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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All, first off I love the site. I've bounced around living in mulitple states here in the US and now taking a bigger leap to the UK, Maidenhead/London area. I am going over for my company so I'll have a good amount of the travel expenses covered. My concerns are for my soon-to-be wife who doesn't have a job lined up. Some of the questions we have are:

*Is it going to be hard for her to get a work visa eventhough she's married to me?
- Is there anything we should do to plan ahead for her getting some kind of specail spousee visa?
*I'm not going to make crazy money, but we won't be living hand to mouth. Where can I find info on limiting taxes, in both US and UK, as well as contributing to a 401k type program....of course my company will have info, but thought I'd ask.
*Are there any areas to West London or Maidenhead area that we should avoid for safety reasons?

Thanks for the help, I'm sure I'll be asking more soon.
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum.

On the question of your wife working, you had best consult your employer since they'll be the ones handling the visas. The rules keep changing, but generally, if one of you is going over on a work visa with your employer, the other will NOT be allowed to work. It's what's known as the "trailing spouse" syndrome.

Your wife may want to consult one of the FAWCO clubs in the London area. England FAWCO is the Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas and for someone just moving abroad, it can be a lifeline as well as a great introduction to whatever area you decide to settle in.

Part of your expat package should be tax services, usually through one of the big public accounting firms. It's up to your employer how to arrange your salary so that you can be continued in your 401K program while you're abroad, but generally you cannot contribute to a deferred tax retirement program in the US unless you have income taxable in the US in a given year. Because you'll fall under the overseas earned income exclusion, you may not be able to contribute unless your salary exceeds the exclusion limit.

The tax situation is tricky because all those expat benefits (including moving expenses, car or car allowance, any housing allowance, etc.) have to be added back to your income for both US and UK purposes. There is then also a "gross up" to cover the additional taxes you have to pay because of all the benefits, and of course you have to declare and pay taxes on any reimbursement of the additional taxes.... so generally it's best to rely on the tax accountants your company has arranged for you. Certainly for the first year or two anyhow. BTW, find out which accounting firm will be doing your taxes and get their booklets and brochures on expat taxes - they're generally very informative.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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On the question of your wife working, you had best consult your employer since they'll be the ones handling the visas. The rules keep changing, but generally, if one of you is going over on a work visa with your employer, the other will NOT be allowed to work. It's what's known as the "trailing spouse" syndrome.Bev
That may be the case in France, but here in UK, your wife's visa (as a spouse/family member of a work permit holder or Tier 2 of points based system) will allow her to take up any employment or set up in self-employment without any further formalities (except as a trainee doctor). If you have just recently married, the British consulate may prove a bit deeper into your relationship to ensure it isn't some sort of marriage of convenience (don't be offended - the rules apply to everyone).
UK Border Agency | Applications by dependants
There are some basic conditions, such as you'll have enough funds to support your wife during the first month in UK, and she won't become dependent on state welfare benefits. But if you are being paid an ex-pat benefit package, this won't be a problem as threshold is pretty low (£533 a month per dependant).
Of course, once your posting is over and you are being sent back to US, your wife will have to accompany you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
f/u questions on where to rent

Great info, thank you both. That Tier 2 visa link is good to hear about, thanks. Since we're moving there without knowledge of the area that is another big concern.

*Does anyone have suggestions on areas to rent in for W. London or Maidenhead? Or any website I can do some research on the areas? My wife and I don't have kids and will be looking for a younger more active area...nothing too sleepy, but safe.

*I will be buying a car once I'm there too, any websites or suggestions on how I can better understand my options and things to be aware of?

Thanks
 
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