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Any Brits in the US full time RV'ing


garyfromuk

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Hello Everyone,

 

I am looking for advice from any Brits doing what we want to do.

 

My wife (69) and I (55) (and dog) am looking to get over to the states from the UK in April/May.

 

I have been doing a L O T of research, and I have nailed the truck (RAM 3500 Crew Cab 6.7 diesel auto, 4 x 4 gear 3.42 6ft 4 bed) and 5th wheeler Canyon trail XLT 31FBHS (and found the weight calculator invaluable, or I would have bought the wrong truck).

 

All that was easy.

 

As I plan to spend time in US/Canada & Mexico (I would spend most of the time in the states but apparently I can not do this !), for the next couple of years, I am wondering what to do about:

1. Driving licence, - Can I get an American licence as I have no points on my licence and a good no claim record.

2. Health insurance - How comprehensive is this and how easy to arrange as a non resident.

3. Insurance for the truck and trailer - any recommendations on who is the best companies to offer to expats.

4. Banking - I want to open a 'National' checking account to manage my daily bills in US. It seems to be very difficult to open an account without being a resident or have a licence/social security number.

 

I look forward to any info on the above

 

Thanks

 

Gary & Judith

 

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Hi and welcome. Not a Brit but an Aussie but problems are the same.

License is difficult without a SSN. Most, if not all, states will recognize your British driving license. USA insurance companies aren't interested in your driving history. You will need to start at the very bottom of the insurance ladder in the USA.

Health insurance I can't help you with other than ask your current provider if they have an option to cover you while in the USA.

Insurance is as easy as going on line and getting a quote. I would suggest starting with the Progressive web site. (By the way you need insurance before you register your vehicles).

Bank is limited. The IRS won't allow you to open a bank account without a SSN. (They can't tax you on the massive amounts of interest that the banks pay. :unsure: ). But you can open a simple checking account without any interest. This will also give you a debit card. As Australians we have a simple checking account with Bank of America. I keep a minimum balance. It is linked to our Australian bank accounts. Transferring money is as simple as going on line.

 

regards

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FWIW, expat Brits but Canadian citizens for many years, we opened up a Bank of America Account back in 2009 with little problem. Chose BofA because of access to lots of ATM's throughout most states. Another Canadian friend of ours who needed a Fla drivers license but is Canadian said she had to surrender her Alberta Drivers License to get one for Fla, but just reapplied to get another Alberta License on her return = extra cost to do it that way but solved her being able to have both. Not sure if you can do similar with your UK license???

 

Also just a thought, but our TD Canadatrust bank in Canada has TD US banks that are growing in numbers, is there an affiliation in the US from a UK bank? Or have you considered HSBC = limited branches typically (only 4 in our nearest city of over 1 million), but folks from UK, have been able to utilize them here.

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Great info, thanks for all the help, I was probably looking at too many forums and adding up the problems that are not there. Did not know that you needed insurance before i registered the vehicles.

 

I am thinking of setting up an LLC in Montana and registering the vehicles through that Co, any thoughts on that route ?

 

thanks

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IMHO LLC's are over kill for any of us non citizens. It only makes everything more complicated and takes away your ability to choose your preferred state as a home base.

 

As Kirk points out, Livingston is the home base for many thousands of happy RVers. Including many foreigners.

 

regards

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Are cheques still in in use for day to day transactions in the us. here on oz the last cheque I wrote

was back in 2008 and I still have half a cheque book left, every thing now seems to get done by electronic means .or cash

 

the only time I have seen a cheque book or cheque in recent years is in the business world or used by a few computer illiterate aged dinosours.

 

mick

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Hi Bruce T,

 

The benefit i can see from opening an LLC in Montana is their state tax on purchases is zero. In some states this could add up to more than setting up the LLC with rig costs circa $65K.

As the LLC is a separate entity to yourself you can still set your home base as Livingston, unless someone knows different ?

 

mickhoss

 

you are right cheques are used rarely in the UK, and all my transaction are via debit card, as I hope would be the case in the states. I just think they call it a checking account, but it is all done on the internet.

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Are cheques still in in use for day to day transactions in the us. here on oz the last cheque I wrote

was back in 2008 and I still have half a cheque book left, every thing now seems to get done by electronic means .or cash

 

the only time I have seen a cheque book or cheque in recent years is in the business world or used by a few computer illiterate aged dinosours.

 

mick

 

I haven't carried cash or a check book since about 2003. My wife still carries a check book in her wallet, but probably writes less than 3 checks a year, when we find the very rare place that won't take plastic.

 

In most cases where somewhere won't take a debit card, there's an ATM close by.

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Are cheques still in in use for day to day transactions in the us. here on oz the last cheque I wrote

was back in 2008 and I still have half a cheque book left, every thing now seems to get done by electronic means .or cash

There are still some RV parks which prefer checks because there is no fee charged to the merchant for their use like there is for credit or debit card use. They are not very common but most businesses here are broad minded enough to still accept them and a few even still accept cash!

 

Are you telling us that there are no checking accounts at banks in the UK? They are quite common here and in fact most do very few paper transactions but we still call them checking accounts and we still refer to many of the internet payments as electronic checks. We commonly make deposits with our phones and even a deposit made at an ATM usually returns the paper check being deposited.

 

And just to be sure that you have heard, we do have cars and paved roads here too! :lol:

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

            images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQqFswi_bvvojaMvanTWAI

 

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I must point out that checks are spelt cheques!! Darn Americans and the use of the good ol English language. :rolleyes:

 

Here in Australia cheques are almost museum pieces. I have a 'new' cheque book that hasn't seen day light for about 4-5 years. The older generation still use them but I'm sure our kids don't even know what they are. What surprises us in the USA are the folks writing out cheques at the check out in the supermarkets. Something you would never even attempt here. But it's the difference between countries that make us so different and isn't that one of the reasons we travel?

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Are cheques still in in use for day to day transactions in the us. here on oz the last cheque I wrote

was back in 2008 and I still have half a cheque book left, every thing now seems to get done by electronic means .or cash

 

the only time I have seen a cheque book or cheque in recent years is in the business world or used by a few computer illiterate aged dinosours.

 

mick

Some campgrounds require checks. Most of the Corp of Engineer campgrounds have what we call an Iron Ranger, which is a tube into which you put an envelope on which you have written your RV information and into which you insert cash or check. The La Posa South LTVA at Quartzsite has a staffed office but you still use the Iron Ranger inside that office to make your payment. And they don't make change so, if paying in cash, you want to have the correct denominations. I find checks easier for those locations.

 

Linda Sand

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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...Some campgrounds require checks. Most of the Corp of Engineer campgrounds have what we call an Iron Ranger, which is a tube into which you put an envelope on which you have written your RV information and into which you insert cash or check...

Quite a few Passport America, Happy Camper or Escapees 50% discount parks require payment by cash or check to get the 50% discount. Many unstaffed campgrounds want payment by cash or check. I have only encountered two unstaffed campgrounds that were setup with a credit/debit card terminal for use at checkin. The terminals were setup like those in city parking lots and printed out a ticket with the site # on it for display at the site.

 

In addition to the Corps of Engineers campgrounds; many Forest Service, BLM, National Park Service and local, county and State Park campgrounds have iron rangers. Even those that have offices or volunteer hosts onsite to take a payment may not have credit card machines.

 

I don't like to carry much cash and find checks easier for record keeping/budget tracking.

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Hi Gary

We've just started our sixth year of six-months RV living / travelling - we go back to England for the remaining six months each year because our visitor visa only allows us to ask for six months entry into the US at a time. If it weren't for family / friends, I guess we could go into Canada for six months before seeking re-entry to America instead of going home.

Anyway, to try and answer your questions from our experience:

 

1. Driving licence - as others have posted, you would not be able to obtain a US D/L as a non-resident. We simply use our UK licences.

2. Health insurance - We use the 'free' travel insurance provided by our UK bank but with an extension to 180 days per trip at a cost of c.£500pa.

3. Insurance for the truck and trailer - We initially used Progressive to insure both our bus and jeep but after three claim-free years they doubled the premium supposedly because of a change in policy regarding overseas licence holders. We now arrange cover via the Good Sam Club (together with their breakdown / recovery service).

4. Banking - We were able to open a checking account with the Bank of America without any problem. It was they that suggested we use the address of the holiday apartment we were staying in at the time as our 'residence' and a friend's PO Box for the mailing address. After a couple of years building up an account history we applied for a BofA credit card and provided details of our UK income / property - computer say YES. This proved extremely useful in a few instances where a debit card nor our UK issued credit card were acceptable.

One other thing - communications. My wife uses her iPhone6 with a 'global' pay-as-you-go SIM whilst I've always been happy with a Tracfone which costs me $100 pa for all the minutes / texts / data I need during our travels and allows me to keep the same number from year to year.

Hope this helps.

Regards

Tim & Eileen

1999 Holiday Rambler Endeavor DP 37CDS

1994 Jeep Wrangler S / YJ

 

Life's too short so what are we waiting for.

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Hello Everyone,

 

I am looking for advice from any Brits doing what we want to do.

 

My wife (69) and I (55) (and dog) am looking to get over to the states from the UK in April/May.

 

I have been doing a L O T of research, and I have nailed the truck (RAM 3500 Crew Cab 6.7 diesel auto, 4 x 4 gear 3.42 6ft 4 bed) and 5th wheeler Canyon trail XLT 31FBHS (and found the weight calculator invaluable, or I would have bought the wrong truck).

 

All that was easy.

 

As I plan to spend time in US/Canada & Mexico (I would spend most of the time in the states but apparently I can not do this !), for the next couple of years, I am wondering what to do about:

1. Driving licence, - Can I get an American licence as I have no points on my licence and a good no claim record.

 

 

The US state of New Mexico issues drivers licenses to almost anybody including illegal aliens from down south. I would think NM will issue you a drivers license.

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I must point out that checks are spelt cheques!! Darn Americans and the use of the good ol English language. :rolleyes:

 

Here in Australia cheques are almost museum pieces. I have a 'new' cheque book that hasn't seen day light for about 4-5 years. The older generation still use them but I'm sure our kids don't even know what they are. What surprises us in the USA are the folks writing out cheques at the check out in the supermarkets. Something you would never even attempt here. But it's the difference between countries that make us so different and isn't that one of the reasons we travel?

 

Guns in Australia seem to have gone the same route as cheks.

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There are still some RV parks which prefer checks because there is no fee charged to the merchant for their use like there is for credit or debit card use. They are not very common but most businesses here are broad minded enough to still accept them and a few even still accept cash!

 

Are you telling us that there are no checking accounts at banks in the UK? They are quite common here and in fact most do very few paper transactions but we still call them checking accounts and we still refer to many of the internet payments as electronic checks. We commonly make deposits with our phones and even a deposit made at an ATM usually returns the paper check being deposited.

 

And just to be sure that you have heard, we do have cars and paved roads here too! :lol:

 

I believe the correct name (in the banking world) for a 'checking account' is 'demand deposit account'.

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Hello Everyone,

 

I am looking for advice from any Brits doing what we want to do.

 

My wife (69) and I (55) (and dog) am looking to get over to the states from the UK in April/May.

 

I have been doing a L O T of research, and I have nailed the truck (RAM 3500 Crew Cab 6.7 diesel auto, 4 x 4 gear 3.42 6ft 4 bed) and 5th wheeler Canyon trail XLT 31FBHS (and found the weight calculator invaluable, or I would have bought the wrong truck).

 

All that was easy.

 

As I plan to spend time in US/Canada & Mexico (I would spend most of the time in the states but apparently I can not do this !), for the next couple of years, I am wondering what to do about:

1. Driving licence, - Can I get an American licence as I have no points on my licence and a good no claim record.

2. Health insurance - How comprehensive is this and how easy to arrange as a non resident.

3. Insurance for the truck and trailer - any recommendations on who is the best companies to offer to expats.

4. Banking - I want to open a 'National' checking account to manage my daily bills in US. It seems to be very difficult to open an account without being a resident or have a licence/social security number.

 

I look forward to any info on the above

 

Thanks

 

Gary & Judith

 

Hi we did this starting in 2006 and with a dog.

 

This is from my notes in 2006

 

Driving licence, - Can I get an American licence as I have no points on my licence and a good no claim record. Yes you can. The SSN is not an issue you will be asked for one but there is a way round this. The hurdle you need to overcome is an entry 'visa' good for 1 year or more. You normally get 180 days on entry but the immigration officer has discretion. We met Brits with 1 year and the valuable US driving licence. It is valuable because it opens up your vehicle insurance choice dramatically. We just used our UK licences and had no problems.

 

Health insurance - How comprehensive is this and how easy to arrange as a non resident. If you buy this in the US it will be eye wateringly expensive. We used Endsleigh and their gap year backpackers policy. The coverage was very comprehensive and when I collapsed with a heart attack they paid for everything including the heli medivac. Atlas Insurance is worth looking at. They still insure me for skiing in the US.

 

Insurance for the truck and trailer - any recommendations on who is the best companies to offer to expats.Progressive worked for us. Champ Carter in Livingston is up to speed on the problems visitors have getting insurance.

 

First National Bank of Livingston opened accounts for us and I still have mine.

 

Some extra stuff You need a US address. We joined Escapees and used their mail forwarding system as our address. Allow time to set this up and you need a UK notary recognized in the US. Ours charged 250 quid for 4 signatures..

 

Flying the dog. Check that he/she can be flown short nosed dogs often can't. Also be aware that if you are flying in summer most airlines have a max temp at the arrival airport. If that is exceeded the dog does not fly. We used Continental. His ticket cost 5 time mine. worth every penny.

post-4234-0-21428800-1453768044_thumb.jpg

FT since September 2007

Safari Trek + M/C

http://johncarolandcharro.blogspot.com/

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Texas still does not as far as I know and the Polk County center conducted a test and issued a licence for a Brit friend about 18 months ago.

 

It is REALLY worth exploring this as it can half your insurance.

 

DMV Phone Number

(936) 327-6806

Alternate Phone: (512) 424-2600

Email: customerservicedl@txdps.state.tx.us

FT since September 2007

Safari Trek + M/C

http://johncarolandcharro.blogspot.com/

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Kirk if that question was directed at me, mate I wouldn't have a clue what they do with cheque accounts in the UK. I am in western Australia.

 

IN reply to R Walter, I still have all my guns, the governments great gun grab of 1996 wasn't all that successful, they only got stuff that there was a record of, there are probably more illegal firearms around now than ever.

 

pistol ownership has generally been restricted in most Australian states since the 1920s.

 

You can rest assured that if I was an American I would be a staunch supporter of the second amendment as would most of my mates.

 

mick

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