Moving to New York from the UK: A Complete Guide

New York is one of the most famous and iconic cities in the world, with hundreds of thousands of people moving there every year.

If you’re embarking on your own American dream with a move to the Big Apple, Clockwork Removals is here to help. 

Moving to New York from the UK can be an intimidating experience, but with our guide, moving to New York for the first time is made easy. 

Moving to New York from the UK: A Complete Guide

What documents do I need?

When moving to New York from England, it is important you have the necessary documentation. The United States takes border control extremely seriously, and if you do not have the appropriate paperwork when you land then you may not be granted entrance to the country. 

If you’re moving for work then your employer will likely help you arrange a work visa. If for whatever reason your work visa has not been issued by the time you need to fly then you will need to complete an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation, commonly known as an ESTA, online before you travel.

Once in the USA on an ESTA, it will last for 90 days before you must either leave the country or move on to another visa such as a work visa or student visa. Typically, an ESTA will last for two years and allow for multiple trips into the U.S. but if you’re moving permanently then arranging your work visa should be a priority. 

Other important documents you need to bring include:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate 
  • Medical documentation 
  • Education certificates and degrees
  • Insurance policies 
  • Shipping documents 

If you’re moving to New York from the UK with pets, you will also need to bring documents that prove they have received all the required vaccinations. While pets coming from the UK do not need to enter a quarantine period as they do from some other countries, proof of vaccination will be required for them to enter.

It’s also worth noting that, unlike here in the UK, healthcare is not free in the USA and can be quite expensive. With this in mind, you’ll need to arrange health insurance. Some employers may do this on your behalf.  

What items are prohibited in New York?

There are a few things you need to know before moving to New York, including which items are prohibited from entering the USA. While some are fairly obvious, it’s worth being aware of the full list to ensure a smooth transition through customs. 

Items you must not bring into the country include:

  • Absinthe
  • Cuban cigars or any Cuban merchandise
  • Drugs and drug paraphernalia 
  • Meat
  • Alcohol-filled candy
  • Lottery tickets
  • Fireworks 
  • Switchblades 

In addition to this, there are strict rules on the amount of tax-free alcohol or cigarettes that can be brought into the U.S. Each adult can bring one litre of wine, beer or liquor, and no more than 200 cigarettes. Taxes will be applied to quantities that exceed these limits.

What are the shipping methods?

When moving your belongings from the UK to New York, there are a few different options to choose from. Primarily, you will need to decide whether to ship your belongings via air freight or sea

  • Air freight

The fastest option available, this is a good choice for smaller consignments. However, it is the most expensive choice and may not be suitable for large-scale moves.

  • Shared containers

Most people opt to move their belongings via sea freight. A shared / groupage container will see you pay for a section of a shipping container where your belongings will be stored. You will only pay for the area of the container you use with the remaining space shared with others who are also moving belongings to the same destination. This option is better and more cost effective for smaller moves, but it may take longer to ship your container. 

  • Sole-use containers

A sole-use container will see you hire an entire shipping container for yourself. This is often the preferred choice if you’re moving a large number of belongings of different sizes. The biggest containers can even transport your vehicle across the Atlantic Ocean. However, be aware that the USA has strict motor vehicle rules, and many cars from the UK have to be modified to ensure they comply with the rules. 

If you’re shipping your belongings via sea freight, be aware that it can take up to four to six weeks for your property to arrive. 

When shipping to the United States you will need:

  • A commercial invoice 
  • A bill of lading (BoL)
  • A customs bond
  • A certificate of origin (CO)
  • A completed inventory 

If you need any advice when moving to New York, Clockwork Removals is here to help. Our expert team of movers is part of the FIDI Global Alliance and the BAR Overseas Moving Group, meaning we can help with any international move and offer unrivalled quality across our services. Furthermore, our crews are fully trained when it comes to creating inventories for customs and packing processes so you won’t have to worry about anything.

To find out more, contact our team today.


Get a free quote 0800 8595 380