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Moving abroad / Moving to the UK

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 or
  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

Live in England for 6 Months Guide

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.

Ready to make a move?: Move Abroad Checklist

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 bustimes.org 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.

Plan ahead: Move Abroad Checklist

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.

What you need to know to travel from the US to the UK.

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.

Although I’ve written this article specially for my fellow Americans, most of the advice applies to anyone who wants to relocate to England. Please remember to seek professional legal advice if and when you choose to relocate!

81 Comments

  • Clifford
    March 17, 2022 at 2:30 AM

    Hi,

    I am looking at proposing to my girlfriend who is a US citizen. The plan would ultimately mean us both living in the UK. I am trying to work out what the best option would be for visa application as I’m not sure her career counts as a skilled profession, she’s a jeweller.

    Reply
    • Tessa
      March 17, 2022 at 4:19 PM

      Hi there – first of all congratulations on taking the plunge! 🙂
      I think your girlfriend would be eligible as a spouse of a British citizen but she can only apply for that after living in the UK for 3 years. Find out more here.
      I’m not sure if she would be eligible under the visa for skilled professions. But here’s a list of occupations that are.
      Best of luck to you both!

      Reply
    • Errol Deacon
      March 30, 2022 at 2:22 PM

      I may be marrying a US Citizen too; Here is what I found

      If marrying in the UK, there are two visas, a Fiance visa to marry which must be completed in six months. That visa is then transferable to the family visa, or spousal visa whatever, and can do so without leaving the IUK and is valid for three years and can be renewed. After five yeas, he or she can then apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, and then citizenship if they desire

      The sponsor, you have to prove a certain level of income and again for the spousal visa. Suitable accommodation must be available and subject to certain conditions depending on family size

      The easiest way is to marry outside the UK, and go straight for the spousal visa. (He or she must be outside of the UK when the sponsor lodges the application) He or she can work in any capacity once that is granted and there is National Insurance levy which unfortunately isn’t refundable if and when they begin employment and pay into the system. I think it is about £1,800. Again, the visa is granted for about three years and then renewable

      I think the Home Office application fee is about £1,500 to start and that is per visa. So you are looking at £1,500 for the Fiance Visa and another £1,500 for the spousal visa. When the time comes for Indefinite Leave to remain, there are additional fees, including a Life in the UK test

      I am a Do it yourself guy, but in this case I do recommend legal council as I understand the fees are non-refundable where the visa is denied, and from what I understand, the application is has to be exact otherwise the Home Office will deny the application on the spot

      Considering a minimum of £1500 to lodge the paperwork alone without other fees, it is worth spending another £1,000 or so on legal fees which can be insurance against making a error that triggers the Home Office denying the application and starting again with more money

      Reply
      • Tessa
        March 30, 2022 at 5:46 PM

        Hi Errol
        Wow thank you for sharing your experiences. I’m sure it will be helpful to my readers at least as a starting point! It can be a bit of a maze trying to sort out what is needed for residency in the UK.

        All the best to you and your fiance and keep us posted!
        Tessa

  • John
    March 15, 2022 at 12:09 AM

    Hi Tessa. My wife found your blog just today, and I’ve been scouring it for helpful tips. I believe my story mirrors yours in many ways. I’m 58, and was born in Cambridge. Mum was from Yorkshire, Dad is American. Came over by boat as a baby (on a US passport from the US Consulate via my dad), and have lived in the US my whole life. Because of my birthplace, I was told I had dual citizenship, but never claimed it…..until last year.

    We have visited the UK many times and have recently been discussing retiring there. We are currently in Denver, and thought we might retire nearby, but the wildfires over the last two years have really spooked us, and got us thinking about the UK as a better retirement spot. To that end, I managed to obtain my UK passport last year. It took a bit of doing – I had to hit my father up for an old friend who knew me as a child. HM Passport Office requires someone to vouch for your identity if you are applying from outside. It eventually went through and I now have both UK and US passports.

    We have booked a two-week trip this coming August (2022) to scout out 6 cities as possible retirement destinations. We’re not 100% committed yet, but are looking forward to narrowing down the list of possibilities and moving forward from there.

    I still have many questions about taxes, buying in the UK (we plan to rent for at least a year to make sure we are doing the right thing), whether we really have enough saved to do this, etc….

    All that to say THANK YOU! Your blog has a lot of useful information, and I applaud you for taking the time to help others work towards the dream you have achieved.

    Cheers,
    John

    Reply
    • Tessa
      March 15, 2022 at 4:37 PM

      Hi John – thanks for taking the time to comment. I too moved here from Denver. It was a lot easier traveling back and forth when Norwegian did their non stop service to Gatwick, but unfortunately that’s no longer an option. I agree the climate can be a bit scary especially in the west with water shortages.

      Well done for getting your passport sorted. It’s invaluable in greasing the wheels of getting the most out of living here. I too had to have a relative vouch for me even though I was staying here at the time!

      I think it’s a smart choice to see how the land lies before taking the major jump of moving. I had originally planned on having a home in the US and here but the pandemic ended that. Be prepared for sticker shock. Colorado is expensive but prices here have been rapidly going up both for rentals and purchases since the pandemic happened.

      You are very welcome and glad to know you’ve found some useful information to help you in your decision making. It’s a wonderful lifestyle here and I’m very grateful to be able to call England home.
      Tessa

      Reply
      • Stacey Potts
        May 7, 2022 at 6:06 AM

        Hi Tessa,

        I, too, live in Denver and am looking to move to Scotland where my eldest son lives. I definitely want to puchase a home in Glasgow (and even have my eye on one) but am terrified of doing so on a tourist visa. My son lived in London for 10 years and moved to Glasgow 4 years ago and purchased a flat. In order to get LTR he got married when he lived in London…not something I really want to do in my retirement years – especially after 3 divorces! I have been doing tons of research and spoke to an immigration solicitor (and am awaiting a call from a 2nd). I have an inherited retirement income of over $40K annually and would also have significant savings – as well as being able to own a home in Glasgow outright. Why is it so difficult for me to live and retire near my son? Why did they scrap the Retirement Visa? What do you recommend? I’m at my wits end searching 100’s of sites with no options that seem viable. I’ve looked to the “Family Visa” and that doesn’t seem realistic as my son needs MY help as opposed to me needing to be dependant on him.

        As John said, the wild fires are of concern, but living in Denver proper, they frighten me a whole lot less than the gun violence we are now experiencing. In the 24 years I have lived in Denver (originally from Chicago), I have seen it get worse and worse and I feel that this is no longer a safe place for a single, senior woman.

        I don’t need to work, so work visas aren’t available. My son is way too old for me to have a “parent visa”….I’m at a loss.

        I’ve been visisting my Glaswegian son 1-2 times a year (and the same when he was a Londoner)…I know I am ready to make the move…just not with the fear of deportment hanging over my head.

        Please offer me any advice you may have or are willing to share. Thank you in advance and thank you for being here and helping so many!

      • Tessa
        May 11, 2022 at 10:27 AM

        Hi Stacey,
        Thanks for your email and I can sympathize with your situation. I also can hear the frustration you’re feeling! Unfortunately the tier 1 Investor visa has been discontinued, but at any rate it had a very high contribution so wouldn’t have fit your needs.
        You could apply for a long term Standard Visitor Visa (2,5,10 year terms) but you can only stay for 6 months at a time. There is no specific timeline for how often you can use the 6 month rule – for example it’s not 6 months per year.
        You can buy a property in the UK even if you’re not a citizen, but it will be easier if you are a cash buyer vs getting a mortgage. If I were going to buy property I would prefer the Scottish system to the English as it more closely resembles US property purchase.

        I can understand why you would want to move here to be closer to your son as that’s what I’ve done. I agree it has gotten very difficult to find permanent residence here and I hope you’re able to get the legal help you need to make it possible. All the best.

  • Shanna
    December 23, 2021 at 4:55 AM

    Hi there! I’m curious as to the process taken to become a permanent resident, I’m in research mode and haven’t put this into action yet.

    I’ve seen different choices, most of them regarding using their work, either having a headquarters in the U.K., and being lucky enough to relocate with their position, or in obtaining a sponsorship.

    It sounds like you’ve been suggesting people come over with a Standard Visitor’s Visa so one can stay at least 6 months first, but I do know I’d want to look for, or apply for a job in the U.K., which I have thoroughly been through the laundry list of professions and have some saved for future application, preferably before coming over, but if I wasn’t able to get a position, were you suggesting the SVV, and then continue to get an SVV every 6 months to stay, without working? As for applying for the Indefinite Leave to Remain, I thought it took up to a year or was it 3-5 before one could qualify to apply?

    Also, would you know if there’s a way of working in a neighboring country and then returning to the U.K. by SVV (which actually feels more complicated)?

    I feel like I’d be dishonest if I were to use it, since I have every intention of looking for work, which from what I’d been hearing, I wouldn’t be able to do if I was already out there on a SVV, I’d have to return to the U.S. and apply, and if accepted, then apply for a Worker’s Visa.

    I’ve only put a couple months research into this and whilst not in a particular hurry, I’d also be coming over with a van and a cat, but I’ve gotten the details on easiest way to cargo ship auto, and pet Visa (possible Van Life opportunity, if allowed). I’m very happy to receive any advice! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Tessa
      January 4, 2022 at 5:11 PM

      Hi Shanna
      It’s legal to stay in the UK for up to 6 months without a visa. If you wanted to return on a regular basis, you could apply for the Standard Visitors Visa. The UK gov frowns on people trying to stay indefinitely without a legal “leave to remain” which is attained through work, school or entitlement through family/relationship or previous residency.
      I don’t know about working in a neighboring country, but as the UK has left the EU, there are now laws in place to restrict immigration into the UK from Europe.
      The short answer is you would essentially have 6 months to find work which would sponsor your move to the UK. Keep in mind you’re not allowed to work until you have the right to remain. Definitely seek legal advice or use the links I’ve provided to see which scenario would best fit your situation.
      And all the best for your move!
      Tessa

      Reply
  • Alexandra E
    December 7, 2021 at 6:17 PM

    Tessa , Wow you’ve already answered so many questions- but who would you hire in order to help with the complete picture/ move? A lawyer? We don’t want to make any tax mistakes or miss an opportunity either. My parents, both pensioners, want to “move back” …a year at first and then permanently if it suits. Wiltshire, Somerset – getting a small/ house tiny garden. (Non furnished, they are planning to ship belongings, another head scratcher) If they rent, shut down or sell their big house here in the East Coast, USA- is yet another interesting question. ! My mother a British national, came to the US when she was 20 in 1971, and wants to return with Dad, her german-born American husband. Who knows if daughters (one born in the UK) and son in-laws and grandkids will follow🤗 …

    Reply
    • Tessa
      December 8, 2021 at 6:01 PM

      Glad you’ve found some answers Alexandra. It sounds like your parents have a clear path to move back, with your mum a British national, but you’re right there’s a lot of considerations. I was lucky and didn’t have any major issues. Keep in mind you have to bring your household goods over within 12 months of establishing a permanent residence here if you don’t want to pay VAT and customs duty on them.

      I live in Somerset and it’s a very popular area, lots of lovely villages and towns and easy access to either Bristol or Bath for city stuff. So I can recommend it as a nice but not crazy expensive area.

      I would advise consulting legal services that specialize in international moves if you want to cross the t’s and dot the i’s. I found this one online International legal services I’m not recommending them but this is probably the type of firm you’d be looking for. I imagine there are similar services in the US and that may be a better option for you.
      All the best of luck to you and keep in touch!
      Tessa

      Reply
  • Frances Lewis
    October 6, 2021 at 11:19 PM

    Hello.
    I just found your site the other day,I am British left London when I was 23 years old,have lived in the States for 48 years wow that is a long time.I have been back many times well over 20 for sure, all my family is around England sisters, brother, cousins .I have both US and EU passport for now that will change back to UK when it runs out,yes my soul is in England going in April 2022 to see what place if I move back do I want to live, have not been home since 2015 it is time,my question to you I have looked at your Moving Abroad book one thing you left out and it is very very important on the Document Checklist……….Bank & Investments/Money Transfer could you tell me how and who would be best, yes I can rent even for me I need that to open a bank account living with family you don’t have a lease gas bill and such what I am unsure of is how to get the dollars to a bank in England could you tell me how did you do or other people.Thank you Fran

    Reply
    • Tessa
      October 9, 2021 at 9:47 AM

      Hi Francis – thank you for reading and the very best of luck in moving back to England. It sounds like you have a very good chance of making that happen next year. As for your question about moving money – I’m assuming you mean from a US bank to an English bank. What I’ve found out is there is no US version of bank transfer between banks or individuals that exists here in the UK. It’s costly to initiate an international bank transfer from a US bank and I believe there’s a maximum amount of $10,000. But don’t quote me on that, I’m not a financial professional and I would seek advice before you proceeded. You could withdraw cash from your US bank account and deposit it into a UK account as another method. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • Alexis
    September 17, 2021 at 11:51 PM

    Hello there. I was born and raised in North Carolina, but I have always wanted to live in England. British life and culture has fascinated me since I was only 6 (I am known as the Anglophile of the family). My ultimate goal is to move to the UK after I graduate from college (I am currently in my final year of high school, and I will be attending college to achieve a marketing degree and an advertising degree). I do have a general idea of which counties interest me (Sussex and Kent preferably) and the general culture in those areas. Do you have any tips for what would be needed to try and reach this goal? (I would love to apply for dual citizenship, but I do know you must live in the UK for at least five years before you can apply.)

    Reply
    • Tessa
      September 20, 2021 at 7:53 AM

      Hello – I would advise you to read my blog post and use the links provided to determine your eligibility. Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  • Rachel
    September 10, 2021 at 3:36 PM

    Hello! Judging from your post and other things I’ve read, the Standard Visitor Visa is the way to go – I suppose as an initial stepping stone to moving there, beyond a work visa or spousal visa, etc.

    A few questions if you can assist:
    1. If an American can stay in the UK for up to 6 months without a visa, what does the Standard Visitor Visa (SVV) really do? Allow more comings and goings? Even with the SVV, it appears that you can only stay for up to 6 months anyway. Or are you suggesting to get the SVV and then re-consider your options? I think you have to leave the country and apply for a different visa in that case.
    2. How long do you have to stay out of the country following the 6 months? How soon is too soon to return? For instance, my parents are residents of Costa Rica. All residents have to leave for 3 days every so often (either a year or 6 months), and then they can come back.
    3. The Gov.UK website seems to indicate that they’ll be on the lookout for people who are using the SVV to make the UK their home.
    4. The Gov.UK website also seems to (maybe) contradict some things here: https://www.gov.uk/settle-in-the-uk/y. If you select visitor visa, it says you may not be eligible to apply unless you’ve been in the UK legally for 10 years and could apply to settle because of long residence. However, long residence or continuous residence requirements state that you can only be out of the country for 540 days in total across the 10 years, which, with the SVV would presumably be much more (unless you can exit after 6 months and come immediately back).

    These are all probably very legal questions, and I know based on some of your comments above, that’s not your forte. I was just wondering if you had any insight!

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Tessa
      September 13, 2021 at 4:50 PM

      Hi Rachel – Well you’ve obviously done your homework! I’ll try to answer as best I can but the gov.uk site has the final word. The standard visitor visa is only for 6 months at a time but you can apply for a longer term of 2,5 or up to 10 years if you need to visit regularly.
      The implication I think is if you keep trying to come back again and again for 6 months without a visa, there will be questions as to why A. you didn’t get a visa to state your intentions basically or B. are you trying to set up a quasi residence here.
      I don’t believe you have to stay out of the country for any period between visits but again if you keep coming back it’s going to be questioned on re-entry. The bottom line is if you don’t think you have what it takes to be eligible for permanent residency then all the visas in the world probably won’t get you there. I think they’re trying to prevent people from piggybacking onto a visa. Just my personal opinion, not based on legal advice. But if you look at my retirement options post, you’ll see that unless you qualify under very specific guidelines now the only way to gain residence is with £2 million invested.
      I’m not sure why it’s so difficult at the moment – best of luck to you!

      Reply
  • Sean
    September 2, 2021 at 6:49 PM

    Hi Tessa,
    So happy to have found this site. It is very informative and gives me some hope that my wife and I can spend more time in the UK. We have been visiting London for about two weeks every other year for quite some time. We wore both born in the Caribbean, and our island was once under British rule, but became independent a few years before we were born. We are now US residents, but would love to be able to spend more time in England.
    So from everything I have read, it would be difficult for us to move permanently, but we would be happy to spend 3-6 months a year living there. Our preference would be to purchase a condo in London, but that also seems very difficult. I read that if you invest 200k, it could possibly give us a path to live there. Are there only specific investments that would allow us to eventually purchase a condo in London?
    Thank You
    S&G

    Reply
    • Tessa
      September 6, 2021 at 10:42 AM

      Hi there, thanks for your note. If you’ll take a look at my most recent article about retiring in the UK, I give a little more detail on options. Unfortunately unless you have family ties in the UK or have been resident for a length of time the investment visa may be your only option. That requires £2M which is considerably more than you were hoping I’m sure.
      As for purchasing a property, I believe you also need to have legal residency but I haven’t looked into this further. When I first moved here I got the impression you need citizenship and lived here a minimum of 2 years to qualify for any kind of mortgage.
      Now that may change if you’re buying with cash but with current money laundering laws you’re required to account for where every single penny comes from which can be done but may be a stumbling block.
      I’m not offering legal advice so keep that in mind. All the best to you!

      Reply
  • Dee
    August 12, 2021 at 4:11 AM

    A very informative post. I’m a British Citizen living in the US with my American family for 25 years. Been very homesick for most of that time! We have been wanting to move to U.K. for many years but it seems so impossible and expensive to sponsor the US spouse. I read on government site and Brit forums that the U.K. citizen (me) would have to earn 18,600 pounds in salary plus 2500 per child under 18 on top! Or would have to have savings of 60,000 pounds?! Is this correct? This would be difficult for me since I’ve been stay at home mum mostly raising four children. Two of my children are over 18 and all of my family are American born with no British passports plus I am a green card holder. My cousin in U.K. is a lawyer and says this info is incorrect and there are simpler ways of moving back. Thank you

    Reply
    • Tessa
      August 13, 2021 at 10:10 AM

      Hi Dee, thanks for that! I’m sure there’s a way for you to return to the UK and I totally understand your need to, especially if you’ve been homesick. Sometimes we just need to be close to what we know and love.
      I’m not a lawyer nor can I offer legal advice but if you have a cousin in the UK they should be able to help you. I keep recommending the gov.uk link to find out about your spouse and children’s eligibility. It takes you step by step through the options and since it’s coming directly from the UK government it’s a source you can trust. FYI my son was able to get a British passport on my birth record back in 2010 I think it was. At the time I didn’t even have a British passport because I was living in the US. I don’t remember him saying he had to pay any large fees.
      Best of luck to you and try this link to see if your spouse and children qualify.

      Reply
  • Karen Rosenberg
    August 6, 2021 at 8:02 PM

    hello Tessa, I have friends who live in Newton Abbot, I visited England and was there for over 6 weeks,, fell in love .. could I live six months in US nad six months in England, or should I apply for Dual citizenship and would that allow me to rent or buy something. I would prefer not to live in London but more country living.. any advice? THanks

    Reply
    • Tessa
      August 7, 2021 at 12:59 PM

      Hi Karen – I took my driving test in Newton Abbot! Yes you could absolutely split your time 6 months here and 6 months there. If you’re eligible for dual citizenship, I would apply for it as it will make it easier to bank and rent or buy.
      As a US citizen you’ll be limited to what you can rent and will be eligible for Airbnb or other short term rental options. Which can get not only pricey but sometimes difficult to find! I had one stint here when the longest rental I could find was for 3 weeks and we ended up moving around all over the place. Which is fine if that’s the kind of experience you’re looking for.
      I personally like Sussex county and especially the town of Lewes because it has everything I’m looking for. It’s easy to get to Gatwick Airport, you can be out on the Downs or down by the sea in 20 minutes. Lots of lovely walks and culture. It’s a commuter town to London so is expensive as are a lot of towns within an hour or more from London. Go further away and it gets less expensive. It really depends on what you’re looking for and whether or not you’ll have a car. When I first got here I needed a town with a train station and decent bus service. Keep that in mind and good luck!

      Reply
  • Js
    August 4, 2021 at 1:28 AM

    My wife and I live in the USA. She is a dual citizen and we are planning to move to the uk for 12 months to be with her family. What I can’t figure out is, can i move over without a visa, then apply for a partner visa once I arrive?

    Reply
    • Tessa
      August 4, 2021 at 2:28 PM

      Hi there – thanks for reading! I know it can seem confusing to determine eligibility. Here’s where I would start.
      1. You say you want to move for 12 months, if that’s the case then you won’t need British citizenship or Indefinite Leave to Remain. If you did want to stay longer it looks like you would need to apply for a visa before you leave the US. Start here
      2. It also looks like you will need to live in the UK for at least 3 years before applying for citizenship via your wife’s British citizenship. This is the best place to start to see if you are eligible.
      3. If you are only going to stay for 12 months and don’t anticipate living here longer than that, you might try coming over for up to 6 months, returning to the US for a short period of time and then coming back. They may give you a bit of a hassle but most customs agents are pretty tolerant I’ve found. I wouldn’t rely on doing this indefinitely. The UK government just wants to know if you are settled here or not and if you are then they want you on their books!
      Hope that helps and all the best

      Reply
  • Joanie
    July 25, 2021 at 4:53 AM

    I was born and reared in England 76 years ago. I left as a young woman in search of adventure and have lived in the U.S.A. for decades now. I reluctantly gave up my U.K. passport 2001 to become an American citizen. I have a sister who never left so I still have family ties there. What would be my chances of regaining my U.K. passport as I want to go back home to live ?

    Reply
    • Tessa
      July 30, 2021 at 1:03 PM

      Hi there Joanie – your situation is similar to mine. I was born in England and emigrated at a young age so I never had a Uk passport until moving back. You should have no problem qualifying for a UK passport if you decide you want to return!

      Reply
  • Debbi
    July 11, 2021 at 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.

    Reply
    • Tessa
      July 17, 2021 at 4:28 PM

      Thank you for sharing your personal experience.

      Reply
  • Stephen Monroe
    July 10, 2021 at 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?

    Reply
    • Tessa
      July 10, 2021 at 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!

      Reply
  • Dinah Russell
    July 9, 2021 at 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!

    Reply
    • Tessa
      July 10, 2021 at 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!

      Reply
  • Dinah Russell
    July 8, 2021 at 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!

    Reply
    • Tessa
      July 10, 2021 at 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!

      Reply
  • Jo
    June 27, 2021 at 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.❤️🙏

    Reply
    • Tessa
      June 28, 2021 at 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!!
      Tessa

      Reply
      • Jacqui Voland
        March 12, 2022 at 4:18 PM

        Hi, I’m curious,
        I am English, parents are both still in the UK. In this post you mention free NHS healthcare but it was my understanding that as a returning national you have to pay back into the NHS system what you should have been paying if you had lived there. So a lump sum back into the system? It is probably the only thing preventing me from returning home. Can you clarify?

      • Tessa
        March 14, 2022 at 9:43 AM

        Hi Jacqui
        Good question. I hadn’t heard about paying back as a returning national to be eligible for NHS but I believe it to be incorrect. My personal experience is I have not had to pay into the system to be eligible for healthcare, it’s just never come up.
        Here’s a good link to find out more about NHS eligibility. Good luck!

  • Nancy
    June 26, 2021 at 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!

    Reply
    • Tessa
      June 28, 2021 at 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!
      Tessa

      Reply
  • Bradley Turner
    June 24, 2021 at 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.

    Reply
    • Tessa
      June 25, 2021 at 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!

      Reply
  • David B.
    June 1, 2021 at 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.
    Cheers.

    Reply
    • Tessa
      June 1, 2021 at 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!

      Reply
  • tina de la celle
    April 27, 2021 at 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.
    Tina

    Reply
    • Tessa
      April 28, 2021 at 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 GOV.uk 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!

      Reply
  • Hilary King
    April 25, 2021 at 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 😊

    Reply
    • Tessa
      April 26, 2021 at 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!

      Reply
  • Bonnie Morgan
    April 21, 2021 at 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.

    Reply
    • Tessa
      April 21, 2021 at 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!

      Reply
      • Donna
        June 22, 2021 at 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 at 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

  • Lori Bushey
    April 13, 2021 at 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?

    Reply
    • Tessa
      April 14, 2021 at 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!

      Reply
      • Lori
        April 14, 2021 at 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 at 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.

  • Tonya Watson
    April 7, 2021 at 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!

    Reply
    • Tessa
      April 9, 2021 at 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.

      Reply
  • Tracy Maclean
    March 30, 2021 at 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?

    Reply
    • Tessa
      March 30, 2021 at 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!

      Reply
  • Sydney
    March 29, 2021 at 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.

    Reply
    • Tessa
      March 30, 2021 at 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!

      Reply
      • Sydney
        April 6, 2021 at 11:50 PM

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

  • Nancy Lee
    March 27, 2021 at 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?

    Reply
    • Tessa
      March 29, 2021 at 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.

      Reply
      • Nancy Lee
        March 30, 2021 at 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 at 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.

  • sabrina lawson
    March 13, 2021 at 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

    Reply
    • Tessa
      March 17, 2021 at 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!

      Reply
  • Ismael
    March 7, 2021 at 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.

    Reply
    • Tessa
      March 13, 2021 at 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.

      Reply
      • Eva
        October 3, 2021 at 8:12 PM

        Hi
        Is there any way you can help me to move in uk??
        Thank you

      • Tessa
        October 4, 2021 at 12:06 PM

        Hello – I would advise you to read my blog post and use the links provided to determine your eligibility. Thanks for reading.

  • Sophie
    September 5, 2020 at 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.

    Reply
    • Tessa
      September 6, 2020 at 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

      Reply
      • Andrew Wilks
        April 13, 2021 at 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 at 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!

      • Tim
        February 21, 2022 at 4:32 PM

        I am a US citizen working for a US-based division of a UK-based company that had asked me to work in London starting in 2016. They provided a Tier 2 visa and renewed it, but the visa has now expired, and the company says they have not been able to get any visas from the UK government. I’ve been told that I can still work out of the UK for 90 days without a visa but have not been able to verify this anywhere. Is this your understanding? Thanks.

      • Tessa
        February 22, 2022 at 11:13 AM

        Hi Tim – that must be a bit of a concern for you.
        I can’t offer immigration or legal advice but I did find this link on the gov.uk site. I recently read in the news that the UK government is cancelling the Tier 1 Investor visa with immediate effect, so they may be reviewing all visa policies at this time. Hope you get the answers you need.

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