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UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

Old Nov 8th 2017, 4:58 pm
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Default UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

Firstly, I want to say I wish I had found this place sooner, but better late than never!

I am very deep into my experience of relocating and it's been a difficult journey. Some context, we have no relocation/mobility team and this is the first intra-company employee transfer the company has done. It's a lot of new ground for everyone and we're somewhat making it up as we go along. We're using some external financial/relocation law expert services but it's been somewhat solo for the most part.

I've been offered a 1-year assignment from the US branch of the company, moving from the UK company. The offer was negotiated at length but I think I've got the important points covered, let me know if there's something I haven't considered... I've checked the wiki and I think I'm somewhat on point.

- 10$k relocation budget for me to use as expenses,
- salary increase,
- UK holiday allocation (25 days + US bank holidays),
- Storage container + UK car lease expenses covered,
- One return visit flight covered
- Similar US medical plan at the same cost as my UK medical cost.
- The option to move back to my previous position if things don't go well

However, unfortunately, it seems that I'll be moved onto the US payroll rather than the UK, which means a number of tax implications on my part. I'll have to pay into my pension/student loan directly. This raises some big questions - we'll have an accountant that I can talk to, but it seems I may be taking the lead on at least part of it... I've looked into a few things and it does seem fairly complicated - is there anything in particular I need to watch out for? I've been looking into the Totalization Agreement, for example, regarding the FICA payments that would be held from my earnings. My hope is that I'll be told what to do, but I want to make sure I cover myself regardless.

Other than this, my move is very soon... less than 2 weeks. The only preparation I've had time to do is applying for an international account with one of my current UK banks and contacting some realtors to look at some apartments. Oh - and I bought some thick clothing... I've heard it's going to get... cold in Chicago.

I understand I'm just spewing information and hoping but any advice/suggestions would be highly appreciated!

Thanks for taking the time to read
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 6:43 pm
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Default Re: UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

Welcome! I did London to Chicago move a year ago and have loved it so far. Not sure if you're coming from London or if it's elsewhere in the UK, but I've found Chicago to soften the blow of leaving what I've long considered one of the greatest cities in the world. Given it has not made me pang for 'home' that can only be a good thing. The restaurant and bar scene is vibrant and varied. And although O'Hare airport can be a dog fight, it is a major hub, so you can see other parts of North America easy enough. Norwegian will start flying London<->Chicago in March, so hopefully some really competitive European airfares to come too.

I didn't do a work relocation so I can't offer too much advice we regards to that, and my move is more permanent so I am cutting financial ties to the UK where I can.

With regards to areas to live. I've managed to get a bit of a feel with regards to this. Will you be working downtown (in the 'Loop')? There is plenty of high rise condo buildings near there (with plenty more going up). Just wait til you see what full amenity living is like! My apartment has a roof terrace, 8 BBQ's, outdoor pool, indoor whirlpool, sauna, steam room, gym, media/theatre room, a fully equipped chefs kitchen, bar room with billiards table, free* coffee machine, computer room with free* printing, wifi in common areas and many social events. And best of all, it's a short walk over the river to the Loop.

The 'L' (short for 'elevated') is the subway system. And it's fantastic if it connects two places you need to get to, but it is a fairly primitive 'star' configuration. Nowhere near as comprehensive as the Tube in London or the subway in NYC. I personally like anywhere along the Blue line to the NW of the city (in the direction of O'Hare): from River West up to Logan Square. But this will obviously be a personal preference.

Some areas are considered much less safe, and a massive generalization would be to say that it's South Side. I'm sure it's no different to any city with problems in pockets all over the place.

* not really free, as it's all covered by rent
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 7:14 pm
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Default Re: UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

Originally Posted by ch2016 View Post
Welcome! I did London to Chicago move a year ago and have loved it so far. Not sure if you're coming from London or if it's elsewhere in the UK, but I've found Chicago to soften the blow of leaving what I've long considered one of the greatest cities in the world. Given it has not made me pang for 'home' that can only be a good thing. The restaurant and bar scene is vibrant and varied. And although O'Hare airport can be a dog fight, it is a major hub, so you can see other parts of North America easy enough. Norwegian will start flying London<->Chicago in March, so hopefully some really competitive European airfares to come too.

I didn't do a work relocation so I can't offer too much advice we regards to that, and my move is more permanent so I am cutting financial ties to the UK where I can.

With regards to areas to live. I've managed to get a bit of a feel with regards to this. Will you be working downtown (in the 'Loop')? There is plenty of high rise condo buildings near there (with plenty more going up). Just wait til you see what full amenity living is like! My apartment has a roof terrace, 8 BBQ's, outdoor pool, indoor whirlpool, sauna, steam room, gym, media/theatre room, a fully equipped chefs kitchen, bar room with billiards table, free* coffee machine, computer room with free* printing, wifi in common areas and many social events. And best of all, it's a short walk over the river to the Loop.

The 'L' (short for 'elevated') is the subway system. And it's fantastic if it connects two places you need to get to, but it is a fairly primitive 'star' configuration. Nowhere near as comprehensive as the Tube in London or the subway in NYC. I personally like anywhere along the Blue line to the NW of the city (in the direction of O'Hare): from River West up to Logan Square. But this will obviously be a personal preference.

Some areas are considered much less safe, and a massive generalization would be to say that it's South Side. I'm sure it's no different to any city with problems in pockets all over the place.

* not really free, as it's all covered by rent

Hey - really appreciate you taking the time to reply! I'll be working from home and visiting customer sites (~50% of weekdays), so I was looking for similar to what you're describing, a high-rise apartment. From what I can tell they're pretty much hassle-free and are pretty secure, which is what I'm looking for if I'm darting around for a pretty stressful work life. So I was initially looking for somewhere around Lincoln Park since I really enjoyed the area when I visited, and I've no need to commute anywhere really. But looking around it's been quite difficult to find much around there, it seems most of the high-rises are around The Loop, like you've said - people say some great things about the area too. I'm a bit at a loss though, there's just a ridiculous amount of choice in terms of different high-rise apartments/condos. I've gotten in touch with CAF and hopefully they can show me some places. Appreciate any insight you have - the full-amenity lifestyle sounds pretty convenient and awesome.
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 8:44 pm
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Default Re: UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

Got to ask the question.

What visa are you on that is for one year and you are working from home ?
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 8:56 pm
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Default Re: UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl View Post
Got to ask the question.

What visa are you on that is for one year and you are working from home ?
L1B I'll only be working from home when I'm not travelling to customer sites... Excuse my ignorance but why is that a "got to ask question"?

Last edited by lylat; Nov 8th 2017 at 8:58 pm.
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 9:16 pm
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Default Re: UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

Originally Posted by lylat View Post
L1B I'll only be working from home when I'm not travelling to customer sites... Excuse my ignorance but why is that a "got to ask question"?
Only because company transfers are not usually one year assignments, and I'd never heard of companies doing FICA payments, so just wondered about the visa.

What is CAF by the way?
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 9:26 pm
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Default Re: UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

Originally Posted by lylat View Post
.... Excuse my ignorance but why is that a "got to ask question"?
Lots of people show up here with no idea about their visa and it isn't unheard of for someone to be "moving to the US" using the VWP or a B1/B2 visa and assuming that everything will be OK as long as they take a trip into Canada every few months (there are several major problems with that plan!). .... So anyone who doesn't volunteer basic details about their visa will usually be asked about their visa by one of the regulars here.

BTW welcome to BE!
Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl View Post
.... What is CAF by the way?
Chicago Apartment Finders, I think.

Last edited by Pulaski; Nov 8th 2017 at 9:48 pm.
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 9:34 pm
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Default Re: UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl View Post
Only because company transfers are not usually one year assignments, and I'd never heard of companies doing FICA payments, so just wondered about the visa.

What is CAF by the way?
Ah - when I mentioned "intra-company transfer", that's just quoting the type of visa I was using. This is more a year assignment (in hopes of becoming longer), than a permanent transfer, I see the confusion. I don't think there was any other type of visa-route we could have gone down other than the L1B in the situation... at least that's what I was told.

And yes - Pulaski is right, Chicago Apartment Finders
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 9:36 pm
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Default Re: UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Lots of people show up here with no idea about their visa and it isn't unheard of for people to be "moving to the US" using the VWP or a B1/B2 visa and assuming that everything will be OK as long as they take a trip into Canada every few months (there are several major problems with that plan!). .... So anyone who doesn't volunteer basic details about their visa will usually be asked about their visa by one of the regulars here.

BTW welcome to BE!

Chicago Apartment Finders, I think.
Understood, an important detail I forgot to mention
Thanks for the info and the welcome!
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 9:48 pm
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Default Re: UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

Originally Posted by lylat View Post
.... I don't think there was any other type of visa-route we could have gone down other than the L1B in the situation... at least that's what I was told. ....
That's right, there really isn't, and it isn't unheard of for someone to get an L-1 and never even move to the US, but just having the L-1 gives them the flexibility to come to the US and work without risking being turned away by a CBP immigration officer.
..... And yes - Pulaski is right, ...
It's good to have you here on BE. I think I like you already!
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Old Nov 9th 2017, 2:34 pm
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Default Re: UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

Congratulations! The issue that jumped out for me in your post was 'similar health plan.' I would just stress that you look at your health plan and in particular health coverage carefully. Because the devil is in the details in US plans and all are not created equal.
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Old Nov 9th 2017, 2:36 pm
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Default Re: UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

Originally Posted by vikingsail View Post
Congratulations! The issue that jumped out for me in your post was 'similar health plan.' I would just stress that you look at your health plan and in particular health coverage carefully. Because the devil is in the details in US plans and all are not created equal.
Thanks - I should hopefully be on the system soon so that I can choose my plan, that I believe, is the closest to the UK plan. I'll be sure to read into the details!
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Old Nov 9th 2017, 3:01 pm
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Default Re: UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

Originally Posted by lylat View Post
Thanks - I should hopefully be on the system soon so that I can choose my plan, that I believe, is the closest to the UK plan. I'll be sure to read into the details!
Beware of looking for the "closest to the UK" as that may not be at all what you need. Coming from the UK with the "all you can eat buffet" model of health insurance, it can be hard to accept that most people don't need and won't benefit from insurance that covers all things under all circumstances. .... It would be like expecting your car insurance to cover the replacement of tyres, windscreen wipers, and oil changes.

In most cases it is likely to be better to take insurance that covers you for major issues, expensive drugs and therapies, hospitalization, and chronic conditions, and then pay for basic visits to the GP, antibiotics, and other minor expenses out of a tax-free Health Savings Account (HSA). But you need the right sort of insurance (high deductible) to be allowed to open an HSA. In the worst case scenario you could switch back to a regular policy no more than 12 months later during "annual enrollment".

The amount you can save on the premiums could be enough to pay for a visit to your GP and a prescription every month, and still save you money compared to a "traditonal" health insurance policy!

Last edited by Pulaski; Nov 9th 2017 at 3:03 pm.
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Old Nov 9th 2017, 3:26 pm
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Default Re: UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

He = Pulaski is right you know, and he will likely surprised to hear me say that as we have this discussion in some form or other every few months. With this caveat. You should look closely at your circumstances and needs, especially if you have dependents when choosing. Pulaski's approach does take some active management and anticipation or possibly gamble of future events. For me, I always recommend a UK approach of all in because you never know what is around the corner re health events and one event in the US can easily wipe out gains.
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Old Nov 9th 2017, 3:26 pm
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Default Re: UK to Chicago.. in a couple weeks!

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Beware of looking for the "closest to the UK" as that may not be at all what you need. Coming from the UK with the "all you can eat buffet" model of health insurance, it can be hard to accept that most people don't need and won't benefit from insurance that covers all things under all circumstances. .... It would be like expecting your car insurance to cover the replacement of tyres, windscreen wipers, and oil changes.

In most cases it is likely to be better to take insurance that covers you for major issues, expensive drugs and therapies, hospitalization, and chronic conditions, and then pay for basic visits to the GP, antibiotics, and other minor expenses out of a tax-free Health Savings Account (HSA). But you need the right sort of insurance (high deductible) to be allowed to open an HSA. In the worst case scenario you could switch back to a regular policy no more than 12 months later during "annual enrollment".

The amount you can save on the premiums could be enough to pay for a visit to your GP and a prescription every month, and still save you money compared to a "traditonal" health insurance policy!


I see, I'll definitely have to look into it then. I have no current... issues so I'll have to take that into consideration. I don't tend to go to the GP/get prescriptions etc. Though saying that I'm slowly reaching the age where things are starting to ache...

Would you have anything else to comment in regards to the offer itself? Tax implications etc?

Thanks
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