10 October 2017

Immigrate to America

Always wanted to immigrate to America? In this article, we explain what's going on when you're going to immigrate.

Immigrate to America

Perhaps you've been thinking about it for a long time, but you do not dare to cut the knot yet; immigrating to America! It is the country that offers a lot of things people may dream about, which is obviously called ‘The American Dream’. For the inhabitants of America, freedom and equality are of paramount importance. Really, everyone can be prosperous, regardless their background. We explain to you what you can expect if you want to immigrate and how you can finally make this move.

What do you need to be able to immigrate?

To be able to immigrate to America you must be in the possession of a Green Card. This allows you to stay permanently in the US. The Green Card gives the same rights, duties and benefits as US citizens, except for voting rights. Unfortunately, nowadays it is getting more difficult to get a Green Card because of the arrival of Donald Trump. Currently if you have a relative in America, you can qualify for a Green Card and obtain one quite easily, but now Trump has decided to stop this and introduce new terms.

Requirements for obtaining a Green Card

Now you may wonder what requirements you need to be able to get a Green Card. To have the most chance of obtaining a Green Card you need to be between the 26 and 30 years old, have to be able to speak fluent English, have followed a high level of education, have been offered a job in the United States and most preferably be in the possession of a ‘Nobel Prize’ or an Olympic medal for instance. By introducing this, Trump thinks he can improve the American economy. The Senate has not agreed upon his requirements yet. Another option of obtaining a visa is through the Green Card lottery. Some people win the lottery and find a chance of a lifetime to live and work permanently in the US.

Green Card lottery

Every year 50,000 Green Cards are drawn and participation in this lottery is free. To participate in this lottery, you have to submit your application online to the US Department of State Diversity Green Card Lottery. Please note that the application needs to be submitted correctly without any errors. The request can be rejected by a small mistake without any hesitation. You could also submit the application by a specialised company. Once someone has drawn a Green Card and immigrates to America, they will be charged. This includes consular costs and medical examination costs.


Are you in possession of a lot of money? Then you are lucky! America is fond of people with a lot of money to invest in the US economy. If you are in the possession of a lot of money, a residence permit (EB5 visa) is already at your fingertips. They are using the money for creating jobs and a requirement is that they at least take on 10 employees in any event. A minimum investment is $ 150,000 with which you can obtain an E1 or E2 visa and may be eligible for a residence permit, but no permanent status.


Another way to get a residence permit is to marry an American. By means of a K1 visa (also known as an engagement visa) you can go to America to get married. It is then a requirement that you organise a real marriage within three months. To rule out that it's not a fake marriage, the married couple should not get a divorce in the first three years. After these three years, you may be able to apply for a residence permit that can be converted into an American citizenship later on.

American employer

If you work for a US employer as a British citizen, you can also get a residence permit. However, only when you have worked in America for a number of years and you are in the possession of a L1 visa. Then you can claim a residence permit through a special process.

Make a move

Have you been able to get a Green Card? Then it's finally over and you can start to make the move! But how does it all work, you might ask yourself. What items do you need to bring and how do you get your stuff organised and shipped to the US? Most homes are furnished in America. First find out what you really need. Items you may want to ship should be moved to America by boat or plane. Fortunately, there are many international relocation companies that are specialised and can help you with this. It is important to compare these companies because prices are quite different.

Where do you want to live in America?

Now that you want to make a move, where would you like to live in America exactly? What is it that you are attracted of? Is there a specific type of climate, which you might prefer? Do you perhaps prefer big cities or the flat countryside? These are all things you need to keep in mind. We have listed a number of beautiful and diverse places for you:


The second largest state of America is California. In the north it is often rainy, but in the south it is generally quite hot. On the coast there is always a fresh breeze, where the major cities of San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles are located. California is famous for its beautiful mountain formations, excellent ski areas, nice beaches, lakes where you can do activities such as camping, and there are also deserts and densely forested areas. California is very diverse!


From one extreme to another we take you in this article to Alaska. It is especially cold here. Do you enjoy snowy mountain peaks, green landscapes, glaciers and outdoor activities? Then you definitely have to live here. In Alaska you can go skiing, fishing, kayaking, rafting, hiking, cycling and climbing. Alaska is the least populated state but at the same time it is also the largest state of America!


The city with unlimited possibilities and countless challenges, also known as the 'Windy City', is located in the state of Illinois. It is a real metro pole, which get numerous visits every year. Chicago has become an international hub for finance, commerce, transport, telecommunications and technology. Nightlife in Chicago is exciting, there is so much to do!


Miami is located in the state of Florida and it is famous for its beautiful beaches. This is due to the pleasant climate. It is also the port for Caribbean cruises and one of the most important seaports of North America. In Miami, you may encounter many Caribbean influences because it is a melting pot with a mix of Americans and a large number of Latin American residents. The people often speak more Spanish than English, so take that into account.

It is also called the New York from the south. This has to do with the many skyscrapers, busy roads and giant companies. Atlanta is a real world city with many great restaurants and nightlife. Atlanta is also the most important traffic, industry, trade and financial centre of south-eastern America.

Buy or rent a house in America

If you want to buy a house in America, it's important that you first visit a number of houses. Of course this is difficult from the United Kingdom. So, first check if you'd rather buy or rent a house. Once you have decided to buy a house, make sure you do not go to view too many houses on one day. Limit it to two or three viewings a day. Write down all the requirements that are important to you, which make your dream property also easier to find.

Working in AmericaIt may be that you work for an American employer and in that way you can move to America. Then you are already assured of a job. But how does it work if you would want to immigrate to America, and you have no job yet? It is important to be prepared financially in any case, as it may take a while before you find a job. First, make sure you have a good resume. It is not customary to add a passport photo in America. What they value are the references of your previous employers. Put your last job at the top of your resume. Please make sure that these references are available when you apply. Charity and volunteer work are always good on a resumee. Always make sure you dress properly before you go to a job interview. The best thing is to start searching for work at home. For example, you could send an open application to UK companies with a branch in America. 


In fact, you cannot speak of one of these enormous countries because America is a country with many immigrants, making it truly multicultural. Also, you cannot totally compare the culture of the people of New York to the culture of the people of Texas. However, there are a number of characteristics that match, and that is, in particular, that freedom and equality for every American is extremely important. In America it is considered that if you greet someone with enthusiasm, you can expect as much back. Often, you are welcomed with: ‘Hey, how are you?’. One person might think that is exaggerated, while the other person might really appreciate this. Americans are not only genuinely friendly but can also be very helpful.

American cuisine

If you think of American food, you'll soon think of fast food, and then in huge amounts. Of course, you can get that too. But the U.S. also has a very good American cuisine. Given that America is vastly large, it differs per region. For example, Indiana has the 'Breaded Pork tenderloins', Maryland 'Blue Crabs' and Missouri 'Toasted Ravioli’. What Americans also enjoy doing is to cook outside, on the BBQ.


You might be aware that healthcare in America is known as the most expensive care system in the world. Here back in the UK you have National Health Service. That is not the case in America. Since former President Obama has introduced the Affordable Care Act, all taxpayers must have their own health insurance. About 66% of all employees in America have their own private health insurance. Through an employer you often get a discount, or the employer takes over all costs. In total there are four different types of health insurance: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The costs are calculated based on your own health and income. For instance, health insurance is cheaper for someone who does not smoke than someone who does. There is also some kind of own risk and its costs depend on which package you choose. With Bronze (lowest package) you pay significantly more than with the Platinum (highest package), so be aware of that.


Once you start working in the US you will also have to pay income tax. This works similar to the tax brackets in the UK, meaning that the higher the income, the higher the level of tax percentage.

Included in the US income tax are:

  • Federal Income Tax
    Social security taxation
    Government tax
    Tax to provide health insurance (65+) for the elderly
    Tax for short-term income loss

In the US income tax are not included:

  • Pension contribution
    State pension

UK passport

Obviously, you must be in the possession of a valid passport to travel with. In case you need might need to renew it check the embassy for more information. 

Driving license

If you own a UK driver's license, you can drive the first three months while you stay in America. After three months, you must take a simple driving test to get an American driver's licence. Once you have moved to the US, law requires you to get a valid license with a current address within 90 days of relocation. 

Time difference

If you fly to America from the UK, time will go back. The amount of time in the US varies from location to location. You cannot hold one time zone for America, it is just too big for it. For this reason, America is divided into 6 different time zones, which vary between 5 and 10 hours difference compared to the UK. The different time zones are:
* Eastern time: 5 hours earlier
* Central time: 6 hours earlier
* Mountain time: 7 hours earlier
* Pacific time: 8 hours earlier
* Alaska time: 9 hours earlier
* Hawaii time: 10 hours earlier
Because you suddenly are in a different time zone, you can get jet lagged. Your biorhythm may get disturbed. To reduce the chance of being jet lagged it is important to drink a lot of water during your flight. Avoid alcohol and coffee. Customise your breakfast, lunch and dinner at the time of your destination.


You cannot assume that America's power grid is the same as that of the UK. There are four differences between using US and UK appliances: the voltage (US = 120V, UK = 240V), the number of watts the product draws (different for each product), the frequency (US = 60 Hz, UK = 50 Hz), and the plug on the power cord. So you see you cannot just take all your electrical appliances from the UK. In advance, find out what you want to bring and what you can use at 110 volts, in most cases you can find this in the user guide. Most devices will only work at 110 volts, and others should be switched to 110 volts by mean of a switch. For change of plugs, you can purchase special adapter connectors. One more advice: take an extension cord in your luggage while travelling with multiple contact points. You then only will need one plug socket and you do not have to search for multiple sockets.

Request ESTA

Have you not been to America before, and would you like to visit the places you may wish to live in? We advise you, before you decide whether to immigrate or not, to go on a holiday to the US. You will then need to request an ESTA, which allows you to travel in the US for up to 9o days. You can easily arrange this through the contact form on our website.