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How Can I Move to England from the USA?

How can you move to England from the USA? Here’s exactly what you need to know.

The two types of legal resident status for American citizens who want to live in England are:

  1. As a temporary resident
  2. As a permanent resident with indefinite leave to remain or citizenship.

move to England from the USA

1. Move to England as a Temporary Resident 

American citizens can live in the UK up to 6 months without a visa. If you want to visit more frequently you can apply for a 2, 5 or 10 year Standard Visitor Visa. This allows you to stay for up to 6 months at a time for the duration of your visa.

If you’re coming to work, study, get medical treatment, get married or on official business, you can apply for a specific visa. 

Can you work in the UK without a visa?

  • Not unless you have a specific visa which allows you to work

Can you study in the UK without a visa?

  • Yes for up to 6 months. A study visa is required for 6 months or longer

2. Move to England as a Permanent Resident

To become a permanent resident of the UK you must have “Right of Abode” giving you the right to live and work without restrictions.

A British citizen has Right of Abode. 

You may be eligible for British citizenship :

  • if you were born in England (as I was)
  • moved to England
  • married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen
  • have a British parent
  • if you have indefinite leave to remain  

If you want to live in England permanently but you don’t have citizenship, you’ll need to apply for “indefinite leave to remain”. Find out if you qualify.

How to Move to England from USA

As an American citizen you can travel, study and live in England for up to 6 months at a time. You can’t work in England without a work visa, so keep that in mind if you need an income to pay bills and expenses.

If you plan on returning to England often, I’d advise to start with the Standard Visitor visa.

Have a British connection through family? You may have a quicker path to ILR (indefinite leave to remain) in England.

Just for clarity, the UK stands for the United Kingdom which is made up of England, Scotland, Wales (collectively known as Great Britain) plus Northern Ireland. To make it more confusing, Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom. Living and working guidelines can be quite different between countries in the UK so double check if you’re headed to Scotland, N Ireland or Wales. These guidelines are specifically for England.

Renting Your First Home in England

Be aware of Right to Rent laws. You must have proof you have a legal right or the Right of Abode in the UK before a real estate agency will rent to you. If you’re only legally able to stay 6 months at a time, estate agents won’t let you sign a 1 year lease agreement. Be prepared for them turning you down even to rent for 6 months!

I know it’s a stinker. You may find a private landlord who will, but don’t count on it. Landlords and estate agents can get in trouble if they bypass this law. 

Expect to pay from $800. -1200. rent for a one bedroom apartment outside London. The closer the commute to London, the higher the rent goes. Much higher.

If you’re eligible to sign a lease or letting agreement, expect to pay Council tax in addition to your monthly rent. This varies from $100.-150. additional per month. Think of it like property tax that pays for local services. If you’re living alone, ask for the Single discount. You’ll pay by direct debit to the local council (town). I go into more detail on what you need to know here.

TIP:  If you don’t have “right to rent” in England, you can still try renting month to month through Airbnb. Also look at local sites like Gumtree, Open Rent or Google “short term lets in “your town”.

Utilities and Phones in England

In addition to your rent and council tax, you’ll pay the normal utilities. Most utilities including broadband (internet), gas and electric are billed by direct debit from your British checking account. 

Be prepared to read your own gas and electricity meter, so it helps to know where they’re located if you’re responsible for paying them.

A local phone number is very handy to have and not expensive. You can pick up a cheap phone with a rolling month to month SIM only plan for as little as $10. per month. Almost all deliveries and appointment reminders are sent by text in England.

TIP: Use your US cellphone with data roaming if you have a plan. Check with your provider before you leave the US and make sure your data plan includes use in the UK. I use T Mobile but plans change all the time. Use Whatsapp to make free international calls and texts. Longer term, you’ll want to get a local SIM card and phone. I use one phone for US and one for UK.

Banking in England

You’ll need proof of address before you can open a English bank account. If you have a short term rental or temporary address it’s OK to use it. A bank account and debit card lets you schedule your England based bills through direct debit from your account. The UK is ahead of the US in banking and it’s common to set up regular payments like rent from your checking account via a “standing order”.

Your US credit card should work for most store purchases. As all CC transactions in the UK are done through chip and pin, add your card to Apple Wallet to make payments up to £30-45 anywhere including restaurants, bars and shops. I love it, you just tap and go without having to sign.

TIP: Make sure the US credit card you take does not charge Foreign Transaction Fees as these will quickly add up. Check your banks fee for ATM withdrawals, mine charges $5. so I make one large withdrawal at a time. Ask your US bank to up your daily withdrawal limit if you need it. Use your US debit card at the ATM to pull out cash in local currency (pounds). Google “pound to dollar” rate to find out what the conversion rate is. In 2020, the exhange rate for the pound has varied between 1.18 to 1.30 US dollars.

move to England from the USA

Getting Around England

It’s entirely possible to live in the UK without a car if you choose to. Most towns and cities have regular bus service. The most desirable towns have a train station too. It’s really not that difficult to use buses, trains and taxis to get almost anywhere you need to go. They don’t have the social stigma they do in the US, however smaller towns or country locations may have limited service.

Use to get bus schedules or try Google maps. Put in your destination, directions and then choose the Public Transportation option. It should spit up a list of bus and or train times to get you there.

TIP: If you really need to rent a car, sign up for a hourly rental company like Co-Wheels. Using your US driving license, you’ll rent a hybrid Toyota for about $7. an hour which includes fuel and insurance but not mileage. It takes a while to get used to driving on the “wrong” side but it’s doable! The roundabouts and GPS (Satnav) help.

Moving Personal Possessions to England

When you’re moving personal items to Britain, use up as much of your baggage allowance on your flight as you can. It’s cheaper to pay for extra bags than it is to ship them separately. Consider leaving behind items that are easily replaceable. Rent a storage space in the US or leave irreplaceable possessions with a friend until you decide if your move to the UK will be permanent.

HMRC (UK customs) gives you one year to move your personal goods over to the UK without paying customs or VAT taxes on them. Unfortunately I missed the deadline due to COVID, but I plan to ship my stuff via UPakWeShip.

TIP: US electronics are so much cheaper that it pays to ship or bring them with you. If it costs over $100. buy it in the US, bring it with you, especially if it’s dual voltage. You’ll just need a US to UK plug adapter to charge dual voltage items. If it isn’t dual voltage, plan on buying it here.

What to Consider Before Moving to England from USA

Before you decide you want to move to Britain permanently, come and visit for several months. Get a feel for which part of the country works best for you. The US can have vastly different culture state to state and so does England. It’s counties and regions can be dramatically different from one another.

The English climate can change considerably from south to north although you won’t find any sunbelts! Rain tends to sweep in from the Atlantic over Ireland and the west of England. By the time it reaches the east the drenching eases up. Unless of course you get a northerly flow off the North Sea blowing east to west and then bundle up!

Typically the south coast of England gets the most sunshine and enjoys the warmest temps. It’s not unusual to see palm trees from Cornwall all the way to Brighton. But don’t be under any illusions about the weather. It’s notoriously fickle and gray, so be prepared.

Use the National Rail network to explore different parts of the country. Stay in the UK long enough to understand how the differences in culture affect you. Nowhere is perfect, but if you have a sense of humor, love dogs and walks in the countryside or exploring delightful historic towns and culture, then England might be just right for you.

When you’re ready to start planning your move to the UK, using this checklist can help put it all together.


I created HOF to inspire women over 50 to follow their dreams. Whether you’d love to move abroad, travel to Europe or just reboot your midlife, it’s never too late to start over and create a life you love!

Find me on: Instagram


  1. Sophie
    September 5, 2020 / 6:34 PM

    Very useful post, albeit a bit discouraging. I do wish they had a VISA for those who want to work remotely from USA part-time or those who simply want to half-year ex-pat it and have sufficient income. One of my children got a graduate degree in UK and I fell in love with the city she was studying in. Have visited dozens of times over the intervening years and would so love to have a second home (flat) there. But it sounds to me as if that’s nearly impossible.

    • Tessa
      September 6, 2020 / 5:26 PM

      Hi Sophie, Yes I can see that it seems discouraging but it’s not impossible. Especially if you’re not planning on working. I would start with the Standard Visitor Visa and then pursue or see if you qualify for “indefinite leave to remain”. You may have to wait to buy property, but then I always think its good to rent for at least 6 months to really find out what it’s like to live in a town. There’s always that little bit different perspective when you’re a resident vs a visitor! All the best x

      • Andrew Wilks
        April 13, 2021 / 6:21 AM

        Thank you for making one aware of what it takes and what one needs to do in order to take up residence in UK. Once this COVID stuff passes, traveling to the UK is something I would really love to do experiencing UK in person. if finding that I love UK, possibly moving there to take up residence. Since I was a child, I have always had a fascination with the UK. I love the mysticalness of the landscape there, the castles and ancient landmarks dotting the landscape there, the moderness of the cities there, much better healthcare and social safety nets there than here in the USA. I also feel I would fit in more with the people there than I would here in USA on account of my views about universal healthcare, inclusiveness, and so on.

        • Tessa
          April 13, 2021 / 11:21 AM

          Good to hear your point of view… you’re absolutely correct in thinking there’s a different mindset here especially compared to the US. Perhaps not quite so different when compared to other European countries. England is steeped in history and culture, it’s natural areas are wild and beautiful and more importantly, accessible. I find the culture is more inclusive, accepting and supportive. I still have to pause before I walk out of a doctors office or health care facility because I’m not asked for payment! Although I’m considered American because of my accent and basically spending most of my life there, there’s a feeling deep inside me that I belong here. I hope you’re able to travel soon and discover for yourself if it’s where you belong!

  2. Ismael
    March 7, 2021 / 8:42 AM

    Hello everyone,
    I am planning to move from USA to UK and become a permanent resident of the UK.
    My wife and I will be working, we have some funds to start our own business! But I have six children, therefore, I would like to know if the schools are free of charge including the universities! What about health care programs? is it offered by the government at least for the kids?
    Your help and efforts are very much appreciated.

    • Tessa
      March 13, 2021 / 12:04 PM

      Hello – congratulations on making the move to the UK! Here’s a great resource to find out more about tuition for your children. If you are “normally resident” in the UK you’re entitled to free health care through the NHS. Good luck and welcome.

  3. sabrina lawson
    March 13, 2021 / 9:27 PM

    hi your post was very helpful but im still kind of confused , im engaged to someone born and raised in england he left when he was 18 but hasent been back in 12 years. he has dual citizenship and family still there . does him not going back in so long does that affect anything ? he really misses home and weve been talking about moving back there .now we have twin girls born here in the us and we want them to have dual citizenship as well how do we go about that ? im sorry im all over the place with my questions im just kind of excited and nervous about the decision does getting married in the us or england make anything easier or harder where shoukd we get married lol thank you so much inadvanced

    • Tessa
      March 17, 2021 / 2:17 PM

      Hi there – there are so many different paths to having the right to remain or live in England long term. If your fiance was born in England it doesn’t matter how long he’s been gone. He retains his English citizenship. I definitely think you have a chance at being able to live there too along with your daughters. The best advice I can give is follow the UK government website test for citizenship. I can tell you what I think but ultimately this will let you know for sure. Good luck!

  4. Nancy Lee
    March 27, 2021 / 2:41 PM

    Hi Tessa. I am 68 years old. I lived in London with my family from 1960-1961. I was only 7 years old, so turned 8 when we lived there. I attended the American School in London when it was still in its infancy. My father was doing part of his residency at the Maudsley Hospital. As a family of 6, we made the journey via the SS Rotterdam because commercial transatlantic flights were still quite new; my mother refused to fly. Longer story short, I can honestly say that there has been a nagging dream to return to live one day. I do think that the 6 month plan would work well for me. I do have the means to do so. My biggest concern would be the health care. How concerned do I need to be in this regard?

    • Tessa
      March 29, 2021 / 4:39 PM

      Hi Nancy – So nice to hear from you and your story is similar to mine! I left England on a boat as well but I was just a toddler. So thats the big question. You didn’t mention if you were born in England? If you were you’re eligible for NHS health care. If not, then you would still be eligible for some primary care if you are a temporary (less than 3 months) resident. This is the official explanation – scroll down to Free Services. If you have “indefinite leave to remain” status then you’re also entitled to free secondary care. Through birth, once I moved here I was able to get a British passport and because I was born here I had already been assigned an NHS number. The English are very good about keeping tabs on you! Good luck, I still feel you have a better chance at health care here VS the US/Medicare.

      • Nancy Lee
        March 30, 2021 / 2:30 AM

        Hi Tessa! I was born in South Carolina, USA. My father was an anglophile to the nth degree and it rubbed off on me more than my brother or sisters maybe because I was the youngest of the lot. We had the added bonus/privilege of celebrating New Years Eve in Paris (1961) and then traveled all over the European continent during the summer of 1961 before we packed up and returned on the SS Nieuw Amsterdam in September of 1961. We returned to London for the summer of 1964 then traveled to the Scandanavian countries and Switzerland. My other years of travel to London were 1970, 1988, and then 2005. Bottom line is: that one very, very formative year in London placed an indelible mark on me that just makes me quite different from anyone and everyone else that I grew up with here in the States. Would I be able to let a flat for 3 months over there? I think for starters a 3 month stay would give me a chance to be a “pretend” resident.

        • Tessa
          March 30, 2021 / 9:17 AM

          Hi Nancy – Thank you for sharing your story with me! There’s definitely something about England that can get in our blood whether we’re born here or not. I think you’re absolutely right to pursue being a “pretend” resident. Sometimes that’s all it takes to scratch the itch 😉 Yes you are entitled as a US resident to spend up to 6 months here at a time. Now because of the pandemic, you may find it harder to travel here without tests and quarantine, but that will change as we all get vaccinated. So I highly encourage you to start planning your next visit! Please let me know if I can help with the planning and take care.

  5. Sydney
    March 29, 2021 / 11:40 PM

    Hi Tessa,
    Thank you for all of the wonderful information! I studied in London to get my MA and unfortunately Covid happened at the same time, so I had to come back to the states without being able to get sponsored. I absolutely fell in love with it when I was there, and know it’s where I want to continue living. However, I do not have family there. I even tried going through an ancestry visa but that didn’t work as the family was too far back.
    Do you have any suggestions on how I could be able to stay there in my situation? I was hoping by doing school there that would allow me a door in but that didn’t work out…
    All the best.

    • Tessa
      March 30, 2021 / 9:12 AM

      Hi Sydney – So sorry you weren’t able to stay here in England! Yes this year has been super tricky for travel and establishing residency because of the pandemic. I would start with a standard visitors visa or if you are studying, perhaps pursue a specific visa for that. Both links are in my blog post under #1 Moving as a Temporary Resident. This would give you a chance to stay longer and see if you want to pursue living here with permanent residency. If I were you I would wait until summer when things have cooled down (that sounds funny but you know what I mean) as right now there’s probably a backlog of visa inquiries. But don’t give up and remember you can always visit for up to 6 months at a time. Good luck!

      • Sydney
        April 6, 2021 / 11:50 PM

        Thank you so much Tessa your response was very helpful 🙂 I will look at your blog post you mentioned!

  6. Tracy Maclean
    March 30, 2021 / 2:34 AM

    Thank you for this useful article- I am applying for a Passport through my Dad who was born in the UK. I have spent much time in England and am looking to retire in the Dorset region. Do you have an idea of how much the National Health fee is for a Brisitsh National coming in as I will be? I have heard up to £7000-8000?

    • Tessa
      March 30, 2021 / 9:24 AM

      Hi Tracy – Congratulations! You’ve picked a wonderful place to retire in Dorset. Once you have your British passport you can open a bank account, get a permanent residence and become eligible for NHS. There’s no fee as far as I’m aware even if you’re not a British national. When I moved here I had to apply for a passport but I was already in the system for NHS because I was born here. Here is a good all round explanation of what to expect – “NHS is free and available to anyone who needs it”.
      I have to say I am loving having the NHS after worrying about health insurance in the US. Absolutely no charges with free prescriptions if you’re over 60. It’s a revelation to not be asked for insurance or a CC and to get the help you need! Good luck on your move!

  7. Tonya Watson
    April 7, 2021 / 10:30 PM

    Hi there! Thank you so much for the information. I’ll be 54 this year. For about 10 years, my goal was to move to the UK at age 50. It just so happens, I became a grandmother at 50 so I pushed it back to 55. I’m usually great at planning events, vacations, etc. but when it comes to even initiating this plan, I get stuck. Reading your information, was great but unfortunately, didn’t leave me encouraged. I just don’t know where to start. I don’t know the job market or how much pay I would need to make in order to be comfortable. I plan to bring my mom but don’t want to live in same house with her (I know terrible right). A girl just likes her space but needs to make sure my mom is taken care of. I’m an only child. Help!

    • Tessa
      April 9, 2021 / 10:28 AM

      Hi Tonya – Good to hear from you! Love your goal, but you don’t say why you want to move to the UK? Have you thought about breaking this big life change down into manageable chunks? Just think of it as an event, vacation or short term plan for now and make that happen first. If you don’t have ties to the UK it will take a while to establish full time residency. Why not make a goal of a longish trip to explore options and where you might like to live here if you do make the move permanent. Congratulations on becoming a grandmother!! That’s an amazing role and one you might want to stick around for a little while longer. Let me know how you get on and take care.

  8. Lori Bushey
    April 13, 2021 / 5:22 PM

    I have loved the UK for years, studied at Oxford for a summer term and the bond was made. I retire in August 2022 and have always wanted to move to the UK. Is it possible to move and stay longer than 6 months? Also, I have 8 dogs. My plan was to take and live in my RV with my pups, taking the Queen Mary for transportation. Since this is a huge undertaking, I obviously want to stay longer than 6 months. Advice?

    • Tessa
      April 14, 2021 / 3:43 PM

      Hi Lori – What a great adventure to look forward to on retiring! I understand your wanting to keep your RV, I really wanted to keep my US car! But with driving on the other side of the road and dealing with the multiple different systems (like plumbing, electricity etc) it may make more sense to buy an RV (or caravan as they call them) once you get here.
      I advise before taking the big step of moving permanently, you try to spend up to 6 months here. As a student you had different wants and needs. Find out what it’s like to live here full time NOW. Is it what you think it will be? Being here will also help you research what it will take to move here as a permanent resident by applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Try the link on the blog and see if you think it’s workable for you. The very best of luck!

      • Lori
        April 14, 2021 / 5:55 PM

        Thank you Tessa. I actually lived there as well with a former partner, but we did not marry legally. I lived in Bexley Heath and loved it. I am concerned about a living situation with 8 dogs. Thank you for the information and for this blog, very helpful. Lori

        • Tessa
          April 15, 2021 / 8:48 AM

          Perhaps you can reassess your situation once you get closer to your retirement. Best of luck and thank you for reading Lori.

  9. Bonnie Morgan
    April 21, 2021 / 7:37 AM

    Hello Tessa. Hopefully you can give me some moral support, with info. I would like to try out England for six months, And see if it can work for me. I’m retired and have the means to support myself. Will I be able to find a tiny apartment for the 6 months, since I know I can’t do a year lease. I’m not trying to be negative but America is not the same America I grew up in.

    • Tessa
      April 21, 2021 / 10:42 AM

      Hi Bonnie – First of all, well done as they say here. Willingness to make a change when we’re not happy with where we are is the first step! I would encourage you to try out England and see if it fits your idea of “home”. I think you have a lot of company. Some Americans are questioning whether it’s the right place for them to live out their life right now. If you haven’t spent an extended time in England come over for a month at first and then make plans for a longer stay. You’ll need to stay in Airbnbs or short term holiday lets until you have established residency as (although you can stay here for up to 6 months) you won’t be able to rent on a 6 month lease without “indefinite leave to remain” or citizenship. Hope that’s clear. If you have any other questions, please let me know.
      ps You’ve given me inspiration to write a post about how to stay for 6 months!

      • June 22, 2021 / 4:12 AM

        Hi Tessa, please write a post about staying in England for up to six months. I’m a little confused about how this can’t be done. I am retired and have sufficient income to stay for 6 months without working. I would love to find a place to stay either in London or outside of London since transportation was quite accessible when I visited. As many have expressed, I too have fallen hard for London. Thanks for the post.

        • Tessa
          June 22, 2021 / 11:08 AM

          Hi Donna – Thanks for letting me know you’re reading. You absolutely can stay for up to 6 months in England. There’s nothing to prevent you doing that legally. I would suggest you look into staying in an Airbnb or vacation or short term rental during your stay as you won’t be legally able to sign a lease or letting agreement without being a citizen. If there’s anything I can help with please email me directly. All the best! – Tessa

  10. April 25, 2021 / 7:10 PM

    Hi Tessa
    Awesome article and very informative.

    I was born in London 1957 and moved in 1981 to California.
    Now in my early 60s no longer have the attraction to stay here and want to come home. I do have dual citizenship and hold British and USA passport. I have mentioned to family in the UK my desire to return and nobody has offered any help or advice.
    Other than “if you have no flat rental history it will be impossible for you”. I’m not letting the negative deter me. So I shall do all the research for myself. I was going back to London frequently until Covid, so I am aware of the cost of living, council tax etc.
    my question to you is – is it really terribly difficult to be able to rent? I am a self employed dog groomer and will probably do the same when I return and build up a small clientele. I will be getting my social security here which I know is accessible in the UK. Sorry if it’s long and rambling. I do have my National Insurance number and even old tax documents from
    When I last worked there. Unfortunately, I do not qualify for any UK pension. I will probably be alone unless my 30 year old daughter plans to come who was born in California of both British parents. Would she need a UK passport also.
    Thanks so much – Hilary 😊

    • Tessa
      April 26, 2021 / 9:48 AM

      Hi Hilary – thank you so much! Glad you found it helpful.

      First of all congratulations on thinking of making the move. You’re in a great position since you already have British citizenship as I did. Don’t let the negative Nellies put you off! Whether it’s family or friends, most will have mixed feelings about you moving and it’s best to listen to your heart. Unfortunately when we move long distances, we might lose friends and family who may see us as abandoning them. I didn’t have any help from relatives here when I decided to move and because I had been away most of my life, we don’t have the same ties as if I had grown up here. I’ve had to be the one to reach out on a regular basis. The same may be true for you. Don’t give up! But do realize it may take a while to re-establish a social network here. Perhaps read my blog post about is moving abroad right for you?

      As for renting, I had to pay 6 months rent in advance and I expect you will too. After that you’ll be fine and can start paying month to month. I didn’t have a job here either. I think you’ll do very well as a dog groomer, there’s been an explosion of new pet owners because of lockdowns!

      Your daughter could be eligible for a UK passport on your birth record. That’s what my US born son did. In fact he moved here before I did and got a British passport using my birth record. It was one of the reasons I decided to move back. Of course I don’t see him a lot but it’s a lot closer to meet him now than traveling thousands of miles.
      All the best to you and don’t be discouraged. You’ll be happy to be back “home” and eligible for free health care!

  11. April 27, 2021 / 7:57 PM

    Hi There!.
    I am really trying to move to London full time. I go 4 times a year because I have a magazine based there but I love in Los Angeles. I am a US citizen. I lived in Europe and England when I was married to a French man, But can’t figure out how to move there now. Is there a way to move there full time due to the magazine being based there?
    Thanks so much.

    • Tessa
      April 28, 2021 / 9:41 AM

      Hi Tina – you could try applying for a work visa to start. That won’t give you permanent residence but it will be a stepping stone. The next step to live here permanently will be applying for “indefinite leave to remain”. The website is a really comprehensive resource and it will take you step by step through the process of finding out if you qualify for temporary or permanent residency.
      Very best of luck!

  12. David B.
    June 1, 2021 / 12:29 AM

    Hi Tessa,
    Thank you for sharing your very helpful insights. My last visit to England was November 2018 (prior trips in 2012, 2014, 2015 for work) to meet a recently unearthed half-sister (same bio-dad) in Salisbury, and also see a show in Swindon (2 of 4 original members of XTC – first live shows since 1982). The trip was amazing, meeting her, my nephews and her husband, all made more exciting staying in their home built in 1614. The trip wrapped up as I spent a day walking along the Thames, past Buckingham palace and who knows where else before making my way back to the airport.
    My spouse, kids and I are all born and raised NYC-metro and at 54, with lots left to do in my career (I’m a workaholic), we are discussing relocation options (scary domestic politics notwithstanding). Canada was at the top of the list, but PR status, let alone a path to citizenship is unlikely. Does the England have the same types of restrictions?
    – Age: 54; spouse: 52; kids: 21, 18, 12…and a couple of fur-babies
    – Funds: we’re good;
    – Employment: I currently work for a global tech firm, so I should be able to work that out or engage with one of our partners to leverage my technical skill-set
    I’m going to do a little research, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Tessa
      June 1, 2021 / 2:41 PM

      Sounds like you have very good memories of England – how wonderful! Nice that you have a family connection as well. Family is one of the main reasons I decided to return, although I probably still would have felt at home here. There’s something about the sense of humor and the history of Great Britain that feels very familiar.
      It sounds like you won’t have any barrier to work where you want or have the means to make the move, however I’m not sure your half-sister would make your citizenship path any easier. I think you’re going to face similar challenges as you would to crossing the border to Canada. The Gov.Uk site is actually very helpful in sorting out what your eligibility is. I’d suggest first making an extended trip with your family to make sure everyone who’s coming is on board and then being realistic about what you’ll have to do to make a permanent move.
      All the best and good luck in making England your home!

  13. Bradley Turner
    June 24, 2021 / 9:03 PM

    It seems you have a lot of experience on the process of moving from the USA to the UK. I am currently a uk resident (25 years old) and my fiance and i have plans for her to move here and live here, i currently live at home but have a stable job and income, we’re not really sure how best to proceed, our end goal is having a place together here, she has a degree so finding work should be fine for her. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Tessa
      June 25, 2021 / 12:14 PM

      Hi Bradley – Thanks for reading! Your fiance should be in a good position to get British citizenship through your residency status. I’m not aware that it matters what your living situation is or if she’s eligible for work. If you’re a UK citizen she can apply as your fiance. I’d suggest going to the UK Gov site and follow the questions – it’s super helpful and fairly easy to navigate.
      It may also give you an idea of next steps like what documentation you’ll need to gather. In my opinion the first step is to get her eligibility for citizenship sorted and started and then all the other steps like moving, getting a job etc will be much easier.
      I’m excited for you both to begin your life together – all the best!

  14. Nancy
    June 26, 2021 / 4:56 PM

    Hi Tessa,
    I’m so glad I found this blog! I am 61 and have been an Anglophile most of my life (I have great-grandparents from the Leeds area) and have spent various lengths of time there over the years. I took my college-aged daughter to visit 2 years ago and she fell in love with it also. She has since met a guy online who lives there and she’s trying to figure out how to live there without getting married (they just aren’t ready yet). She has decided to do a master’s program and then stay for the 2 years afterwards to find a job. My problem is that I want to move there permanently as well. I could go back to school, but I’m not sure my brain can handle that anymore! I have the financial means to spend 6 months there, but is there ANY way to be able to extend that and if not, if I spend 6 months there, when can I return? My daughter and I are super-close and I’m not sure either of us could be 3,000 miles apart. Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Tessa
      June 28, 2021 / 9:18 AM

      Hi Nancy – thank you! Sounds like you have a lot of exciting prospects to look forward to.
      If you stay in England for 6 months there’s no requirement that you stay away for a specific length of time.It’s not like visiting the EU for ex where Brits can now only stay for up to 3 months within a 6 month period. However… if you keep coming back and spending long periods of time in the UK, customs will put two and two together and assume you are actually living here. I would take one step at a time.
      Can you and your daughter come over for a month or so? You didn’t say whether or not she’s met her online chap …if not then that would be a first step. Although I think getting a study visa makes more sense at this point. If the relationship endures then that’s the icing on the cake and if it leads to a relationship (I don’t believe you have to be married) it may well help her get the right to remain here. IF your daughter does get citizenship then that would help you get the right to remain also.
      However you may find that you just want to visit for extended periods. There are a lot of what ifs that you can’t possibly foresee at the moment. I would say start with that first step and then build on it. It would be difficult for you on your own to get citizenship but you could apply for a Standard Visitor Visa.
      All the best and let me know how you get on!

  15. Jo
    June 27, 2021 / 8:54 PM

    Hi, Tessa..

    I just discovered you when looking up moving to the UK from the US.

    I just wanted to say that I think it’s wonderful that you’ve created a site like this. I’m 56 years young, and the tendency is to think that your dreams are (nearly) over. I have things that my soul came here to do that I’ve had yet to accomplish..😥 .. but one of the things I didn’t expect is that I would develop a growing disdain for living in my home country, the US, and find myself pulled into a desire to live in England; a place I’ve never even been.😕 I was born and raised in NYC, and have been living in its suburbs for half my life.. but over time, as I’ve learned more of the differences between the US and the UK, I’ve begun to feel very unhappy about being here. 😥 I just don’t feel aligned, anymore, with this country. I love America for its landscape and culture and (some of) its people, but our healthcare is atrocious, our history and culture isn’t as interesting (imo) as the UK’s, and our politics are a perpetual sh*tshow. No matter who is running the country, I just don’t trust them. I also hate the gun culture and how car-centric it is here. I don’t drive because of anxiety and very poor vision, and I feel like an outcast for not doing so.😥 It can be so hard to get around, sometimes. I also adore trains, and the idea of being able to travel to different towns and villages, and even different countries by rail, is possible in the UK in the way it isn’t in America. I’ve also have always wanted to live a more rural life which is impossible in the US without a car. Meanwhile, I could take the train to the Lake District, the Cotswolds or the Highlands, and at least experience some of the UK countryside without necessarily needing to own a car. The problem is, I have ZERO ties to the UK. 😞 My father came from Poland, and that’s as close of a “connection” to Europe that I have (although with Brexit, I know that doesn’t matter, anyway). I’m also the mom of two cats, so even if I could visit for 6 months, it wouldn’t be possible.

    I guess I just felt like getting this off my chest because it seems like a very impossible dream.😥. I also don’t have the vast amounts of money to move, the “red tape” that entails, and I worry about my social security and 401K. I don’t know how all that works and if it transfers over “nicely”. I only know that as blasphemous as it sounds, if I could become an English citizen, I would (and renounce my US citizenship because the government is going to stick their nose in my business if I ever lived over there, and it’s not their right, anyway). I love America, don’t get me wrong.. but whatever it’s supposed to stand for is being smothered by corruption, greed, racism, a gun culture, “perpetual” wars, poor work/life balance, a great disparity between the rich and the poor, and the conditioning of being a debt slave and a victim of BigPharma and BigMedicine. Even our food is tainted in a way it isn’t in other countries. No country is perfect, and I’m not looking for perfection. I’m just looking for a place to belong.😥

    Anyway..maybe one day I can at least get to visit. Till then, I’ll enjoy your blog and your Instagram.

    Thank you, Tessa.❤️🙏

    • Tessa
      June 28, 2021 / 9:46 AM

      Hi Jo – it’s so wonderful to hear about someone else’s experiences, thoughts and dreams and I’m happy my experiences may help to inspire.

      Yes 56 is young, it’s all relative! Just over 6 years ago I took a 2 week vacation to England – one of many I’ve had over the decades – and that was the catalyst to eventually being here where I am now. Living here full time. I had no idea this would happen the way it did but here I am. Yes I had a bit of an easier path because I was born here but I think if you want something badly enough you make it happen. One step at a time. Even if it’s a small step like starting to save. Set a date, make a plan to visit. Don’t put it off.

      Everything you say resonates with me. I too wanted to change my lifestyle to a more walkable, cultural and safe environment. Is it perfect here? Of course not, but it does offer public transportation, great (free) healthcare and an endless supply of places to explore. If you get tired of the UK, Europe is just across the Channel.

      Don’t settle for meh. Time is on your side. It’s never too late to start living a life where you feel you belong.
      Thank you for writing and keep in touch – now get started!!

  16. Dinah Russell
    July 8, 2021 / 11:46 PM

    I am 74 years old and retired. My monthly income with my social security and retirement checks is a little over $2,000 a month. My family has lived in the U.S. since they came over on the Mayflower. Unfortunately, for me, my heart has belonged to the UK since the first time I visited it at the ripe old age of 13. My heart and soul still feel the same way everytime I’ve been lucky enough to visit it since then. When I leave this body, I will be haunting the streets of Barnes and London. That is Heaven n earth for me!

    • Tessa
      July 10, 2021 / 3:53 PM

      It sounds like you have along term love affair with England which I can easily understand! Why not make a plan to visit at least once a year or more often. Don’t wait to haunt the streets of London, take your spirit and soul there now!

  17. Dinah Russell
    July 9, 2021 / 1:43 AM

    I first visted England at the ripe old age of 13. While my mother and I were walking down Bond Street, I made the statement “Mom, my soul feels like it has come home.” My mother then told me our family moved to the U.S on the Mayflower, so we came from England a few years before I was born. Later in life (my early 20’s, I was Blessed by beig able to live in England for almost a year. My soul felt the same, like I had come home. I am a healthy 74 year old, and would love to move back to England.
    Is there anyway a U.S. retiree can get a visa to stay as long as he/she remains healthy? I have very good health insurance. I am a retired U.S. Government employee and have a pension from that job along with my social security, so I wouldn’t be a burden to the people of England. My soul still misses England!

    • Tessa
      July 10, 2021 / 3:57 PM

      Follow the link to the UK gov site and put in your circumstances. Its a really good way to find what you may qualify for. There’s always an option to apply for a visa and start there. Best of luck and hope you’re able to return soon!

  18. Stephen Monroe
    July 10, 2021 / 10:29 AM

    Hi Tessa,

    I married a Welsh girl that had moved to Texas in 1980, she then worked in the USA using a Green card that she received when we married in 1987. We moved to the UK in September 2011. I have received my ILR, and we have both worked full-time since July 2012. What steps do we need to take in order to be prepared to retire in the UK after we qualify?

    • Tessa
      July 10, 2021 / 4:05 PM

      Hi Stephen, it sounds as if you’re in avery good position to stay on in the UK after you both retire. As your wife has citizenship through birth in the UK and you have Indefinite Leave to Remain.
      I believe the only consideration will be financial. You both can receive Social Security benefits from working in the US and you may be eligible for a UK pension depending on your work circumstances.
      I’m not eligible for any UK pensions as I’ve never worked here. I can’t advise you on retiring, but I don’t think it will make any difference to your eligibility to live in the UK.
      Hope that helps a little and all the best in retirement!

  19. Debbi
    July 11, 2021 / 7:33 PM

    It is NOT possible for a US citizen to retire permanently in the UK! I have done extensive research on this and have consulted with two different immigration advisors, one of whom was a border control agent. If you have no family ties, are not sponsored by an employer & don’t want to invest £200,000 in a business that will hire 2 full time employees, there is no way to stay for more than 6 months at a time. I have been searching for a way out of the US for the last few years.

    • Tessa
      July 17, 2021 / 4:28 PM

      Thank you for sharing your personal experience.

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