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Moving to America from the UK Guide

Are you relocating to America from the UK?

For many expats, life in the US can feel like a breath of fresh air. America is known for its business-friendly atmosphere and the can-do attitude of its residents. 

From coast to coast, the US has something for everyone — mountains and beaches, pine forests and palm trees, city skylines and charming small towns. 

Read our handy 10-step checklist for moving out of country and — when you are ready to move — give us a call! We have offices across the country and can help you with removals to the USA, no matter where you are headed.

What you need to move to America

Our Move Specialists share a few key things to consider before you move to America: 

Do I need a visa to move to the US*?

Yes, unless you are a returning US citizen.

Returning US citizens: As a citizen of the United States of America, you are permitted to live, work and travel in the USA.

Non-citizens: Before you can live and work in America, you need either an immigrant visa (eg. "green card") or a non-immigrant visa.

Types of US visas for UK citizens moving to America: The most common non-immigrant visa types for expats include

  • H1-B visa (for professionals working in the US)
  • H-4 visa (for spouses and children of H1-B visa holders).

The visa type you need will depend on your individual circumstances.

Documents to provide as part of a US visa application: A valid passport, an up-to-date CV (resume), educational/professional qualification, marriage certificates, and birth certificates for accompanying children.

*Information provided above is for awareness purposes only and should not be used as legal advice. Consult with a qualified immigration lawyer for details related to your specific situation.

Do I need proof of residence to move to the US? 

You will need to state your new temporary or permanent address to enter the United States.

Rental property: Bring a signed lease with the details of the property address.

Home purchase: Bring purchase and mortgage statements showing the residential address.

Do I need health insurance to live in the US?

The US is known for the high quality of its health care -- and the costs. 

Expats typically do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid (US government-provided health care). These are reserved for the elderly or those who meet specific criteria.  

Your employer will most likely provide health insurance for you and your family. Expect to pay a percentage of your insurance premium and co-pays for prescriptions and medical services.

Those without an employer-provided plan can purchase insurance from a health insurance marketplace. Eligibility and details can be viewed at 

Customer reviews

What people say about their move from the USA to the UK

See more customer reviews

Eric V UK to USA
All the goods from my flat arrived yesterday at my apartment in America. Thanks again for the professional and friendly service!
Katia S UK to USA
Extremely satisfied. Everything has been packed nicely and safely and the delivery was really fast.
Lara B UK to USA
Excellent, really professional, even brought some stickers for doing an inventory before loading it into the truck, also helped with the washing machine cabling/closing pipes.

Checklist for Moving to America

The Sterling Lexicon Promise

Book with confidence. Book to reserve your move date and if things change you can move your dates. Sterling Lexicon is an accredited international mover who provide professional support throughout your move from here in the UK and at destination. FIDI protected.

Step 1 - Find an accredited international removals company

International removals are very different from moving house within the UK. Look for a removals company that specialises in international moving:

Ask if your moving company guarantees your international move
The moving company you choose should guarantee the delivery of your household goods to the US. Make sure that they are a registered international removalist, are certified, and have the necessary insurances.

Check your moving company's accreditations
Choose a moving company that is approved by the British Association of Removers and is FIDI certified. FIDI is the primary association for certifying international removers. It audits its members regularly and awards those that pass with FAIM or FAIM Plus, the highest certification level. 

young man working on computer

Step 2 - Request a house moving quote

After you find a removals company, the next step is to ask for a free moving quote. With Sterling Lexicon, you can request a quote using our online Move Quote Form. Removals companies in London like Sterling Lexicon can also be reached by telephone or email

Have a home survey

Your Move Specialist will need to survey your home contents in order to provide you with an accurate quote.

This may be conducted by virtual survey or in person. Your survey should cover:

  • Packing standards
  • Special access or parking needs
  • Pet relocation services
  • Furniture storage
  • Insuring your items
  • Vehicle shipping and storage
  • Fine art and special items
  • VAT reclaims

Top tip! Some companies offer ballpark quotes over the phone. These are estimates and the final price you pay might be considerably higher. Always ask your mover to do a virtual or in-person survey to accurately estimate the size of your shipment.


Sterling Lexicon Video Survey App

We offer Covid-safe, quick and easy video surveys. 


Step 3 - Review your quote and book your move date

When you receive your international move summary and quote, check the details. If you get more than one quote, make sure you have a like-for-like comparison. For more information, read our guide: FCL, LCL and Air shipments –  How your move quote is calculated.

Once you have selected your house mover, complete and submit your booking form to secure your move date. 

Payment can usually be made by credit card over the phone or online. If you have booked house removals with Sterling Lexicon, you can pay online here.

Step 4 - Prepare documents for international shipping to the USA

In order to ship household goods from the UK to the US you may need to provide:**

  • CF-3299 – Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles
  • Copy of valid passport (some ports require passports for all family members listed on the 3299)
  • Copy of valid visa (non-US citizens) or copy of Permanent Resident Card
  • Form DS-1504 (for diplomatic relocations / diplomats moving)
  • Form CF-6059B – Customs Declaration
  • Copy of Bill of Lading (OBL) / Air Waybill (AWB) 
  • Detailed moving inventory in English
  • Food questionnaire
  • CBP Form 7501 - Customs Entry Summary
  • Importers Security Filing (ISF)
  • Stamped I-94 Card

**This list is provided for awareness purposes only. Consult with your Move Specialist to determine which forms and documents are required for your move.

Feeling overwhelmed? Don't worry. If you book your house removals with Sterling Lexicon, your Move Specialist will help you with the documentation process. 

Step 5 - Get ready for moving

If you haven't already, start to prepare your home and family for your move. 

Before your moving crew arrives, go through your home room by room. Set aside or discard any items that cannot be taken with you (e.g. prohibited items). Consider selling or donating items that you no longer want. Need some guidance? Use our guide: Moving Overseas - What to Pack, Store and Give Away.

Check the list of prohibited items 

According to the US Customs and Border Protection agency, you may not move the following items with you into the USA. If you have any questions, refer to our customs guides or ask your move specialist. 

Absinthe (Alcohol) and Alcoholic Beverages
Drug Paraphernalia
Fish and Wildlife
Food Products (Raw and Prepared)
Fruits and Vegetables
Game and Hunting Trophies
Merchandise from Embargoed Countries
Soil, plants and seeds

Pack a “bits box” for your first day in your new home

Your moving crew will pack loose nuts, remote controls, and hardware from disassembled furniture into a single box marked accordingly. You may also want to fill a box with items for your first evening at your new place. Include cutlery, plates, cups, blankets, etc. Clearly mark the box Pack Last, Open First

Set aside important items that will travel with you

Put your passport, visa, phone, charger, power pack, adaptors, documents, items of jewellery, medication and other other important items aside in a clearly identifiable container so they do not get packed. Keep your important documents such as your insurance, lease for the new home, mortgage letter, etc in a wallet. Make sure you have physical and digital copies to hand.

Talk to your children about moving

Moving can be stressful! Help your children adjust with our guide Moving with Children Guide and Checklist.

Find a safe place for your pet to stay on moving day

Ask a friend or family member to look after your pets on the day(s) when your home is being packed. If you are importing your pet to the US, ask for information about Sterling Lexicon’s safe and sound Pet Relocation services.

Mature couple reading forms in front of laptop in home

Step 6 - Have a great moving day! 

On the first day of your move, walk your moving crew through your home. Discuss which items will be sent by sea or air as well as items that need storage or special care. Set aside and clearly mark items you are not taking before the moving crew arrives.

Professionally trained international packing crews

Sterling Lexicon’s professional international packing crews are some of the best in the business and have been working for the company for many years. We only use people we would trust in our own home, so we know they will be professional and respectful in yours too. Their experience ensures all your personal possessions are packed perfectly to withstand being handled and transported over thousands of miles.


Eco-friendly export packing materials

Check the packing materials being used are sustainable and are to the required standard. Reputable companies like Sterling Lexicon will use packing materials that offer the highest level of protection and are kind to the environment. For example, sustainable and eco-friendly 4-6 ply export wrap, thick-walled specific packing boxes, acid free tissue paper, cornering for furniture and thick carding. Expect the packing crews to use specialist export wrapping techniques, operate safely and take measures to protect your home from damage. They should also recycle as much as possible.

Check your packing inventory

Once the packing has been completed, your mover will generate an inventory list, itemising everything that has been packed. Keep it until your possessions have arrived in America and are unpacked in your new home.

Step 7 - Transporting your household goods to America

Take out international transit protection

Your possessions will be transported roughly 4,000 miles (7,000 kms) between the UK and the USA. Protect your move by taking out transit protection, which will cover your personal items, furniture, art, collections, etc. Be sure to declare the full replacement value of your belongings, especially for items that are in sets. Ask your Move Specialist if you have any questions. 

Track and manage your move online

After your home is packed, you may be able to track the progress of your move online. Check if your international removal company offers this option.

Step 8 - Travel to America

As much as possible, make your travel day(s) easy. 

  • Pack plenty of snacks and things to entertain your children
  • Before you leave, check that you have your visa and other important documents
  • Allow plenty of time to get to the airport
  • If you are moving your pet with Sterling Lexicon's pet relocation services, rest easy knowing that they will travel in safety and comfort too
  • Let your Move Specialist know when you have arrived, even if you will be staying in temporary accommodations. You may choose to pre-arrange for air-freight with essential items to be delivered to a temporary address

Step 9 - Customs clearance in the US and delivery to your new home

Your international mover should provide support for the customs clearance of your possessions at destination. If you choose Sterling Lexicon, our offices in the United States of America will handle the import process for you and will let you know when everything is complete.

Once your shipment has cleared customs, your international removal company will contact you to arrange a delivery date to your new home.

Step 10 - Welcome to your new home

Congratulations! Welcome to your new home.

mature couple settling into new home

If you haven’t already, don't forget to get your utilities connected, register for a local doctor and dentist, and arrange for a local bank account. Speak to your move specialist at the early stages of your move to see if you can set some of these items up before you arrive.

Settling-in and orientation support

If you have moved with Sterling Lexicon and would like any local advice on places to help you settle-in, or you need additional support for the practical things such as utilities, local expat club introductions, schools, or anything else. Simply contact your Sterling Lexicon Move Specialist. 


Additional areas Sterling Lexicon can help with

Currency exchange

If you need to exchange GBP to USD before you move to the US, we recommend Currencies Direct.

Currencies Direct is multi-award-winning foreign exchange company. They have been helping people save time and money on their currency transfers since 1996.

They offer Sterling Lexicon clients:

  • Bank-beating exchange rates*
  • No transfer fees
  • Access to a dedicated currency expert

Contact Currencies Direct today!
*see the  Currencies Direct website for details

Moving classic cars and motorcycles to America from the UK

We have been moving classic cars and motorcycles to America from the UK since 1990. Check out our Door-to-Door car shipping guide.


Moving your pets to America from the UK

If you are taking  your pet to the US, you will need proper crating, veterinarian documentation and the safest airline itinerary.

We have been moving pets to the US for more than 30 years. Read our safe and secure Pet Relocation Guide or request a pet relocation quote today

Moving fine art to America

Our specialist advisory team, art technicians, fine art crating and shipping services will ensure your fine artworks and collections receive exceptional care. Please contact us for a consultation.

Do you have any questions?

Our Move Specialists average 12 years in the business and can answer your questions clearly and simply. Call us today.

What do to next

Get a move quote

To get a free moving quote to America from the UK, complete this form.

Book a video survey

The next step in the move process is to book your free video survey. This allows Sterling Lexicon to accurately estimate the weight/volume of your household goods and get you the best price for your move. All you need is a smart phone and a move specialist will guide you through the estimate at a time that is convenient for you. To book your video survey, speak to your move specialist.

Pay for your move online

Payment can be made by credit card over the phone or you can pay online

Sterling Lexicon

With offices in the UK and across the United States, we are experts in helping people move to America. Let our team of international move specialists support you from the UK and at your new destination in America. Contact us today!