We’ve all done it. Gone on holiday, fallen in love with the destination and thought “Wouldn’t it be great to live here?” Florida holidays and Caribbean holidays are always popular with Brits and both of these destinations have huge expat communities who moved there in search of paradise. With the possibility of sun, sea, and sand every day, it seems tempting to uproot the family and live there permanently. There are, of course, many advantages in doing so, just as long as you are realistic about what life will be like – living and working in a completely different country.
Florida, on the east coast of the USA, is known for theme parks, alligators and everglades as well as houses with their own swimming pools and huge outlet malls where you can pick up designer clothes at a fraction of the cost. But it’s unlikely you’ll be able to take advantage of all this until you have a job offer which means you can apply for a work visa. If married, your spouse can stay in the US with an immigrant visa. Eventually, if you decide to stay permanently, you can obtain the coveted Green Card and become a U.S. Citizen.
The Caribbean is made up of many islands and is a melting pot of cultures and nationalities, which can make living and working there all the more exciting! However, it’s no secret that some islands are safer than others, so it’s best to research wisely as to where you want to live, work and bring up your kids. Check out places like the British Virgin Islands, The Bahamas or Dominican Republic – make the right choice and you will be relocating to paradise forever.
Health insurance is vital as there is no National Health Service in the US or the Caribbean and the medical charges are exorbitant, but with the correct policy, you and your family can be protected. You may also have to retake your driving test, as, after 90 days, the UK one will not be valid. It’s probably a good idea anyway, as everyone drives on the wrong side of the road – pretty scary stuff!
Away from family and friends, you may experience some feelings of isolation, so being in a location that is well served by airlines and holiday companies will mean that they can visit you frequently. Although remember that it’s your home and not a hotel, otherwise you may find yourself spending all of your time changing sheets and cleaning bathrooms!