Moving to New York

Compared to other cities around the globe, New York isn’t huge – but that doesn’t stop almost 9 million people calling it home.

This densely populated city has plenty on offer for expats – a plethora of job opportunities, quirky shops on every street corner, one of the most famous skylines, and an out-of-this-world food scene.

Whether you’re moving to New York alone or with friends and family, swapping UK life for the Big Apple will come with ease. After all, both share the same language and have a huge multicultural population.

Already got your heart set on New York? Well, it’s time to get your stuff over there then. Luckily, shipping your belongings abroad doesn’t need to be stressful, thanks to our helpful quote tool.

Simply pop a few details about your move into this short form, and we’ll put you in touch with our professional suppliers, who will contact you with their best shipping quotes.

Cost of shipping to New York from the UK

The price of moving your stuff from the UK to New York can vary significantly, depending on a number of factors.

To give you a rough idea of costs, we’ve calculated the average international shipping rates for some of our most sought-after journeys from UK cities to New York. The rates are sourced from iContainers.com, and are based on the port-to-port transportation of a 20ft container of used furniture worth £40,000 – the typical value of the contents of a three-bedroom house (according to Admiral Insurance). The durations are sourced from Searates.com.

This information was last updated in December 2021.

Bear in mind these are estimates only. If you’d like a more accurate idea of how much shipping to New York will cost you, just pop your details into this form, and our suppliers will get back to you.

RouteCostDuration
Southampton to New York$7,056.9210 days
Liverpool to New York$7,990.789.5 days
Belfast to New York$8,967.009 days

Please note: these container shipping costs exclude typical add-ons such as door-to-door delivery, professional packing/unpacking, and basic insurance cover. Our shipping suppliers normally incorporate these services into their prices, so expect some discrepancy between the rates given here and the quotes you receive. These estimates should be used as an indication only.

Select the size of your move to get free quotes

Cost of flying goods to New York from the UK

If you’re in more of a rush, flying your stuff abroad might be a better option – but it’ll come at a price. Although air freight has the advantage of speed, container shipping is 12-16 times cheaper than air freight.

Want to get a better idea of how much air freight will cost you? Check out the table below. These rates are sourced from Freightos.com, and are based on the airport-to-airport transportation of much lighter goods – to be precise, 250 kg of household goods worth £40,000, from a major origin city to New York.

Bear in mind that this pallet is only 100 cm x 100 cm x 100 cm, so can carry much less than a 40-foot shipping container.

RouteCostDuration
London to New York£1,1118 hours
Liverpool to New York£1,2208 hours
Southampton to New York£1,220 8 hours
Times Square in NYC

Healthcare in New York

The healthcare system in America is very different to what we’re used to in the UK. In fact, basic healthcare is not considered a “universal right” in America – so the system might take some getting used to.

Rather than having an NHS equivalent, the USA’s healthcare industry is completely privatised – its network of hospitals and doctors surgeries are all run by independent companies.

If they can afford it, most Americans have some form of medical cover. This means that, by paying money each month to their provider, they won’t have a huge bill waiting for them once something bad happens.

Before your big move to New York, it’s wise to consider whether you’ll need medical cover for when you’re out there.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Cigna for private medical insurance in America. With four levels of annual cover to choose from and extra modules for more flexibility, Cigna will sort you out with a plan that suits your needs.

Start building a customised plan with a free quote to protect your most important assets – you and your family.

Cost of living in New York

Depending on the neighbourhood you decide to settle in, the cost of living in New York will fluctuate. Rent prices, for example, will be much lower in Brooklyn than they are in Manhattan.

To give you a general idea of how much you’ll need to put aside for food shops, bills, and other things, we’ve listed a few estimates below:

Good/serviceAverage cost
A loaf of bread$3.08 (£2.32)
A litre of milk$1.11 (£0.84)
12 eggs$3.63 (£2.74)
500 grams of cheese$7 (£5.28)
A pint$7 (£5.28)
A monthly gym subscription$74 (£55.85)
1 litre of petrol$0.89 (£0.67)
Two tickets to the cinema$31 (£23.40)
A bottle of red wine $17 (£12.83)
Utilities for two people in 85 m2 flat$140 (£105.66)
Basic dinner out for two$63 (£47.55)

Data from Expatistan, 2021

Transferring money to New York from the UK 

If you’re thinking of moving to New York, you’ll probably need to convert some of your British pounds into American dollars.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Wise, an easy-to-use online international money transfer service which uses the real exchange rate, and charges low fees.

How much could you save? Well, its service can be up to 8x cheaper than high street banks.

Join more than 7 million people and start using TransferWise today.

Working in New York

Working in New York will greet you with tonnes of career opportunities – it is, after all, a concrete jungle where dreams are made of, according to Alicia Keys.

But before you get ahead of yourself, there are a few things you need to get sorted.

Getting a work visa for New York

Once you’ve found a company in NYC that wants you, your last obstacle is getting a visa – and you have several options to choose from:

  • The Visa Waiver Program (this means you can enter the country visa-free for up to 90 days, but you’ll need something after that period of time)
  • Nonimmigrant visas
  • Immigrant visas

Want to learn more about these visa options before moving to New York? Check out our helpful guide on working in the US, where you can find everything you need to know.

It’s also important to bear in mind that the majority of work-based US visas rely on you having a job offer from a licensed American company before you move there.

Average salary in New York

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage in New York is $97,188 (£73,207) – far higher than the national average of $67,028 (£50,489).

Again, this is likely to fluctuate, depending on the borough of the city you work in. For example, Manhattan’s average salary of $206,284 (£155,642) is over three times the national average, whilst Queens has an average salary of $59,488 (£44,883), and Brooklyn $52,728 (£39,783).

Income tax in New York

New Yorkers pay different levels of income tax, depending on whether they’re single or married, and whether they’re filling out the form with a partner.

To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s the New York income tax brackets for

single people, and married people filing separately to their partners:

IncomeTax rate
$0 - $8,5004%
$8,500 - $11,700$340, plus 4.5% of the amount over $8,500
$11,700 - $13,900$484, plus 5.25% of the amount over $11,700
$13,900 - $21,400$600, plus 5.9% of the amount over $13,900
$21,400 - $80,650$1,042, plus 6.09% of the amount over $21,400
$80,650 - $215,400$4,650, plus 6.41% of the amount over $80,650
$215,400 - $1,077,550$13,288, plus 6.85% of the amount over $215,400
$1,077,550 +$72,345, plus 8.82% of the amount over $1,077,550

This system is certainly a little more complicated than what you might be used to in the UK, so make sure to get your head around it before filing your taxes each year.

Job hunting in New York

Looking for jobs is never fun – let alone when you’re doing it overseas. Thankfully, there are lots of helpful websites out there that can help you along the way, including:

  • Glassdoor
  • LinkedIn
  • ZipRecruiter
  • Indeed
  • Monster
  • Betterteam
  • NY.GOV
  • New York Public Library

Climate in New York

Since New York lies on the edge of a continent where different air masses collide – the cold ones coming from Canada and the warm ones from the Gulf of Mexico – seasons can be a little more extreme than they are in the UK.

This means you can expect hot, sticky summers, followed by bitterly cold winters.

The collision of hot and cold air also tends to trigger an unstable climate, resulting in occasional snowstorms, hurricanes, and floods.

Does it snow in New York?

Yes, it does – in fact, New York is renowned for its mystical snowy Christmasses.

Although snowfall only happens for roughly 12 days per year, it can be heavy when it does occur.

You can usually expect an average of 66 cm of snowfall each year.

But there will be times where it snows much more than this. The heaviest snowfall in a single day, for example, occurred on January 23 2016, when 69 cm of snow fell.

The best places to live in New York

There’s much more to NYC than Manhattan – and it’s a good job too, since most places in the borough are pretty overpriced.

Below, we’ve listed the top neighbourhoods in New York for students, culture, and families.

Flushing: best for families

This family-friendly area is perfect for any expat parents and their children – not only is there plenty to do, with good connections into the city, but there’s also plenty of greenery for your little ones to run around. In fact, you’ll be just down the road from Flushing Meadows and Queens Botanical Park.

This neighbourhood in Queens is also home to New York’s top-ranking public school: Townsend Harris High School. The children here do so well in their studies, the school even ranks 12th on the national leaderboard.

Chelsea: best for culture

If you’re looking to move to New York to soak in as much culture as possible, Chelsea should be your go-to location.

As one of New York’s main cultural hubs, as well as the art capital of the city, Chelsea has more than 200 galleries showcasing work by a variety of artists. You’ll find most of these galleries around the West Chelsea area, including the world-famous Gagosian Gallery, as well as the Matthew Marks Gallery.

You can also head over to the High Line – an elevated promenade that offers incredible views of some of the greatest landmarks in the neighbourhood.

Washington Heights: best for students

A lot of New Yorkers have relocated to Washington Heights in recent years, thanks to its more affordable property, relatively easy commute, and strong community vibe.

Located in Upper Manhattan, this is a great location for students studying at Columbia, and it's only about 35 minutes from Union Square.

The young population has grown here over the past decade – so much so that back in 2018, Washington Heights had more young adults than any other neighbourhood, with 10% of the population being millennials.

7 Quick Facts about New York 

  1. Roughly 1 in 38 people living in America resides in New York City
  2. New York is the most linguistically diverse city in the world, with more than 800 languages being spoken
  3. On average, the Empire State Building gets hit by lightning 23 times a year
  4. Grand Central Terminal has a Whispering Gallery where people can stand at a diagonal corners of the room and whisper to each other
  5. There are 275 different species of bird in New York’s Central Park
  6. New York City has 520 miles of coastline – more than Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco combined
  7. If Brooklyn was a city, it would be the 4th largest in the United States

Next steps

Moving to New York will be an adventure to remember. And now that you’re up to date with everything you need to know, what are you waiting for?

Once you’ve got your visa, accommodation, and job sorted, you’ll need to work out how to get all of your stuff over there – that’s where we come in.

To get started, all you have to do is pop a few details in this form about where you’re shipping your stuff to and from, and we’ll do the rest. We’ll put you in touch with our professional suppliers, who’ll then provide you with their best shipping prices.