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Ally & Rach

Transferring money to US.

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Whats the best way to go about this.. Im not taking a massive sum with me to start with.. prob about £5k.. Some of it is in cash, some in bank. Ive heard taking the lot in cash and paying it in to a bank in the states directly is the best bet financially. What I don't want is to go to my bank or some other place like western union who will give me a really bad exchange rate and skim a big chunk for themselves..

Any info would be great as Im off to Tampa next week!! :help:


Met - September 13 2007 in Birmingham Alabama

Engaged - February 12 2010 in Linlithgow Palace, Scotland

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Whats the best way to go about this.. Im not taking a massive sum with me to start with.. prob about £5k.. Some of it is in cash, some in bank. Ive heard taking the lot in cash and paying it in to a bank in the states directly is the best bet financially. What I don't want is to go to my bank or some other place like western union who will give me a really bad exchange rate and skim a big chunk for themselves..

Any info would be great as Im off to Tampa next week!! :help:

Do you have an account here in the US? If so you can electronic transfer over before you leave and then close that account in Scotland.


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First thing that comes to mind is if you are carrying over the equivalent of $10,000 in cash you have to declare it at customs. Best I can tell, it is just a requirement to declare, no duty or other tax. If you deposit it all in a bank at once (over $10,000) the bank has to report it as well

A bank will likely give you a better rate the western union or the foreign currency exchange at the airport.

One other option is to deposit it in a bank in Scotland that you can access in the US. (HSBC comes to mind) You might get the best rate that way. I also have no idea what the exchange rate has been doing so that method might give you the option to pick when you do the exchange when the rates are favorable.

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As a K1 you will not have a social security number until you visit the local SS Office with your passport and K1 paperwork to get it sent to you in the mail. Therefore, you cannot open or be added to a US bank account as they require a SSN of the account holder.

From here you have two options for money transfer (unless you want to risk carrying a large amount of cash through airports). Ask your bank to convert your account into a banker's draft (known in the US as a cashier's check). Before you get this done, I would ask your spouse-to-be if the bank you will be opening an account with prefers the draft/check in US currency or will accept foreign, and at what rate of conversion. Then once you are added to a joint account, or open your own, you simply pay in the draft/check as you would any other cheque in the UK.

If you elect to transfer money through the banking system you will need to compile the information required by the originating bank from the receiving one. Generally, this involves the recipient bank's SWIFT number, Account number, Mailing Address and Phone number, in addition to the full name and address of the account holder.

EDIT: Do some googling on banker's draft and electronic funds transfers for full details. :)

Edited by Brit Abroad

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thanks again folks.. One thing im struggling to get my head round at the moment is Rach went to her bank the other day and asked about exchange rates.. she was told it was sitting at 1.3. In UK at the moment its 1.6. Would that not infer that if i was to transfer the money or take a bankers draft to this US bank Id get less than I would if I exchanged cash here.. sorry, im easily confused..


Met - September 13 2007 in Birmingham Alabama

Engaged - February 12 2010 in Linlithgow Palace, Scotland

NOA1 - July 8 2010

N0A2 - January 18

Medical Passed - March 15

Interview - April 12.. = APPROVED!!!!!!

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I used this to find the best rate and carried mine over in cash. I used Thomas Cook and ordered online, I saved 90 quid by reserving the currency online and picking it up at the airport. My fiance deposited it into his account when I got there, then we'll have my name put on the account as soon as I get my SSN. It was soooo easy.


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We did the same as InsomniacDaze. My husband brought over the cash and we went the next day to deposit it. It was quick and easy. He later opened his own account and I wrote him a check to transfer the funds.


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A lot of Brits on this site have been pleased with the rates and services of XE Trade.

I don't have personal experience with them or anybody else. Just remembering this same discussion several times before.

Nick didn't come with any money :crying: It's all still in the UK. Actually he's got some kind of fancy UK credit card with no comission, no exchange rate fees, no foreign transaction fee. He uses the card when he pays for things here. It's kinda handy to keep a UK account for buying gifts online from the UK for UK family. Cheaper than mailing from here.

US banks: Some banks will let you have a joint account prior to receiving your SSN. Call the local bank directly to find out. My bank did. That's acommon topic in the Moving Here and Your New Life in America forum.

My advice is don't travel with thousands in cash. Just too many things could happen.


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A lot of Brits on this site have been pleased with the rates and services of XE Trade.

I don't have personal experience with them or anybody else. Just remembering this same discussion several times before.

Nick didn't come with any money :crying: It's all still in the UK. Actually he's got some kind of fancy UK credit card with no comission, no exchange rate fees, no foreign transaction fee. He uses the card when he pays for things here. It's kinda handy to keep a UK account for buying gifts online from the UK for UK family. Cheaper than mailing from here.

US banks: Some banks will let you have a joint account prior to receiving your SSN. Call the local bank directly to find out. My bank did. That's acommon topic in the Moving Here and Your New Life in America forum.

My advice is don't travel with thousands in cash. Just too many things could happen.

If youre with HSBC and upgrade to their premium account it allows you to use your card anywhere in the world free. Although you have to tell them your vacation dates so it wouldnt be a permanent solution, but would be useful until you get your american SSN.


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Re Nich-Nick's post - I am using www.xetrade.com and am very happy with the service. A few weeks ago I compared the rates for

- Cash (postoffice and Tesco)

- Transfer from my checking account (lloyds)

- Opening Citibank account in USD in UK (free) and then one in US to move the money, which theoretically should be free and easy but from some reviews I saw doesn't work very well

- an independent money transfer service

- xetrade

Result was that the exchange rate was much better with XE trade (last few days about 2-2.5 pence under the bank selling rate and 1-3 p more than other services when I checked) and with wire to UK account and EFT into my US account (I lived in the US previously as a student so have a SSN) is completely free.

On the downside you will have to apply for an account with them so have to send in passport and proof of address etc. but their customer service is good and friendly.

Hope this helps :)

PS: If you just want access to your UK cash in US maybe you want to consider a UK Citibank account in USD (as mentioned, this is free of charge) which gives you access to your money in USD without further charge if you buy something in the US or iirc if you get cash out.

Edited by N&S

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Thanks again folks.. Id be lost without everyone (well almost everyone) on this site..

Ill have a look at all the options you have mentioned.. It looks like Rach's account is Bank of america so itll be going there if transferred. Anybody had any experience transferring with the post office.. just looked online and it looks a decent service too.. just asks for debit card, recipient swift no. and bank acc number and you are good to go.. I need to make a decision soon as time is a tickin.. Cannot BELIEVE im away next week.. We applied in June last year.. doesnt seem real..


Met - September 13 2007 in Birmingham Alabama

Engaged - February 12 2010 in Linlithgow Palace, Scotland

NOA1 - July 8 2010

N0A2 - January 18

Medical Passed - March 15

Interview - April 12.. = APPROVED!!!!!!

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Hi Ally,

My US account is Bank of America, just did a transfer (around 12.30 UK time) and got a rate of 1.6488 with xe trade, rate is locked.

Whatever method you choose I would recommend ACT/EFT rather than wire transfer if at all possible to save the costs of international incoming transfer (which for BoA looks like it's 16 USD, for some other banks it's a percentage of the transfer amount.

Good luck and safe travels!

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