How To Move To The UK From The US: Detailed Step-by-Step Guide

Moving to a new nation is difficult, which is why it’s crucial to understand a few key points regarding the process. Whether you’re moving to England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, relocation can seem daunting. Moving to the UK can be a reasonably straightforward procedure if you have the appropriate knowledge. Here we have a step by step by guide on how to move to the UK from the US.

Checklist for Moving to the United Kingdom from the United States

Here’s a quick rundown on how to move from the US to the UK:

  • Obtain a visa and a residence permit in the United Kingdom.
  • Prepare to move your belongings.
  • Find somewhere to stay.
  • Create a bank account.

Let’s look at this checklist in detailed steps.

Step By Step Guide on How To Move To UK From US

Step 1: Note the legal prerequisites for moving to the UK.

Americans who wish to move to the United Kingdom will need to obtain a visa. UK work visas and family visas are the most prevalent types of visas. If neither of these applies to you, migrating to the UK from the US can be challenging.

But there’s no need to worry!

There are several various types of work visas available based on your situation, and you can also apply for different types of visas. The UK government offers a short test to determine whether you need a visa and what type of visa you may require.

For example, if you’ve been offered a skilled job in the United Kingdom, you can apply for a Tier 2 visa. Your employer must be a licensed sponsor and furnish you with a valid certificate of sponsorship.

Other requirements for this visa include:

  • You must demonstrate that you are being paid a fair wage.
  • You may be required to demonstrate your command of the English language.
  • Provide proof of funds to maintain yourself in the UK, such as a bank or building society statement.
  • You must present a valid passport as well as your travel history for the previous five years.
  • You must give a criminal record certificate if you will be working with vulnerable people.

In some countries, you must also present TB test results from an authorized clinic.

Is it possible to move to the United Kingdom without a job?

Aside from finding a job in the UK, there are a few more ways to obtain a UK visa for yourself. These are the following:

  • UK Ancestry Visa: You can apply for this visa if one of your grandparents was born in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man, or the Channel Islands.
  • Investor Visa: Apply for this visa if you intend to invest at least £2 million in the United Kingdom.
  • If you are married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, you can apply for a long-term partner visa, which is valid for 2.5 years and can be renewed until permanent residency.
  • The Innovator Visa permits prospective business owners with a viable business idea to reside in the United Kingdom.
  • It is also possible to obtain a study visa in the UK, however, most are temporary.

Moving to the United Kingdom as a Student

Students from outside the EEA and Switzerland are eligible to apply for a student visa in the UK. You can apply for a Tier 4 (generic) student visa or a short-term study visa.

  • The short-term visa is intended for students who wish to take a short course in the UK or for individuals who are studying overseas and need to do research in the UK for a short length of time.
  • The Tier 4 (General) student visa is for full-time study at a level 6 or higher on the Ofqual register.

Step 2: Confirm that you can afford to live in the UK.

You may be wondering how much money is required to immigrate to the United Kingdom.

If you’re not sure how far your money will go in the UK, this chart lists some average prices for common things so you can compare them to where you now live.

You may also use these average expenditures to estimate how much money you will need to immigrate to the United Kingdom.

Examples of Living Expenses

McDonald’s Combo Meal£6.00
Pint of beer£4.00
Dozen eggs£1.95
Monthly transportation pass£65.00
Litre of gas£1.53
New Toyota Corolla£21,268
One bedroom apartment£920.57

Step 3: Establish your finances in the United Kingdom.

Banking in the United Kingdom is a very simple process, and many of the banks in the United Kingdom are huge multinational institutions. That means you might not even need to look for a new one.

One of the most significant procedures in making a permanent move to the UK is creating a bank account.

You’ll almost certainly need to convert your home money into pounds in order to fund that bank account or make payments. Doing so through your bank is usually pretty simple, though you should keep a close eye on the currency rate.

Most banks mark up the rate in order to profit more from your transaction. And it’s not something they’ll tell you right away. Before you make the transfer, you can always check to see whether your bank is providing you a terrible conversion rate by Googling the rate or comparing it with an online currency converter.

You can also receive a debit card linked to your multi-currency account, which makes paying for your living in the UK much easier. If you aren’t ready to open a new bank account just yet, you may use Wise to send money to the UK with no hidden costs and at the same exchange rate as Google. Making things less expensive and simpler.

Step 4: Find a job in the United Kingdom.

Work visas, particularly for non-EU citizens such as Americans, can be difficult to get. In general, it is not difficult to get work in the UK, but you will most likely need to demonstrate that you are more qualified or valuable than your UK colleagues who are competing for the post.

However, in several trades, a lack of skilled workers has resulted in a significant surge in international recruiting.

If you’re ready to begin your job search, the following websites can help you find open openings and begin your applications:

  • Indeed
  • Monster
  • Jobsite

Step 5: Find a place to reside in the United Kingdom.

Outside of big cities, the rental market in the United Kingdom is actually quite modest; just 10% of the UK population rents. However, it is possible to find rentals, particularly if you are willing to live in a more metropolitan region.

Some of the most affordable cities in the United Kingdom are:

  • The Scotland’s East Lothian and Midlothian
  • Scotland’s North Lanarkshire
  • Scotland’s Falkirk
  • Glasgow (Scotland)
  • England’s Northumberland

Step 6: Confirm that your healthcare is covered in the UK.

The good news is that living in the United Kingdom gives you access to the National Health Service, or NHS. You can see a doctor for very little or no cost under this socialist healthcare system, and you are not obliged to obtain personal insurance.

NHS Choices also makes it simple to locate a doctor. Overall, the system serves the inhabitants of the United Kingdom well.

Step 7: Learn the language if you haven’t previously.

English is the predominant spoken language throughout the United Kingdom. If you’re not already fluent, an app like busuu can help you get started. Even if you are a fluent English speaker, you may struggle to understand the accents. In that situation, immersion is the best method to learn.

Step 8: Don’t be lonely; establish new acquaintances and connect with other ex-pats in the UK.

Getting together with friends from your home country is one of the simplest ways to feel at home. Finding other ex-pats in the UK is simple; there are literally hundreds of meetups and Facebook groups dedicated to assisting you in making new acquaintances. Here are several examples:

  • Meetup group for Expat Americans in London
  • Facebook group for American Expats in the United Kingdom

Step 9: Ensure that you have crucial contacts in the UK in case of an emergency.

While you may not have thought about learning emergency numbers in a long time – Americans, for example, have had 911 drilled into their heads since kindergarten – migrating to a new nation necessitates knowing new emergency contact information.

The table below is a list of crucial contacts to keep in mind while you make the transition:

Emergency Phone Numbers

General Emergency999
Police999 (112 is also supported)
Ambulance999 (112 is also supported)
Fire999 (112 is also supported)
NHS Direct111 (when you need medical help, but it’s not life-threatening)
US Embassy020 7499 9000

Moving Pets from the US to the UK

If you move to the UK from the US, you can bring your cat, dog, or ferret with you. However, you must ensure that your pet fits the entry requirements in order to prevent quarantine or having to return your pet. Your pet must be able to:

  • The rabies vaccine was administered.
  • Microchipped.
  • A health certificate is provided.

In addition, you must show proof that your dog was treated for tapeworm 24 hours before traveling with it. If your pet needs to be quarantined, you will not be able to transport them; instead, your pet will be relocated by an authorized official.

You can still bring another pet (other than a cat, dog, or ferret), but you must follow other rules.

Visiting Family in the UK from the US

You can move to the United Kingdom to be with a family member. Most visa applications are for joining a partner, but you can also apply for one of the following:

  • A family visa is required to accompany a parent.
  • A family visa is granted to relatives who require long-term care.

Moving to the United Kingdom for Retirement from the United States

Foreign nationals are no longer eligible for a retirement visa in the United Kingdom. However, if you have enough money, you may be able to obtain an investor visa and move to the United Kingdom to spend your senior years. However, you should be aware that age is a deciding factor in whether or not you are granted a visa.

Is it Difficult to Move to the United Kingdom as an American Citizen?

It is not difficult to move to the UK from the United States if you match one of the following criteria:

You’ve got a job offer there.

Your firm is relocating you.

You’re relocating to be with a lover or family member.

You have some ancestral ties to the United Kingdom.

You have sufficient funds for investment.

Anyone who does not fall into one of these groups may have a more difficult time obtaining a long-term residency visa.

Cost of Moving to the United Kingdom for Americans

In general, you’ll need at least $20,000 and up to $40,000, depending on your situation and how you arrange your move. The following costs should be considered:

Types of ExpensesCostNotes
Visa fees$2,000- $3,000Keep in mind other fees that go with your application, such as the cost of translating documents, submitting your biometrics, or courier service. Also, the visa fee is liable to change depending on what type of visa you apply for. 
Healthcare surcharge$860This fee is usually paid when you apply for your visa.
Flight ticket$1,000The average price for a flight ticket from the US to the UK is around $1,000, but you may find cheaper tickets down to $160.
Shipping costs$6000-10,000If you choose to ship your things by sea it’s cheaper than by air, but it may take up to 5 months to get your belongings. 
Rent $1,200Some of the cheapest apartments in London costs $1,200 per month. But, the rent fees differ from city to city- it all depends where in the UK you move to. 
Bringing pets$6,000This includes vet bills, vaccinations, transportation crate, airline fees and transportation fees.
Personal savings$1,750You need to have at least $1,750 when you first arrive in the UK. 

These are only the general expenses to be aware of. You must also include travel health insurance prices, expenditures to switch mobile providers, car rentals, furniture purchases after you arrive, and so on.

Do I Need Health Insurance If I Move to the United Kingdom?

When you move to the UK, you do not require health insurance. You can access the NHS, the UK’s free national health care plan, as a result of the health care surcharge you pay when you apply for your visa. Some expatriates, however, opt to acquire private health insurance in order to avoid long waits in the NHS. In that scenario, you have the option of purchasing health insurance.

Can I Obtain British and American Citizenship?

You can obtain citizenship in both the United States and the United Kingdom. However, while dual citizenship in the United States and the United Kingdom provides numerous advantages, it also has certain drawbacks. The main disadvantage is that US citizens are normally forced to file taxes in the United States, even if they do not live or work there. However, due to tax treaties with the UK, you may not be required to pay taxes or may have lower taxes—check with the IRS before making your move.


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