Need Advice

Old Oct 13th 2017, 9:14 pm
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Question Need Advice

We will soon begin the immigration process for my husband, and I get how that works but I need some help with other things.

I and my son are US citizens and I have lived in the UK for 20 years, we are now looking to move to the states in a year or so. I have been married to a UK citizen for 6 years.

We are planning to sell everything here and buy a house in the Chicago suburbs, where I am from. I will be buying in cash and as I have no US credit history and I have pets who are coming with us, so I prefer to buy. We will also be starting a small business a few months after we arrive, so there is no employer. We have enough to do this in cash but the budget is tight. I have read the forums and I'm having trouble with information on the following.

Can I as a US citizen open a US bank account while living abroad? If I need a local address can I use a family members address as my own? I have kept no ties to the US while I have been gone, but I have filed income tax returns.

We have a lot of stuff we are moving back with us, not all furniture but business equipment we have gathered while learning our trade. As well as furniture and books, which are coming with, it would cost me more to replace them and some of it can not be replaced anyway. Do I need to have a moving company pack for me due to immigration of the household goods? Is it best to just hire a large company? Is there a way to pack it all myself without being at the port when it arrives?

Can I just walk into a car dealer ship in the US and buy a car? Will I be able to insure it? Do I need a US license in order to get insurance? Do I need a bill in my name to get a license? Will a bank statement do if I can get an account?

Is there a how to book out there that is in depth on any of this? I find very basic information and all the immigration information but nothing for someone moving back.

Do I need to worry about the banks and where I put the money from the sale of property? Is transferwise the best bet to move cash? Has anyone used their bank accounts? Is there a offshore safe account that will allow me to transfer money into dollars when I choose? Transferwise have a £250,000 limit a year though and we have slightly over that. Can I purchase a house by transferring directly to the title company or will the funds need to be in my own bank first?

Any help or pointers greatly appreciated.
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Old Oct 13th 2017, 9:21 pm
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Default Re: Need Advice

Hi and welcome. I'll do my best to answer/give opinion on what I can.

I will say that I recommend you gain UK citizenship. There is no downside to it and you can be a dual US/UK citizen. It will give you the option to easily move back to the UK in the future without having to prove financial support or anything else. Definitely something to consider prior to your move back to the US.


Originally Posted by Llanthony View Post
Can I as a US citizen open a US bank account while living abroad? If I need a local address can I use a family members address as my own? I have kept no ties to the US while I have been gone, but I have filed income tax returns.
I believe their is no law that prohibits this, but it will be at the discretion of the bank. See the PATRIOT act.

Originally Posted by Llanthony View Post
We have a lot of stuff we are moving back with us, not all furniture but business equipment we have gathered while learning our trade. As well as furniture and books, which are coming with, it would cost me more to replace them and some of it can not be replaced anyway. Do I need to have a moving company pack for me due to immigration of the household goods? Is it best to just hire a large company? Is there a way to pack it all myself without being at the port when it arrives?
I believe Pulaski has experience of DIYing this. Sorry I do not know.

Originally Posted by Llanthony View Post
Can I just walk into a car dealer ship in the US and buy a car? Will I be able to insure it? Do I need a US license in order to get insurance? Do I need a bill in my name to get a license? Will a bank statement do if I can get an account?
Buy a car - yes. Licence to get insurance - no. Bill in your name to get a licence - check state DMV. Each state has its own driving laws.

Originally Posted by Llanthony View Post
Is there a how to book out there that is in depth on any of this? I find very basic information and all the immigration information but nothing for someone moving back.
BritishExpats has a large wiki section, but I doubt it offers specific information for Chicago.

Originally Posted by Llanthony View Post
Do I need to worry about the banks and where I put the money from the sale of property? Is transferwise the best bet to move cash? Has anyone used their bank accounts? Is there a offshore safe account that will allow me to transfer money into dollars when I choose? Transferwise have a £250,000 limit a year though and we have slightly over that.
Hopefully someone can help you with this. My only advice is tell the bank in advance and be prepared to prove the source of the funds (house sale) so that it is not held on suspicion of money laundering.

Originally Posted by Llanthony View Post
Can I purchase a house by transferring directly to the title company or will the funds need to be in my own bank first?
When I bought a house I needed a cashier check from my bank account to the attorney that was closing the sale. They then distributed the funds.
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Old Oct 13th 2017, 9:25 pm
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Default Re: Need Advice

Thank you for the fast reply, I will be getting UK citizenship before I leave for the reasons you stated. My son has done this and it was simple its just a cost issue right now they want a small fortune.
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Old Oct 13th 2017, 11:57 pm
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Default Re: Need Advice

Originally Posted by Llanthony View Post
Can I purchase a house by transferring directly to the title company or will the funds need to be in my own bank first
I do know that "some" title companies will accept wires from overseas banks. In my work I see wire instructions that include that info - IBAN etc. I do not know if there are restrictions on the circumstances where that it is allowed. I would shop around Title /Escrow companies and ask. There are thousands to choose from - National chains to Mom and Pops. Chicago Title Insurance Company comes to mind as a big one!

Having said that, if you are "paying cash" ie no mortgage, maybe you can just deal with the seller direct. (My experience is in sending wires from mortgage lenders to title companies, within US)

For my mortgage, I had to get a cashiers check for the "Earnest Money", but a wire for the closing costs.
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Old Oct 14th 2017, 12:40 am
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Originally Posted by RICH View Post
For my mortgage, I had to get a cashiers check for the "Earnest Money", but a wire for the closing costs.
So did I. Oops.
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Old Oct 14th 2017, 12:41 am
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Default Re: Need Advice

I have opened and maintained bank accounts while overseas - it is at the discretion of the bank and my accounts use a US address. It is OK.

The 250,000 pound transfer limit - if that is imposed by the financial institution - can usually be waived for a one-off after talking with them.
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Old Oct 14th 2017, 1:59 am
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Default Re: Need Advice

Originally Posted by RICH View Post
I do know that "some" title companies will accept wires from overseas banks. In my work I see wire instructions that include that info - IBAN etc. I do not know if there are restrictions on the circumstances where that it is allowed. I would shop around Title /Escrow companies and ask. There are thousands to choose from - National chains to Mom and Pops. Chicago Title Insurance Company comes to mind as a big one!

Having said that, if you are "paying cash" ie no mortgage, maybe you can just deal with the seller direct. (My experience is in sending wires from mortgage lenders to title companies, within US)

For my mortgage, I had to get a cashiers check for the "Earnest Money", but a wire for the closing costs.
Perhaps this is state specific, but here in CT, for instance, the title company sells title insurance and has nothing to do with any escrow or purchase monies. That is handled by the purchaser’s attorney in accord with the contract of sale.
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Old Oct 14th 2017, 2:36 am
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Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
Perhaps this is state specific, but here in CT, for instance, the title company sells title insurance and has nothing to do with any escrow or purchase monies. That is handled by the purchaser’s attorney in accord with the contract of sale.
True. From what I have seen, except for New England, Title companies do everything. Attorney not required.
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Old Oct 14th 2017, 2:47 am
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Default Re: Need Advice

Originally Posted by Llanthony View Post
We will soon begin the immigration process for my husband, and I get how that works but I need some help with other things.

I and my son are US citizens and I have lived in the UK for 20 years, we are now looking to move to the states in a year or so. I have been married to a UK citizen for 6 years.

We are planning to sell everything here and buy a house in the Chicago suburbs, where I am from. I will be buying in cash and as I have no US credit history and I have pets who are coming with us, so I prefer to buy. We will also be starting a small business a few months after we arrive, so there is no employer. We have enough to do this in cash but the budget is tight. I have read the forums and I'm having trouble with information on the following.

Can I as a US citizen open a US bank account while living abroad? If I need a local address can I use a family members address as my own? I have kept no ties to the US while I have been gone, but I have filed income tax returns.

You need an address. Family member's should be fine.


We have a lot of stuff we are moving back with us, not all furniture but business equipment we have gathered while learning our trade. As well as furniture and books, which are coming with, it would cost me more to replace them and some of it can not be replaced anyway. Do I need to have a moving company pack for me due to immigration of the household goods? Is it best to just hire a large company? Is there a way to pack it all myself without being at the port when it arrives?

ask Pulaski.!


Can I just walk into a car dealer ship in the US and buy a car? Will I be able to insure it? Do I need a US license in order to get insurance? Do I need a bill in my name to get a license? Will a bank statement do if I can get an account?

Are you looking for credit to buy the car? that would be the tricky point with no US credit history. Look at International Autosource, Mazda foreign resident program or VW International business program. You do not need a US license but it will be cheaper with it. Get and International Driving Permit from the UK, that helps. Also ask your current UK insurer's for no claims history and contact GEICO. To get a license look at the Illinois driving license requirements. I know all about Texas sorry.

Is there a how to book out there that is in depth on any of this? I find very basic information and all the immigration information but nothing for someone moving back.

I'm writing it!!!! In the meantime, I honestly think this forum is the best place to get advice.

Do I need to worry about the banks and where I put the money from the sale of property? Is transferwise the best bet to move cash? Has anyone used their bank accounts? Is there a offshore safe account that will allow me to transfer money into dollars when I choose? Transferwise have a £250,000 limit a year though and we have slightly over that. Can I purchase a house by transferring directly to the title company or will the funds need to be in my own bank first?
We used WorldFirst for our money to buy a house here. Get quotes but almost definitely don't use your bank for the transfer. You would need to have the funds in your bank.

Any help or pointers greatly appreciated.

don't know why but BE said my message was too short. strange. never been accused of brevity before...
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Old Oct 14th 2017, 2:52 am
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Default Re: Need Advice

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
don't know why but BE said my message was too short. strange. never been accused of brevity before...
Because you inserted all your additions between the [QÜOTE] and the [/QÜOTE], so it looked like a quote with no additional post by you.
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Old Oct 16th 2017, 1:05 am
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Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
Get and International Driving Permit from the UK, that helps.
How exactly does a translation of an English driving licence into, erm, English help?
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Old Oct 16th 2017, 1:09 am
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It gives the insurance companies all the information they need in a format they know about.
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Old Oct 16th 2017, 8:47 pm
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Default Re: Need Advice

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
It gives the insurance companies all the information they need in a format they know about.
I forget that their English is sub-par here!
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