Our Moving Guide From Scotland To USA

Moving from Scotland to the USA is no small feat. You’re probably wondering about visas, the cost of moving, and how you’ll adjust to American life. Fear not—this guide is crafted to help you tackle these challenges head-on. From visa types to cultural nuances, we’ve got you covered. Begin your transatlantic journey with clarity and the right insights to steer your move in the right direction.

Key Takeaways

  • Navigating visa and immigration processes is essential for Scots moving to the USA, with family, work, and student visas being key routes.
  • Pre-move preparation involves budgeting for financial, healthcare, and shipping considerations, with resources available to ease this transition.
  • Settling in the USA includes finding a home, adapting to cultural differences, securing employment, and embracing the American lifestyle and leisure opportunities.

Visa and Immigration Requirements

Embarking on an international relocation requires unraveling the labyrinth of visas. Your first step? Understanding the visa options available for Scottish citizens moving to the USA. These typically fall into three categories: family visas, work visas, and student visas.

The journey to obtaining a US visa can be a marathon, not a sprint, often taking over a year to fully process. But fear not, the path may be challenging, but the rewards of the US job market make it all worthwhile. We’ll now delve deeper into these visa categories.

Family Visas

Family is the heart of the home, and the USA understands this. A US citizen or permanent resident can sponsor their spouse or partner for immigration to the USA, paving the way for families to stay together. Proving the legitimacy of the relationship makes the process feel less like a bureaucratic hurdle and more like a stepping stone toward a new life together.

After all, who said love can’t move mountains… or cross oceans?

Work Visas

Work visas, such as the skilled worker visa, are the golden tickets to the American job market. The L1 visa, a non-immigrant visa, allows managers, executives, or employees with specialized knowledge to transfer to a related US company. The US company must have a qualifying relationship with the foreign company and adhere to minimum wage laws, making this sponsored employment visa a win-win for both employer and employee. With a working visa, individuals can pursue their career aspirations in the United States.

And the cherry on top? The spouses and children under 21 of L1 visa holders can obtain L2 status, allowing the whole family to embark on this exciting journey together.

Student Visas

Academic ambition brings many Scots to the USA. The F-1 and M-1 visas are designed for those engaging in academic and vocational studies respectively. These visas require proof of enrollment in a certified program and evidence of intent to return home after studies. The application process is similar for both, requiring forms, fees, and an interview.

Whether you’re a budding economist or a future tech guru, these visas offer a gateway to world-class education in the USA.

Preparing for the Move

Now that the visa is sorted, it’s time to prepare for the move. There’s more to it than just packing your favorite tartan blanket. Finances, legal matters, and healthcare arrangements must be organized to ensure a smooth transition. One of the major challenges? Shipping personal belongings across the Atlantic. But with careful planning, these challenges can be transformed into checklists, turning complexities into simple steps. Here’s what you need to consider:

Financial Preparation

Money matters when moving. Budgeting for removals is crucial, with costs for a 3-bedroom house ranging between $5,200 to $7,800 (approximately £4,000 to £6,000). To facilitate everyday transactions, consider opening a US bank account. This can be done through international UK-based banks like HSBC, even without a US address.

Transferring money from the UK to the USA before the move is also a savvy step, saving on exchange fees and ensuring funds are available upon arrival.

Healthcare Considerations

While Scotland, supported by the Scottish Government, offers free comprehensive healthcare through the National Health Service (NHS), the US system largely depends on private health insurance. The average premiums can be a financial pinch, making it critical to factor in healthcare costs when planning your budget.

But with recommended providers like Cigna Global Medical and William Russell, you can find comprehensive and customizable coverage that suits your needs.

Shipping Belongings

Shipping personal belongings requires planning and patience. Fortunately, UPakWeShip offers a range of products and services designed to make your move as cost-effective and hassle-free as possible. One of the most economical options is to pack your belongings yourself. UPakWeShip provides a unique solution with our U Crates, which are delivered directly to your house. You can then take your time loading up the crate with your cherished possessions at your own pace. Once you’re ready, we will collect the crate and ship it directly to your door overseas, eliminating the need for expensive air freight – a service typically reserved for fancy corporate accounts.

UPakWeShip has its own offices in Europe, the United Kingdom, and America, which means we handle your move from door to door with one company. This seamless integration across different countries makes the moving process smooth, with simple customs procedures and no need to juggle multiple contacts or services. Our approach not only ensures a more cost-effective move but also provides peace of mind. Thanks to our amazing customer service. With UPakWeShip, you can expect a moving experience that is straightforward, transparent, and tailored to your individual needs.

Sell or donate unnecessary items, pack efficiently, and consider storing items not accompanying you immediately. With careful planning, the task of shipping all your belongings becomes less of a mountain and more of a molehill.

Finding a Home in the USA

Home is where the heart is, and finding a new home in the USA is an exciting step on your journey. Whether you’re renting, purchasing, or entering a lease-to-own agreement, there’s a place for every preference and budget. But before you pick out your dream kitchen, consider the potential costs, such as house-buying fees, costs of removal companies, and rent expenses.

Here are the housing possibilities you might consider.

Renting a Property

Renting can be a great way to get your bearings in a new city. Here are some ways to find your perfect rental home:

  • Utilize your network and local community resources
  • Use online platforms and social media groups
  • Negotiate with vacation rental property owners for long-term stays during the off-season

And if you’re in a pinch, these options can offer a temporary solution.

As previously mentioned, it is crucial to document existing damages and fully understand the lease terms before signing a lease.

Buying a Property

If you’re ready to plant roots in the USA, buying property might be your best bet. As a non-US citizen, you can purchase and own property without facing restrictions specific to foreign ownership. Non-citizens may be eligible for a foreign national loan but be prepared for higher down payments and interest rates.

A reputable real estate agent can guide you through the complexities of the US property market, helping protect your interests and find your dream home.

Adapting to Life in the USA

You’ve arrived! Now, it’s time to embrace the American lifestyle. From language differences and driving culture to tipping customs and American patriotism, there are plenty of nuances to navigate. The good news? Americans are generally more talkative and willing to engage with strangers, creating a friendlier and more open social environment.

We’ll now examine these cultural nuances and provide tips on developing connections in your new neighborhood.

Cultural Differences

While Scotland and the USA share a language, the cultural differences, including aspects of Scottish culture, can feel like a whole new world. Americans may engage in conversation with Scots out of interest upon hearing a British accent, which is often perceived positively in the USA. Be prepared for more direct conversation starters, particularly surrounding your accent.

But remember, these differences make life more interesting, and embracing them will help you adapt to your new environment.

Making Friends and Building Connections

Building a support network in a new country can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. From utilizing online social media or expat forums to joining local clubs or attending community events, there are plenty of ways to make friends and build connections.

Workplaces are integral for establishing friendships, where common interests with colleagues can often lead to a broader support system. Remember, making friends is not just about adapting, it’s about enriching your life in the USA.

Education and Employment

With the largest and most influential economy in the world, the US offers a competitive job market and a world-class education system. Whether you’re looking to further your education or carve out a career, the opportunities are endless. However, networking is key, with many positions filled through connections.

We’ll examine the realm of education and employment in the USA.

Understanding the US Education System

The American education system is diverse and dynamic, structured into three primary levels: elementary education, secondary education, and higher education. Funding and educational standards are handled primarily at the state and local levels, which contributes to differing levels of educational quality and resources across regions.

Whether you’re aiming for an Ivy League university or a vibrant community college, understanding the US education system is your first step toward academic success.

Finding a Job in the USA

Ready to enter the American job market? Opportunities are abundant, from tech giants like Google and IBM to UK government-backed companies with offices in the USA. A well-crafted resume and cover letter are your ticket to standing out in the competitive job market. To ensure you have the most up-to-date information on job requirements, visit the UK government website for guidance.

And don’t forget to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN), a crucial identifier for employment, tax filing, and accessing government services. With the right preparation, you’ll be ready to seize the job opportunities the USA offers.

Legal Matters and Documentation

Navigating legal matters and documentation is a crucial part of your move. From visas, work permits, and passports, to birth certificates, everything should be in order with valid dates. And if you’re considering a permanent move, it’s important to consider green card options and keep passports and records updated.

Here are the important legal aspects to keep in mind.

Obtaining a Social Security Number

A Social Security Number (SSN) is essentially your key to the USA. From financial transactions to accessing services, it’s a crucial identifier used by residents within the United States, similar to a national insurance number in other countries.

Landlords in the United States will typically check an individual’s credit status using their SSN, so it’s vital to obtain one as soon as possible.

Driving in the USA

Driving on the right side of the road might feel like a mirror image of what you’re used to in Scotland, but it’s an essential skill for navigating the vast landscapes of the USA. Scottish citizens can use their UK driving license to drive in the USA for up to 3 months before needing to obtain a state-issued driving license.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific driving laws of your new state and to ensure you have the mandatory insurance coverage for driving in the USA.

Lifestyle and Leisure

Welcome to the American lifestyle! Diverse climates and scenic landscapes, larger food portion sizes, and a vibrant sports and entertainment scene await you. Whether you’re a foodie looking to indulge in the larger portion sizes or an outdoor enthusiast ready to explore the diverse landscapes, there’s something for everyone.

Holidays and Vacation Time

When it comes to holidays and vacation time, the US offers a unique blend of federal, state, and local observances. American public holidays with paid time off include:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

Companies like Nike even recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday.

So, whether it’s celebrating Independence Day with a backyard barbecue or enjoying a cozy Christmas with your new American neighbors, there’s plenty of holiday cheer to go around.

Sports and Entertainment

If there’s one thing America loves, it’s sports and entertainment. American sports include:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Soccer
  • Ice hockey
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Boxing
  • Motorsports
  • Professional wrestling

These sports dominate the leisure scene and are a big part of American culture. Whether you’re cheering for the Whether you’re cheering for the NFL or catching a Major League Baseball game, you’ll be immersed in the heart of American culture.


Navigating a move from Scotland to the USA can be daunting. But with careful planning, the right resources, and a dash of adventure, it can be a rewarding journey. From securing the appropriate visas and preparing for the move to finding a home, adapting to the American lifestyle, and navigating the job market, you’re now equipped with the knowledge to tackle each step with confidence. So here’s to embracing change, seizing opportunities, and embarking on your American dream!

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