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Move to USA from UK - UK income, credit score & mortgage, health coverage

Move to USA from UK - UK income, credit score & mortgage, health coverage

Old Oct 17th 2020, 3:45 pm
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Default Move to USA from UK - UK income, credit score & mortgage, health coverage

I am a British primary care physician (GP) currently living in the UK. My wife is a US citizen and we have lived in the UK for 17 years since we got married, and our kids all have dual UK/US nationality. Mainly to be near her parents we are considering a permanent move to the USA (Portland, Oregon specifically) and would appreciate some advice.

Residency application
We submitted the USCIS online I-130 6 weeks ago and it is still saying pending when we log in. Anyone have any experience of timescale (esp now with COVID) and any suggestions of ways to expedite the process? I have researched the subsequent process on the US London Embassy page.

Income and tax
I am not able to work as a physician in the US without significant retraining. However, I can continue some of my current UK medical work remotely which has already been arranged. I know from threads on this site already that I can set myself up as a sole proprietor in the US and file my UK based self-employed income (with appropriate exchange rate) with the IRS. I also run my own UK-based business of which I am one of 2 directors. I will continue to run this from the US, and normally would take dividends from the company (after UK corporation tax etc is paid). Does the IRS treat dividend income differently and does this impact whether I should consider drawing a salary from the company?

Credit score
I have already spoken with a US-based mortgage consultant. From the equity expected form our house sale in the UK we are hoping to buy a ~$500k house with a ~50% down-payment. The main issue he foresaw was my lack of credit history. I have seen the answer to some basic questions already on this site. However, as a US citizen my wife has maintained a credit card and bank account in the US for the last 17 years, which we use while visiting. She still has a state driving licence and has a good credit history, and we are hoping there might be a way to add me to her Capital One card or leverage her credit score since our mortgage will be a joint application (although all the income is mine, she doesn't have formal income since 4 kids keep her way too busy).

Mortgage
If anyone has suggestions for mortgage providers that are more accessible for people newly arrived in the country, or whether any will take into account a UK credit history. We can live with family for a short while but would much prefer to buy straight away than have to rent before buying.

Health coverage
Any suggestions of affordable health coverage for the self-employed would be much appreciated.

We have family involved in education so have already researched and decided on public schooling. We are at the beginning of this process and have some time to get things ready while we wait on the visa. If anyone thinks there are major areas we haven't considered I'm all ears. Any suggestions gratefully received, many thanks.
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Old Oct 17th 2020, 5:48 pm
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Default Re: Move to USA from UK - UK income, credit score & mortgage, health coverage

The whole immigration process, starting with the I-130 petition was taking around 12 months. The I-130 itself around 3 to 4 months......

You should look on the Oregon's State website for plans under the Affordable Care Act. Your costs will depend on what plan and how many in the family.
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Old Oct 17th 2020, 6:50 pm
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Default Re: Move to USA from UK - UK income, credit score & mortgage, health coverage

The immigrant visa process was taking around 12 months pre-covid. I would expect it to take longer now, maybe up to 18 months. I would expect to hear about the I-130 approval in about 4 to 6 months.

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Old Oct 17th 2020, 9:20 pm
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Default Re: Move to USA from UK - UK income, credit score & mortgage, health coverage

BTW it is not a residency application. It is an application, in your case, for the immediate relative visa (IR-1). Once you have entered the US with this visa you will then become a US permanent resident.

Have your wife add your name, if possible, to her credit card(s). This should assist with getting you the start of a credit history.

Do you have a social security number for the US? Has she been paying US federal income taxes annually ? How did she manage to still have an active state driver's license if she lives permanently in the UK and not in the state where it was issued?

Has she become a British citizen? If not, she ought to do so before you leave.

Last edited by Rete; Oct 17th 2020 at 9:24 pm.
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Old Oct 17th 2020, 9:42 pm
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Default Re: Move to USA from UK - UK income, credit score & mortgage, health coverage

we are hoping there might be a way to add me to her Capital One card or leverage her credit score since our mortgage will be a joint application (although all the income is mine, she doesn't have formal income since 4 kids keep her way too busy).
This isn't going to end well. I don't recommend that you buy until you have established a credit score in the US. Simply put, without a credit score, you aren't going to be getting a conventional mortgage, even putting 50% down - and a joint application means it will be the average of yours and hers FICO 2,4 & 5 scores (which you don't have)

Rent for a year, and then buy. Not only will you get a much better rate, but you'll have a better idea of the area (and therefore schools)

You need 3 credit cards and an installment loan active on your credit report (not as an authorized user, they must be yours) to get the highest score as fast as possible.

affordable health coverage for the self-employed
Those 2 words are mutually exclusive. Without an employer to pick up part of the tab, rates are going to be high. Perhaps not for someone making an MDs salary though.

Last edited by civilservant; Oct 17th 2020 at 9:45 pm.
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Old Oct 18th 2020, 12:36 am
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Default Re: Move to USA from UK - UK income, credit score & mortgage, health coverage

Originally Posted by civilservant View Post
This isn't going to end well. I don't recommend that you buy until you have established a credit score in the US. Simply put, without a credit score, you aren't going to be getting a conventional mortgage, even putting 50% down - and a joint application means it will be the average of yours and hers FICO 2,4 & 5 scores (which you don't have)

Rent for a year, and then buy. Not only will you get a much better rate, .....
Sorry, this is incorrect. Any of the big banks should he able to set you up with a mortgage based on your non-US credit history. Petitefrancaise has posted on this subject a number of times, and with good non-US credit history documentation, and a sizeable down payment, you shouldn't have any trouble being approved for a "conventional" (US terminology) mortgage at a reasonable rate. This only works for the first 12 months after you arrive in the US, after that you'd have to qualify based on your US credit history.

​.... but you'll have a better idea of the area (and therefore schools).​​​​​​
As they are moving to the area where his wife's family lives I suspect that they already know enough about good areas and good schools.
​​​​​

Last edited by Pulaski; Oct 18th 2020 at 1:31 am.
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Old Oct 18th 2020, 1:03 am
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Default Re: Move to USA from UK - UK income, credit score & mortgage, health coverage

Portland may have gone through its 500 day of rioting by the time you move, I agree with waiting, Not sure I would be on anything that far out. And you need to get your feet under the table.
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Old Oct 18th 2020, 11:04 pm
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Default Re: Move to USA from UK - UK income, credit score & mortgage, health coverage

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Sorry, this is incorrect. Any of the big banks should he able to set you up with a mortgage based on your non-US credit history. Petitefrancaise has posted on this subject a number of times, and with good non-US credit history documentation, and a sizeable down payment, you shouldn't have any trouble being approved for a "conventional" (US terminology) mortgage at a reasonable rate. This only works for the first 12 months after you arrive in the US, after that you'd have to qualify based on your US credit history.


As they are moving to the area where his wife's family lives I suspect that they already know enough about good areas and good schools.
​​​​​
to be accurate I really only know about people arriving with a full time job ( ie L1 H-1b visa holders). The OP will be self-employed and I really don't know how that will play out with the mortgage providers. Maybe contact a mortgage broker as well as the agents at the big banks. Wells Fargo and Chase both have international mortgage programs which work as I've previously described.

I would definitely get yourself on your wife's credit card. It won't do any harm but also won't do you any good until you have your social security number ( so they can report to the credit agencies).

Not my area at all, but drs do move here from all over the place - isn't there any way to do this and work at the same time? It would make the financial stuff a lot easier.
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Old Oct 19th 2020, 3:57 am
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Default Re: Move to USA from UK - UK income, credit score & mortgage, health coverage

For what it's worth I attained a conventional mortgage that was manually underwritten by a local credit union with my USC wife. We weren't penalized in fees/interest/etc and had 10% down. I had been in the country for ~7 months, had a job for ~4 months (~3 at the time of pre-approval). My wife of course had had a job longer, but her only credit up to that point was the joint secured discover we had. I hadn't even attained permanent residency at this point, so they had me sign some contract stating I plan to be in the country for something like the next 5 years (if the mortgage was still active).
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Old Oct 19th 2020, 10:41 am
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Default Re: Move to USA from UK - UK income, credit score & mortgage, health coverage

We are currently in the process of relocating to US under L1 and are also looking at purchasing a house. There are options available for new arrivals based on my initial research, however as petitefrancaise mentioned I am unsure how the banks look at self-employed individuals

In our case the relocation company has put us in touch with a few financial institutions and we have had calls with Wells and US Bank. Both offer mortgages to new arrivals and require 20% down. We were told that rates will range from 2.6%-3.2% (final terms to depend on underwriting). Both banks did mention that they have a close relationship with my employer and regularly deal with new arrivals so not sure how much of that is reflected in the terms they offer

Re credit score they will construct our credit score based on our existing credit lines and also require last few months bank statements, recent payslips and offer letter for the new role. Once we give them a list of at least 3 credit lines they will work with 3rd party provider who contacts the banks to confirm our credit repayment history

I also believe HSBC offers mortgages to new arrivals in US if you are already a HSBC customer in your home country - markwidgery something you can check on
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