Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

“Ready or not here I come!”

This is a great question to contemplate especially with so much turmoil in our global economy. “Would I be better off in the States?” or “Better the devil I know…?” It must be said that this is probably THE biggest decision you will make for you and your family so I would like to point out some major differences between the two countries and what life would / could be like should you choose to take the leap!

Regardless of your political beliefs, most people with a “Yes we can!” attitude will be able to look beyond the turmoil and use these times to their advantage. Both countries are indeed struggling with huge deficits, long unemployment lines, problems within their education and health arenas and the highest amount of property repossessions in quite some time. If you are one of the lucky few who still have savings, a job, a house and the will to take these unfortunate times and turn them into a positive, the only decision or question left to ask yourself is “Where would I rather be?”

If you’ve been to the USA on vacation one of the first things you will notice (after the wide freeways and huge cars) is the sheer space this country has to offer. Most would have traveled to Florida, the favored destination for UK holiday-makers. Take a look at a map of the USA and you will see there are 50 States within this massive country, each offering something unique from another. I loved Florida but the humidity was something I couldn’t cope with so we settled in California. Many of our clients end up in the Carolinas. The climate is similar to that of the UK and its scenery in Autumn is breath-taking. The point here is that you have so many options to choose from that you need to know what it is you’re looking for. A great area to raise a family? Somewhere to open a business? To move near family or friends? To start over where you won’t know anyone and no-one knows you?

So how far will your money stretch? One of the major differences between the UK and the USA is the cost of living. When I left the UK I remember the cost of living was horrendous (and this was nearly 8 years ago). To eat out cost a fortune, to park your car was a nightmare and our utility charges were ridiculous!

Housing of course has turned around and you can probably find great deals in the UK but to give you an example of the bargains here in California, thanks to foreclosures/ repossessions, a friend of ours just bought a 3 bedroomed, 2 bath house in California City for $27,000.00. We bought our 8 seater suburban for $8,000.00 and a convertible Sebring for just under $7,000.00. We can go out for a two course meal (including drinks) for under $30.00 (for two people) or stay at a 4 star hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada for around $30.00 a night. Now, bearing in mind we live in California, (one of the most expensive States in the US) that’s not bad. Gas/petrol is around $2.19 per gallon and our average shopping bill for a family of 4 is approximately $150.00 per week – that includes massive steaks for the Bar-B-Q!

When you work here in the US one of the big differences will be your vacation time (unless you own your own business, in which case you call the shots). The people here are “workaholics” and don’t get long vacation times allotted. This however can be compensated by the fact that (depending where you move to) most families spend their weekends barbequing, or out playing on their toys; dirt bikes, boats, jet ski’s, riding their street bikes. The weather here in California is predictable most of the time, so you know that if you plan to go to the beach in July, the weather will be perfect or plan to ski in January the snow will be just right. It would probably take a few years to tour every State but you can do it in style by renting or buying an RV. You could even tow your own car or Harley behind you! So once you settle in an RV park you can leave the home behind and ride your way through the tourist attractions.

Shopping here is a wonderful experience. Forget the hustle and bustle of over-crowded shopping centers with inadequate parking facilities that charge the earth. Parking is convenient and usually free! Some may say you have too many choices, but you know what? – it’s a shoppers paradise. At special times throughout the year, like Christmas, the malls and precincts are decorated with lights and wreaths to the hilt. Nothing like you’ve ever seen in England – it’s quite magical.

If you’re ready to make the move, just give us a call. We work with so many clients from all walks of life, world wide. With our help they have achieved their American Dream and are living proof that moving to the USA was the right one for them.

By Aileen Simblet
Staff Writer for Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Immigration Attorney
Admitted in New York.
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
520 Broadway, Suite 350,
Santa Monica,
California 90401
Tel: 310 496 4292