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Moving to Orlando, Fl on L1

Moving to Orlando, Fl on L1

Old Dec 4th 2017, 11:11 am
  #1  
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Default Moving to Orlando, Fl on L1

Hey everybody. Been a bit of a lurker here, but now things are actually happening I thought it was time to join.

I am a director/shareholder of a UK company and we have been exploring expansion to the US for a year or so. We have now taken the plunge and engaged an immigration attorney and incorporated the US company. All systems go.

I have family near Orlando and we know the area. Assuming visas are approved and no hiccups, I will be moving with my wife and baby in Spring 2018.

We are planning to rent an apartment for the first 12 months since since the Visa is for an initial 12 months and then reviewed for extension. I suspect this is more a formality but best be sensible. We will rent out our house in the UK.

I am hoping people here with similar experience may be able to offer some advice on both personal and business aspects.

Personal

Banking/Cards/Credit - I have seen some threads here about the importance of credit scores in the US and how to build credit history. It seems a bit of a minefield. Which banks do/did you use and how did you go about obtaining cards? We always clear our balances and so can probably live happily with only a debit card at least for a while.

Renting - we saw some apartments recently but see they have requirements for proof of income, etc. That is fine for me but my wife is still on maternity leave. Has anyone had experience of moving out with similar cirucmstances?

Buying - our plan would be to buy a house if our visa is extended beyond 12 months. We would extend our BTL mortgage in the UK to enable us to buy in cash or mostly cash. In terms of mortgages, how long does it take to build credit to be able to obtain a mortgage? Any issues to consider? What about closing costs of buying - I have read online anything from 1-8% but hoping for some more real world information from people here who have done this recently.

Business

Opening a business bank account - what is the best way to go about this? I was thinking about using an international bank with a presence in both UK and USA in the hope this might be simpler and easier? Are there any good US banks who 'understand' foreign companies opening up subsidiaries in the US? Anything I ought to bear in mind that I may not have thought of?

Anyway, there will be plenty of questions to come no doubt, but I just wanted to introduce myself and say hello.
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Old Dec 4th 2017, 1:12 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Orlando, Fl on L1

we are in a very similar position. Trying to conquer each obstacle one by one (and there have been many!), our current struggle is opening a US business bank account....we have been initially rejected by the bank because a foreign owned new start up (esp in IT sector) is seen as high risk

Last edited by karenkaren1; Dec 4th 2017 at 1:15 pm.
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Old Dec 4th 2017, 1:27 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Orlando, Fl on L1

Hello! Welcome to BE!

Opening a bank account is the easy part. I would choose a big name US bank with a branch near to where you will be living. Whilst you cannot open the account in advance of arriving in the USA, you can make contact with the branch via email and ask what they require in terms of documentation.
Wells Fargo require - 1 government photo ID - your passport with your visa and 1 other which can be UK bank/credit card. Proof of US address and a US contact telephone number.

Renting - you will be the primary lease holder and the application will be made in your name using your financial details. Have your company write a letter of employment with your salary on it. Generally you can get a lease up to 3x monthly gross (base) salary. Since you won't pass the credit check, the landlord will determine how much the security deposit will be, here in Austin, it is 1 month's rent for someone in your circumstances. It may be higher where you will be living. See what the situation regarding apartment locators is - in Austin, they get paid on commission from the apartment owners if you sign a lease and they can be a great way to find a good deal since they know what is going on.
On an L1 visa, you would qualify for an international mortgage from one of the big banks but only if you do this within 12 months of arriving. Basically, they use your UK credit information supplied by you to build you a US score. Everyone I know ( including us) has used the Wells Fargo international mortgage if they have gone this route. You should take advice as soon as you arrive about this. I have a contact, so please contact me if you'd like a starting point.

credit cards - you've probably read all that stuff - secured credit card perhaps ( definitely with WF on an L1) or try Advancial for a non-secured.

business bank account - you will need to have the company registered and licensed (if necessary) in the USA with all the documentation to show the bank. The banks have the different documents required listed on their websites under the "business banking" tab. Your lawyer should have all the documents.

I'm in 2 minds about ?HSBC international banking - it seems to work well when it works but you should check that they have branches anywhere near you. They have none in Austin where I and about 2 million others live.....
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Old Dec 4th 2017, 4:56 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Orlando, Fl on L1

I provided information on my UK credit file to the landlord before signing a lease, which they seemed happy to have, on top of providing the letter of employment with salary and previous pay slips etc. In the end we secured a property on the same terms a local would have done, just one month and bit upfront as a security deposit.

Mortgage - you can get them whenever, it's just your options are more limited and rates less appealing within the first two years (seems they want two years worth of tax returns/credit information). We are looking at the moment ready for next year and it probably adds about 1% to the APR in our experience. Sounds like you'd be making a significant down payment though, which would probably reduce the risk.

Closing costs vary by County as well as by State. I'm in Georgia and we are expecting around 3% based on discussions thus far. Mortgages companies will sometimes offer incentives to cover some/all of the closing costs, as will developers if you go new build.
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Old Jun 4th 2018, 6:56 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Orlando, Fl on L1

Hi all if you are looking to do the setup in the US I recommend Stripe Atlas. We used them and they incorporated the business, setup the bank accounts (with SVB) and also provide you with a bunch of Amazon compute credit and other bits and bobs. They charge $500 but it's not bad really for all they do! Let me know if you are interested and I can point you in the right direction. It resulted in us being able to open a US bank account with silicon valley bank without having to go over there in person.
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Old Jun 4th 2018, 7:44 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Orlando, Fl on L1

Hello,
We did a similar thing 6 years ago. Setting up a business bank account wasn't a problem - we went with Wells Fargo. We use an FX broker (Halo Financial) if we need to transfer money between the UK parent and US subsidiary. One thing to be aware of is IRS form 5471. If you are a director of the UK parent and a US citizen becomes a >10% shareholder, or you are a >10% shareholder in the UK parent then you need to fill these forms in with your tax return
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Old Jun 4th 2018, 8:44 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Orlando, Fl on L1

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