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Relocating to Houston...

Relocating to Houston...

Old Aug 23rd 2009, 10:53 pm
  #1  
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Default Relocating to Houston...

Hi all,

First post although I've been scanning for info for a while!

Currently based in Berkshire but my company has offered me a great job in their Houston office so we're considering relocating there. I'm a British Citizen but was born in the States and hold an American birth certificate so am currently in the process of applying for an American passport From all that I've researched I'm fairly hopeful I will get this, otherwise company will sort visa for me.

I'm looking to move over with my fiancee pre-christmas this year. Unfortunately as we're not married and she can't get an inter-company transfer she won't be able to work and we're hoping she can come across on a B2 visa as a cohabiting partner until we get married in the UK in 2011. Anybody here done anything similar?

As fiancee can't work and we have no kids, we'd like to be somewhere that has a range of facilities nearby and probably close to restaurants/shops etc rather than in a family suburb - any recommendations? Midtown/Rice U and Downtown have all been mentioned to us...

I come to Houston every 6-8 weeks or so but normally only for short trips and have never paid much attention to it from a residential point of view. My work will be based in the Energy Corridor on I10 and not overly concerned about the commute as figure it will be an improvement over my current commute in UK (1.75 hrs each way)

Still in discussions with company regarding relocation package but it's all sounding promising at the moment. Still trying to gather info on all the potential pitfalls/expenses though:

- driving - no US no-claims discount,
- credit history in US and having to put down large amounts of cash for rent/bills
- tax complications of keeping and renting out our place in the UK plus relocation bonus taxes

Any help or thoughts from anyone would be muchly appreciated!
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Old Aug 23rd 2009, 11:28 pm
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Default Re: Relocating to Houston...

Welcome to BE...

Have a search, loads of threads of folks moving to Houston and package advice.

Your a yank, get your passport...if your a bloke, you have to have filed for selective service and you are required to file your taxes even if nothing is owed.

Get married and bring the missus over that way, just registry and then have a proper ceremony later, problem solved...it's much quicker and easier as your resident in the UK, it becomes much more ball ache and expensive if you try bringing her over once you've moved here and this way she'll get a greencard once she lands too, so all problems sorted.
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Old Aug 24th 2009, 2:31 am
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Default Re: Relocating to Houston...

Hi there, welcome to BE. I am a Brit and have lived in Houston since 2005. Be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Firstly, the locations you mention sound like good options for you to check out if you're looking at being on top of bars, social aspects etc. Rice Village, Med Center, Mid Town, The Heights - all great locations for that type of thing. They are on the pricey side because of those amenities, but it will depend what you're looking for. You going to be renting or purchasing? If you're not working with a realtor already, I'd be happy to recommend a great one for you. Also:

Originally Posted by Bink View Post
I come to Houston every 6-8 weeks or so but normally only for short trips and have never paid much attention to it from a residential point of view.

I had been back and forth to Houston from the UK for the six years prior to our move here full time. Didn't prepare me as much as I thought it would for the actual permanent move. I kept waiting for the return flight and then kept realizing there wasn't one
Anyway, keep the questions coming - we're all here to help!
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Old Aug 24th 2009, 2:38 am
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Default Re: Relocating to Houston...

Ditto on Bob's advice re: getting married, it's the simplest way for you both and she will be able to work right away.

You might want to look at the marriage visa details on the marriage forum as I believe it can take 8 - 10 months for you to apply once you are both married (and you have your US passport), the peeps on there can advise you better.
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Old Aug 24th 2009, 2:43 am
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Default Re: Relocating to Houston...

Hi there, I work in relocation in Houston and would say the following:

Originally Posted by Bink View Post

- driving - no US no-claims discount - get copies of your no claims (presuming you have one) from the UK. There are two organizations I use regularly that will be good for insurance prior to your SSN and with your lack of history here. I'll PM them to you.
- credit history in US and having to put down large amounts of cash for rent/bills - again, get letters of credit from all your existing utility providers as this may help with the likes of Reliant (local electricity provider) asking for ridiculous deposits. There are simple ways to build your credit. I'll PM you a link to some information.

- tax complications of keeping and renting out our place in the UK plus relocation bonus taxes - can't help you with this one I'm afraid. Is your employer going to offer you tax counseling/assistance as part of the relocation package. If so, the accountant they provide you with would be a good bet to have this conversation with.
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Old Aug 24th 2009, 3:43 am
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Default Re: Relocating to Houston...

Originally Posted by The Horticulturalist View Post
You might want to look at the marriage visa details on the marriage forum as I believe it can take 8 - 10 months for you to apply once you are both married (and you have your US passport), the peeps on there can advise you better.
If resident in the UK, can get married and apply straight away for her CR1, but your right in that the processing takes around 8-10 months.
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Old Aug 24th 2009, 4:09 am
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Default Re: Relocating to Houston...

Originally Posted by Bink View Post
I'm looking to move over with my fiancee pre-christmas this year. Unfortunately as we're not married and she can't get an inter-company transfer she won't be able to work and we're hoping she can come across on a B2 visa as a cohabiting partner until we get married in the UK in 2011. Anybody here done anything similar?
She won't qualify for a B2 -- that's for significant others on a non-immigrant visa. Perhaps consider getting married earlier.
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Old Aug 24th 2009, 5:07 am
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Default Re: Relocating to Houston...

Originally Posted by Bink View Post
Hi all,

First post although I've been scanning for info for a while!

Currently based in Berkshire but my company has offered me a great job in their Houston office so we're considering relocating there. I'm a British Citizen but was born in the States and hold an American birth certificate so am currently in the process of applying for an American passport From all that I've researched I'm fairly hopeful I will get this, otherwise company will sort visa for me.

Still in discussions with company regarding relocation package but it's all sounding promising at the moment. Still trying to gather info on all the potential pitfalls/expenses though:

- driving - no US no-claims discount,
- credit history in US and having to put down large amounts of cash for rent/bills
- tax complications of keeping and renting out our place in the UK plus relocation bonus taxes

Any help or thoughts from anyone would be muchly appreciated!
When you leave the UK you submit a P85 - if your want to let your UK flat you should also submit an NRL1 - this allows you to receive your rent gross (otherwise your tenant or agent has to deduct tax each month and pay it to the UK tax man).

Your UK property will be treated as a UK income in the UK - i.e. you will be taxed like you are running a small business in the UK (as per normal self assessment). You have an income (rent) and outgoings (mortgage interest, insurance fees, agents fees etc) and a net profit - you submit your UK self assessment (and the property letting pages therein) and you may or may not pay tax in the UK (if you make less that the 6K personal allowance you will pay none, after that 20% and so on).

BUT, your UK lettings business will also be taxed in the US - you basically do the same income/outgoings listing (but there are more allowances like depreciation - see a tax advisor, get you company to pay for one if you can) and the net profit gets added to your salary and taxed at your marginal rate.

IF you did pay some tax in the UK, you are allowed to deduct this in your US return (so you are not double taxed), but the US tax does have the effect of losing your UK personal allowance in the calculation.

Bugger - after reading that even I'm confused

In summary - you are liable for tax in the UK and liable for tax in the US, if you do pay any in the UK you can deduct it from your US to avoid double taxation.

See if you company will stump up for some international tax advice.
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Old Aug 24th 2009, 11:32 am
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Default Re: Relocating to Houston...

All US citizens are required to file US income tax returns every year, so you may have to deal with that bit with some back filings if you are not uptodate. The fact you were born in the US made you a US citizen automatically, regardless of other passports you may hold unless you formally renounced citizenship when you reached a certain age (which I'm gathering is a no). You will also have to register with the selective service (I think you can do it online).

There is a messageboard for Yanks in the UK that might offer some guidance about the tax issues and whatnot.
http://talk.uk-yankee.com/ You might post there and they can steer you in the right direction to get things cleared up (if needed). They have a special thread just dealing with tax issues: http://talk.uk-yankee.com/index.php?board=11.0

You could do a quickie wedding (i.e. not tell anyone but the legal authorities) to move her visa paperwork forward. Later (like 2010 or whenever you were planning it) you could have a big formal to-do in a church with presents and cake and all that.

Last edited by penguinsix; Aug 24th 2009 at 11:34 am.
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Old Aug 24th 2009, 11:48 am
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Default Re: Relocating to Houston...

Originally Posted by Cape Blue View Post
When you leave the UK you submit a P85 - if your want to let your UK flat you should also submit an NRL1 - this allows you to receive your rent gross (otherwise your tenant or agent has to deduct tax each month and pay it to the UK tax man).

Your UK property will be treated as a UK income in the UK - i.e. you will be taxed like you are running a small business in the UK (as per normal self assessment). You have an income (rent) and outgoings (mortgage interest, insurance fees, agents fees etc) and a net profit - you submit your UK self assessment (and the property letting pages therein) and you may or may not pay tax in the UK (if you make less that the 6K personal allowance you will pay none, after that 20% and so on).

BUT, your UK lettings business will also be taxed in the US - you basically do the same income/outgoings listing (but there are more allowances like depreciation - see a tax advisor, get you company to pay for one if you can) and the net profit gets added to your salary and taxed at your marginal rate.

IF you did pay some tax in the UK, you are allowed to deduct this in your US return (so you are not double taxed), but the US tax does have the effect of losing your UK personal allowance in the calculation.

Bugger - after reading that even I'm confused

In summary - you are liable for tax in the UK and liable for tax in the US, if you do pay any in the UK you can deduct it from your US to avoid double taxation.

See if you company will stump up for some international tax advice.
You should add that into the wiki as it's a regular posting pretty much, UK taxes whilst in the US
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Old Aug 24th 2009, 1:09 pm
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Default Re: Relocating to Houston...

Originally Posted by fatbrit View Post
She won't qualify for a B2 -- that's for significant others on a non-immigrant visa. Perhaps consider getting married earlier.
Really?! This concerns me!
We don't particularly want to change our wedding plans (we already have not insignificant non-refundable deposits down on it - of course we didn't know about the relocation when we booked it!) and its what we both want.
A 'quickie' marriage is not what we want. It's frustrating that the US doesn't recognise co-habitation as we've been going out over 8 years and have owned a place and lived together for 4.

As far as the B2 visa goes, I was under the impression (and advice) that it is a tourist/pleasure visa and so long as we can prove that she will return to the UK after a defined period of time (which I believe we can), she would be eligible for this, despite the fact that I would be a US citizen.
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Old Aug 24th 2009, 2:04 pm
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Default Re: Relocating to Houston...

Doesn't that only allow her to stay for 90 days though? and if you are thinking of just sending her 'home' for temp' visits between using another visitor visa, that can cause major problems too. Lots of info in old threads regarding these issues.

Good luck though, you could still use your long distant wedding plans in the future, but it really would be a lot easier to do the registry office thing now and have the biggie later as originally planned
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Old Aug 24th 2009, 2:52 pm
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Default Re: Relocating to Houston...

Originally Posted by Bink View Post
Really?! This concerns me!
We don't particularly want to change our wedding plans (we already have not insignificant non-refundable deposits down on it - of course we didn't know about the relocation when we booked it!) and its what we both want.
A 'quickie' marriage is not what we want. It's frustrating that the US doesn't recognise co-habitation as we've been going out over 8 years and have owned a place and lived together for 4.

As far as the B2 visa goes, I was under the impression (and advice) that it is a tourist/pleasure visa and so long as we can prove that she will return to the UK after a defined period of time (which I believe we can), she would be eligible for this, despite the fact that I would be a US citizen.
You'll be moving to the US as a citizen, so no B visa for her.
Even if you were going on a non immigrant visa (like most of the Brits getting a company transfer), there's no guarantee that she would get one even then.

There are quite a few people on here (I can't remember who you are!!) who simply got married more quickly than they had intended so that they could live together in the USA.

I know that you'll lose your deposit on all the wedding stuff, but you're going to spend a lot on money on flights over the next two years if you want to see each other. If you want to be together your only option is to get married ASAP so that you can apply for the visa for her.

Maybe if you speak nicely to the wedding people that you've booked with and explain that you're leaving the country you might get something back, given that it's two years away? It's worth asking!
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Old Aug 24th 2009, 3:18 pm
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Default Re: Relocating to Houston...

Originally Posted by Bink View Post
Really?! This concerns me!
We don't particularly want to change our wedding plans (we already have not insignificant non-refundable deposits down on it - of course we didn't know about the relocation when we booked it!) and its what we both want.
A 'quickie' marriage is not what we want. It's frustrating that the US doesn't recognise co-habitation as we've been going out over 8 years and have owned a place and lived together for 4.

As far as the B2 visa goes, I was under the impression (and advice) that it is a tourist/pleasure visa and so long as we can prove that she will return to the UK after a defined period of time (which I believe we can), she would be eligible for this, despite the fact that I would be a US citizen.
Were you not a USC, you would be coming over on a non-immigrant visa sponsored by your company. In such a case, a B2 for your cohabiting significant other would be a given.

However, you're a USC and therefore cannot apply for a non-immigrant visa. A B2 for your significant other under these circumstances is a much, much riskier proposition. Possible, certainly, but far from likely. And if refused, it will raise red flags that will make a VWP entry more difficult.

You have a complex immigration problem. Even marriage tomorrow will not solve it if you are starting work in the next couple of months..
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Old Aug 24th 2009, 4:22 pm
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Default Re: Relocating to Houston...

Originally Posted by Bink View Post
As far as the B2 visa goes, I was under the impression (and advice) that it is a tourist/pleasure visa and so long as we can prove that she will return to the UK after a defined period of time (which I believe we can), she would be eligible for this, despite the fact that I would be a US citizen.
You're crazy. She is not because you are.

I would have been more than happy to have my love monkey come over and live in the US w/out working for 6 months at a stretch. We'd still have an apartment in Greece and I'd still be filing single.
(well, maybe, honey )
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