A Guide to The UK for US Expats – Taxes, Culture and Travel
Most Americans find themselves amused by the British lifestyle. They marvel at the convenience, costs, and even fancy life in this highly domesticated and stable land.
If you identify yourself as an admirer and find yourself chasing a life in the UK, then pause. A lot’s going on behind the scenes that you do not know yet.
And that’s the very purpose of this article. Here we will acquaint you with the three most important realities & components of life in the UK. Brace yourself for some facts you might have never expected!
Insight to British Preferences
First, let’s get some basics clear. If you aren’t already aware of the UK’s popularity as an expatriate destination, then this is it! Every passing day, the United Kingdom is becoming more of a popular destination for temporary or permanent migration amongst US citizens. But before you hop on to the same train, you ought to know a bunch of basic etiquettes that will dictate your life.
Say you are traveling via the tube, ensure that you don’t break lines, block the flow of traffic, or stand on the left side of the escalator. Don’t get us wrong. The police will not arrest you for this crime. However, you may develop a bad reputation amongst the locals.
The same applies to paying for drinks. At times, when you go out with your British friends, they may pay for everyone’s drink. Now, you mustn’t mistake this as them being highly generous. Instead, they’d expect you to take your turn to pay in the next meetup. If you don’t, you might not hear from them again.
Similarly, you can use your hands with the palm facing towards your body as a peace sign in the USA. But in the UK it is an offensive sign. So, be careful with hand gestures.
We know, we know. These might sound overwhelming as they’re the tiniest details. But that’s how living in Britain would look like! You will have to change almost everything! So, before you make your final move, browse through the internet and consider the range and depth of changes that you will have to make.
Taxes in the UK
You’ve only had the basic insight. Now, let’s get to the core and explore the top three domains in detail. Amongst these, let’s talk about tax first because that’s what will legalize your presence in the UK.
As a non-resident, you might be paying tax for the income you generated in the UK only. However, residents of the UK who earn from within or outside the UK are bound to pay taxes on their income. If you are a US Expat, things become even more demanding and complicated. You will be accountable to the US government as well as the UK government. Under a few special laws, such as the FEIE, residents may get excluded from the due tax.
As you can already see, the tax matters become pretty complex when you are a US expat in Britain. So, we recommend relying on a UK Expat tax consultant. Allow a professional to handle the matters for you. Else you might find yourself buried deep in debt.
Culture & Environment in the UK
Now, let’s have a look at the UK’s weather. The first thing that you need to know is: Temperature’s measured in Degree Celsius instead of Fahrenheit here. The average range of temperature in the UK across most cities lies between 1° Celsius – 20° Celsius. Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland are the wettest places. And summers are generally cooler in the UK. You might also find winters a bit milder.
As for the culture, you might find it much more diverse than America’s. Sure, America houses people of all countries and regions, it is more of a random buzz on open land. The UK, in comparison, comprises a random buzz in an enclosed place or house. They have a diversity of their ways, and they will expect you to blend in.
Soccer or football is by far the most-watched and followed game in the UK. Almost every other individual appears to be passionate about their favorite league. As for socializing, there are several clean and inviting parks as well as local restaurants. However, pubs are the most active.
Travel in the UK
When traveling within the UK, it’s best to depend on cars and trains. Although the fuel for a car is expensive, it is much more budget-friendly than anything else. Owning a small car is an economically wise move, which is why we see several British people driving these.
As for traveling from city to city, you can depend on air travel. But again, traveling via railway is more economical and feasible. If you wish to visit your home country, you can go on air travel. For other countries like Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, etcetera, you can make use of ferry services too.
All in all, adjusting to the UK as a US Expat might be one of the most challenging yet thrilling experiences of your life. As you transition from one life to another, there are loads you’re going to learn!