Making the choice on whether or not to emigrate is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your lifetime. It can be an enormous culture shock moving from one country to another, but if you’re planning on going from the UK to the US, another English speaking country, surely the transition isn’t that great, right?

The truth is, even moving from the UK to the USA is likely to come with its teething problems. For starters, despite the lack of language barrier, cultural ideals are entirely different, and in the US, they are entirely without the NHS that we’re so used to in Britain. There are a lot of things that change when you take the plunge and sail over the pond, but fear not! Here’s what you need to know if you’re moving from Britain to America.

Do I Need a Visa?

Very simply put, the answer is yes. If you’re planning on emigrating to America full time for the foreseeable future and working while you’re there, you’ll need a visa. It can be a very quick process of preparing to move, especially when you sell your British home through House Buy Fast, but first and foremost, you’ll have to wait for your visa before making the big move.

See, in order to work, you’ll have to obtain your visa – and in order to live, you need to work. These generic visas tend to be valid for around three years at a time, however it can be a long process being accepted for one – unless you have a parent who is a US citizen. Because of laws on immigration, there are only a certain number of working visas given out per year – so if you want to make the shortlist, you’ll have to impress! It’s all about what you can offer to the country.

However, there are other forms of visa available too. There are also student visas, which cover the length of the academic course taken, and visas for volunteering and working without payment, which doesn’t work for everybody.

Of course, if you’re looking to settle there for good, eventually you’ll want to go for citizenship. Before citizenship, you must be granted residency, and the process moves on from there.

Style of Living

No matter where you go, there is a different style of living. It would be impossible to list every way in which American living is different to the British way of life, because it differs from state to state, city to city and family to family. What we are going to take a look at, however, is some of the biggest changes you’re likely to encounter as an immigrant moving from the UK to the US.

It makes sense to start with the gun laws, inevitably. The gun crime in America is a lot higher because guns are legal – which is a crazy thing to get your head around if you’ve lived as a Briton your whole life. You can literally go into the nearest shop and buy an armed weapon – so long as you’re US citizen.

Furthermore, the NHS is non-existent. Healthcare is privatised, and you’re encouraged to take out an insurance policy in case of an emergency. If not, even the simplest of treatments can end up costing hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars. In the UK, we think nothing of booking a doctor’s appointment whenever we need one, but over the pond if you can’t afford the appointment or treatment and don’t have insurance, then most people will go without.

The portion sizes. Even in the local supermarket – or “grocery store” – items are sold in much higher quantities than they are in the United Kingdom. And have you ever been into an American McDonalds? The menu is larger, and the portions even more so. It’s no wonder it’s the country with the highest obesity level in the world.

The Weather

Last of all, we’ll look at the weather.

Sure, you might think you’re leaving damp and dreary Britain behind to head off into the American sunshine, but do remember the weather entirely depends on the state and city you move to.

For example, Florida is dry and sunny all year round, whereas although New York has tropical temperature Summers, their Winters are extreme in the opposite direction. We’d recommend researching the exact place you’re moving to, rather than generalising it.

It’s surely got to be a sight better than the rainy UK though, right?