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Hitting the Florida Trail: A Guide for Expats Moving to Florida

Moving to a new country for good is always a big decision. It requires lots of planning. You can’t just head out and then take it from there. You’ll need things such as visas, etc. and know how to get around, and then once you’ve settled into the area, you’ll have to think about entertaining visitors. Here are a few pointers to make things that little bit easier when you’re moving to Florida from the UK.

Image by JeepersMedia (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/14325907798/sizes/m/), used under CC licence 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)Entering the US

To get into the US, you’ll need a valid passport, of course, and this should describe you as a “British citizen”. It should also be an ePassport; that’s to say, it should have a digital picture of you, plus the internationally recognised symbol.

You’ll also need a visa. You should apply for this at your nearest US embassy or consulate before travelling. Permanent residence in the US will require a Permanent Residence card.

Setting up a bank account

Unfortunately, the US’s tough stance on crime means that requirements can be quite strict when it comes to setting up a bank account. Helpfully, being from the UK, Canada or a European country can help your case. In any case, you’ll need at least the following documents:

  • Passport, an identity card or a driving licence
  • (Physical) Proof of your address
  • Your social security number
  • Immigration documents

It’s best to go into the bank and set up your account face to face. This makes it easier to iron out any details or resolve any issues. When opening the account, you may also be asked to provide proof of the money’s origin, such as a tax return from your country or a payslip from your company.

Driving in Orlando, Florida

Image by sun dazed (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sundazed/722008477/sizes/m/), used under CC licence 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)The good news about driving in the US, in general, is that most cars are automatic. You just need to change the gear for driving, reversing and parking, and the car will shift through the gears as your slow down or speed up. Always carry your driving licence with you, and remember to drive on the right-hand side of the road, not the left like in Britain! Be aware, too, that cars may overtake on either side of you.

You’ll be pleased to hear that the main routes to the theme parks are well sign posted! There’ll be no wrong turns away from them, that’s for sure! Avoid stopping to take a photo of the signs to Disney World, but remember to stop at “Stop” signs, even if there appears to be nothing coming.

Things to do

Speaking of Orlando, Florida, it won’t have escaped your notice that this is one of the entertainment capitals of the world, and you’ll probably have some family or friends come over to stay with you while you’re out there. Of course, you can’t let them travel all the way to the US, step off their flights to Orlando and not set foot in the magical Disney World, especially if they have young children with them.

If, however, you want a bit excitement but don’t necessarily want to spend all your time in theme parks, you can book yourself some tickets to see Orlando Magic, the local basketball team, play at their home court, the Amway Center. The court has capacity for 20,000, so you can sit with all the fans, cheer on the home team and really feel part of something!

Alternatively, you can opt for something more tranquil and walk around the Harry P. Leu Gardens. The gardens are a home to more than 1,000 rose bushes and the most plentiful collection of camellia in North America. You’ll find the gardens located on Lake Ivanhoe in downtown Orlando, and they also have a butterfly garden and a citrus garden.

These are some of the main things you’ll have to consider when you book your one-way ticket to Florida. We wish you luck in your endeavours!


Before you take off

Please contact us if you believe information on this page is incorrect, misleading or offensive, or if something important is missing.

The International Wanderer aims to provide you with up to date and accurate information. However, content is submitted by writers/wanderers from all over the globe. Sometimes we will get it wrong. Furthermore, working holiday and other visa opportunities and requirements (or numbers allocated) may change. New working holiday agreements are constantly being negotiated between countries. We suggest that you contact the nearest consulate or embassy of the country you wish to visit to ensure you have the most recent and accurate information. For further information about this website see our Terms & Conditions.