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Considering Super Commuting US>UK

Considering Super Commuting US>UK

Old Aug 27th 2019, 9:13 am
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Default Considering Super Commuting US>UK

Hello,

I'm brand new to British Expats, I'm so glad such a thing exists and hoping the community can help me think about my scenario a bit more.

I'm a British citizen and academic based in the UK. I'm married to a US citizen (who also has citizenship and permanent right to remain in the UK) and have two small children, both who are dual citizens. We all currently live in the UK but are considering a move to the US.

The academic market in the US is brutal and quite competitive and it can take months (sometimes years) to secure a position. I have a very favourable position in the UK (with tenure) which I'm reluctant to resign from -- at least until a comparative opportunity presents itself in the US. Given that this can be a lengthy process we're considering the possibility of moving the family to the US and myself commuting from the US back to the UK during the university term times (which at my institution is quite short, an absolute maximum of 24 weeks per year).

We are fortunate to have accommodation in both the UK (South East) and US (East coast city) covered, so this is a complication we may not have to worry about so much. But I'm trying to think through the other complications that could arise. For example:

- Visa – What type of visa would I need to be able to come and go throughout the year. The waiver allows 90 days, but what if I wanted to stay longer than 90 days at certain points (e.g. in the summer)
- Tax – As I would be working in the UK I would be paying UK income tax. But would I be liable to any form of US income tax.
- Other?

I'm sure there are a potential minefield of issues (that will be obvious to many) that I/we're not considering. But I'm hoping that people can help us map out the complications at an early stage. If people have recommendations on people we should consider speaking with (e.g. immigration/ tax lawyers) I would be very grateful.

Thanks in advance

D
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Old Aug 27th 2019, 11:10 am
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Default Re: Considering Super Commuting US>UK

You can't use the VWP to live in the US. Trying that will get you bounced in short order.

You need an IR-1 immigrant visa, which will give you a Green Card from the day you arrive. If you are able to apply quickly, you might be able to file direct to the Consulate in London (the process is called DCF), which is much quicker than having to send the application to the US - which is currently taking about 12-18 months to process.

You are liable to be taxed on worldwide income as a Green Card holder, exactly the same as your wife has been the entire time she has been a USC. Due to the UK/US tax treaty, it is unlikely you will owe any US tax, but it's not impossible, and you will have to file US tax returns every year.

At what point did your wife move to the UK? Just checking that she could, in fact, pass on her USC to your children.

Last edited by civilservant; Aug 27th 2019 at 11:13 am.
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Old Aug 27th 2019, 11:17 am
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Default Re: Considering Super Commuting US>UK

Good to know re VWP.

My wife moved to the UK in 2009, initially on a student visa, then on a post-study visa, then we got married and she got leave to remain and then UK citizenship. You're right, she still files tax each year, but doesn't ever owe much. The kids are young, both have dual citizenship (UK & US passports) and social security numbers in the US (I think). My understanding is that the family could move there tomorrow without any visa impediments, but I would need some form of green card (by the sounds).

Thanks so much for your input. Really helpful.

D
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Old Aug 27th 2019, 11:19 am
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Default Re: Considering Super Commuting US>UK

Correct, a USC can enter the US at any time and take up residence. The only impediment for you is the visa.

Time to research the IR-1 immigrant visa, and in your case DCF is going to be the way to go.
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Old Aug 27th 2019, 11:34 am
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Default Re: Considering Super Commuting US>UK

Originally Posted by Dh2366 View Post
Hello,

I'm brand new to British Expats, I'm so glad such a thing exists and hoping the community can help me think about my scenario a bit more.

I'm a British citizen and academic based in the UK. I'm married to a US citizen (who also has citizenship and permanent right to remain in the UK) and have two small children, both who are dual citizens. We all currently live in the UK but are considering a move to the US.

The academic market in the US is brutal and quite competitive and it can take months (sometimes years) to secure a position. I have a very favourable position in the UK (with tenure) which I'm reluctant to resign from -- at least until a comparative opportunity presents itself in the US. Given that this can be a lengthy process we're considering the possibility of moving the family to the US and myself commuting from the US back to the UK during the university term times (which at my institution is quite short, an absolute maximum of 24 weeks per year).
D
Hmm. Is your Michelmas Term followed by Hilary or Lent?
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Old Aug 27th 2019, 12:02 pm
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Default Re: Considering Super Commuting US>UK

As a GC holder, wouldn't he need to spend at least 6 months in the US every year so he doesn't lose it (or does that only apply to those *not* married to USCs)?
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Old Aug 27th 2019, 12:05 pm
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Default Re: Considering Super Commuting US>UK

Thanks sherbert, very useful, that's just the type of banana skin I'm trying to identify.

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Old Aug 27th 2019, 12:09 pm
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Default Re: Considering Super Commuting US>UK

Not really, since he has a legitimate reason to not be in the US, and it's not like it's going to last forever. Now obviously the quicker the OP can secure work in the US the better of course, but in the interim I don't see that he has much choice - he can't use the VWP, and isn't going to get a B2.
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Old Aug 27th 2019, 12:20 pm
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Default Re: Considering Super Commuting US>UK

Originally Posted by Dh2366 View Post
The academic market in the US is brutal and quite competitive and it can take months (sometimes years) to secure a position. I have a very favourable position in the UK (with tenure) which I'm reluctant to resign from -- at least until a comparative opportunity presents itself in the US. Given that this can be a lengthy process we're considering the possibility of moving the family to the US and myself commuting from the US back to the UK during the university term times (which at my institution is quite short, an absolute maximum of 24 weeks per year).
Oof, why would you do this to yourself?? Is there some compelling reason to move to the US right away? If you are tenured and looking for a tenured job, I wouldn't bank on securing anything in less than 10 years. I know multiple, excellent people who have been looking for at least that. If you have any ideas about accepting a tenure-track job, forget them right away: your application won't even make it past screening.

I was an academic and have seen various extreme living arrangements over the years. They have always seemed awful in practice, and are a big part of the reason that I left academia. My advice: do not stick your head in the bear-trap!
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Old Aug 27th 2019, 12:31 pm
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Default Re: Considering Super Commuting US>UK

Originally Posted by retzie View Post
Oof, why would you do this to yourself?? Is there some compelling reason to move to the US right away? If you are tenured and looking for a tenured job, I wouldn't bank on securing anything in less than 10 years. I know multiple, excellent people who have been looking for at least that. If you have any ideas about accepting a tenure-track job, forget them right away: your application won't even make it past screening.

I was an academic and have seen various extreme living arrangements over the years. They have always seemed awful in practice, and are a big part of the reason that I left academia. My advice: do not stick your head in the bear-trap!
haha, thanks, yes, it does sometimes feel like you'd be sticking your head in a bear trap. I'm not sure I understand the reasoning about a tenure track job not making it past screening. I've had some that already have, at decent institutions. But I do appreciate your skepticism, I realise that this does seem like an elaborate idea.

The main reason is that my wife wants to spend more time with her family, who are beginning to get older. It's hard to square these sort of objectives with protecting my career comfort in my cushy UK academic role.

Thanks for your input.
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Old Aug 27th 2019, 12:55 pm
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Default Re: Considering Super Commuting US>UK

I did it for a few years. The flight timings work pretty well NY to LON, a Sunday 9 or 10pm red eye gets you in to LHR at 9 or 10am, so you can be central before lunch. Friday’s the 4pm or so still gets you back in time for dinner in Manhattan.

I normally only did it 3 times a month, spending a full week with 2 weekends at home in the US as well. Between that and vacations, and the way days of presence are counted being home in the US 50% of the time was doable if you are aiming to become a USC. If you do it you should get global entry, I was getting from aircraft door to outside customs in about 6-15 mins, with an average around 10 mins.

I did look at the commuter green card but it’s restricted to Canada and Mexico.

The biggest issues are likely to be US health insurnace, will your wife work and have insurnace?

And tax, while there is a double tax agreement that only covers federal tax, so if you live in NYC for example you will have excess UK tax credit, and then owe a lot more in NY State and NYC and the UK credit won’t offset this. If you were in a state like NH without state income tax it would work better.

Without kids this was doable for a few years, and once you get top tier on the airline it gets a lot easier, but I am not sure it’s something I would consider even medium term with children.

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Old Aug 27th 2019, 1:56 pm
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Default Re: Considering Super Commuting US>UK

Originally Posted by tht View Post
I did it for a few years. The flight timings work pretty well NY to LON, a Sunday 9 or 10pm red eye gets you in to LHR at 9 or 10am, so you can be central before lunch. Friday’s the 4pm or so still gets you back in time for dinner in Manhattan.

I normally only did it 3 times a month, spending a full week with 2 weekends at home in the US as well. Between that and vacations, and the way days of presence are counted being home in the US 50% of the time was doable if you are aiming to become a USC. If you do it you should get global entry, I was getting from aircraft door to outside customs in about 6-15 mins, with an average around 10 mins.

I did look at the commuter green card but it’s restricted to Canada and Mexico.

The biggest issues are likely to be US health insurnace, will your wife work and have insurnace?

And tax, while there is a double tax agreement that only covers federal tax, so if you live in NYC for example you will have excess UK tax credit, and then owe a lot more in NY State and NYC and the UK credit won’t offset this. If you were in a state like NH without state income tax it would work better.

Without kids this was doable for a few years, and once you get top tier on the airline it gets a lot easier, but I am not sure it’s something I would consider even medium term with children.

Thanks THT,

That sounds intensive. My proposed approach would be somewhat different:

Fly to UK – End of September/ beginning of Oct for 4 weeks
Fly to US – For long weekend .5 weeks
Fly to UK – For 3.5 weeks until end of term
Fly to US – At end of term until next term (typically 6 weeks)

Repeat for the winter term, no teaching in the spring term so a bit more flexible.

Not the most environmentally friendly solution, I confess, but practically feasible I think.
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Old Aug 27th 2019, 2:25 pm
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Default Re: Considering Super Commuting US>UK

Originally Posted by Dh2366 View Post
Hello,

I'm brand new to British Expats, I'm so glad such a thing exists and hoping the community can help me think about my scenario a bit more.

I'm a British citizen and academic based in the UK. I'm married to a US citizen (who also has citizenship and permanent right to remain in the UK) and have two small children, both who are dual citizens. We all currently live in the UK but are considering a move to the US.

The academic market in the US is brutal and quite competitive and it can take months (sometimes years) to secure a position. I have a very favourable position in the UK (with tenure) which I'm reluctant to resign from -- at least until a comparative opportunity presents itself in the US. Given that this can be a lengthy process we're considering the possibility of moving the family to the US and myself commuting from the US back to the UK during the university term times (which at my institution is quite short, an absolute maximum of 24 weeks per year).

We are fortunate to have accommodation in both the UK (South East) and US (East coast city) covered, so this is a complication we may not have to worry about so much. But I'm trying to think through the other complications that could arise. For example:

- Visa – What type of visa would I need to be able to come and go throughout the year. The waiver allows 90 days, but what if I wanted to stay longer than 90 days at certain points (e.g. in the summer)
- Tax – As I would be working in the UK I would be paying UK income tax. But would I be liable to any form of US income tax.
- Other?

I'm sure there are a potential minefield of issues (that will be obvious to many) that I/we're not considering. But I'm hoping that people can help us map out the complications at an early stage. If people have recommendations on people we should consider speaking with (e.g. immigration/ tax lawyers) I would be very grateful.

Thanks in advance

D
Putting aside the logistics and timing. Have you considered whether your family can survive this plan?

I spent several years as a contractor in the UK and spent months at a time working away. Our daughter was about 4 when I started, 10 when I stopped. Even though I was able to get home most weekends, it almost ended our marriage. I missed so much of our daughter growing up.

With 2 young children, this will be incredibly hard on all of you.
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Old Aug 27th 2019, 3:12 pm
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Default Re: Considering Super Commuting US>UK

Originally Posted by chawkins99 View Post
Putting aside the logistics and timing. Have you considered whether your family can survive this plan?

I spent several years as a contractor in the UK and spent months at a time working away. Our daughter was about 4 when I started, 10 when I stopped. Even though I was able to get home most weekends, it almost ended our marriage. I missed so much of our daughter growing up.

With 2 young children, this will be incredibly hard on all of you.
I'm grateful for this thought. My question was largely to do with the practicalities/ legalities of the idea but you're quite right to raise the emotional sustainability and the effect it might have on the family. It is a primary concern of mine.

There is another way of looking at that of course, for which the question could be: "have you considered whether your family can survive if you don't leave the UK". This too is a concern and the main driver of these considerations.

Thanks
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Old Aug 27th 2019, 3:29 pm
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Default Re: Considering Super Commuting US>UK

As pointed out, heath insurance in the USA is a big factor. Will your wife work and have benefits? If not, can you afford health insurance for the family?

Rene
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