10 November 2016

James Tullett - Expat in the USA

James Tullett - Expat in the USA

We’ve had the chance to talk to James Tullett, an English expat who has moved to the US with his wife. Mr. Tullett who has been living there for two and half years, now works as a business manager.

Read more about his experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: London.


Q: What made you move out of the UK?

A: An opportunity arose within Mason Frank to build a division out of our NYC offices. The US tech market is the largest in the world and the opportunity to be a part of that was very exciting. Also the opportunity to work in New York was very attractive.


Q: How long have you been living in the US?

A: Two and a half years.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the expat lifestyle?

A: I live in the US with my wife. My wife found it difficult to make the adjustment as it took three months for her to get her EAD (Employment Authorisation Document) which meant she was unable to get a job and start to make some friends.

She did get around this by volunteering and participating in charity work and I also involved her in every work event that I could. Once she made the adjustment and we built up a network of friends which took around six months we both loved it and admittedly now neither of us wants to return to the UK.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: Not really – our family tends to visit regularly.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: I love the fact that in New York and surrounding boroughs that a lot of people are not actually native locals. The majority of people I meet are from all over the world and we are all in the same situation – looking to make friends and enjoy such a great city. So, in short, the locals are great and always very welcoming. I think it is a myth that New York City is not friendly.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in the US? How did you manage to find a social circle there?  

A: Yes, we do socialise with other expats. Our circle tends to be predominantly friends made through our professional network but the expats we do mix with tend to be introduced to us through other friends from the UK or through mutual friends.


Q: How does the cost of living in the US compare to your home?

  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: $3.50. 

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: $20. 

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: $120. 

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: Wine – average $20. Cigarettes -$14.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in the US?

A: No – it’s the easiest process ever.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: It was long and involved a lot of paperwork. It took around six to nine months to complete my L1 visa and it took a day to obtain my wife’s. It took three months for my wife to obtain an employment authorization document, which can only be obtained once you are in the US.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in the US is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: Healthcare is very reliable. It’s a for-profit industry so service with healthcare tends to be top notch.


Q: Did you secure health insurance in the US? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: Yes – I would advise getting the best you can. If you are not covered for something it can be very costly.


Q: What was the most memorable thing about the packing and moving process to the US? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: Packing and moving were fairly painless although it took around eight weeks for our furniture to arrive when we expected it to be with us in six. That meant we were staying with family for two weeks and paying rent on our apartment for two weeks waiting for furniture. We always expected it to be potentially delayed though as it’s never banging on the estimate.

The only daunting thing is that if your container is x-rayed at customs you have to pay for that x-ray which I remember being a concern of mine as it was costly.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: NYC is similar to London. I haven’t really had any challenges it’s been a very smooth transition.

The only challenge was maybe that I had to pay deposits for every contract I had because I didn’t have any credit. So with the apartment, car and cell phone I had around 10k in deposits, which can be annoying.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in the US?         

A: You actually get four seasons in NYC. In the summer it’s hot and there are some great spots for vacation. In the winter you can ski at multiple resorts within a 90-minute drive. Within two to four-hour flights you can do anything you want. It’s so close to the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, etc.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: I love driving up to Vermont in the winter to ski (four hours away). Weekends in Miami are two hours away on an inexpensive flight. Locally there is so much to do. I love jet skiing on the Hudson in the summer and diving up to all of the landmarks, like the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: No.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Embrace it.