There's a range of extra administrative tasks involved in moving to the USA which may not be at the front of your mind when planning your move. These are tasks for setting up your new life and tying up loose ends in the UK. Luckily, we've covered the basics here.
Anti-money laundering policies make opening a bank account in the USA challenging but not impossible. It can be much easier to open one in person rather than online so you can deal with any problems on a face-to-face basis.
It will vary depending on which state you are moving to but you will generally need ID including your passport, driving licence or identity card, social security number, proof of address and immigration documents. If you have moved from the EU, you should generally find the process much more straightforward. Deposits usually need to be made so your account can be activated.
Some banks with a large UK presence also operate in the US, so it could make sense to bank with one of these. They may even be able to set up your new account before you move. You may find that the bank you use in the UK has a close relationship with a US bank and can therefore help you get your account set up quickly. There are actually thousands of banks operating in the US, so it could be wise to invest time in researching your options before getting a USA bank account.
The Royal Mail should be able to help you with mail forwarding to the USA. The fee for this service is normally modest and you can continue to have your post redirected to your new address for up to a year.
Make sure you inform HMRC that you are exiting the UK, and tell your utilities providers the same.
There are many different electricity providers to choose from. If your home already has electricity, setting up a new account should be easy, though you may need to wait longer during peak times. This is why you should get in touch with them well in advance of your move so you’re not left without power after relocating.
Setting up water should be relatively easy, though this can depend on where you are moving to. In some rural areas, water is obtained from wells. If this is not the case, you may have to pay a deposit to your provider, but you will usually get this back after a year of paying your bills on time.
You will need to pay income tax to your local state and the Federal Government, and will need to file your own tax return as a permanent resident.