Hello
Guest

Sponsored Links


Topic: Greetings  (Read 447 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 4

  • Liked: 0
  • Joined: Oct 2019
Greetings
« on: October 23, 2019, 06:08:26 PM »
I stumbled on UK Yankee earlier today while trying to figure out the UK education system. I was vaguely aware public schools weren't public schools but I'm only starting to understand all the differences now that we're contemplating a move. I have many questions, but first an introduction:

About Me/Us
We are Americans, comprised of my wife, daughter (10.5yo), son (8yo), and myself. My wife and I are both attorneys, she works at a large tech company in California and I'm heavily involved in politics and technology.

Large moves are not foreign (haha) to us. After college, I moved from California to Virginia for law school where I met my wife. We settled in DC for 15 years before she took a job at the aforementioned tech company. That necessitated the relocation from the DC-area to the San Francisco Area about 6 years ago. Now that same company is contemplating sending her to London for the foreseeable future.

She and I are excited about the potential move. During law school, she did a semester at Cambridge and loves the UK. My political career has typically included international relations, albeit I've only ever lived in the US.

One last item of introduction before my questions--I consider myself very funny, my wife generally disagrees. Anything written below that can be considered sarcasm should be considered such. :)

Initial Concerns
We're both planners, and have many initial concerns. Obviously there are the logistics concerns, but many of those will be handled by her company (e.g. visas). I think our primary concerns are rather pedestrian and concern: Work, Taxes, Schools, and House. I'd love any insights others are willing to give or links to other pages on the forums (I've begun to muddle through the forums).

IC1. Work
Assuming my wife gets a Tier 2 Visa for an international company transfer, then I believe this entitles me to a spousal Tier 2 visa that grants the right to work in the UK (Please disabuse me of this notion if I'm wrong about this). Smashing. In the short term, I will like to "commute" from London to Chicago for a week each month to finish a project there while looking for gainful employment in (ideally) the government sector within the UK or at the US Embassy or other international governance body (e.g. NATO etc). Any suggestions or tips on this would be appreciated--I've already created a CV due to work within the university setting, but other significant differences from US-based job searches would be welcome.

IC2. Taxes
At first blush, UK taxes appear higher than US taxes, but I think that might be incorrect. We obviously have Federal, State, and Payroll taxes in the US. I believe that the UK simply has the national tax. Is that correct? If so, even the top bracket of 40% is likely lower than Federal+State+Payroll rates back here. I also know that we will have to file taxes back in the US as well. What I'm curious about is whether others have found taxes to largely balance out or if there was a surprising tax burden that made your UK move much less of a wise financial decision. Love to learn from your mistakes :)

Also, how are stock compensation treated by the UK? In the US they're treated as income on receipt and then an additional tax is levied on profit when you sell them. Does that work the same in the UK? Or are you annually taxed on stock holdings (e.g. a wealth tax)?

IC3. Schools
This is arguably the stickiest wicket for a potential move. My daughter (10.5yo) is currently in the US 5th grade and would be starting middle school next year. My son (8yo) is in the 2d grade and also has an IEP for speech enunciation without a learning component. Both kids attend our local state-run elementary school. I have a thousand concerns/questions here:

a. If we go the UK Independent School option, are both kids right for prep school or is our daughter likely too old for prep school and would need to apply to secondary school?

b. Are boarding schools still a thing? Or can our children, whom we're generally fond of (usually), continue to live with us?

c. I looked over the ISEB website and the examination syllabuses include multiple foreign language elements--our schools do not begin foreign language until high school--is this required to attend an independent secondary school in the UK?

d. Can you even get into a prep school between Autumn and Winter terms?

e. California elementary school largely ignore spelling, and assume this will be picked up in time. My daughter's spelling is much improved (the system works!) but my son's 2nd grade spelling is atrocious. Should we assume that he'll be kicked out of school and begin working on the docks, or is there still hope for higher education?

f. My daughter is a gifted writer but stubborn about maths (she refuses to memorize her times tables, and California education is lax on this point). Assuming that her secondary entrance exams are taken in the 6th grade Autumn (her 11-12 year old school year), would it be wise to hire a tutor to quickly bring her up to UK speed?

g. Anyone who has gone through the US Public Elementary to UK Prep School transition, I would highly value your experience as well as stories about what did and did not work for your family.

h. If we elect for state-run schools, how would you compare them to US schools? I completely understand and accept this is a very broad question as one can hardly generalize about London's collection of state-run schools much less all of the US. There will be good/bad everywhere. My understanding is that state-run schools have a tiny geographic element and might also have an admissions process? Are these schools underrated or would attendance consign my children to an instant cockney accent and staring role in a 21st century Oliver Twist?

i. Anything else we're failing to consider?

IC4. Homes
We're currently renting in the Bay Area. We attempted to buy a home last year, but decided the Bay Area prices were too insane and we opted out of the market. Going rate for a 1200sqft home was approaching $2M USD. So London seems affordable! We're contemplating buying a home in the UK. This is likely the least important question because you learn a lot going through the process.

Did anyone here buy a home in close proximity to their move?

General rule of thumb in the US is 5+ years makes a home good investment, is that also the case in the UK? How easy/difficult is it to sell a home on leaving the UK?

A credit score and assets are the primary factors to getting a US mortgage. Does the UK have a similar process? How quickly can you establish a credit rating for such a mortgage?

Assuming schools are our top consideration for location, where would you look to live?

We're both a little concerned about learning to drive on the left side of the road. We've also lived in NYC and DC where we sold our cars. Would any expats here recommend going car-less and living close to public transport? Or, if education is our primary concern for location, would you advise living outside the city and learning to drive on the left?

General Questions
1. What's the deal with cricket? Is the batter on defense or offense?
2. My wife and son are allergic to dairy. Will they starve?
3. Having done the move would you recommend putting possessions into storage and/or selling them, or would you go through the hassle of a trans-globe shipment of things like couches and beds?
4. What was the biggest expense that you didn't expect to encounter?
5. How often are British soldiers being quartered with you? Given our third amendment, I assume it is at least once a fortnight? Surely that is the source of the term--making your house a fort once every two weeks.
6. My wife says I talk/write too much. Was this too much?


  • *
  • Posts: 2359

  • Liked: 618
  • Joined: Jan 2017
Re: Greetings
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2019, 06:18:50 PM »
I can't answer any of your questions as I moved here on a spousal visa and I live in Scotland. My children are all adults and couldn't move with me.

But I wanted to welcome you and I'm sure some of our experts will be around to answer as much as they can shortly.

Oh... I can answer one question for you. Unfortunately, British soldiers are not quartered with us. I came over here hoping to get bunked with the Royal Navy. Alas, it hasn't happened.

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk



  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 4

  • Liked: 0
  • Joined: Oct 2019
Re: Greetings
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2019, 06:26:09 PM »
Thanks for the welcome!

I figured I'd toss up all the questions on one post, both as introduction and as a way to start organizing my own thinking about the potential move, with specific answers likely coming from across the entire site.

As to the RN, my understanding is that you can summon an Able Seaman by placing a lime wedge adjacent to grog and a stale biscuit. It's a simple spell but quite unbreakable.


  • *
  • Posts: 2359

  • Liked: 618
  • Joined: Jan 2017
Re: Greetings
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2019, 06:30:38 PM »
Thanks for the welcome!

I figured I'd toss up all the questions on one post, both as introduction and as a way to start organizing my own thinking about the potential move, with specific answers likely coming from across the entire site.

As to the RN, my understanding is that you can summon an Able Seaman by placing a lime wedge adjacent to grog and a stale biscuit. It's a simple spell but quite unbreakable.
I used to live in a Navy liberty port. (Florida) I'm afraid if I get any closer to Dumbartonshire and the submarine base there they will come running to see their old girlfriend.

I've since had my Go Down With A Submariner tattoo covered up with a mermaid. But I'm sure I can still easily summon them. It didn't even take a lime wedge. Just a sweet smile and an offer of a ride back to the port.

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk



  • *
  • Posts: 14478

  • Liked: 4864
  • Joined: Sep 2010
Re: Greetings
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2019, 06:32:27 PM »
Welcome!  :)

March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.


  • *
  • Posts: 16261

  • Liked: 3900
  • Joined: Jun 2012
  • Location: Wokingham
Re: Greetings
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2019, 07:58:27 PM »
The big thing will be the visa.

If your wife is issued with a Tier 2 Intracompany Transfer, it is a temporary move with a maximum stay of 5 years.  This visa does not lead to settlement and you can’t switch to another visa without a 12 month cooling off period outside of the UK.

It will be highly unlikely you will obtain a mortgage while on a visa.  As the Tier 2 ICT doesn’t lead to settlement, a mortgage is off the table.  You can pay cash though, that’s not an issue.

Mull those bits over and then we can talk taxes and school!


  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 4

  • Liked: 0
  • Joined: Oct 2019
Re: Greetings
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2019, 08:04:49 PM »
That was a concern that I had regards to a mortgage. Does it change that dynamic if she is entitled to the 9 year Tier 2 visa?

If not, then we'll need to contemplate either buying (much) further out for an all cash purchase, or renting closer in. I see trade offs on both plans, but what isn't a trade off?

Regarding renting, is such a thing possible if you have cats? I'm getting up to speed on the transport of cats from the US to the UK.

Thanks!


  • *
  • Posts: 3438

  • Liked: 681
  • Joined: Apr 2016
Re: Greetings
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2019, 10:32:08 PM »
That was a concern that I had regards to a mortgage. Does it change that dynamic if she is entitled to the 9 year Tier 2 visa?

If not, then we'll need to contemplate either buying (much) further out for an all cash purchase, or renting closer in. I see trade offs on both plans, but what isn't a trade off?

Regarding renting, is such a thing possible if you have cats? I'm getting up to speed on the transport of cats from the US to the UK.

Thanks!
You can rent with cats, it's just a bit more difficult to find places. Make sure the company is paying enough for her to have a nice flat in London and I'm sure you'll be able to find one that permits your feline family. I'm here on a spousal visa, but my kitty came with and we rent. Couldn't be without her!

I think you may find employment as the trailing spouse may be a bit more tricky than you realise. If you're looking for UK government roles, you may need specific security clearances that you simply can't get as a US citizen on a short visa (most have residence requirements of many years if being a US citizen isn't an issue). It may be different if working for the US government here but I would say that's fairly specialised and probably beyond the expertise of most people on this board!

Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk



  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 4

  • Liked: 0
  • Joined: Oct 2019
Re: Greetings
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2019, 10:49:18 PM »
You can rent with cats, it's just a bit more difficult to find places. Make sure the company is paying enough for her to have a nice flat in London and I'm sure you'll be able to find one that permits your feline family. I'm here on a spousal visa, but my kitty came with and we rent. Couldn't be without her!

Good to know that it's possible to rent with cats. We had a difficult time moving across the US with the fur factories.

I think you may find employment as the trailing spouse may be a bit more tricky than you realise. If you're looking for UK government roles, you may need specific security clearances that you simply can't get as a US citizen on a short visa (most have residence requirements of many years if being a US citizen isn't an issue). It may be different if working for the US government here but I would say that's fairly specialised and probably beyond the expertise of most people on this board!

Fortunately that whole special relationship thing extends to clearances for fellow Five Eyes nations. I don't think it is easy, but I do know that it is possible and I've been chatting with a few fellow colleagues who made the move. I'm also looking at various think tanks that might be a little easier to join as an expat. That being said, if anyone on here happened to make a USG to HMG transfer work, I'd love to hear about your experiences.


  • *
  • Posts: 16261

  • Liked: 3900
  • Joined: Jun 2012
  • Location: Wokingham
Re: Greetings
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2019, 11:21:33 PM »
That was a concern that I had regards to a mortgage. Does it change that dynamic if she is entitled to the 9 year Tier 2 visa?

If not, then we'll need to contemplate either buying (much) further out for an all cash purchase, or renting closer in. I see trade offs on both plans, but what isn't a trade off?

Regarding renting, is such a thing possible if you have cats? I'm getting up to speed on the transport of cats from the US to the UK.

Thanks!

Unfortunately not.  I had a good friend who did the 9 year route.  They repatriated back to the USA at the end, and had a VERY tough first year back.  She said they decided, as a family, to pretend the last year didn’t happen and to start afresh. 

Her kids area bit younger.  They moved back when her son was sitting the 11+ exam and were glad to leave then.
The 11+ exam is a big exam (a bit like SAT’s) that determines which secondary school you child attends.  Very shortly after entering secondary school, they need to be thinking about “what they want to be when they grow up”.


  • *
  • Posts: 5684

  • Liked: 1420
  • Joined: Sep 2015
Re: Greetings
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2019, 08:51:20 AM »
Welcome to the board CA2UK!
Unfortunately, like most on this board, I am unqualified to offer much advice about many of the things you are concerned about.  Most of us aren't here as part of an employment package and won't have anything like the budget you guys will.   Or the budget to consider fee paying or even international schools.  Most of the people here have come over for love or other personal circumstances.  However, good on you for finding the UK expert on attracting seamen within two posts! I bet you didn't know you were stumbling on a world class researcher in this niche area.  I'm sure the seamen were delighted to make this discovery as well. 

I'll do my best to share my limited knowledge though.

 In my experience, the quality of the schools is very, very closely tied to the real estate prices where you live.  The best website for renting or buying is  https://www.rightmove.co.uk/ and each listing will have information about the local schools with an important rating from the government inspection agency called OFSTED.  Because of your budget,  I think that any neighbourhood that you eventually choose will probably have excellent schools and you shouldn't worry too much.  My kids go to state sponsered schools and I'm pretty happy with the experience so far.  I'm not familiar with the idea of schools not accepting children who have poor spelling or haven't studied languages yet unless the school is a special school (maybe called a grammer school), but neither of my kids got into those so I don't really know.   If you want to live in a leafy suburb of London (think Burlingame ) rather than smack in the middle of London, consider Richmond or Twickenham.  Both are pleasnt and uncrowded with river walks and excellent transport links to central London.  And excellent schools. 

Driving on the left is really no big deal and you will get used to the flow of traffic soon enough.  Unless you live in central London, you'll need a car as public transport is not as good as you might think.  Plus, you'll want to get out on weekends and explore all the fascinating bits of this country, and much of that requires a car.  Getting a UK license is suprisingly difficult and the test if really tough.  It might involve some actual lessons.  But it will be worth it, driving to France and Ireland is fantastic.  Even if you live in central London and decide not to get a car, it might be worth the hassle to get your license and then join a car club like zipcar. 

Another thing that comes to mind is that nobody here cares about health insurance.  Whenever I go home, I am surprised that normal people can talk about the incredible technical details of various health plans like they work for HR.  Here, it is absolutely a non issue.  But don't get people started on Brexit!  You'll learn more about the technical details of Article 50  than you may want to. 

Good Luck 



« Last Edit: October 24, 2019, 08:55:32 AM by jimbocz »


  • *
  • Posts: 5483

  • Liked: 986
  • Joined: Aug 2012
  • Location: End of the M4 and then a bit more.
Re: Greetings
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2019, 11:28:23 AM »
I would say that driving on the left is no big deal.  But driving from the righthand side of the car does take a bit of getting used to.  Just remembering to approach the correct side of the car as either a passenger or driver is something I still occasionally almost mess up.  20+ years of doing something a certain way is hard to unlearn.  But at least I no longer try to open my door instead of change gears (shifting left-handed was a weird thing to learn).
9/1/2013 - "fiancée" (marriage) visa issued
4/6/2013 - married (certificate issued same-day)
5/6/2013 - FLR(M)#1 in person -- approved!
8/1/2016 - FLR(M)#2 by post -- approved!
8/5/2018 - ILR in person -- approved!
22/11/2018 - Citizenship (online, with NDRS+JCAP) -- approved!
14/12/2018 - I became a British citizen.  :)


  • *
  • Posts: 16261

  • Liked: 3900
  • Joined: Jun 2012
  • Location: Wokingham
Re: Greetings
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2019, 02:15:54 PM »
Driving to Ireland Jimbo?  Are you friends with the person who travels to Ireland via coach and train all the time?   ;D


  • *
  • Posts: 5684

  • Liked: 1420
  • Joined: Sep 2015
Re: Greetings
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2019, 02:36:42 PM »
I would say that driving on the left is no big deal.  But driving from the righthand side of the car does take a bit of getting used to.  Just remembering to approach the correct side of the car as either a passenger or driver is something I still occasionally almost mess up.  20+ years of doing something a certain way is hard to unlearn.  But at least I no longer try to open my door instead of change gears (shifting left-handed was a weird thing to learn).

That's true, I still sometimes walk up to the wrong side of the car. 


  • *
  • Posts: 5684

  • Liked: 1420
  • Joined: Sep 2015
Re: Greetings
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2019, 02:40:39 PM »
Driving to Ireland Jimbo?  Are you friends with the person who travels to Ireland via coach and train all the time?   ;D

Huh?  I think I'm missing something.  You know there's a ferry that leaves from JFKimberley's back yard and arrives in Ireland about 3 hours later?


Sponsored Links