Information and advice you will need for moving to the USA
The currency in the USA is the US dollar (USD). The US dollar can fluctuate against the British Pound so it is worth checking the exchange rate. US dollar banknotes come in denominations of 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1.
Opening a bank account in the USA is relatively easy. Being able to prove your banking history is key, so if your bank in the UK has a presence in the USA, it is advisable to open an account with them. Overall, choosing a bank with an international presence is recommended – opening an account will be easier and quicker. If you open a bank account in the US, you’ll need identification: a passport or driving licence, a US social security number and a utility bill. You may also need details of your salary. All major banks offer online banking.
High-speed broadband and WiFi access is widely available in the USA. The international dialling code for the USA is 00 1. To dial the UK from the USA, the code is 00 44.
The USA has nine time zones. The time difference between the UK and the following major American cities is as follows: New York (-5 hours), Los Angeles (-8 hours), Chicago (-6 hours), Houston (-6 hours), Philadelphia (-5 hours), Washington (-5 hours),Las Vegas (-8 hours), Miami (-5 hours) and Honolulu (-10 hours).
The USA is a huge country with a wide range of climate zones. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it is advisable to do some research into the climate of the state to which you’ll be moving and be aware of and prepared for any extreme weather that you may encounter.
Vehicles are driven on the right in the USA. Depending on the state in which you live, you can use your UK driving licence for a certain period before you have to apply for a US licence. Doing so is straightforward – you will need a social security number, proof of identity (i.e. your passport) and proof of residence in your state and the USA, and you will need to pass written, practical and vision tests. Drinking and driving limits vary by state in the USA, with many imposing stricter limits than the UK.
Healthcare in the USA is provided by private clinics and hospitals. It is highly recommended that expats have private medical insurance. Insurance is generally expensive but is often provided by employers. If you do not have insurance, you run the risk of enormous bills or of not receiving any treatment at all.
International schools are a popular choice for expats and every state has a choice of a number of these institutions. Overall, the private sector offers a world-leading level of education. Public education is free but standards vary.
The emergency number to call in the USA for police, fire and ambulance services is 911.