News & Blog

Moving to New York from the UK

News & Blog

With a population of around 9 million people, New York City has much to offer to international expats. Many people move hoping to live out their dreams in the Big Apple. If you are currently living in London, the switch from London life to life in New York City won’t pose many cultural boundaries, but that’s not to say there won’t be big changes. The infamous skyline, incredible food, and quirky culture is sure to bring you your New York Moment in no time. 

This page will include the following segments to bring you up to date on what moving to New York is like for UK expats.

Moving to New York

If you are moving to New York from the UK, you will require the correct visas and documentation. There are a variety of types of visas and you will need to choose the correct one for your specific circumstances to be allowed to enter the country. Visa applications will require you to provide documentation, proving your identity, home address, and other qualities. Popular visa options for people visiting or moving to New York from the UK are:

  • Non-immigrant Visas – including Tourism, Business, Temporary Employment and more, to be placed in your passport.
  • Immigrant Visas – including Family Immigration, Employment, Special Immigrant Visas and more, for which you will need a US resident to be a sponsor.

Find more information about visas and how to apply from the US Embassy and Consulates in the UK.

For more details on the general US entry requirements, you can visit our guide to Moving to the USA. As in the rest of the country, moving to New York becomes much easier if you have a job offer from an NYC-based firm. Your employer can be your sponsor and will ensure a smoother visa process for you.

A view down a New York street with taxis and tall buildings.

Working in New York

Job opportunities are hugely varied in New York, and getting a New York-based job will make moving to New York from the UK much easier. Salaries in the city are high, much higher than the average American wage, and can vary hugely depending on the borough in which you work. 

One of the most important things to know before moving to New York is the tax system – as an expat moving anywhere other than the UK, you should be prepared for a different tax system. Filing your taxes with the correct values is not always easy but there are websites and software that can assist you. As an expat living in New York, you may also be able to ask your employer for assistance.

If you’re looking for a job from overseas, there are great websites, including LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, and the NY State Jobzone, that can provide places to start.

Finding Accommodation in New York

Property in New York is expensive. It is more likely that expats choose to rent accommodation rather than to buy in New York, and apartment living is far more likely than finding a house in the city centre.  To lease an apartment, the broker’s fee can require you to pay a fee roughly equivalent to 10% – 15% of the apartment’s annual rent. 

Due to the competitive and expensive rental market, many people choose to have roommates and share apartments with strangers. If you are moving to New York alone, this could be an ideal option, both to save money and to meet people in your new home.

Nighttime skyline of New York City behind the river and iconic Brooklyn bridge.

Where is Best to Live in New York City?

When moving to New York, it can be hard to know where to look for accommodation, particularly if you are new to the city. The best place for you to live will depend entirely on your individual circumstances. If you are moving with family, alone, with a partner, for work – all these things will have an impact on the ideal neighbourhood for you. Here are some of the top neighbourhoods for you to consider if you’re moving to New York from the UK.

  1. Brighton Beach: Home to some of the city’s most affordable property, but commuting to the city centre might take a while via public transport.
  2. Chelsea: With excellent nightlife and great food, Chelsea is ideal for art-lovers wanting the real NYC culture.
  3. Flushing: If you are moving to New York with your family, this is a great family-friendly neighbourhood with some of the best public schools in the city.
  4. Windsor Terrace: For a little more nature, this neighbourhood is surrounded by green spaces and parks, and less than an hour away from the working NYC districts.

For expats, it’s also a good idea to look further out of the city, where the property is larger and more affordable. Areas like New Jersey have a small-town feel but offer excellent public transport links, allowing a commute of just 15 minutes in some cases.

Cost of Living in New York City

There are many things to know before moving to New York about life in the big city. One of the most important changes is the cost of living. With good food and exciting nightlife comes a higher cost of living. This can mean you are spending a lot of your income on the essentials, such as groceries and rent. Bear this in mind when considering the move as it could have quite the effect on your life there. Here are some comparisons between New York and London:

Product Average Cost London Average Cost New York
Pint of milk £0.60 £0.65
Loaf of bread £1.37 £5.44
Cup of coffee £1.30 £1.50
Monthly Gym Subscription £35 £82.21
Cinema Ticket £8.50 £12.42
1 Mile Taxi Journey £7.40 £1.20
thoughtful-woman-runs-her-elegant-dress-along-river-shore-new-york

Things to Know Before Moving to New York

After moving to New York it might take a while before feeling totally settled in. As moving to any new country, New York will offer up a new set of challenges, a new climate, and overall a new way of living. To help you, we have come up with some tips to remember before the big move or just to factor into your decision-making process.

  • Healthcare: Remember that healthcare isn’t free in the US, so you’ll have to make sure you have medical insurance or be prepared to pay your medical bills in case of emergencies.
  • Transport: Public transport is the main way of getting around. Many expats will not take their vehicles or purchase one, but instead use the subway, buses, and taxis if necessary.
  • Long Walks: Despite two places looking close on a map, distances can be deceptively long when you begin walking. Taking the subway can even take hours, which may surprise you.

If you require further advice for your international move, GMS can offer you professional international moving advice. Our experts can advise on everything from immigration law, transporting goods, and much more. Get in touch today for advice or to request a move quote for moving to New York.

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