Welcome to Mind the Gap!

Lady Liberty is calling. (We promise that's as cliché as we'll get here.) (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Are you a Brit ready to make that leap across the Atlantic? Or perhaps you’ve already made the jump, and want to capitalize on all that America has to offer while maintaining a connection to home? Welcome to Mind the Gap, BBCAmerica.com’s new resource blog for British expats.

From getting a U.S. driver’s license or figuring out why our prissy footballers wear so much padding, Mind the Gap will help you navigate this alien land of opportunity and red tape. Our writing team of expat experts have been-there, done-that, and have plenty of tips to share.

Mind the Gap is intended to be a conversation, so definitely give us your feedback. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Let’s get started, shall we? Check out our latest posts:

How to Ship Your Stuff Safely to the U.S.

How to Get a Social Security Card

Renting a Place in America: Realtor, Craigslist or Grapevine?

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Emigrate to the U.S.

Moving to the U.S.? How to Tie Up Loose Ends at Home

12 Essential Websites for British Expats in America

How to Throw an Authentic British Street Party Stateside

Gallery: 10 British Celebrities Who Are U.S. Citizens

  • Ruth Marvin Webster

    Welcome to America! We are thrilled to have more Brits here – well, maybe not every single one – but nearly. You make it better. And certainly funnier.

  • Helen

    Great fun! Been there with the transatlantic relationship and now very happily here in US for 4 years after all my life in the UK. Not “over the hill” yet! New adventures all the time!

  • Haja

    18-20% is the standard gratuity in sit down restaurants. Happy dining.

    • kl417g

      Thanks for remembering those in the service industry, here, Haja. Most Europeans don’t realize service people in this country are paid less than minimum wage because it’s expected they’ll get tips.

    • wing

      Sorry, but 15% is the average. And not all wait staff get paid less than minimum wage. Here in California, they get that or more, regardless of their skill.

      • cole

        that’s because california sucks and is 16B in the hole.

  • Claire Barrett

    We moved here in December last year and have lots to learn but we’re really enjoying the experience. I’ve enjoyed sharing the experience on our blog, Diary of a wimpy Brit.

  • Richie

    I made the jump about 10 years ago and love my American life and being a US Citizen. My Orlando hints for fellow Brits is in my blog http://theorlandobritsguideto.blogspot.com/.

  • Dougie

    I would love to have the chance to emigrate to the US, but unlike the seemingly non-existent immigration regulations in this country, relocating across the Atlantic is extremely difficult unless you have excellent qualifications or a huge pile of money already.

    • kl417g

      Or…sadly, if you sneak in illegally from Mexico.

    • wing

      Correct! Better yet – you’ll get free medical, housing and schooling if you master the Hispanic accent & don’t attempt to claim citizenship.

    • cole

      or you are mexican….if you are mexican you just walk across the border and sign up for all sort of good free stuff.

  • David Hawley

    I’ve been here five years now – biggest problem – no credit record so I couldn’t get a bank account, a mortgage or anything to start with – even the US branch of the bank have in the UK wouldn’t give me an account! (I have an excellent credit record in the UK by the way). Solution – Credit Union started an account with $5 cash and built things up from there.

  • gocanux

    Lots of little things to get used to, like driving on the other side of the road (watch out when stepping off the curb while walking!); pre-buttered toast in restaurants; “football” is played with the hands, but “soccer” is becoming more and more popular. (The term “soccer” is British after all, from the Football AsSOCiation…). It’s hard to get a decent cup of tea, anywhere — tepid water, bitter Lipton bag, and when you ask for milk, they give you cream. Bring a few Yorkshire Gold bags in a ziploc bag, everywhere you go.

    A biggie: we speak American, you speak British, and they are definitely NOT the same language! No “I” in aluminum! No “U” in color or flavor. “School” and “schedule” begin with the same sounds! Spanish and Italian words are pronounced as they are in Spain and Italy! (pah-stuh, not past-tuh!) And if you move to the South, good luck!

    My fiance lives in the Midlands and we’re planning for him to move here next year, so this site should prove very helpful!

    • gocanux

      Addendum: at least we can watch Doctor Who and Top Gear on BBC America!

  • Anthony Mccartney

    I have been here in Southern California for 32 years
    and I’m now retired. I enjoy returning to England for visits but could never live there again because of the miserable weather and the high prices don’t help.
    I watch football every week during the season, especially my team Chelsea or any of the London teams.
    We get 300 days of sunshine here S/Cal. It gets too hot in August and maybe September but I have got used to it.
    I have no regrets about coming here and my family agree.

  • Alex Lea

    I just found this site and I’m glad I did. I have lived in the US for six years now and just got my US citizenship this year. Good to see a site for Britsh expats (if I’m even an expat now that I’m also a citizen?) My blog “Moving Across the Pond” can be found at http://www.british-and-american.com

  • Lex Rudd

    I originally moved to SoCal to work on monster movies, but now I’m happily living in the Redwoods of Northern California, just an hour and some’s drive north of San Francisco.
    It has been a huge adjustment over the years; my entire family are still back in Blighty so I’m pretty much on my own over here in that respect. I get back at least once a year to visit.. I still love England.
    I currently work as a toy designer for what I think is the worlds largest puppet company. I bought a little cabin in a redwood forest and work from home 4 days a week and commute to the East Bay for meetings one day a week. This area seems to attract Brits and retired rock and rollers – it would be a great area to feature for a show! We have the ex head of Virgin Entertainment now working in advertising and running a Brit Radio show, there is a builder, his wife the marijuana attourney and their three kids (all late teens mid 2o’s survivng living half their lives over here – the eldest runs bicicle tours around San Francisco). There’s a guy from Basildon with a US wife who works in I.T. and runs a British web site much like yours, who is thinking about opening up a British food shop in town. We have a printer/photographer who I think came from wealth once upon a time who has been here for over 30 years, a couple who own and operate one of the largest cider companies in the US just down the road (they have a Scottish guy working for them also) and myself, an Essex girl done good who works between movie special effects and making toys for kids to buy in stores. I still have my accent, but I “made it up” a bit back in the UK so I didn’t sound so “Essex”. I guess Essex is kinda hip again now though eh? ;)

    Each of the above people met each other either in my town or one of the three towns surrounding it, we had never met in Britain. Now tell me that doesn’t sound like a fun crowd!

  • Pamela Spirlet

    The biggest piece of advice I got was how to send my money across the pond !!! Banks can really take advantage of you, I went through infinityinternational.co.uk Darren Hutchinson was a huge help and very knowledgable !! I didn’t realise how much I was losing out on !!

    • Pete Griff

      My girlfriend got a dual-account set up with CitiBank when she was in the UK. One US based and one UK based; free to transfer between the two! Only problem is I don’t think Citi have any branches outside London

  • Robin

    Is there an equivalent blog for Americans living in the UK?

  • Karolina K

    Moved to Los Angeles 7 months ago from Dagenham, Essex. Work as a picture editor out here… It’s still too early to say this place feels like home – I still feel like I’m on holiday! :)

    There’s so much to love about LA but it also has its drawbacks – I’d probably stay here forever if all my friends and family lived here – but they don’t so I don’t know how long I’ll stay.

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