There are no restrictions transferring money from the UK to the USA. The US is one of the most popular countries for Brits to import from and emigrate to. The UK has the sixth largest population of US expats.
The UK and US visa systems can be complex. Most people moving to the either country to work, however, will be sponsored by a company which will handle the process. The UK visa system is based on points. When moving the UK, the most common type of work visa is a Tier 2, which covers, among other things, inter-company transfers, and people with new job offers. the latter is General visa, for which there is a quota, currently of 20,700 (unless the job pays over £150,000). The Tier 1 visa is aimed at a small number of 'high-value migrants' such as entrepreneurs and investors; entrepreneurs are required to have access to at least £50,000 in capital, while investors are required to have at least £1,000,000 of disposable funds. (Income and proceeds from such investments can be sent back to the US).
If you are planning on moving to the US to work and so are considering sending funds to finance this - you will need to obtain a valid visa. The most common visas are non-immigrant visas where you are either sponsored by your UK company (L class visas) or moving over to work for a US firm who is sponsoring you (H class visas). Students obtain F visas and there are also E class visas available for investment and entrepreneurial activities. You will need to have obtained your visa before you can start work in the US.
None of the major UK banks have a significant network in the US. There are some groups though that has a presence in the major cities or regions such as Santander, HSBC and Barclays and will be easy for you to switch from dollars to pounds banking. Having such your US account setup will also provide somewhere for any overseas transfers sending money from the UK to the US. In both the US and UK, residents and non-residents can hold both domestic and foreign currency accounts.
Obtaining a credit card in the US can be exceptionally difficult if you do not have a US credit rating which anyone moving to the US from the UK will not have. If your UK employer is sponsoring your move over to the US, it is possible that the employer can underwrite a small level credit card initially to allow you to obtain one. Once you start using the card and paying it off, you will be able to build up your own credit.
There exists a double tax treaty between the UK and the US but there is not a full overlap between all categories. The US tax regime is very complex, particularly for US citizens living and working overseas who must pay tax in the US on their foreign earnings, so engaging expert advice on this matter is essential. Intended to detect tax evasion, the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) that came into force in July 2014 requires that foreign banks, investment funds and insurers - or in some cases such as the UK, the national revenue agency - hand over to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) information about accounts with over US$50,000 held by Americans.
The US tax year is the calendar year and this is different to the UK tax year that is from April 6th to April 5th of the following year. Given the difference in tax years, the timing of your move can have an impact on your tax position. It is common in the US to pay income tax at city, state and Federal (national) levels which means it is possible that your tax rates in the US will be more than your marginal tax rate in the UK.
For American relocating to the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) is free (although some services such as dentistry are excluded). Hospital services are free to residents, but non-residents will be charged. Anyone planning to planning to live and work in the UK must register with a local general practitioner (doctor).
In the US healthcare is much more expensive, and there is no universal health system comparable to the NHS. The introduction of mandatory insurance - “Obamacare” - has made healthcare much more affordable and if you are moving to the US, your healthcare options are better than they used to be. If a US company employs you, this is still by far the most common and easiest way to obtain healthcare but Obamacare has provided you with individual options.
With its world class universities, the US has become a popular place for overseas study, particularly since the introduction of tuition fees in the UK has narrowed the cost differential. According to a 2014 study by the Brookings Institution, the were 13,034 British students at US universities between 2008-12, focusing on business, management and marketing. The UK is the 13th largest source of foreign students in the US. In total, the report estimates that students from the UK have spent US$308.3m in tuition and US$158.6m in living costs.
The US immigration is both strict and complex and we strongly advise that you seek the help of a US immigration firm to help you obtain the visa that you require. The exception is for student visas where the process is much simpler and the International Student Office at the University you are going to study at will be able to help you through the process. Once a prospective student is admitted to an accredited institution, the school becomes the sponsoring institution. The school will send an I-20 form with which the prospective student applies for a foreign student visa through the US Embassy or consulate in their home country. A visa is awarded once the US authorities have determined that they do not pose a terrorist, health or criminal risk. Upon her arrival into the US, immigration inspectors verify the paperwork. The sponsoring school is then responsible for confirming that the foreign student is attending classes and must update the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with any changes in enrollment status, course, or any disciplinary actions.
The US is the fifth largest source of imports to the UK and the UK is the US’s sixth largest export market, with some US$47.4bn worth of goods and services flowing eastwards. The UK and US have their own bilateral trade relations, but also work through the EU. When importing goods from non-EU countries such as the US, you will need to declare your imports to customs and pay VAT and duty on them. Some goods may require an import licence. Given the volume of trade between the two countries, there are many options available when financing imports, transferring money to the US, and organising shipping.
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