Guidance

Living in the USA

A general guide for British nationals living in the United States.

Overview

This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing in the USA including advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more. It should also be read in conjunction with our comprehensive Travel Advice for the USA.

We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below, as Federal and State authorities provide comprehensive information on these issues on their own websites. See supporting British nationals in the USA for further information on what our consulates can and can’t do for you.

Travelling and living in the USA

In addition to our Travel Advice for the USA, you should also read our supporting guides on foreign travel advice for people with mental health issues, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, and gap year travellers.

Entry and Residence Requirements

Please refer to the Entry Requirements and Local Laws and customs section of our Travel Advice for the USA.

Health and medication

The USA and UK do not have Reciprocal Agreements for health care. When travelling to the USA it is essential to obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before your arrival in country. Refer to our Travel Advice for the USA for further information.

Guidance on Bringing Medication into the USA

Please refer to the Entry Requirements and Local Laws and customs section of our Travel Advice for the USA.

Driving

The Safety and Security section of our Travel Advice contains information on driving in the USA if you are a short term visitor and plan to drive during your stay. Please also read our advice on driving abroad.

Education

The US Department of Education provides an overview of the education system in the United States. There are also a number of companies in the US who provide a service that work out the US equivalence of UK qualifications such as Educational Credential Evaluators. You should contact individual State Education authorities for further guidance.

Employment and recognised qualifications

You are only permitted to work in the US if you hold a green card, employment authorisation, or visa that permits employment. There is no direct link to the education qualifications obtained in the UK and the US. Further information on employment based immigrant visas available from the US Department of State website.

Guidance for buying property abroad

Our guidance on buying a property abroad offers helpful tips on purchasing a property overseas.

Benefits

Read our comprehensive information on benefits abroad, child benefit if you leave the UK and child maintenance payments if one parent lives abroad.

Retiring abroad

Please refer to our guidance on retiring abroad, benefits if you retire abroad, and the state pension if you retire abroad.

Voting

See our guidance on voting when you’re abroad

Notarial and documentary services

See our Notarial and documentary services guide for the USA for guidance on obtaining notarial and documentary services from our Embassy or Consulates General in the USA, but note where local notaries can provide services, we don’t not offer them.

Police Clearances

If you have been asked to provide a “police certificate” for US immigration purposes you will need to contact the Association of Chief Police Officers for guidance.

This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British Embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.
Published 18 November 2013
Last updated 29 March 2015 + show all updates
  1. Information on notarial services for the USA updated
  2. First published.