Guidance

Living in the USA

Official information British people moving to and living in the United States of America (USA) need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.

Before you go

See our travel advice for the USA for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.

Laws vary from state to state. When you are physically present in a state, even temporarily, you are subject to that state’s laws.

See moving or retiring abroad.

Visas and residency

See entry requirements for the USA in our travel advice.

See apply for a visa to enter the USA.

You can get a police certificate, if you’ve been asked to provide a copy of your police records as part of a visa application.

See Global Entry: apply for faster entry to the USA.

Healthcare

See our travel advice for the USA.

The USA and the UK do not have reciprocal healthcare agreements. You should buy comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you enter the country.

You should also make sure you’re covered by health insurance for UK treatment or you’ll be charged by the NHS for any care you receive in the UK .

The NHS has information for people moving abroad.

You should also check your prescriptions are legal in the USA. The US Department of Homeland Security has information about travelling with medication.

Working in the USA

You are only allowed to work in the US if you hold one of the following:

US employers may not recognise your UK qualifications. There are US companies that can work out the US equivalence of UK qualifications. You should contact individual state education authorities for further information.

Some jobs may require a criminal records check (known as a DBS check in the UK).

Tax

See tax if you leave the UK to live abroad and tax on your UK income if you live abroad.

We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in the USA.

You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

Pensions

See State Pension if you retire abroad and new State Pension.

Life certificates for UK state pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible – your payments may be suspended if you don’t.

Benefits

See claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad.

Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit can’t be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

Driving in the USA

See driving abroad and road travel in the USA.

See taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Voting

See voting when you’re abroad.

British citizens living abroad can vote in some UK elections – you’ll need to register as an overseas voter.

Births

See register a birth abroad.

Deaths

See what to do after someone dies and bereavement information for the USA.

Getting married

See getting married abroad.

Renewing passports

See overseas British passports applications and get an emergency travel document (sometimes called an emergency passport).

Pets

See travelling with pets.

Emergencies

The emergency telephone number in the US is 911.

See information about calling 911.

If you need consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.

Accommodation and buying property

See buying a property abroad.

Other useful information

See also:

Returning to the UK

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

See tax if you return to the UK.

See bringing your pet to the UK.

Disclaimer

Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the United States authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 18 November 2013
Last updated 1 June 2018 + show all updates
  1. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.
  2. Information on notarial services for the USA updated
  3. First published.