If you are UK-based and planning a big move to the US, there are plenty of basic things to think about and consider. To help get you started, we have put together some useful and general resources and recommendations to help you make a smooth transition.

If you are a US or UK-based company seeking business, economic, trade and/or professional resources, we invite you to contact us at with your inquiries. You will find a sample of some of our business resources below.

Whether you have landed on this page as an expat or represent a business or corporation, we invite you to learn more about our Pacific Northwest Chapter and join as a member of our organization. Membership is a fantastic way to tap into a number of resources, link to the region's British-American community, network, gain access to valuable educational opportunities, and more. Visit this page often for new information, updates and to connect BABC-PNW members who can share tips and best practices.


BABC-PNW Member Watson Immigration Law, based in Seattle, specializes in the area of United States Immigration and Naturalization law, assisting with all investment visa matters, as well as all family-based and employment-based immigration matters.

BABC-PNW Member Watson Immigration Law, based in Seattle, specializes in the area of United States Immigration and Naturalization law, assisting with all investment visa matters, as well as all family-based and employment-based immigration matters.


BCBA supports companies and individuals on both sides of the Atlantic, openly sharing our network and expertise with likeminded organizations to simplify the process and increase the chances of commercial and personal success.


London & Partners has helped hundreds of companies from more than 40 countries set up and grow their business in London. As the official promotinal and business development company, London & Partners is dedicated to helping companies realise their exciting ambitions, set up, succeed and grow in London.


Precept Wine is one of the fastest-growing wine companies in the US and features a unique portfolio representing emerging American wine regions throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho and New Mexico. Looking for wine for your next event? Contact us today to get connected with our Precept partners.

You've landed in Washington and whether it's for business, pleasure or a big move across the pond, consider all there is to do and see in the wonderous state of Washington and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Washington has an array of amazing national parks and coastlines, around 900 world-class wineries (Washington State is the USA’s second largest premium wine producer and the fastest growing), and the city of Seattle itself is a sophisticated blend of art, nature, technology and culture. It's also easy to get to and from, and around, the state. Washington's Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is a robust travel hub and Seattle is a great stop-over or starting point for cruises to Alaska. There are also more than 25 scenic by-ways that deliver you to majestic destinations including the San Juan Islands, the rolling hills of Washington's south east Palouse region, or north to the bustling city of Spokane.

Plan your holiday today... extend your business trip by a few days to peruse Seattle. Gather friends and family for a quick getaway or if your planting roots in the region, long weekend jaunts are a great way to enjoy all that our great state of Washington has to offer. Learn more by visiting the Seattle and Washington State Official UK Tourism website and start creating your Pacific Northwest story!

Wikipedia’s definition: A pub crawl is the act of one or more people drinking in multiple pubs or bars in a single night, normally travelling by foot …

Thanks to our good friend David Slight for ROUTE A - a fantastic pub crawl east of Seattle in Bellevue. We start at:

1. Bellevue Brewing Company, 1830 130th Avenue NE:  A real brewery, tap room and thin crust pizza if you need something to line the stomach. Yes, you have to move on so walk down Bel-Red towards Bellevue and cut across to NE 8th for...

2. The Pumphouse Bar & Grill, 11802 NE 8th St.: One of Bellevues oldest - family owned and operated since 1978. Great burgers and lots of television screens and of course 3 local IPA's and rotating craft beers. Walk through Whole Foods (yes in one door and out the other end) and cross over the freeway on NE 10th between the hospitals, across 112th and into a tranquil courtyard where you will find:

3. Scotty Browns, 958 111th Avenue NE: Included because if you are lucky you can sit outside at a table with a fire in the middle and enjoy a nice pint from one of the rotating taps. Food is no worse than anywhere else in Bellevue. Next, is a necessary liquid stop at:

5. Paddy Coyne’s Irish Pub, 700 Bellevue Way NE, #100: For a pint of Guinness; no other reason to be there but this will give you stamina for a quick once round the Bellevue Park on to the final stop at:

6. 520 Bar & Grill, 10146 Main St.: have fun and enjoy!

Now that you’ve unpacked and started to settle in, it’s time to get out and about and start meeting people. Here are a few suggestions for how to connect with like-minded folk:

  • British American Business Council PNW – Professional and personal networking and events, business and community resources, and more covering the whole of the Pacific Northwest region.

  • Brits in Seattle – Expat Facebook group for those based in the greater Seattle area.

  • Meetup – Find a local Meetup group for anything and everything you’re interested in – multiple groups are located throughout the Northwest region, including Seattle and Portland.

Find your local sports club:




Professional Sports

Find out more about the region’s professional and amateur sports teams, as well as sporting opportunities and hangouts.

Getting ready to visit or make a move to the US? Get the A to Z information on requirements including living and traveling abroad.

Get it right, be on your flight! Get it wrong, the wait may be long! Her Majesty's Passport Office (HMPO) is the place to go for all British Passport Applications and Renewals. If you are applying for a new British passport, do not send your application to the nearest British Embassy or Consulate as it will be returned to you causing additional delay and expense. 

The Pacific Northwest and each of its cities has their own distinct culture. Known as the Emerald city with an abundance of leafy green, Seattle is the biggest city in the region and growing rapidly. Legend has it that there are more bikes than there are people in Portland and did you know that in addition to potatoes, Idaho is the top producer of lentils? The state makes up part of the Palouse region known as The Lentil Capital of the World.

Even if you know which city in the Pacific Northwest is destined to be your new home, you’ll still need to choose a place to live and try to distinguish the up-and-coming areas from the rough neighborhoods. \

For starters, check out the history and vibe of Seattle neighborhoods and find helpful information on amenities and schools.

Get more information on the surrounding cities and suburbs.

After you’ve arrived in the Pacific Northwest, there are a bunch of things you’ll need to organize to get your day-to-day life up and running.

Your social security number or SSN, will be your unique identifying number for almost everything you do in the US, from linking you to your medical insurance benefits to helping you establish credit. Even if you are not eligible for social security or entitled to work on your visa, you may still need to apply for a SSN.

You will need to go in person to your local social security office and apply for an original SSN by completing form ss-5. You also will be required to show your passport and proof of your visa status, as well as a printed copy of your I-94.

Due to strict money laundering controls, it is often difficult to open a bank account before you arrive in the US. Some international banks may be able to help with this, providing you also hold an account with them in the UK. To open an account with a domestic US bank, you will need to go to the bank in person with your passport as proof of identity.

Your credit history is particularly important in the US and it can be difficult to do things like rent a house or buy a car without established US credit. Unfortunately your credit history from the UK will not transfer over and getting good credit will take time. It’s worth getting started right away if you can, although you may find that banks require you to put down a security equivalent to the amount of the card or set a very low credit limit initially.

Unfortunately, moving money around can be an expensive business when you take into account bank transfer and currency conversion fees. Some banks such as Santander or HSBC will offer preferential rates if you hold both a UK and US bank account with them.

However it’s possible to avoid the bank fees by using a service such as OFX or Transferwise.

The state of Washington is relatively generous when it comes to allowing people to drive on a foreign license. If you are simply visiting Washington, you are legally able to drive on your out-of-country license for up to one year. However, if you are establishing residency in Washington, you only have 30 days to obtain a driver license.

Your driver license is likely to become your primary form of ID and unless you want to carry your passport around with you or get asked a lot of questions about your foreign license, it’s worth applying for one sooner rather than later. You may also find your car insurance premiums drop significantly as a result.

Even if you have an existing out-of-country license, you will need to go through all of the steps as if you were obtaining your first driver license, including a knowledge test and a drive test.

Check out the Washington Driver Guide for all you need to know about driving in the state. Additional information including practice tests can be found here.

So you want to discover all there is to know about your new hometown, not to mention put together a world-class tour for when the first guests inevitably arrive. Here’s a handful of the many great things to see and do in the greater Seattle region. 

  • Seattle Underground Tour – This is a fun way to learn about some of Seattle’s early history. Many of the tour guides are active members of the Seattle improv comedy scene, so be prepared for a laugh.  

  • Ride the Ducks – It’s pretty cheesy, but not a bad way to get your bearings around the city and a flavor for some of the other sights. 

  • Many, Many, Museums – If you sign up with the Seattle Public Library, you’ll also be entitled to a free Museum Pass. Be warned, there are a limited number and these tend to go quickly. 

  • Scale the Space Needle – Make sure you pick a clear day for spectacular 360o views. Local residents of King County are eligible for discounted tickets.

  • Get Outside – With mountains in every direction, this is a great part of the world for hiking, camping and many other outdoor adventures. You can join organized groups and buy or rent your gear from REI.

Regional Tourism Organizations

The University of Washington offers an accelerated graduate degree program - Master of Arts in Applied International Studies (MAAIS). Geared for mid-career professionals, the MAAIS degree is designed for professionals looking to broaden their global perspective and more effectively engage with governments, international and nongovernmental organizations, foundations, and companies to tackle critical global challenges. Prospective students may choose between an intensive 10-month full-time program and a 2-year part time option. Courses dive into the political, social, economic and cultural drivers of international policy and decision-making. Topics covered include the making of the modern world, views from the global south, international legal foundations, energy and the environment, religion and politics, international migration and much more.

The MAAIS program also draws on the perspectives and expertise of significant global actors based here in the Pacific Northwest, which are actively influencing the global economic and political environment, such as Boeing, Microsoft, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. MAAIS students graduate with a nuanced understanding of how the world works, practical skills and powerful professional connections. For more information, visit the MAAIS website.