America – Land of the brave. And what’s braver than upping sticks and moving thousands of miles away to start a new life in a new country! Thousands of Brits choose to move across the pond to America every year. Whether you’re moving for work, to experience the culture, the warmer climates in popular states like Florida or California, immigrating to the USA is a lot different and more challenging than moving to many other parts of the world.
You will to plan, plan, plan! Make sure you do your research before you go and don’t take short cuts as there are rules and procedures you need to follow. To make your move as smooth as possibly we have outlined some of the key things you need to consider.
One of the most important pieces of official documentation you need is a visa. You need to be sponsored by a USA citizen or employer and you need to fill in a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will also need a social security number, much like the national insurance numbers we have here in the UK. You will need the social security number to open a bank account, apply for your US driver’s license, set up your utility accounts and to enroll with schools, colleges etc. To get a social security number you will need your original birth certificate, passport, visa and marriage license if applicable. One of the first things you need to do when you arrive in the USA is to make an appointment with your local social security office.
Unlike in the UK, there is no National Health Service in America. This means you need to make sure you have the right medical cover before you go as you may be refused entry if you don’t have private health insurance. If you’re moving to America for work then you should be able to arrange health insurance through your employer. If you have children then there are certain immunisations they will need to have had to be able to join a school.
Shipping your items from the UK to West coast America for example can take up to 3 months so plan ahead and don’t pack items that you don’t want to live without for this length of time.
There are a number of rules and restrictions as to what you can and can’t take with you when moving to America. Personal and household items that you have owned for a year and are for personal use only, i.e. not for resale, can be imported tax and duty free. You will need to fill out various customs’ forms it is important to have a detailed inventory of your items before you reach customs as there are some really intricate regulations that may result in your items being confiscated or cause shipping delays. Your inventory list is usually made by your packing crew on the day of removal if you have opted for a professional moving service.
There are also a number of items that are banned in America or may only be imported under license such as meat and poultry products, merchandise from embargoed countries, some seeds, fruits and plants etc. Find out beforehand if any of your items will not be allowed into the country as they will be confiscated at customs. Check online for you destination country FIDI regulations.
A lot of your electrical items will not work in America. This is because they have a different voltage system than in the UK – 110 volts to our 240. This means that items such as TV’s and DVD players won’t be compatible so there’s no point wasting time and money shipping them over so you may need to sell or store them.
There are also fairly strict rules on bringing your car into America. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) state that, to be allowed into the country a vehicle must comply with US safety, fuel savings and emission control standards. Unless your car has been built for export or sale in the US is unlikely it will conform to US standards. You can check if your car has a certification label put on by the original manufacturer near the driver’s side door. Again you should check well before you plan to move and contact the DOT for guidance.
Although an international move can be stressful don’t let it overshadow the reasons you’re moving in the first place. Moving should be an adventure and Atlantic International Shipping can help make your move as painless as possible so contact us today for more information about moving to the land of opportunity!