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Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

Old Jan 27th 2016, 3:43 pm
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Default Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

Hi Everyone

My wife, son and I will be moving to North County San Diego in April and I wanted to make a journal of our experiences arranging our relocation, hopefully this may help other in the future and will be something for us to look back on! I’m sure we’ll get some invaluable input from the folks here on British Expats.

I created a previous thread asking for recommendations on areas to live but decided to create a new thread with a more appropriate title and content!

Visas

I am transferring via work on an L1 Visa. My wife and son will be on L2 visas. We’re currently waiting for confirmation of our interview at the embassy in London for these.

House

We currently own a property in scotland which we intend to rent out whilst in the USA, We did consider selling the property prior to moving as this will hopefully be a permanent move in the long run! However we decided it would be wise to keep it as a safety net or for whatever reason we are forced to return to the uk. The rent will cover the mortgage payments and between me and my wife fall below the current uk taxable income. In the long term it could become a reliable source of income.
We’ve arranged for a letting agent to take care of the property and have received consent to let for our property from the mortgage provider, however we are currently looking at cheaper alternatives with a broker. But this would tie us into a fixed term again, which could create issues/fines if we decided to sell after a year.
Obviously if we do later choose to sell the property we could potentially face CGT, though I believe we have 18months to make this decision, and then it’s on taxed on profit from when we last lived in the property as opposed to the entire property’s value?
We’ve decided to rent on our arrival in San Diego, and are currently in discussion with a few gated complex’s/communities, we felt this was the best idea to get a feel for the areas we do or don’t like. Plus until we get a more permanent residence (GC) I would be apprehensive of purchasing a property.

Belongings:

We’re hoping to travel with minimal belongings and are currently having a big clear out/selling items we won’t be able to bring with us, mainly electricals at this stage. I do need to arrange for some moving companies to give us quotes but currently I have no idea exactly what we definitely will be taking. A lot of our furniture (ikea) could possibly be brought on the other side cheaper than the shipping cost?

Pets

We will be taking our two cats with us, they will be joining us a few days after we arrive as I couldn’t imagine trying to navigate the airport after a 12+ hr flight with my wife, son and multiple bags and then potentially spending the first few nights in a hotel, would be a bit too cramped! We’re currently in the process of visiting vets for the relevant jabs and pet passport. We’ve also contacted PetAir for the relocation who have been highly recommended on here and many other places.


Work

My wife will be applying for an EAD when we arrive, which i believe takes roughly 3 months to arrange. There is the possibility she may be able to transfer within her work, but at this moment it is uncertain. Otherwise we will be looking for work in advance of receiving the EAD in the hope she can get something lined up.

Vehicles

On the advice of others on this board we have contacted International Autosource and are currently arranging for 2 vehicles as I’ve been told we’ll both need one due to the location and lack of public transport, one will be on lease and the other on finance. I will hopefully be arranging car rental with them also until our cars arrive, as an added benefit they include the AIG inbound travel scheme with their cars.

We will be booking ourselves in for theory/practical tests as soon as we possibly can, California has a 60 day limit to obtain a licence once you become a resident.

Finances

I’ve been told that’s its relatively easy to open an account on arrival with Wells Fargo, using my works address until we have our permanent address. The plan is to get a secured credit card and build our credit rating for 12months, at this point hopefully we would be able to arrange a more traditional credit card/refinance the car etc. I’ve not yet looked at the AIG benefits but this could potentially be an alternative.
We fully intend to hire an accountant once it comes to taxes at least for the first year, I’ll also be looking into an ITIN for my son.
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Old Jan 27th 2016, 4:58 pm
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Default Re: Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

The personal allowance for rental income is going to zero in 2017. You may be required to pay both UK and US income tax on the property. You should also get a valuation before you leave to determine the building value excluding the land for tax purposes. You may also be subject to CGT.

I was able to bring my cat in the cabin with United for 50 GBP. This was a very easy option. I had also looked at pet carriers. Only certain airlines allow pets onboard.

I would also invest (many are free) in some tax software in addition to the accountant. I learnt a lot by going through the software and was able to double check my CPA calculations.

Ikea prices are similar in the US to the UK. I found it cheaper just to start again.
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Old Jan 27th 2016, 6:17 pm
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Default Re: Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

Originally Posted by Aansell View Post
I’ve been told that’s its relatively easy to open an account on arrival with Wells Fargo, using my works address until we have our permanent address. The plan is to get a secured credit card and build our credit rating for 12months, at this point hopefully we would be able to arrange a more traditional credit card/refinance the car etc. I’ve not yet looked at the AIG benefits but this could potentially be an alternative.
We fully intend to hire an accountant once it comes to taxes at least for the first year, I’ll also be looking into an ITIN for my son.
Wells Fargo will want a residential address to open the account and this can be a foreign address. Take along proof of this residential address - bank statements/utility bills/tax statements, my wells fargo manager told me this is a federal requirement upon opening the account. Once the account has been approved you can immediately change the address to a local one - a mailbox at the Post Office is a good idea until you get a permanent address. You wil be able to leave the bank with a temporary debit card and temporary cheques and the permanent ones will be mailed to you, so a PO Box is perhaps more secure? Don't forget to also take along a government proof of ID like your passport.

You will be able to apply for a credit card once you have your social security number. As you mentioned, you should be able to get a secured card through wells fargo. A better idea though, is to use AIG to help you get a non-secured card - this will mean that you won't have money tied up in a secured credit card. Advancial seems to be the one that most people end up getting with about a $1500 limit that gets increased fairly quickly once they see how you are using it. This is probably better for building your credit history too - important if you are looking at re-financing a car. On that note, how do you intend to finance a car in the first place?
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Old Jan 27th 2016, 11:10 pm
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Default Re: Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

How old is your son?

You sound like you've got the main things covered :-)
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Old Jan 28th 2016, 8:05 am
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Default Re: Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

Best piece of advice we received was to open an American Express credit card while in the UK. Once in the US, contact them and have the account transferred. Easy peasy!
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Old Jan 28th 2016, 9:47 am
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Default Re: Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

Hi all and thanks for the response so far!

I’ve seen that the government are currently looking for a method to reduce the personal tax allowance for expats. Though it doesn’t look like this would come into force until April 2017 at the earliest. That would at least give us a year to decide our course of action, see what change if any there are and how that would affect us financially. We’d still thankfully not be liable to any CGT 12 months down the line it seems. As for the rent we wouldn’t be making a huge profit affecting deducting mortgage interest/fees etc and surely any tax we would pay here would be deductible on our us tax due to the dual tax treaty?

I’ve seen a few people mention taking pets on board it definitely seems the cheaper option! I’m not sure who we’re flying with just yet as no flights have been booked, but once they are it’s a discussion I’ll have with the airline to see what the options are.
Didn’t realise Wells Fargo would need a residential address, I’ll be sure to take something from our current address for opening the account and changing it swiftly afterwards to something more local and convenient! Thanks for the heads up.
I’ve yet to read into the AIG benefits but if I can get a unsecured card straight away that would definitely be beneficial, rather than having to tie money up as a deposit on a secured card.

We’re financing the car via International Autosource, who I believe set up the finance directly with the dealer, most likely Ford in our case. The rates don’t seem to be too bad but not as competitive as some of the options out there. I figured after 12 months of credit building there may be a few better options open to us via banks or local credit unions that could reduce the monthly payments.
Our son is still a wee one! He will be 11 Months old when we move so no need to look at schools just yet, though we will need to consider nursery/childcare when/if my wife goes back to work.

Thanks for the American express tip, I think my wife has an account already but it maybe worth making that joint or getting my own if that’s the case! Definitely a few different options that i need to look into now!

Has anyone renting had much success haggling prices down, there seems to be a few nice apartment complexes around all roughly a similar price so i'm wondering if the competition would allow them to be a bit flexible when it comes to prices?
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Old Jan 28th 2016, 11:09 am
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Default Re: Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

Welcome to British Expats Aansell!

When you come to get quotes from moving companies this guide takes you through the process from finding companies to invite to quote, how to compare your quotes and how to book with lots of tips to help you get the most for your money and avoid rogue traders. Hope it helps!

http://britishexpats.com/forum/overs...ompany-851592/
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Old Jan 28th 2016, 11:20 am
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Default Re: Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

I thought CA was 15 days?
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Old Jan 28th 2016, 2:04 pm
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Default Re: Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

I think the pet jabs (rabies) need to be done within a week of departure or very close to departure from what I remember. Or maybe it was just the certificate to say the pet was fit to fly.
Also there are a lot of pet friendly hotels in the US if you decide to take your cats on board.
In my case it was a lot less hassle as I had a place to stay when I got here. I just walked through immigration with my cat effectively. No paperwork, making appointments etc.
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Old Jan 28th 2016, 2:25 pm
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Default Re: Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
I think the pet jabs (rabies) need to be done within a week of departure or very close to departure from what I remember. Or maybe it was just the certificate to say the pet was fit to fly.
Also there are a lot of pet friendly hotels in the US if you decide to take your cats on board.
I always suggest getting the pet up to date on rabies shots prior to arrival so that the pet is fully protected from the word go. One is going to be so crazed, sorting out so many things, that it makes sense to have one less thing to worry about. Just check which type of rabies vaccine the destination state requires.
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Old Jan 28th 2016, 2:43 pm
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Default Re: Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
I always suggest getting the pet up to date on rabies shots prior to arrival so that the pet is fully protected from the word go. One is going to be so crazed, sorting out so many things, that it makes sense to have one less thing to worry about. Just check which type of rabies vaccine the destination state requires.
You also have to get a rabies shot very soon, few days, after bringing the pet into the US. That may have been a state requirement.

Looking on CDC website, things may have changed a bit

http://www.cdc.gov/importation/bring...ates/cats.html

My inspection consisted of the customs asking if my cat was OK, I answered "yes" and that was it.

Last edited by mrken30; Jan 28th 2016 at 2:47 pm.
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Old Jan 28th 2016, 2:51 pm
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Default Re: Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
You also have to get a rabies shot very soon, few days, after bringing the pet into the US. That may have been a state requirement.

Looking on CDC website, things may have changed a bit

Cats | Bringing an Animal into U.S. | Importation | CDC

My inspection consisted of the customs asking if my cat was OK, I answered "yes" and that was it.
Whatever the regs, it just makes life so much simpler for the animal to be up to date on rabies protection upon arrival.
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Old Jan 28th 2016, 3:34 pm
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Default Re: Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post
I thought CA was 15 days?
Last time I checked I think it was 10 days.
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Old Jan 28th 2016, 3:37 pm
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Default Re: Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

OP, where in North County are you looking at?

Happy to help if you have any more detailed questions on the area.
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Old Jan 28th 2016, 4:33 pm
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Default Re: Rainy Scotland to Sunny Cali

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
Whatever the regs, it just makes life so much simpler for the animal to be up to date on rabies protection upon arrival.
They use different type of vaccines in the UK, hence the second jab. I think one is a dead vaccine and one is live
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