Retiring to the USA

The USA has long been an attractive location for expats to retire too. The main advantage for retirees is that they can take advantage of the favourable exchange rates to get more for their money. Another positive is the weather with many moving to the sunny climes of Florida or California. Florida in particular has a large retiree community. Before you rush off to pack our bags and pack it all in and live your US retirement dreams you should be aware of some issues.


There is no such thing as a “retirement visa” for the US, so if you are intending to retire there permanently you will need to plan to have Permanent Resident status by then or some other visa. Otherwise you will only be able to spend a maximum of 6 months out of every 12 in the US. Thousands of Europeans spend the winter months in Florida on a B-2 Tourist Visa because of this limitation.

Health Insurance

As stated in the Healthcare section it is vital that you ensure that you get covered by a decent health insurance policy. Health care costs are the most expensive in the world and if you can’t pay for treatment you will face the force of the law. It’s doubly important to be insured if you are an OAP as you never know when you or a loved one could fall ill.  As an expat retiree, chances are that you will not qualify for Medicare, so you will need to purchase your own health insurance. There are a number of companies that provide private health insurance. Be aware, however, that retired persons particularly those with pre-existing conditions may face higher premiums, so if you still plan to maintain a residence in your home country for at least part of the year, it might be worth purchasing insurance from an international insurance company, such as Bupa.

Entitlements and Benefits

As an expat in the USA you will not be eligible for a number of American services such as Social security and may have a reduced number of benefits when compared to what you would receive in the UK. You can still claim your UK pension as the UK and US are both signatories of a Tran’s national social security treaty. You should also be entitled to the yearly increases to the pension.


Making a living will is as simple or complex as your estate. It requires an attorney and a few simple documents. You should ask an American attorney which nations’ wills are recognized within the US. Be sure to contact an American attorney regarding certified English translations of your will, and to fully understand any discrepancies created by the differences in legal systems and in interpretations of monetary value.