Home & FamilyWhat Brits Need to Know Before Moving to the US

What Brits Need to Know Before Moving to the US

Each year roughly 25,000 Brits pick up sticks and move to the country with which we have such a love-hate relationship: the USA.

Whether it’s because they want some Floridian sunshine, New York work opportunities, or just particularly enjoy the decisions of the Trump administration, there are plenty of reasons why they might want to move to the US.
But what should they know before doing so?

moving to the USImage Source: Pixabay

Here are just a few things to keep in mind.


You Should Pack Plenty Home Comforts

When moving anywhere, but especially abroad, home comforts can be what really help you settle in during those first few weeks of disorientation and jetlag. And home comforts can mean anything from your favourite string of novelty fairy lights to those hard to find beauty essentials you can’t live without.

For the British, good black tea is probably an absolute must as well, along with some sweet treats for when you just need a taste of home.

However, there’s no way you can pack all of your necessities, like clothes and toiletries, as well as home comforts in just one suitcase. Plus, there are sometimes customs regulations in place regarding foodstuffs brought in on aeroplanes.

So, take the confusion out of moving all your worldly belongings (and five packets of Jaffa Cakes) and arrange an international removals company instead.

Definitely Sort Your Visa Well In Advance

As anyone who has or is trying to move to the USA will happily tell you (or not so happily tell you, as the case may be), the VISA process is no joke.

While we don’t want to give you any definite legal advice—that’s a recipe to get sued!—we will say that you want to think about visas early on to save any legal troubles down the line.

For more concrete info, the gov.uk website is probably your best bet.

And, while you’re at it, think yourself lucky that you’re privileged enough to choose to move to a country that is currently putting asylum seeking children and refugees in cages.

Don’t Forget About Health Insurance

If visa is number one on your ‘legalities’ list, then health insurance should be a close second, because moving to the US means waving bye-bye to the NHS.

While you may love to gripe about the NHS’s flaws (of which there are many), you’ll miss it once you’re shelling out hundreds of dollars a month for insurance that might not even cover all your healthcare needs.


You’ll Need to Get On Board With College Sports

Yes, college sports are very much a thing in the USA and while Brits may cringe at the thought of watching each and every tedious sports game their child plays (or, in the USA, other people’s children), in the US it’s unavoidable, especially in college towns.

Some interesting data from Transferwise noted that one in four Brits even like to adopt an American football team to call their own. So, slap on a Letterman jacket, shake those pompoms and ‘Go, Wildcats!’

And Forget About Personal Space

Brits are often stereotyped as loving their personal space. Any journey on the Tube—an underground masterclass in avoiding eye-contact, reading in silence and generally pretending you’re not surrounded by a bunch of possibly sweaty strangers—will tell you that.

However, the USA is very much the opposite.

Small talk is an Olympic sport; the weather is far from the only topic of acceptable conversation; physical contact is a given.

In short, make sure you practice the art of dodging an unwanted hug before you leave the UK and maybe invest in some good noise-cancelling headphones.

The Accent Will Stop Being a Novelty Eventually

Moving somewhere that speaks the same language, albeit with a vastly different accent can be exciting at first.
What do they pronounce differently?!

Will we get lost in translation?!

However, after a while you’ll lose that first rush of excitement and novelty over the accents in your area, and it’s likely your friends will lose interest in yours too (thank god).

However, people will never stop asking you if you’ve had tea with the queen.

Get Ready to Live to Work and Work to Live

This is borderline practical advice too, but you’ll want to ready yourself for the hardworking ‘American Dream’ culture. The USA is a country that lacks legislation on paid maternity leave and vacation days, after all.

So, if you plan on flying back across the pond for summer, you best put in your vacation day request ASAP and hope you don’t want more than a week…

Oh, and don’t get pregnant.

Two Words: Tipping Culture

The USA has a reputation thanks to their (in the eyes of us Brits) overzealous and vaguely ridiculous tipping culture. While rounding up the change is the closest we get to leaving tips in Britain, it’s expected that you’ll leave a 20% minimum in the USA…unless you want to look like a stingy arsehole, that is.

While that might seem excessive, just get used to it.

There’s no avoiding it without bringing poor service upon yourself, not to mention you might also find yourself a social pariah if you don’t tip a fifth(!) of the bill.

You Can Get More Bang For Your Buck With Property

Unless you’re planning on moving to some insanely expensive cities (hello, New York!) then you can probably take advantage of some great housing deals in the USA—those American sitcoms didn’t lie (too much) when they showed sprawling six-roomed houses as the ‘norm’!

And the benefit of this?

You probably don’t need to pare back all your possessions too much before moving, meaning you’ll save time on the packing process, especially if you used buzzmove’s international removals comparison site to find the perfect movers for you.

What are you waiting for? We’ll see you Stateside!


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