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ravedave

Living In Usa

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Hi,

Just wondering if many people here had lived and worked in USA. If so could they let me know how they got on and what was the experience like? I'm considering moving there as I can't see myself having a great future here at the minute.

Thanks.

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Your biggest problem will probably be getting in. I am engaged to an American and we're currently weighing up the pros and cons of me going there versus her coming here. Work-based immigration visas are extremely hard to get: basically, both you and your prospective employer have to prove to the authorities' satisfaction that there is no suitably qualified US citizen available to do the job they're offering you. Even if you are married to a US citizen, that does not guarantee you a visa, and if you get one your spouse has to guarantee that you will not be a burden on their social services. If your spouse is not in a financial position to make such a guarantee, there is little chance of you getting the visa. Furthermore, if you do get a visa and settle there it has to be renewed every three years (and again, that process is more than just a formality - they can and do kick people out if circumstances have changed). It takes at least a decade before you are eligible to apply for citizenship, and if you do so you are required to relinquish the citizenship of the country you emigrated from.

If you do all that and get in, employment conditions, taxation and the general standard and cost of living vary enormously from state to state. The only two I know anything significant about are California (where my fiancee's family are from and where I have done some consultancy and advising work in the past), and Alaska (where she currently lives and works). CA has the reputation of being one of the most expensive states there is: overall taxation is not much lower than it is here, and being an 'at will' state, job security is virtually non-existent. The standard of living in AK is pretty good and the cost surprisingly reasonable (though relatively low taxation is to some extent offset by high food and other commodity prices, as virtually everything has to be flown or shipped in) if you don't mind the cold and are able to find a skilled job, which is easier said than done. I would summarise the main differences from Britain as follows:

  • Virtually no welfare state
  • Virtually no public transport, even in most cities - basically, you drive everywhere
  • Related to which, routine travelling distances tend to be greater. A casual pop out to the shops can easily involve a ten-mile drive each way.
  • Very much an emphasis on self-sufficiency and the work ethic. 50-hour work weeks are considered normal, and 60-70 hour weeks not unusual. 10 days' annual leave a year is about the average for large employers.
  • There's no PAYE - everyone is paid gross and completes a tax return every year.
  • Much more political engagement by Joe Public: council elections tend to get 70-80% turnout and even things like school board elections and the election of police officials are hotly debated.
  • Contrary to the image portrayed by Hollywood, I don't think violent crime is any worse overall than it is here. Cities have dodgy areas you don't want to go near, just as they do in cities anywhere in the world.
  • I get the impression that a much higher proportion of middle-class Americans are regular churchgoers than is the case here.
  • Unlike in Britain, television news is politically polarised and partisan, e.g. CNN (generally regarded as left-of-centre) and Fox (right). Basically, TV plays the role that national newspapers do here. Local and regional newspapers are more the norm in the US, two of which (the NY Times and the LA Times) are also sold nationwide. Most city-specific papers contain a combination of local news produced locally and national and international stuff bought in from press agencies.

There are probably others I'm forgetting!

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Furthermore, if you do get a visa and settle there it has to be renewed every three years (and again, that process is more than just a formality - they can and do kick people out if circumstances have changed). It takes at least a decade before you are eligible to apply for citizenship, and if you do so you are required to relinquish the citizenship of the country you emigrated from.

An IR1 (immediate relative)visa will last for ten years. Providing you've been married for over two years beforehand, this is the better visa to apply for. The alternative is the CR1 (conditional resident) which lasts only two years I believe.

Dual citizenship is recognised in the USA. Einstein kept his Swiss nationality btw.

You need to have lived there continuously for five years to apply for citizenship.

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One thing that still doesn't sit right with me is how fleeting and disposable everything is. The houses are basically made of chip board and plastic, There is little sense of longevity or quality. As long as something does the job right now, and looks good, it's good enough. The 'git r done' mentality. If something is not working out you just dump it and move on to to the next thing. In some ways it's good though because things happen very fast.

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The Ayatollah Buggeri

Agree with most of what you say - however a few things are incorrect IMO.

Dual Citizenship is allowed unless I am mistaken. France if s one place I have heard that does not allow this ?

Welfare state ? US has a huge welfare state.

Public transport ? In big cities it is usually superb - much better than the UK IMO. For everywhere else I would agree though.

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The Ayatollah Buggeri

Agree with most of what you say - however a few things are incorrect IMO.

Dual Citizenship is allowed unless I am mistaken. France if s one place I have heard that does not allow this ?

Welfare state ? US has a huge welfare state.

Public transport ? In big cities it is usually superb - much better than the UK IMO. For everywhere else I would agree though.

Unless things have changed fairly recently, officially it's not allowed. However, from what I gather plenty of people do retain their other nationality and a blind eye is turned.

My sister took out US citizenship after her (American) husband died - largely because she'd have been clobbered for tax otherwise and she had a young child to support. At the ceremony the official actually said on the quiet that he knew some of them would be hanging on to their old passports. To/from the US she always travels on the US one, though. She's also taken out a UK passport for her daughter, who was born in the US.

But unless you officially renounce your UK citizenship (I suppose you can) then AFAIK you still retain it. So giving up your passport would mean nothing - you can always get another.

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Unless things have changed fairly recently, officially it's not allowed. However, from what I gather plenty of people do retain their other nationality and a blind eye is turned.

My sister took out US citizenship after her (American) husband died - largely because she'd have been clobbered for tax otherwise and she had a young child to support. At the ceremony the official actually said on the quiet that he knew some of them would be hanging on to their old passports. To/from the US she always travels on the US one, though. She's also taken out a UK passport for her daughter, who was born in the US.

But unless you officially renounce your UK citizenship (I suppose you can) then AFAIK you still retain it. So giving up your passport would mean nothing - you can always get another.

Ah cheers for the info. As often is the case - the answer is somewhere in the middle.

Anyway to the OP - if you get ge a Visa than why not try it. Huge country with so much to do. The options for living/work are massive.

Rockie Mountain ski resort.

Alaskan wilderness.

North West laid back.

Mentalness of LA

Bustle of New York

Deep South

Florida

Chicago on the Lake

Hawaii beach life.

All the above available in one country. The Yanks can be cocks - but the choice of what to do in their country is immense.

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The key matter with dual citizenship is that other countries don't recognise the relinquishing in America. So even if you do as you're instructed in the USA to renounce UK citizenship, and the USA believes you have, the UK just doesn't recognise this. And these days the US is aware of the situation and doesn't bother pursuing the subject anymore.

Therefore it makes no difference if you renounce in the USA or not.

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The US is so vast that it is different. NY and Boston are very different to California.

I would say if you are young enough and healthy enough then go and give it a go for a few years. Two relatives of mine went in their early 20s and now, 30 years later, both have superb careers and wonderful lifestyles.

The big problem is the lack of health-care in the US - getting ill can bankrupt and you can end up on the streets with no health-care and no one caring.

One million people in LA alone relied on food parcels last year. These are people living within 10 or 15 miles of some of the richest people and most expensive real estate on the planet.

You live 'more' in California - meaning the warmth and sunshine means you can get up at 5, go and do exercise, ect, and still have plenty of time before you go to work... but then for many, say in Silicon Valley, house prices are so high that you have long commutes. San Francisco is a lovely city but it has changed much in the past 20 years as many of the arty types have been driven out and replaced by super-rich but very dull geeks.

San Francisco has the BART - Bay Area Rapid Transport which is very good. A city like Houston - one of the fattest cities on Earth - has few pavements let alone public transport. Texas is booming at the moment economically.

I have friends who live in the San Fran / Mountainview area and their lives seem to be ones of skiing, para-gliding, yachting, etc, of the weekend - expensive to buy a hosue though. San Diego is a great place for those who enjoy sea activities.

LA is a fecked up place - lol. I am amazed that the masses do not simply decide to go and take over the rich parts. I know several writers who refuse to live there as they say the smog cloud above LA is actually the 'stupid cloud' created by all the stupid things that come out of LA. It is bizarre at to the North of LA you have the Beverley Hills, Santa Monica and Malibu which is where loads of film indsutry and super-rich live, then you have the middle of LA which is basically ghetto land, and then you move South towards the South of the city and Orange County and you are back to film industry people, super rich again.

Orange County is where the 'great white exodus' then the 'great middle class' exodus of people out of LA went to. Check out Seal beach to Huntingdon Beach to Newport Beach. I think close to a million Brits live and work in the LA area.

If I won the lotto I could see myself buying a house in Santa Monic or even Malibu and having a chilled life... whilst worrying about the masses coming and getting the rich one day.

You can't give up British citizenship because you are a subject and not a citizen. It is actually very hard to be listed as a non-tax paying non-domicile let alone to give up British citizenship. I think if you could get dual nationality then that would be a winner - lots of actors get dual nationality but others like Anthony Hopkins have given up the British one apparently.

If it was not for the health cost risks I would go back to the US tomorrow - some of those most cities in places like Colorado, Washington State, Oregon are places which might sound dull but people simply have good lives - life in those places is for living and not angsting over what is happeing in the rest of the world like what the BBC and Sky depress us with.

Rancho Mirage is an interesting place in California.

You will miss the greeness of the UK. You will become fed up with the blandness of some people. You will miss British humour and you will miss the British balanced view of the World - i.e. us Brits can understand how the Bin Ladens of the World came about. Try having that conversation in some parts of the US.

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I was fortunate enough to live in the USA between late 96 and late 2002. Mostly stayed in San Francisco but travelled around a lot too, so saw quite a bit.

Was there for some pretty exciting times : dot.com boom and bust, Clinton impeachment, Bush vs Gore election fiasco, September 11th, Enron/Worldcom/Arthur Andersen demise, Alan Greenspan telling everyone to MEW etc. etc.

My take on it is this: if you're from a developing nation you'll love it. However, if like me you're from a 'developed' country with a great cultural history and heritage like the UK with an excellent arts/entertainment scene, easy travel to Europe to see places like Venice, Berlin, Paris etc. then you'll only be able to stand living in the US for about 2 years, after which you'll get very bored indeed.

Also, the people and way of life there are a lot different culturally from the people in the UK/Europe. Think of it as the difference between Cricket and Baseball or Rugby and American Football. An example of this: my wife is currently over there now on a work assignment in California - she was speaking to a friendly hotel receptionist and said thanks to her and remarked how friendly and helpful she (the receptionist) had been - the receptionist said 'Thank you so much - it's a blessing from God! I thank God every day for making me like this - many people have remarked on how helpful and happy I am and it's all down to God!". Needless to say, my wife was quite taken a back by this and didn't know what to say in reply! However, this is what virtually half the people in the USA are like, so you're going to have to respect that and live with it if you decide to live over there.

For me, overall I'm very happy I lived there for a while - made some great friends and learnt a lot about business (probably almost as much as I've learnt on this site :P) and American Politics/Political History, which I find fascinating.

Looking back, yes I'm glad I was over there (though 6 years probably too much - I missed the UK and the way of life here a great deal (pubs,city scene/country living, places like Bath/Oxford/Highlands, our sports).

Would I do it again? Absolutely not! Life's too short to waste any more of my life in places I don't want to be.

I'd compare the difference betweenlife in the USA to life in the UK as follows: Simon Cowell & X Factor (life in the USA) to David Attenborough's Life on Earth (life in the UK).

Sherwick

P.s. actually was in the USA last week for 10 days - it reconfirmed my view that I was very right to come back to the UK :)

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The US is so vast that it is different. NY and Boston are very different to California.

I would say if you are young enough and healthy enough then go and give it a go for a few years. Two relatives of mine went in their early 20s and now, 30 years later, both have superb careers and wonderful lifestyles.

The big problem is the lack of health-care in the US - getting ill can bankrupt and you can end up on the streets with no health-care and no one caring.

One million people in LA alone relied on food parcels last year. These are people living within 10 or 15 miles of some of the richest people and most expensive real estate on the planet.

You live 'more' in California - meaning the warmth and sunshine means you can get up at 5, go and do exercise, ect, and still have plenty of time before you go to work... but then for many, say in Silicon Valley, house prices are so high that you have long commutes. San Francisco is a lovely city but it has changed much in the past 20 years as many of the arty types have been driven out and replaced by super-rich but very dull geeks.

San Francisco has the BART - Bay Area Rapid Transport which is very good. A city like Houston - one of the fattest cities on Earth - has few pavements let alone public transport. Texas is booming at the moment economically.

I have friends who live in the San Fran / Mountainview area and their lives seem to be ones of skiing, para-gliding, yachting, etc, of the weekend - expensive to buy a hosue though. San Diego is a great place for those who enjoy sea activities.

LA is a fecked up place - lol. I am amazed that the masses do not simply decide to go and take over the rich parts. I know several writers who refuse to live there as they say the smog cloud above LA is actually the 'stupid cloud' created by all the stupid things that come out of LA. It is bizarre at to the North of LA you have the Beverley Hills, Santa Monica and Malibu which is where loads of film indsutry and super-rich live, then you have the middle of LA which is basically ghetto land, and then you move South towards the South of the city and Orange County and you are back to film industry people, super rich again.

Orange County is where the 'great white exodus' then the 'great middle class' exodus of people out of LA went to. Check out Seal beach to Huntingdon Beach to Newport Beach. I think close to a million Brits live and work in the LA area.

If I won the lotto I could see myself buying a house in Santa Monic or even Malibu and having a chilled life... whilst worrying about the masses coming and getting the rich one day.

You can't give up British citizenship because you are a subject and not a citizen. It is actually very hard to be listed as a non-tax paying non-domicile let alone to give up British citizenship. I think if you could get dual nationality then that would be a winner - lots of actors get dual nationality but others like Anthony Hopkins have given up the British one apparently.

If it was not for the health cost risks I would go back to the US tomorrow - some of those most cities in places like Colorado, Washington State, Oregon are places which might sound dull but people simply have good lives - life in those places is for living and not angsting over what is happeing in the rest of the world like what the BBC and Sky depress us with.

Rancho Mirage is an interesting place in California.

You will miss the greeness of the UK. You will become fed up with the blandness of some people. You will miss British humour and you will miss the British balanced view of the World - i.e. us Brits can understand how the Bin Ladens of the World came about. Try having that conversation in some parts of the US.

Great post. The only things I'd say is that having used BART a lot in and around San Francisco, I'd say it's absolutely feeble and pathetic (but probably one of the best in the USA). For example, it's almost impossible to get from San Ramon to San Francisco, or indeed many parts of San Jose to San Francisco (trains only once per hour off peak) - these aren't long journeys - these are connections in the Bay Area!

Yes I did that 'skiing, para-gliding, yachting, etc, over the weekend' quite a bit too, which was fantastic... for a while.

But I really missed exploring history/historic sites and cultural heritage, which we of course have over here in spades.

Brits can understand how the Bin Ladens of the World came about. Try having that conversation in some parts of the US.
You would NOT have that conversation in over half the USA... unless you want to be called a terrorist/communist etc.

Finally, politically I'd compare the Tories here to the Democrats in the USA (there is no equivalent to the Labour Party), whilst the Republicans are some far right loony right wing nut party in much of the USA (and I'm a slight right winger in the UK, but the right wingers over there are quite frankly 'barking' IMHO - a major reason why I will never live there again).

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Hi,

Just wondering if many people here had lived and worked in USA. If so could they let me know how they got on and what was the experience like? I'm considering moving there as I can't see myself having a great future here at the minute.

Thanks.

Since no-one else has mentioned it, why not try Canada instead, far more civilised country with nicer people and a health care system. If you get citizenship you can easily work in the US afterward anyway.

We lived in Santa Barbara California for a year (on sabbatical from my Uni). The family loved it from the point of view of the environment and my kids loved the school. But it was essentially impossible for anyone at the university to buy a house in the area (millionaires playground).

even weireder (as sherwick says) is their attitude to religion. I shared an office with a Mormon studying for a degree in physics- he saw no irony in this. Moreover as he had exeprience of korean culture (he spent his missionary period over there), hardly a week went past without some korean or other being hauled into our office to be given the hard sell on the phoniest religion of the lot (okay i admit it is difficult to pick this one). I didn't want to rock the boat by debating this as i had already been warned that it wasn;t the done thing to criticise some ones faith in the US.

Since then most of my collaboration on the science front has been with an old colleagure who emigrated to Toronto years ago. He is a more strident atheist than Dawkins and quite happily sounds off about it in the senior common room with no apparent comeback. In fact i am always impressed with the place whenever i visit and it is top of my list of places to go if it comes to that.

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Thanks for the replies everyone. The responses are very informative and I appreciate them.

I work for a US corporation and every now and then chances to apply for jobs in the US come along - Minnesota, Vermont and California mainly. I've been there on holiday and loved the place. Commutes would appear to be a hassle. Currently, it is a 10 minute cycle for me. I get the feeling that USA would be 1hr+ in traffic!

I live in Belfast and the one main issue I have about the place is how clannish and insular the people are. It is quite difficult to make friends in this place and the social activities are not as plentiful as most other places. Stand out at your own peril here.

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even weireder (as sherwick says) is their attitude to religion. I shared an office with a Mormon studying for a degree in physics- he saw no irony in this. Moreover as he had exeprience of korean culture (he spent his missionary period over there), hardly a week went past without some korean or other being hauled into our office to be given the hard sell on the phoniest religion of the lot (okay i admit it is difficult to pick this one). I didn't want to rock the boat by debating this as i had already been warned that it wasn;t the done thing to criticise some ones faith in the US.

LOL I feel your pain!

As I said, over 50% of the US is like this. If you don't like it/don't understand it/don't respect this then don't bother going IMHO*

* disclaimer: Me and my family are actually all Christians, but of the 'very mild' UK/European type. I certainly don't want it or any other religion shoved down my throat... another great & priceless advantage of living in Northern Europe IMHO.

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Thanks for the replies everyone. The responses are very informative and I appreciate them.

I work for a US corporation and every now and then chances to apply for jobs in the US come along - Minnesota, Vermont and California mainly. I've been there on holiday and loved the place. Commutes would appear to be a hassle. Currently, it is a 10 minute cycle for me. I get the feeling that USA would be 1hr+ in traffic!

I live in Belfast and the one main issue I have about the place is how clannish and insular the people are. It is quite difficult to make friends in this place and the social activities are not as plentiful as most other places. Stand out at your own peril here.

Definitely try it out for a year or two if you ever get the chance! There's nothing quite like driving down the Californian coast in a convertible listening to Tom Petty/Lynyrd Skynyrd/Pink Floyd as the sun sets on the Pacific Ocean! The commute depends on where you live - if in California going in/out of any major town then yes, an hour (everyone drives automatics there so hope you don't get mad by things like progressive braking in heavy traffic :unsure:).

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My take on it is this: if you're from a developing nation you'll love it. However, if like me you're from a 'developed' country with a great cultural history and heritage like the UK with an excellent arts/entertainment scene, easy travel to Europe to see places like Venice, Berlin, Paris etc. then you'll only be able to stand living in the US for about 2 years, after which you'll get very bored indeed.

Also, the people and way of life there are a lot different culturally from the people in the UK/Europe. Think of it as the difference between Cricket and Baseball or Rugby and American Football.

Yep.

Living in the US makes many Brits realise they are Europeans. We think we have more in common with the US but truth is we have more in common with the Europeans.

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I don't get this American chastity thing either?? how do you know that the person you marry will be any good? It is very hard to get them in the sack, well at least the ones who travel.

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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