US Visa From UK

Simon Misiewicz

Simon Misiewicz

Expat & Property Tax Specialist

8th March 2022

Understanding the basics of US visas for British citizens

There are 185 different types of US Visa that fall into two main categories. The non-immigrant US visa for temporary stays to include purposes such as business, study, work, tourism, family visits or transit.

The immigrant US visa covers permanent residency in the US. The Immigration & Nationality Act (INA) allows the United States to grant a maximum of 675,000 annually across all the various visa categories.

In 2020, the US State Department issued four million non-immigrant visas.

According to industry sources, more than 678,000 Brits have moved to the US, with 20% of the total population living in New York City.

The average income for British ex-pats working in the US is $101,125 (£77,747) a year, significantly higher than back home in the UK (£26,500).

The US has complex non-immigrant visa procedures with tax obligations that vary considerably depending on each visa category.

If you are looking to invest in property in the US, it is critical to obtain the correct visa so that your tax liabilities are accurate about the residency rights allocated through your visa.

There are 20 non-immigrant visa categories with different requirements and restrictions relating to employment type, marital status, citizenship, occupation, residency and purpose of visiting the US.

There are also different types of taxation of aliens by visa type and immigration status in the US.

Tax in the US is more complicated than in the UK.

There are seven instead of three tax brackets, although the highest tax rate never exceeds 40% of earnings.

Earning the equivalent of £50,000 would put you in the 22% tax bracket in the US.

Health insurance is private in the US, so the broader economy and population can afford a lower tax rate.

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What are the benefits of having a US visa as a British traveller?

Having a US visa allows you to travel to a port of entry, airport or land border crossing, request permission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspector to enter the United States.

Another significant benefit of having a US visa is that it is a multiple entry visa, granting permission to enter and leave the country as needed. You will need to provide a passport and supporting documents.

How do I apply for a US visa as a British expat?

A US Embassy or Consulate issues a visa. It entitles the holder to travel to the United States and apply for admission. It does not guarantee entry. An immigration official at the port of entry determines the visa holder’s eligibility for admission into the US.

The purpose of your intended travel and other factors will determine the type of visa required under US immigration law.

When applying for a US visa, you need to meet all the requirements to receive the visa category for which you’re applying.

Anybody who is not eligible to enter the US free under the VWP, or is not a citizen of Canada or Bermuda, will need a visa to gain entry into the United States.

Moving to the US or to the UK?

You may be interested in services to help British & Americans who wish to swap countries. There are many legal matters and tax issues that you need to consider. See how we can help you. Please note that you may need to file a tax return to both HMRC in the UK and the IRS in the US.

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UK Expats paying tax in the United States (US)

Once you have moved to the United States from the United Kingdom you need to think about taxes. British people that move from the UK to the US may need to pay tax to the IRS if they have lived in America for some time. British people moving to the US will need an ITIN number in order to file a 1040 tax return to the IRS in America

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