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Move to Florida

Are you considering a move to Florida from the UK? If you do decide to relocate, some expert assistance will make settling-in as easy as possible. So, to make things much easier, experienced expats have produced this guide.

How to move to Florida, America, from the UK

To help start the process, this guide has been written by expats from the international moving industry as a handy overview, with practical information about the moving process. It also tells you what you should know both before and after you arrive.

Deciding to move to Florida from the UK

Professionals are particularly attracted to Jacksonville, with affordable properties, international schools, and much more. Fantastic weather and 1,350 miles of coastline add to the attraction of Florida (FL).

With a thriving economy, amazing beaches and buzzing cities are just a few reasons why so many expats and professionals from the UK and Europe decide to move to the Sunshine State.

Tallahassee is Florida’s state capital, but the largest city is Jacksonville, a favourite among UK nationals moving to Florida.

Jacksonville Florida

Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida

As Florida’s largest city (population: 950,000), Jacksonville consistently attracts professionals, thanks to a large and thriving job market, high-quality schools, a wide range of real estate options, plenty cultural facilities and, of course, the beaches.

This vibrant, diverse city boasts affordable property, excellent schools, and much more. Other major cities that make popular destinations for professionals include; Miami, famous for its beaches, booming Tampa, and Orlando, the home of Walt Disney World. If you’re a returning resident, there’s much for you to look forward to on your return too.

All these factors create a high liveability rating, not to mention, the wall-to-wall sunshine, allowing you to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle from January to December.

Jobs and careers in Jacksonville, Florida

If you’re a British citizen moving to the USA, you’ll need to have a job lined up beforehand. However, there are numerous opportunities for employment in Jacksonville, which is home to several large and international businesses.

Working in Jacksonville

One of the major regional economic centres in the USA, Jacksonville has been enjoying a growth period, boosted by its position as the biggest city in Florida.

Major employers

Traditionally a port and regional hub, Jacksonville has successfully developed its economy. Major sectors of the local economy include finance – Jacksonville is home to 4 Fortune 500 companies – media, logistics, healthcare and military and defence. Financial sector employers include Bank of America, TIAA Bank (formerly EverBank), and Fidelity National Bank, Other major employers in the city include building material companies USG and Vulcan Materials, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Government, and the Baptist Health insurance company.

Doing business in Jacksonville

The USA is well-known for its strong pro-business culture and corresponding low levels of bureaucracy, which will help make your transition that bit easier. You’ll also find plenty of networking opportunities, and numerous business associations exist. Concerning personal income tax, in most states there are federal and state deductions, and contributions to social security. However, a big advantage of moving here is that the state personal income tax is zero. A double taxation treaty applies between the US and UK, so you won’t pay tax twice on the same income.

Getting a visa for your move to Florida

Once you have a job, you can start organising your visa. Keep in mind that normally, you’ll also need to apply for a work permit. There are many different visa types for moving to Florida, and the application process can be very detailed so it is recommended you speak to a qualified immigration lawyer before starting your application. 

Arranging for healthcare insurance

Florida has a high standard of medical care, but as a UK national living in Florida you will not benefit from the basic level of support Medicare offers. In fact, the US healthcare system is highly reliant on private health insurance arrangements and it will be a very important part of any employment negotiation you have.

If you get sick while living in Florida, you’ll have to pay medical expenses. Even a prescription can be enormously expensive! If you’re an expat, it’s highly recommended that you take out healthcare insurance to cover you and your family members. Bear in mind that you’ll need to budget for the expense.

Major hospitals include Baptist Medical Center, and Mayo Clinic Florida. For waiting times for hospitals see https://www.hospitalstats.org.

Healthcare insurance costs

It’s advisable to do some research and get a quote, several companies offer healthcare insurance.

Finding a home and schooling

Jacksonville is still an affordable place to live

Compared with those in other large cities in Florida and the rest of the USA, Jacksonville’s property prices are affordable, making the city popular with professionals with families. In February 2021, the median sale price was around USD 230,000. The average rental price for an apartment amounted to approximately USD 1,200. Property prices increased by approximately 5% between 2019 and 2020.

Despite recent price increases, housing in Jacksonville remains affordable, especially in comparison with that of the major cities on the East and West Coast. Sterling Lexicon advisors can help you find the perfect property. For general information about housing, including prices, see the US Census Bureau; property websites such as Realtor, Property Shark, and Zillow are valuable information sources too.

Jacksonville properties suitable for families range from duplexes/triplexes (houses divided into two or three separate dwellings) to roomy detached villas with expansive gardens.

Plenty of family-friendly neighbourhoods

Perhaps the most sought-after neighbourhood in Jacksonville is Greenfield, a district of detached villas with three bedrooms or more. Similarly upmarket is 1920s Avondale, a grid of quiet, tree-lined streets. Also leafy, Deerwood is characterised by relatively recent executive housing. In the popular Southside district you’ll find apartments of various sizes; the affluent seafront Neptune Beach neighbourhood is a mix of small beachfront houses and modern properties. On the southern edge of the city, Orange Park is located by the Julington-Durbin Creek Preserve, offering numerous recreational possibilities.

Excited family standing outside new home

The school system in Jacksonville

If you’ve children of school or college age, your choice of neighbourhood will be defined by your school choice.

In the USA, children begin at preschool (up to age 5), go on to elementary/middle school (roughly ages 6-13) and finish at high school (ages 14-17). The education system can be divided into public schools (i.e. publicly funded; in Jacksonville operated by Duval County Public Schools) and private schools. The former come under the category of either “traditional” or “charter”; the regulations governing the latter are less stringent. Magnet schools provide a specialized curriculum. Private schools are often faith-based and operated by Christian denominations.

International schools and public high schools

Although there are no private accredited international schools in Jacksonville, several of the city’s public high schools rank among the best in the USA, notably Stanton College Preparatory School and Paxton School for Advanced Studies. Both offer the International Baccalaureate (IB). Other notable high schools include Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and Mandarin High School.

If you are trying to find a school and a new home abroad, it always helps to speak to an international relocation agent who can provide advice on the process and make introductions from their network of connections. For example, Sterling Lexicon has home finding and school finding services via its Florida office. You can find out more about relocation services here.

Getting an international move quote

Once you have found a home, you will need to start the house moving process by finding an international removals company. When you move to Florida from the UK, you’ll most likely require a sea shipment for the majority of your belongings and an airfreight shipment for your essential personal belongings.

Already got a move Quote?

Sterling Lexicon offers you a comparative quote and can be reached on +44 208 841 7000 or email the team here.

Get a move quote

It is best to get a quote for your international move to Florida. This will help you budget and plan effectively. Get a move quote here.

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.

Arranging temporary accommodation

Temporary accommodation is a good option for the time period between the point of all your possessions being packed and their arrival at destination. There are different types of temporary accommodation available, that can be arranged in Florida, or even in the UK before you depart.

If you would like help sourcing the best value temporary accommodation in the state of Florida or in the UK, check with your moving company if they offer this. The Sterling Lexicon team would be happy to provide a competitive temporary accommodation quote via our UK or Florida offices.

Young couple looking for temporary accommodation

Moving home move to Florida

Customs and documentation support

It’s important to ensure your documentation and customs forms are all completed correctly. This will save a lot of time and cost later down the line. Several items are either prohibited or restricted and are subject to customs duties. It’s best to have an understanding of these. Check out this overview of the US Customs requirements here. If you’d like to speak to a Sterling Lexicon Move Consultant, you can call, email or chat with them here.

Protect your items

If you wish to protect your household belongings during the move, you’ll need to complete a transit cover form detailing an inventory of items you wish to protect and their insured values.

Packing your belongings

Check with your international mover that they are using professional packing teams to pack your belongings. Ask about the training they receive, the quality of the materials the mover uses and how eco-friendly and recyclable they are!

Transportation

Allow at least 4-6 weeks in total for transportation by sea and customs clearance.

Delivery of your household goods into your new home

When your household goods have cleared customs, your international mover will normally be in contact with you to arrange a date and time for delivery to your new place. If you choose Sterling Lexicon, they have professional crews who will unpack and place some essential items in your house or apartment, allowing you to enjoy your first meal in your new home.

Welcome to Florida, USA!

Welcome home! You will need to have sorted out the practical things like setting up your utilities, local medical registrations, broadband, wi-fi, etc. It is also a really exciting time as you can get out and start to explore your local area. Find local expat clubs and get stuck in to local life. Whatever you do, make sure you are safety aware.

There are also companies who can help you with getting set up and settled-in. As an example, Sterling Lexicon can offer a maid service or handyman to get everything into place and connected. They can also help with utilities, settling-in and introductory tours to acquaint you with your local area.

Starting your new life in Florida

You’ve made it, so welcome home! Now it’s time to start living like a local! If you’d like any local support for the practical matters such as utilities, local expat club introductions, schools, or anything else, make sure you speak to your Move Consultant.

Contact details for Sterling Lexicon UK

Each year we help many returning residents, diplomats and professionals moving for work and with their families to move to Canada. We help them with their visas, finding homes, schools, moving and support at destination. Everything needed to start a new life chapter of living and working in Canada. Check out the Sterling Lexicon locations here.