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Boston is calling...

Boston is calling...

Old Jun 18th 2012, 5:12 pm
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Default Boston is calling...

Hi,

I have had a really good look through these forums and found some really useful advice and guidance. Answered a lot of my questions and also created some more...

So, the company i work for would like me to move to the US after i mentioned it to them. It would definitely be something my mrs would love and it is something we looked into a fair few times in the past.

Some questions i am hoping people can help me with:

1. L1 via - it is the one i would be going for with my company and the L2 for the mrs (when we get married...). I have seen on the forums something about getting the Green Card process started from day 1 - why? and how long does it take to get one?

2. Salary - i looked at the average salary for my type of role within the US and found that if i converted my UK salary to a US salary i would be grossly underpaid. Should i expect a salary increase and do people have experiences around this?

3. Moving costs/help with other costs - i know this depends on the company but what should i be asking for help with?

4. General advice really - experiences you have had and pitfalls i should avoid. What did you forget to do which i shouldnt...

Going to continue to browse through the forum but any info would be greatly appreciated.

Ta!
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Old Jun 18th 2012, 5:23 pm
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Default Re: Boston is calling...

Originally Posted by Oliver1979 View Post
1. L1 via - it is the one i would be going for with my company and the L2 for the mrs (when we get married...). I have seen on the forums something about getting the Green Card process started from day 1 - why? and how long does it take to get one?
If you're planning to stay in the USA and become permanent residents, it's good to get a specific date the company will submit your green card applications, as part of the relocation package. Reason being that it can sometimes take years to process a green card application. The company can drag its feet, never apply, and you'll be going home if your L-1 visa can't get renewed. How long it takes to get the green card depends on which category you fall under....I don't know much about that part, but others can comment.

3. Moving costs/help with other costs - i know this depends on the company but what should i be asking for help with?
Typical things would be to make sure the company pays for your move, shipping your belongings, pays for a place for you to rent a place (or pay for a hotel) for a month or two until you get settled. Look at the health insurance plan and make sure you know how it works ahead of time..how much premium the company will pay, how much you will pay, how much deductable there is, how much a doctor visit will cost, dental, eye care, etc.

4. General advice really - experiences you have had and pitfalls i should avoid. What did you forget to do which i shouldnt...
Don't close your UK bank accounts, you might need them. You won't have any US credit history to begin with in the USA, so you'll need to have money to put as down payments on things like utilities, cell phones, rent, etc.

Rene
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Old Jun 18th 2012, 6:10 pm
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Default Re: Boston is calling...

to BE.

Take a look in the BE Wiki...there's loads of interesting info in there to help you with your move stateside...including relo packages.
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Old Jun 18th 2012, 8:36 pm
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Default Re: Boston is calling...

Just got my L-1 Visa, so I possibly can provide some up to date info.

L-1 Visa's are for executive transfers within companies. You have to prove that you are an exec though - they ask a LOT of questions. They want to see reporting lines, day to day decsion making - I even had to provide diary information and industry press etc. Wasnt easy. Mine lasts for 3 years, then I guess its a case of renewing. I would hope that, after a year, if we love it in the US, then we will be able to go through the GC process, but I havent agreed it yet.

Relocation allowances vary. I've heard about amazing packages including everything you can imagine, but personally, I got a lump sum, flights and a hotel for a month and car hire for a month. I also get a flight each year for me and my family to travel back home.

Imporant thing I woudl look for is makng sure they will fund you to go home at then end. Thats important.

Wages wise, they matched what I had already, but I'm a commissioned sales person, so they increased the top end OTE. its definately more expensive to live in Boston than it is where I do in the UK, but if you already are used to London or home counties prices, then it isnt much different.
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Old Jun 18th 2012, 11:00 pm
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Default Re: Boston is calling...

Originally Posted by Markoncarp View Post
L-1 Visa's are for executive transfers within companies.
That's true for L-1A visas... but not for L-1B visas which require only specialist skills or knowledge.

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Old Jun 18th 2012, 11:04 pm
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Default Re: Boston is calling...

Originally Posted by Markoncarp View Post
L-1 Visa's are for executive transfers within companies. You have to prove that you are an exec though - they ask a LOT of questions. They want to see reporting lines, day to day decsion making - I even had to provide diary information and industry press etc.
L1-A is for executives/managers, L1-B for workers with "specialized knowledge". L1-A can be renewed for up to 7 years I think and seems like an easier route to a green card (since the requirement list is similar to EB-1), so if you fit both profiles that would be the way to go - I'd expect most executives/managers have specialized knowledge too... Obviously talk to your lawyers.

Even though my job title says "Engineer" I still came on an L-1A, but then I spend more time trying to convince others to do the right thing than doing anything productive myself so I guess I count more as a manager.
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Old Jun 18th 2012, 11:18 pm
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Default Re: Boston is calling...

Greencard application from day one would be great, all depends on the employer. Once you have it, you aren't tied to them so they lose the hold over you. It gives you more flexibility to move on if you wanted.

Also depending on which category you fall under, can take a while to get.

Salary, all depends on experience, market, type of work and location. Nothing different there. If the average salary is less than you want, you either negotiate it up or don't take the role. Boston and the surrounding burbs are not cheap, especially for families.

What you want to ask the company for, as much as you can get. There is a wiki article on things people have asked for and things to consider. It's worth reading, as is the entry on credit history and medical insurance.

One thing to consider, if they lump sum the cost, get them to gross it up because it will be taxed.
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Old Jun 19th 2012, 9:39 am
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Default Re: Boston is calling...

Thank to everyone who has responded, the wiki was very very useful (and will continue to be i am sure).

I think it would be the L1B Visa i would fall under but i fall under the Project Management category so could be deemed to be under the L1A Visa.

Long way to go yet before i do move, i would say 12 months before i move. By the time all the paperwork, things to sort out in the UK are completed it would be at the least Christmas before i could move.

I have started a plan based on advice others have given and it seems there is not much i can actually sort out around car/house or apartment/banks etc etc until i get to Boston. My word i think i am going to have a strssful first few weeks.

The only block for me would be salary and help with moving costs, if i dont get these in a good position i may as well stay here. To be fair the business is being really good so far and have their legal team looking at what i need to do from that side.

I did notice Boston was not the cheapest place to live but i still think i would be better off financially in the US (and the Mrs would be much happier...).

Anyway - thanks again, this forum is certainly bringing up more questions to ask myself/research but all good as i wont miss anything (i hope).

Oh one thing i cant find much on - experiences of moving animals with them. I have two cats, must come with me!
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Old Jun 19th 2012, 9:43 am
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Default Re: Boston is calling...

I'm moving a dog to Boston in the next few weeks. She's only small - a Jack Russell.

Got quoted £400 by Virgin - One way.
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Old Jun 19th 2012, 9:48 am
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Default Re: Boston is calling...

£400 one way - about double what i expected to pay. So realistcally looking at £600+ for both cats.

Little sods better appreciate it!
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Old Jun 19th 2012, 10:16 am
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Default Re: Boston is calling...

Ok - one more question (again any examples would be brilliant).

I am trying to get some costs in my head to work through, mainly around my personal finances and how much i need to get together before moving.

I am working on the assumption it would be May 2012 when i physically move, this period of time is to allow the whole visa process to happen, me doing all the things i need to do outside of the visa process and generally giving me time to get things together.

Based on rent prices i can see, i would be looking to spedn approx $2k per month on rent. I think i am right in saying i would need to pay 2 months rent upfront plus any fes/security deposit, this could mean a front payment of approx $6k.

Working under the assumption my work will cover the movement costs for me and my Mrs, pay for shipping, put us up for one month in a hotel/apartment and giving us some general help with cost of relocating.

I think i would need to bring with me at least £5k in my pocket to pay for rent and thos initial bits and bobs. I have nothing other than furniture etc of value so couldnt sell a house although could sell the car which still wouldnt fetch much.

Is my working out what you would expect? Approx £5k?

Any advice?
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Old Jun 19th 2012, 12:39 pm
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Default Re: Boston is calling...

As there's a couple of Boston bound folks - http://www.bostonlandlordreviews.com/

New site, going to go live in a couple weeks apparently, so might be worth looking at, on finding a place to stay.

Boston is bloody expensive, don't under estimate that, cost of living won't be much different to London, taxes are not cheap here.

You can get much cheaper cost of living the further out you go, especially once you hit west of I-495. It's a mare of a commute though.

Pets, make finding a rental much harder, especially if you have more than one. Cats are easier than dogs, but it will limit the selection by quite a margin.

What you pay in rent will depend on where you live. You live on Havard Square, you'd pay about $3.5K a month for 500 sq/ft plus all the extras that go with it. You go to Brookline, you'd pay that for a small house. Move out to Natick and that's a decent house.

In Boston, you're looking at first/last plus 1-3 months deposit, plus any extra for having no credit history, plus 1-3 months realtors fee. You move to I-495 belt and you'll not likely have a realtor fee as the landlord would pay it there, any where in between and the fee will usually be between either half a month or a months rent as a fee.

Parking in Boston, if you work at a place that validates, can be as little as $10 a day. If not, you're realistically looking at $35-45 a day, especially in a covered garage.

Your start up costs are looking low. You also will likely have to put down a deposit of $50-600 for each utility, because you have no credit history. You might not, but best be prepared as it is likely.

Getting a car, well you've got sales tax on top of second hand cost of car, you've got cost of title, registration($150 ish), plates($50-100), town excise ($25 per $1K of value) and insurance of anything around $1K per six months.

The company relocation, if they reimburse you or give you a lump sum, you will have to pay income tax on top of that money, so gross up large.

You want to avoid moving to Boston during winter. Moving in the winter sucks and if it's a bad one will be a much bigger shock to the system. Also you limit how many rentals you can get. Landlords can not kick people out during the winter months, till March. So you tend not to find as many places until March. Usually best time is after school finishes in the summer because students leave, families move for work or whatever after school etc. If you're only looking for a one bed flat it won't make much difference, loads of those, but if you're looking for a bit of space, it would be really difficult in Boston at that time, but is a lot easier, relatively, the further out you go.
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Old Jun 19th 2012, 12:53 pm
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Default Re: Boston is calling...

Originally Posted by Bob View Post

Boston is bloody expensive, don't under estimate that, cost of living won't be much different to London, taxes are not cheap here.

In Boston, you're looking at first/last plus 1-3 months deposit, plus any extra for having no credit history, plus 1-3 months realtors fee. You move to I-495 belt and you'll not likely have a realtor fee as the landlord would pay it there, any where in between and the fee will usually be between either half a month or a months rent as a fee.
My good god - so worse case scenario, using the above, i could possibly have to pay up front approx $18k in rent (about £12k)!?!?!

I have been stung in the UK by deposits and fees before now but my word!!

If i can help it, i would like to avoid living away from the city centre - an unfamilar place with only the Mrs would mean we would like to get out in the city and socialise a bit more. Easier to get to work as wont need a car etc too...

Although i may have no option but to look outside of the city for financial reasons, let me know of locations you would reccomend to start off in.
Apartments i have seen, loads in fact that are cat friendly, and some lovely ones for about $2.5k per month. The issue is getting one to agree to let me rent with no credit history, am sure my company can help with this.

So looks like my £5k of start up costs is nowhere near what i need, how on earth do people rent in Boston?

Thanks for the comparison to London though, this gives me an idea of what to expect on my boozy weekends :-)
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Old Jun 19th 2012, 2:03 pm
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Default Re: Boston is calling...

Yes, worse case scenario.

Chances are you won't, but it really does depend if you want to live in Boston, proper, or the burbs, if you want a house or a studio flat, what time of year you move and if you have pets or not.

It is much better to be prepared for it and have realistic expectations that it'll be hard to find something decent at times than think it easy and apply and pay application fee for 10 odd places and get denied for all of them because you don't have credit history and they'd rather go with someone who has than take a larger deposit.

Oh and yeah, application fee for a rental, it can be anything from $25-50 per household or per person over 18, for the credit check. I'd say $30 a household is most likely, certainly in the burbs. It's generally not refunded, but some places will knock it off the first months rent if they accept you, the condos usually, but many places don't. It's easy extra money for them basically, when they're getting 20 applications per place.

You don't need to live in Boston to have a good life, certainly not down town.

Jamaica Plains is Boston, it's cheaper and on the Orange line, lot of fun. Then again, you could live in Allston, student area that's shit to park in, or Chestnut hill, which is lovely. There's Brookline a bit further out.

Anywhere out to Alewife in Cambridge and you're on the T on the red line and can use the bus. You can go out to Auburndale/Newton and be on the greenline at Riverside.

The further out from the T, the cheaper it is, a lot. There's also commuter rail as a option if you're further out.

There are plenty of things to do in a lot of neighbouring towns for people, so your OH won't have to worry about things.

You'll want a car all the same, maybe not if you live downtown Boston, but if you want to get out and see any of the state beyond the T, you'll need it as Zipcar or a rental will get expensive quickly.

As for how do people cope? They house share. A mate of mine was paying a bargain $450 a month with utilities in Brookline. He shared a 3 bed house with 8 people though. Or they live out in the burbs. Or they live in tiny apartments.

Place in and around Boston to look at -

Cambridge - Porter Square, Davis Square on the edge of the Red Line, betweenTufts and MIT/Kendall Square.

Sommerville

Jamaica Plain

Brookline

Brighton

Watertown at a stretch, it's cheap, little souless but easy to get around

Avoid *cester place names as a rule of thumb, they're not all shit but it's just easier.

Hitting the inner burbs and definitely car territory - Quincy, Newton, Waltham (hit or miss, fab places but also a lot of shit, but some superb pubs and Indians).

Anything else is getting into family territory I'd say. But anything out to I-495 is a doable commute, sucks that far out, especially in winter, but people do it daily.
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Old Jun 19th 2012, 2:13 pm
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Default Re: Boston is calling...

Cheers Bob- some brill advice there!

Jamaica Plains is sounding like the place to start looking...

Whats the T?

Last edited by Oliver1979; Jun 19th 2012 at 2:33 pm.
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