Tag Archives: USA

A Guide To Education In The US

First Student #540 by ThoseGuys119

What to expect when putting your children

in the American school system

It can be something of a minefield when moving your children to a new country, especially when you need to think about sending them to school. Making sure they get the very best education is usually at the top of a parent’s wish list. Here’s a guide to the education options when setting up home in America.

The options:

As in most countries around the world, there is fundamentally a two-tier system of education in America offering both public and private schooling. What you choose to do will be entirely down to personal preference, location and of course, funding. Some companies will offer to pay private school fees as part of an employment package. International schools are also offered to many of those moving overseas as they can sometimes offer a similar syllabus to that of the UK and also relevant and transferable qualifications.

Most American public schools are governed by the local school district. Each school district is governed by a school board, which sets out general policies and keeps the establishment in line with national guidelines.

Children begin elementary school at five years old, starting in kindergarten and staying until grade 5. Middle school is grades 6-8 with high school starting in grade 9 and ending in 12. The age at which your child leaves school depends on the state that you’re residing in, but the general rule is compulsory education until 16 years old. After graduation students will go on to study at university for four years in order to obtain a degree.

Public Schools:

The good news is that public schools will be open to you should you choose this route. As with all public schools, some will be better than others. Property taxes in a large part pay to fund schools, so if you live in a wealthy suburb you will probably discover one with better facilities. It’s worth doing your research as standards can vary greatly and as there’s no national curriculum it’s worth checking what your child will and won’t be studying.

All children are entitled to public schooling and you’ll need to apply for admission. There may be a waiting list for some of the better schools so again do your research before embarking on this route. The great thing about public schools is that they are close to home so your children are likely to find new friends on their doorstep, which will help them settle in.

There are two additional public school options: Charter and Magnet Schools. Charter Schools receive more private financial backing. They are very popular and often have long waiting lists. Magnet Schools specialise in certain areas of the curriculum such as science, the arts or languages. A student’s admission is based on talent rather than grades.

Private Schools:

It’s no surprise that private schools in the USA tend to be better equipped, producing higher grades than the public sector. They have more flexibility around curriculums and often offer better extracurricular activities because they can afford to do this. Private school fees can vary from an average of $8,918 (£6,762) for elementary school and $13,524 (£10,255) a year for high school. The most expensive city for fees is New York, which wades in at $28,798 (£21,835).

The competition for many of these schools is fierce and places will not be guaranteed just because you live close by. If you want to go down this route be sure to check out criteria for admission carefully. Your child may need to sit a number of tests to gain a place and you’ll need to keep in mind the differences in subjects and content taught.

You can also include International Schools under the private schools banner as these too need to be paid for. Enrollment and admission can again be competitive but they offer a great solution for the expat child. Often multi-lingual schools provide similar curriculums to those in your home country as well as allowing students to gain internationally recognised qualifications, such as the international baccalaureate. Unsurprisingly teaching in these schools is excellent as are facilities. If you are considering boarding school they also offer this as an option.

If you are considering moving abroad, PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company, which has specialised in international removals for over 35 years. We are committed to providing a friendly, professional and stress-free overseas move for all our customers. Whether you’re sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle, we will ensure that you receive the highest level of care and attention.

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey, or simply fill in our online moving or baggage quote.

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile.

Letting the kids train the family dog in your new home abroad

"Buck The GSD" by Nickyhannaway - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buck_The_GSD.jpg#/media/File:Buck_The_GSD.jpg

“Buck The GSD” by Nickyhannaway – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buck_The_GSD.jpg#/media/File:Buck_The_GSD.jpg

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

Owning a new dog or pet can be a great way of helping your family settle into your new home abroad. It can also be a good option for homeowners looking to protect their property because a dog that barks at strangers will alert you of any potential burglars. However, because some dogs can be more aggressive than others, it is particularly important to train your dog properly. Children make great dog trainers so why not get the kids involved in the process?

Ensure that you teach basic obedience skills. The dog should be able to carry out basic commands but ensure they use positive reinforcement while ignoring the wrong behaviours. A dog must become acquainted with typical scenarios in everyday life so introduce it to family, friends and other pets including household noises whilst encouraging it to bark or notify you when strangers arrive.

Never leave your child alone with the family dog and always be on hand at all times to make sure they are both safe. Whether your child is ready to train your dog depends on his or her age and maturity level. They will need a supply of dog treats to give as a reward for following commands. Just make sure your child doesn’t over do it because more than 50 percent of dogs have obesity problems.

Prevent the dog from taking food from other people. This is an important step in training because burglars often try to distract dogs with food. Choose one person to be the main caregiver when it comes to feeding the animal.

If you have a several children, encourage them to work as a team. Let one operate as the master and the other give the dog a small treat for his efforts. Encourage them to walk the dog around your property daily and command it to come back if it strays from the area. Have them give the dog a simple command like “sit” and show them how to place their hands gently on the dog’s lower back so your dog moves into a seated position before saying “good dog.”

Your family dog should learn one command at a time before moving on to the next and you should encourage your child to repeat these exercises at a variety of locations, so the dog eventually gets used to them and understands. Once “sit” command has been mastered, have your child teach your dog other popular commands such as “stay,” “come,” “down,” and “heel.”

Getting your child to take an active role in training the family dog will boost your child’s confidence and strengthen the child/dog bond.

PSS International removals offer a wide range of shipping and removal services, as well as advice and recommendations from our panel of tried-and-tested professional companies to ensure that your move goes as smoothly as possible. Our chosen pet specialist will ensure that your pet’s needs are catered for and that they arrive at your new destination fit and well.

Furthermore, they will be able to advise you on everything from import and export permits, welfare, vaccinations, kennels, flights and special crates for the airline including quarantine rules.

For more information or for our pet partner to contact you, please click this link, select the pet migration country you plan to move to, scroll down to the ‘Pet Transport’ section and click ‘Enquire Now’ to fill out a simple form.


Get Packing with A 10% Discount for Students on Excess Baggage


"Graduating students" by Sasikiran 10 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Graduating_students.JPG#/media/File:Graduating_students.JPG

“Graduating students” by Sasikiran 10 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Graduating_students.JPG#/media/File:Graduating_students.JPG

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

10% off your Excess Baggage order here: https://www.pssremovals.com/facebook 

As a student you may have arrived to study in a new country with nothing more than a rucksack of clothes, your laptop and some favourite foods. Skip forward a year and you’ve suddenly found yourself with excess baggage that includes a guitar, a desk and a stash of course books – all of which you want to take back home with you.

Not much of a problem if your parents are coming to collect you and they can throw it all in the back of their car but more of an issue if home is several thousand miles away.

With budgets squeezed and airlines limited on what they can and can’t take the easiest and cheapest option could be an international removal service such as PSS, especially as we are now offering a 10% discount to students (code – students2015).

While taking an extra suitcase on an airplane may sometimes be the best option, especially if it’s fairly small, shipping home your cello or a few boxes of keepsakes needs specialist care and consideration.

At PSS we can tailor our Excess Baggage service to fit your requirements. If you need your belongings quickly, and have a bit more money to spend, you might like to consider the express airline rates. If however, money is tight and you’re not in any hurry, our sea freight delivery service may suit you better. Whatever your budget, we have a delivery option to suit you.

We can also offer you great deals on packing options. Whereas some companies may insist you have a standard size box or crate, regardless of what you have to pack, PSS have different shaped cartons for different shaped options.

We can also give you separate quotes if you have more unusual objects to send on. Want that snowboard shipped back? How about the trumpet you can’t be parted with? PSS can do it. These items will be priced individually and quotes are dependent upon their weight.

With the offer including free cartons and packing materials as well as free delivery and collection service for customers inside the M25, and just a small charge for outside delivery and collection outside, PSS really do have a student’s best packing interests at heart.

For more information go to: https://www.pssremovals.com/excess-baggage PSS International Removals have specialised in shipping excess baggage and luggage to a number of worldwide destinations such as Australia, South Africa and the USA for over 32 years. We handle thousands of baggage consignments each year ranging from shipments as small as 1 carton to larger shipments of 20 cartons. Our vast experience and expertise in moving baggage consignments is just one of the reasons why we are known as the UK’s 1st choice for sending baggage overseas.

The importance of opening a bank account before moving overseas

"Froschmaul an Geldautomat, 1" by Aisano - Self-photographed. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Froschmaul_an_Geldautomat,_1.jpeg#/media/File:Froschmaul_an_Geldautomat,_1.jpeg

“Froschmaul an Geldautomat, 1” by Aisano – Self-photographed. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Froschmaul_an_Geldautomat,_1.jpeg#/media/File:Froschmaul_an_Geldautomat,_1.jpeg

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

While digital payments could help billions of people without access to banks, many moving overseas still require the benefits of a local bank and the convenience of a local branch.

If you are moving abroad, we would recommend opening a new overseas bank account before you leave the UK. Here’s why:

When you move overseas, it’s likely you’ll have an extensive ‘to do list’ to complete in order to settle into your new home. Provided you give sufficient notice, most banks abroad will be able to open an account for you fairly quickly. Having your account up and running as soon as you arrive in your new country means you can avoid wasting precious time queuing in banks and get on with enjoying your new life. However, bear in mind that every country has different rules and procedures that may catch you off-guard if you leave it until you arrive.

For example; If you are considering a move to the US , you will probably have to show a reference from your existing UK bank, proof of employment or letters from your place of study, copies of visas, two forms of ID as well as proof of address. In France, if you have changed your surname, you will have to provide the relevant paperwork and in Australia, your signature on the application form must appear exactly as it does on your passport.

Most banks will send your new cards and PIN numbers to you before you move but if left too late, they may be able to arrange for everything to be sent to your new local branch to be picked up when you get there.

If you don’t have bankcards for your overseas account that you can use as soon as you arrive, you’ll have to ensure you have enough money to be able to survive while you wait.  Some banks may also allow you to transfer your credit history from the UK to your new bank account – which could provide very useful when buying a new property abroad.

Depending on where you are emigrating to, if you don’t speak the local language, the task of opening a bank account can be a daunting one as there may not be any English-speaking advisers working at your local bank. This can make getting guidance on the best account to suit your needs difficult.

Finally, if you open an account before you leave, most banks will guide you through the account-opening process and explain any important differences in the way banking is run in your new country.

So what are you waiting for?

 At PSS International Removals, we work with some of the largest banks around the world as such we can arrange a personalised service for you with them. To open up a bank account or for more information on overseas banking, please complete this form.

What you need to know about moving to the USA

By FJM88NL (Own 3D creation) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By FJM88NL (Own 3D creation) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

The land of the free, home of the brave or the melting pot of the world – the United States of America needs no introduction.

There are around 1 million British expats currently residing in New York, San Francisco and Florida with over one million people from all over the world arriving to live across the country’s 50 states each year, not including nearly 3.5 million who move there temporarily for work purposes, making the country by far the world’s most popular emigration destination. And who can blame them? The United States has many positives – low tax rates, cheap restaurants, sunny weather, ethnic diversity, national parks and amazing beaches. They even have 24-hour doughnut shops!

The country still boasts the world’s largest and most technologically powerful economy and the long-term appeal of the American Dream – the idea that anyone in the country can make their fortune providing they are prepared to work hard – still holds. No two states are the same and US citizens don’t have an official language, although in practice it is American -English. Infact, an estimated 45 million people speak Spanish as a first or second language, concentrated in states such as New Mexico, California and Texas.

As covered in a previous post, there are a variety of visas available, most dependent on the type of job offer you get. The first is an H1-B non-immigrant visa for skilled, educated individuals working for a sponsoring employer in specific occupations such as engineering, maths, medicine or law.

The Temporary Non-Agricultural H-2B is also available for foreign workers doing seasonal work where there is a shortage of local US workers. The J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program is also available to people looking to teach, study, work or conduct research.

A green card will entitle you to become a permanent resident but if you don’t have a job you could take potluck in the annual green card lottery that awards 55,000 people permanent residence through the scheme each year.

When it comes to tax, the moment you become a legally permanent US resident with a green card, you are liable to pay US tax on your total worldwide income. You will also be considered a US resident for tax purposes if you meet the “substantial presence test“, which means you are in the US at least 31 days during 2014. If you are a non-resident, generally you will only need to pay US tax on your local income earnings. There are currently six income tax brackets ranging from 10% to 35%. These are expected to rise as high as 39.6% by 2015. Each state and local government even has its own set of tax rules, which can complicate matters but remember, you may pay less tax in the US but there is no NHS, which means you could spend the money you save on private health insurance.

Should you need to send a letter home, it could make it back to the UK in just two to three days, although it’s advisable to plan for four to five.

PSS International Removals have specialised in moving families overseas for more than 32 years, having successfully handled thousands of removals to the United States every year we are consistently one of the UK’s largest movers to the country. We service all the major ports; Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York, Miami and from these major ports we can deliver to almost anywhere in America.

For more information and a free no obligation survey of your removal requirements between 3 and 6 months prior to your intended departure, visit our USA page.


How to ensure your move abroad goes smoothly

By Cpl. Jovane Holland (https://www.dvidshub.net/image/412768) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Cpl. Jovane Holland (https://www.dvidshub.net/image/412768) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

Recent reports suggest that there are over 3.4 million British people living abroad, which is 7% of the overall British population. One of the major reasons for this is the weather. Roughly 1000 people leave the UK every day in search of sunnier climes and a higher standard of living. Of these 1000 people, over 40% are usually British citizens and most choose to relocate to either Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, the US or UAE.

Although the UK has some beautiful countryside and stunning coastlines throughout the country, the weather defines how often we get to enjoy the outdoors. Even during the summer, there is no guarantee that we’ll be able to visit our favourite beach due to either wind or rain often destroying our best-laid plans.

It’s generally a lot cheaper to live abroad and many skilled professionals find that they can often earn more than they do in the UK whilst experiencing better working conditions, less working hours, less tax and better private healthcare schemes.

According to a report by the Daily Mail in 2010, nine out of ten Brits currently living abroad said their quality of life had improved since leaving the UK; but that’s not to say that the moving process always goes according to plan! Unfortunately, it is often this process that is misunderstood; landing people with all sorts of unexpected difficulties to tackle.

If you are considering leaving the UK permanently, it goes without saying that thoroughly researching your chosen destination and not overlooking the important points is vital. Always visit key forums and expat community resources to help get a feel for the country, region or city you intend to move to first. For example, how does Melbourne differ from Sydney or Auckland from Christchurch? You might be surprised!

Familiarise yourself with the local regulations and customs. One great resource for this is The FCO’s Know Before You Go page on http://www.gov.uk.

Consider your health. Once you permanently leave the UK you are no longer entitled to medical treatment under the NHS or via a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Be sure to sign-up to health insurance and if you are staying within the European Economic Area (EEA), read up on the S1 form (previously known as the E121 form). For more useful information visit the NHS moving abroad page.

Consider your long-term financial requirements by reading up on the impact moving overseas may have on any benefits or retirement income. Visit this state pension abroad page as a good resource. Be realistic about your living costs, don’t automatically assume they will be the same as the UK and don’t forget to formulate a Plan B if things go wrong.

Once your key research is in place and before deciding on a leaving date, set up a consultancy session with an independent legal professional and don’t feel under pressure to use your property developer’s or estate agent’s contacts. Take a look at http://www.gov.uk for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s English-speaking lawyers lists. It is very important that your legal consultant understands the law in the country you intend to move to.

Investigate recruiting a specialist international removals company such as PSS International Removals. We have successfully helped thousands of customers move throughout the world, over more than 30 years, and we are fully aware that issues with packing, customs and shipping must all be taken into account, and that’s not to mention initial advice on Visas, job seeking, property searches, tax and all of the elements that go into an individual’s life in a new country.

It is always important that you are covered for financial security to avoid any possible problems at foreign ports and paying extortionate fees just to recover property. With this in mind, we offer a door-to-door service meaning the customer sees their belongings being packed at their doorstep and then opened in the same state at destination.

Furthermore, we have achieved the highest level of service within the industry by attaining FAIM ACCREDITATION which is the only independent Quality Assurance standard for the International Moving Industry.

PSS is also a Member of the FIDI Global alliance, British Association of Removers Overseas Group, and BAR OVERSEAS, which is covered by the I.M.M.I. Advance payment guarantee scheme for customer’s financial protection.

Once you have moved abroad and understand the costs, research the taxes that will be applicable to you in your new home (as well as back in the UK). Don’t forget to take exchange rates into account and consider the potential financial implications of moving.

Never rush into buying. Many advise renting for the first 6 months in a new country while you take the time to settle in, investigate the area and integrate into your community, ensuring you become familiar with the local protocol. You can then decide whether it might be somewhere you or your family will be happy long-term. Try and make a concerted effort to avoid isolating yourself and learn the local language that will play an important role in helping you settle in and meet new friends.

And finally, don’t forget to notify the Social Security Office, HM Revenue & Customs and the Department of Work & Pensions that you are moving overseas, as well as your GP. For a full list of who to contact, visit this retiring abroad page.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with our international moves team.


VISA considerations when moving abroad




Image credit: “Swedish Visa” by Emon77dhk – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Swedish_Visa.jpg#/media/File:Swedish_Visa.jpg

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

So you’ve decided that you’d like to live abroad. You’ve researched your chosen destination, considered the various foreign health services on offer, your long-term financial requirements, set-up a consultancy session with an independent legal professional, looked into recruiting a specialist international removals company, enquired into taxes and properties to rent and notified the Social Security Office. But there’s still one key thing you’ve forgotten about isn’t there?

How do you get a Visa and which Visa is right for you?

You might be planning on temporarily working abroad or even considering a more permanent move with your family? Whether this might be to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, USA, UAE or elsewhere in Europe, start by researching early to avoid running afoul of entry requirements that often ruin the plans of even the most experienced travellers. You can never be too prepared when you move abroad because if you don’t have all of the necessary arrangements in place, you could find yourself deported or even going to jail. The following advice will help ensure that you plan efficiently before your departure but by working with an international removals company such as PSS International Removals, we can put you in touch with our specialist Visa partners who will guide you through the tricky business of application which is a critical part of any relocation. You will find that your Visa process will be greatly improved by obtaining a job offer and we work closely with a number of Visa specialist partners who can guide you through this complex process and ensure a successful migration to your chosen country.

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least the next few years. Many countries often refuse entry to travellers whose passports are nearing expiration and always remember to check it’s physical condition. If it’s ripped or torn, you may be rejected at the border, so make sure you replace it before you go.

Always research into the necessary documentation needed to accompany your Visa application. The government’s website and those of individual countries’ embassies and consulates usually list the relevant information. Typical requirements include proof of arriving and departing flights; confirmation of hotel reservation and a current bank statement that shows you have the basic funds in place necessary for the move. Always call to confirm that the information on the website is up to date and whether the processing fee has increased or not.

Always research your chosen country in advance. This will also alert you to any special requirements or processing quirks that you might encounter. For example, visitors to South Africa might be turned away if they don’t have two consecutive blank pages in their passports but if you’re moving to Brazil, your visa application must be processed before leaving and several countries that don’t require a Visa do impose a ‘reciprocity fee’, so make sure you’re informed about all entry requirements, not just those related to Visas.

Looking at the Visa application process in more detail and taking a typical move to Australia as an example, if you might need a Visa for your family, family sponsored applicants are usually assessed on an individual basis against Australia’s health and character requirements. Applicants must be sponsored or nominated by a close family member living in Australia and the sponsor must be either an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, and would usually be 18 years of age or older. Assurance of support and payment of bond is also required for certain Visas.

All family Visas are classified as ‘family stream’ and enable Australian permanent residence and citizens to bring together other family members living outside of the country. The Australian government also facilitates option for parents, husband/wife, children and other family members and their ‘Partner category’ applications apply to married, engaged and defacto couples. In some countries, common sex partners are allowed and this Visa scheme allows them too however, applicants must cite this when they are consulting with their immigration consultant. Finally, the parent visa category is for those parents who have children settled in Australia as an Australian citizen or permanent resident. For those applying for a general business visa in Australia, this visa provides business people the opportunity of investing or establishing and managing a business with their family. Visa applications are typically divided up into 3 categories – ‘Business Owner Investor Visa’, ‘Senior Executive Visa’ and ‘Business Talent Visa’.

Once all of you’re Visa paperwork has been approved and your all ready to go, don’t forget to check your airline’s rules, especially when you’re moving to a country that allows you to obtain your Visa on arrival. Airline policies often differ from published requirements based on the specific experiences in the destination country. That’s because the airline can be fined heavily if it transports passengers who do not have their paperwork in order. Airlines these days often face very high penalty fees, tens of thousands of dollars, so they’re not going to board the traveller if there’s a risk of being denied admission into the country.