Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

Quest to UK:plane:
Thanks to all in advance. Our plans are to buy a house this year and move to the UK next year. I’ve read up on all the posts to learn as much as possible about immigration, house buying, banking & money transfers, and a host of other things like council tax, UK tax, US tax, tax on US pensions, UK tax reporting, dual tax issues, NI, and medical. I’ve researched a lot already (which I can post). I’m trying to avoid obstacles while trying not to get blind-sided. Any advice &/or assistance is appreciated. Here’s the short version.
Situation: spouse=EEA; me=non-EEA (USC), buy house, move.

Long version:
This year: Buy a house! City confirmation, house search, survey, solicitors
Issues: $$ transfer & banking, set-up utilities, council tax.
Next year: Ship car and household goods to UK.
Issues: house hold good (HHG), car, customs, wine shipment in HHG (researching), driver’s license is a BIG issue (researching).
Question HHG and car: currently they are considered outside the EEA and are under a tax-free scheme.
I may have the option of either:
1. Shipping them into the UK as an ‘outside EEA to UK’ move.
2. Might clear customs etc.. in Germany and then ship to the UK as an ‘inside the EEA’ move.
2013: File for EEA permit (spouse = non-UK EEA)
2013: File for residency certificate and residency card.
Issues: When can you file for these? I.e. Is there a waiting period after arriving before filing for these?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,244 Posts
Hello all,

Quest to UK:plane:
Thanks to all in advance. Our plans are to buy a house this year and move to the UK next year. I’ve read up on all the posts to learn as much as possible about immigration, house buying, banking & money transfers, and a host of other things like council tax, UK tax, US tax, tax on US pensions, UK tax reporting, dual tax issues, NI, and medical. I’ve researched a lot already (which I can post). I’m trying to avoid obstacles while trying not to get blind-sided. Any advice &/or assistance is appreciated. Here’s the short version.
Situation: spouse=EEA; me=non-EEA (USC), buy house, move.

Long version:
This year: Buy a house! City confirmation, house search, survey, solicitors
Issues: $$ transfer & banking, set-up utilities, council tax.
Next year: Ship car and household goods to UK.
Issues: house hold good (HHG), car, customs, wine shipment in HHG (researching), driver’s license is a BIG issue (researching).
Question HHG and car: currently they are considered outside the EEA and are under a tax-free scheme.
I may have the option of either:
1. Shipping them into the UK as an ‘outside EEA to UK’ move.
2. Might clear customs etc.. in Germany and then ship to the UK as an ‘inside the EEA’ move.
2013: File for EEA permit (spouse = non-UK EEA)
2013: File for residency certificate and residency card.
Issues: When can you file for these? I.e. Is there a waiting period after arriving before filing for these?
Why are you buying a house? Except in some select locations in London and South East, housing market is stagnant, price is still falling and most people just rent. By renting, you can move every 6 months, whereas buying means you are stuck with your property and recouping your purchase price, plus legal and other costs will be difficult in the current market.

It's difficult, even impossible, to open a bank account without first establishing residency. You may be able to open an offshore account in the Channel Islands and they open a mainland account with the same bank after your move.

What about jobs? Do you both need to work and what is your sector? This influences your location. If you are in financial services, for instance, you want to be in big cities instead of middle of nowhere.

I don't know about the exact regulations on tax-free cars. Where did you buy it, is it free of German VAT (Mwts)? Remember we drive on the left and a LHD car would be impractical and you may have difficulties getting repaired and insured, and when it comes to sell/replace, you get low value. A lot of Eastern Europeans here drive their LHD cars from home, however.

Household goods. We have same power supply (230V) and you only need to change plugs or use adaptor. Your German TV will in all likelihood work in UK if it's recent and digital. It's usually best not to bring big heavy German furniture, as rooms here are smaller and you may have difficulty getting through doorway and stairs.

After arrival, within 6 months, you should apply for your residence card by completing form EEA2 and send it off with your passport to Liverpool. It takes around 3-4 months to get your card (actually a sticker - vignette - in your passport), and there is no way you can hurry it up. At least there is no fee.
Residence certificate for your spouse is optional.
See UK Border Agency | Residence documents for non-EEA family members of EEA nationals
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,244 Posts
Another possible concern. Do you EU citizens/residents come to the UK with no credit history?
That is so, as credit file doesn't cross borders, but they can usually operate their EU euro account while they get established in UK.

Easiest is to open a non-resident account for paying bills etc, often located offshore but with full internet banking, direct debit and standing order facilities, and bring it onshore after moving.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Joppa, Thanks for the replies. I should have added more detail up front; I’ve been ‘in the weeds’ so long on this.

Why are you buying a house? Except in some select locations in London and South East, housing market is stagnant, price is still falling and most people just rent. By renting, you can move every 6 months, whereas buying means you are stuck with your property and recouping your purchase price, plus legal and other costs will be difficult in the current market.
Good points, for us it’s because we’re tired of moving and with housing prices depressed it’s time to buy (in Scotland). Renting in desired location can be difficult. Not really worried about recouping purchase price as it’s where we plan to settle permanently, so it’s long-term home ownership for us.

It's difficult, even impossible, to open a bank account without first establishing residency. You may be able to open an offshore account in the Channel Islands and they open a mainland account with the same bank after your move.
Bank accounts: Yes, it’s a tough nut to crack and it adds some considerable difficulty (and in the immediate future too). I don’t know of any good solution. Transfer of cash I’d thought I’d handle through Western Union’s Fx. There not the best rate but it a big solid trustworthy company and there rate is better than a high street bank.

What about jobs? Do you both need to work and what is your sector? This influences your location. If you are in financial services, for instance, you want to be in big cities instead of middle of nowhere.
Jobs: Not needed –we are ‘economically self-sufficient’ so no job is planned and we consider it unlikely that we’d need to work. I understand we may work if we need to. I understand they may increase the income level to 25GBP but we’d meet that requirement if it applies. With a house ‘in our pocket’ we’d have only council tax, utilities, POV, and food. We have comprehensive health coverage (Tricare –US military health coverage).

I don't know about the exact regulations on tax-free cars. Where did you buy it, is it free of German VAT (Mwts)? Remember we drive on the left and a LHD car would be impractical and you may have difficulties getting repaired and insured, and when it comes to sell/replace, you get low value. A lot of Eastern Europeans here drive their LHD cars from home, however.
Vehicle: We currently plan to purchase a RHD vehicle before we go under the ‘NATO Forces tax-free scheme’ (i.e. no VAT). I need to have 6-months of ownership on any tax free items before we transfer to UK. Vehicle will be a diesel –US spec cars get terrible gas mileage and German spec cars are LHD; I may need 6K miles on it before transfer but I’m not sure as I can’t remember where the thought came from. Bringing tax free goods from outside EC is in Notice 3 para 5.1 & 5.1 5.1 Can I get relief from duty and tax on transfer of residence? Forms C3 & C104A.
C 3 - Bringing personal belongings to UK from outside the European Community
C 104A - Importation of a private motor vehicle into the United Kingdom on transfer of residence from outside the European Community (EC)

As I noted, I might be able to clear customs in Germany first (i.e. import to Germany first) then move them to the UK. This would make the move internal to the EC. I do not know which is easier (or cheaper, everything here is in, well, German). I have to research more but we move next year so there is some time to talk to local customs officials.

Household goods. We have same power supply (230V) and you only need to change plugs or use adaptor. Your German TV will in all likelihood work in UK if it's recent and digital. It's usually best not to bring big heavy German furniture, as rooms here are smaller and you may have difficulty getting through doorway and stairs.
I made sure to buy a multi-system TV when we first arrived in Germany. We own nothing that uses US spec power (we shed it all). Plan to buy many items prior to move (but I’ll save that another thread). I’ve stocking a handful of EU?UK adapters, but grounded plugs are hard to come by so I’ll probably just cut the plug off the ends and put on UK ones for everything that requires a ground (i.e. computer/electronics).

After arrival, within 6 months, you should apply for your residence card by completing form EEA2 and send it off with your passport to Liverpool. It takes around 3-4 months to get your card (actually a sticker - vignette - in your passport), and there is no way you can hurry it up. At least there is no fee.
Residence certificate for your spouse is optional.
See UK Border Agency | Residence documents for non-EEA family members of EEA nationals
Yes, I saw that its placed in your passport so I plan to ensure my passport is good for 5-years as I really don’t want to carry both around. We will both apply for residence as the plan is for one of to become a naturalized citizen. Thanks for the timeline.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Another possible concern. Do you EU citizens/residents come to the UK with no credit history?
We have an extensive credit history, but in the US. Can we assume that if we put enough money into an account they’ll like us? I’m currently shopping for banks (RBS, BOS, bldgs soc, etc…). Any suggestions on who to stay away from?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,244 Posts
Joppa, Thanks for the replies. I should have added more detail up front; I’ve been ‘in the weeds’ so long on this.

Good points, for us it’s because we’re tired of moving and with housing prices depressed it’s time to buy (in Scotland). Renting in desired location can be difficult. Not really worried about recouping purchase price as it’s where we plan to settle permanently, so it’s long-term home ownership for us.
I still advise renting first, then you can house-hunt at leisure and much easier once over here. Housing market is soft but not a lot of properties for sale as sellers hold off until the market recovers. But if you are a cash buyer (no mortgage), you can drive a hard bargain.

Bank accounts: Yes, it’s a tough nut to crack and it adds some considerable difficulty (and in the immediate future too). I don’t know of any good solution. Transfer of cash I’d thought I’d handle through Western Union’s Fx. There not the best rate but it a big solid trustworthy company and there rate is better than a high street bank.
It's not too bad once you get established here with residence. You may have to start with basic account with no cheque book and overdraft, and upgrade to full account usually after 6 months. Or open an offshore account now and bring it onshore.

Jobs: Not needed –we are ‘economically self-sufficient’ so no job is planned and we consider it unlikely that we’d need to work. I understand we may work if we need to. I understand they may increase the income level to 25GBP but we’d meet that requirement if it applies. With a house ‘in our pocket’ we’d have only council tax, utilities, POV, and food. We have comprehensive health coverage (Tricare –US military health coverage).
As family member of EU citizen, there is no set income level - criteria are you don't become an undue burden on the host country. You don't need health coverage as you will be eligible for NHS, though private cover can be useful when you need an op or want to consult specialists.

Vehicle: We currently plan to purchase a RHD vehicle before we go under the ‘NATO Forces tax-free scheme’ (i.e. no VAT). I need to have 6-months of ownership on any tax free items before we transfer to UK. Vehicle will be a diesel –US spec cars get terrible gas mileage and German spec cars are LHD; I may need 6K miles on it before transfer but I’m not sure as I can’t remember where the thought came from. Bringing tax free goods from outside EC is in Notice 3 para 5.1 & 5.1 5.1 Can I get relief from duty and tax on transfer of residence? Forms C3 & C104A.
C 3 - Bringing personal belongings to UK from outside the European Community
C 104A - Importation of a private motor vehicle into the United Kingdom on transfer of residence from outside the European Community (EC)

As I noted, I might be able to clear customs in Germany first (i.e. import to Germany first) then move them to the UK. This would make the move internal to the EC. I do not know which is easier (or cheaper, everything here is in, well, German). I have to research more but we move next year so there is some time to talk to local customs officials.
Yes, investigate your options locally. Tax-free car is usually a good deal (VAT here is 20%), though if you are happy with nearly new car (such as under a year old), you can save up to 40% of new price here, depending on make. BMWs are very popular here and hold their value well.

I made sure to buy a multi-system TV when we first arrived in Germany. We own nothing that uses US spec power (we shed it all). Plan to buy many items prior to move (but I’ll save that another thread). I’ve stocking a handful of EU/UK adapters, but grounded plugs are hard to come by so I’ll probably just cut the plug off the ends and put on UK ones for everything that requires a ground (i.e. computer/electronics).
Electricals are usually not a problem. If buying new, make sure you get 2-year pan-EU warranty cover.

Yes, I saw that its placed in your passport so I plan to ensure my passport is good for 5-years as I really don’t want to carry both around. We will both apply for residence as the plan is for one of to become a naturalized citizen. Thanks for the timeline.
It will take 5 years plus 12 months so 6 years in total before you become eligible to apply for naturalisation (this may change of course). There is usually no reason for EU citizen to be naturalised, and some countries don't allow dual nationality and force your spouse to give up the original citizenship, so beware (Germany, for example).
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
18,105 Posts
That is so, as credit file doesn't cross borders, but they can usually operate their EU euro account while they get established in UK.
Thanks. I wondered if there might be sharing of credit information across the EU making it easier for EU citizens to establish credit.

We have an extensive credit history, but in the US. Can we assume that if we put enough money into an account they’ll like us? I’m currently shopping for banks (RBS, BOS, bldgs soc, etc…). Any suggestions on who to stay away from?
Having a large amount of money to deposit might help you open an account, but it's not going to help you establish credit.

Transfer of cash I’d thought I’d handle through Western Union’s Fx. There not the best rate but it a big solid trustworthy company and there rate is better than a high street bank.
While Western Union might give you some degree of comfort, have you considered that when you add in the transaction fee you are getting an even worse rate than you think? I would suggest looking into some online sites like:

XE - The World's Favorite Currency and Foreign Exchange Site

OANDA - Forex Trading and Exchange Rates Services
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,244 Posts
Thanks. I wondered if there might be sharing of credit information across the EU making it easier for EU citizens to establish credit.
No sharing of credit file as such (privacy law, financial services regulations etc), but if a lender has offices in both countries (Germany and UK in this case), they can ask their colleagues abroad to do a check. As credit decision is made independently by each lender, and nobody has any right to credit, they can use any info they can get hold of to assess your creditworthiness. For example, it's quite common for a UK borrower to get mortgage in Spain by using a lender represented in both countries, provided they can meet the lending criteria.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I still advise renting first, then you can house-hunt at leisure and much easier once over here. Housing market is soft but not a lot of properties for sale as sellers hold off until the market recovers. But if you are a cash buyer (no mortgage), you can drive a hard bargain.

It's not too bad once you get established here with residence. You may have to start with basic account with no cheque book and overdraft, and upgrade to full account usually after 6 months. Or open an offshore account now and bring it onshore.

As family member of EU citizen, there is no set income level - criteria are you don't become an undue burden on the host country. You don't need health coverage as you will be eligible for NHS, though private cover can be useful when you need an op or want to consult specialists.

Yes, investigate your options locally. Tax-free car is usually a good deal (VAT here is 20%), though if you are happy with nearly new car (such as under a year old), you can save up to 40% of new price here, depending on make. BMWs are very popular here and hold their value well.

Electricals are usually not a problem. If buying new, make sure you get 2-year pan-EU warranty cover.

It will take 5 years plus 12 months so 6 years in total before you become eligible to apply for naturalisation (this may change of course). There is usually no reason for EU citizen to be naturalised, and some countries don't allow dual nationality and force your spouse to give up the original citizenship, so beware (Germany, for example).
Joppa, Thanks for the advice. True, it would be more easily done renting a flat locally. But it entails moving twice vs. once so for us we’d like to avoid the pain, course having to buy a house now isn’t going to be easy either. I’ll be sure that 2-yr pan-EU is included in any big ticket items we buy. Naturalization: no problems for spouse to get naturalized (she’s not German, and you’re right Germany is tough on that). Thanks for the heads-up on the 6-yrs; I’d forgotten to factor in the wait time after the naturalization application. IMO, one of the partners should always be a citizen if permanently settling in country. Having lived in countries where neither of us was and having lived in US where one of us was I’ve found it usually pays to have one citizen in the family. I plan to apply for permanent residence, she naturalization. Since we are settling permanently, we think it makes since for us. OTOH, it’s a long way off, and things change. An d of course, everyone’s circumstances are different, as well as their citizenship; naturalization should never be undertaken lightly and only after much deliberation and thought. Ex: While I like my USC, and it is coveted by many, it exacts a tax penalty everywhere you go in the world, even if you leave (you pay for the privilege of being a USC). It’s going to give me tax headache when I get to the UK (that’s another thread).

NHS: I’d thought we’d be eligible for NHS, but saw the requirement for comprehensive sickness insurance so I figured we’d be staying on private insurance. I’ve no problem with meeting the requirement. Thought you can never have too much information. This is what I’ve read on it:
For the non-EEA (EEA Family Permit: Form EEA2, section 8.1).

For the EEA, (& Registration Certificate: Form EEA1, section 8.1) Registration Certificate Applications CH 4, Annex A, A.1.
Permanent Residence (for both) (Permanent Residence CH6, para 6.2).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks. I wondered if there might be sharing of credit information across the EU making it easier for EU citizens to establish credit.

Having a large amount of money to deposit might help you open an account, but it's not going to help you establish credit.

While Western Union might give you some degree of comfort, have you considered that when you add in the transaction fee you are getting an even worse rate than you think? I would suggest looking into some online sites like:

XE - The World's Favorite Currency and Foreign Exchange Site

OANDA - Forex Trading and Exchange Rates Services
Right on the cash vs. credit. It’ll take time
I’m tracking Xe and Hifx vs WU as well as some others. For large transfers, I’m not willing to go with a privately held company. Having an fx company fail while they have my money is a non-recoverable error. Just ran a check and it’s about 3K GBP diff between WUFx and Xe. I wonder if I can call WU Fx and ask for a better rate? WU Fx seems to be like most FX companies, they make their money on the spread. Still looking at other companies/solutions so I’m open to ideas.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
18,105 Posts
Right on the cash vs. credit. It’ll take time
I’m tracking Xe and Hifx vs WU as well as some others. For large transfers, I’m not willing to go with a privately held company. Having an fx company fail while they have my money is a non-recoverable error. Just ran a check and it’s about 3K GBP diff between WUFx and Xe. I wonder if I can call WU Fx and ask for a better rate? WU Fx seems to be like most FX companies, they make their money on the spread. Still looking at other companies/solutions so I’m open to ideas.
Xe has been around for about 20 years.

If you are talking about a 1 time transfer and it's a significant sum, it's worth asking your bank if they can do better on the rate. £3,000 is a pretty hefty amount to lose.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
364 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you for the info. I'll keep researching.
Banks: There is a fee for everything! Guess I'll have to get used to it and sort banks for the best deal.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top