moving from us to england

Complete Guide to Moving from the US to UK

On January 24, 2024 | In Self Sponsorship | By Yash Dubal Last Updated : March 01, 2024

The United Kingdom is one of the top destinations in the world for US citizens moving to the UK from the US. They are choosing to move for various reasons, such as work, study, business, or just to meet their family and friends. The UK attracts Americans for tremendous work opportunities, eye-catching infrastructure, a top-notch education system, and hi-tech healthcare facilities. Thousands of US citizens are immigrating to the UK every year. However, becoming a non-UK citizen comes with several challenges. If you plan to move to the UK, this blog can help you streamline the entire process. This complete guide is all about relocating to the UK from the USA. 

Moving to the UK from the USA Checklist

Moving back to the UK from the USA requires a step-by-step guide; there are a lot of factors to consider.

  • Get a Visa & Residence Permit: The UK government offers different types of visa routes to US citizens as per their requirements and purpose of visiting the United Kingdom. Business visas, family visas and work visas are some of the specific UK visa categories. US citizens are required to select the right visa for them and then get a residence permit to spend their time in the UK. 
  • Prepare to Move Your Things: You can start your journey by taking an inventory of everything you plan to move from the USA to the UK. To cut on logistics, you need to prioritise what you need to take along with you and what not. You can have various options to move your things; air and sea freight are the more convenient options. It is vital that you familiarise yourself with the customs rules of the UK. They might have restrictions on bringing certain items. 
  • Find Accommodation: Relocating to the UK from the USA comes with finding suitable accommodation. As per your duration of stay, you can go for a short-term rental or a long-term lease. However, it is essential to know that you need to prove your “Right to Abode” to rent in the United Kingdom. Hence, it’s imperative that you must provide your current passport to prove that you are legally entitled to stay in the UK for a certain period of time. 
  • Open a Bank Account: As a non-UK resident, opening a bank account in the United Kingdom will require an identity and residential proof. You will require your passport as proof of identity and at least three months’ utility bills as your residential proof. Always keep in mind that your visa or immigration status can impact your eligibility criteria to open a bank account with certain UK banks. 

How to Move to The UK From the US?

Relocating to the UK from the USA requires an appropriate understanding of immigration rules and proper planning. 

  • Find Employment: Usually, a job is necessary to survive in the United Kingdom. So it is essential that before moving to the UK you must find a suitable job for yourself. If work is the purpose of your relocation, then you could apply for the UK Skilled worker visa route. Other than that, you can apply for jobs if you qualify for a valid UK visa. For Skilled worker visa applicants, obtaining a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from their UK employer is necessary. 
  • Find the Correct Visa Route: The United Kingdom offers a variety of visa options to individuals immigrating to the UK from the US. If you are immigrating for work, apply for a Skilled worker visa. To reunite with your British spouse, apply for a Spouse visa. Apply for a health & care worker visa if you are moving to the UK as a health or care professional. Students can apply for a student visa for temporary study in the UK. Business owners who envision expanding or establishing their own business in the UK can opt for the self-sponsorship route
  • Apply for the Visa: The application process for every UK visa can be a challenging and time-consuming process for new applicants. It includes various steps: go to the UK government website and apply online. Pay the application fee; it may differ depending on the type of visa. Once you have completed your online application, you will be required to book a biometric appointment at the application support centre. After obtaining your appointment confirmation letter from ASC, you must mail the application form and required documents to the UKVI.
  • Get An Indefinite Leave to Remain: If you are relocating to the UK from the US to obtain an ILR or permanent residency, you will be required to fulfil certain eligibility requirements. For ILR, it is essential to legally stay in the UK for at least five years on a qualifying visa route. You must not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK during any 12 consecutive months. You can get an Indefinite leave to remain after staying in the United Kingdom on some specific types of visas. Selecting a Skilled Worker Visa, Spouse visa, and Self-sponsorship route can streamline your path to ILR. 

Should I Move to the UK from the USA?

Moving back to the UK from the USA can be an exciting yet challenging journey. 


  • US citizens living in the UK will have access to the UK’s National Health Care Services. You can access this service with little to absolutely free of cost. 
  • The United Kingdom is known for its peerless education system. This country is an excellent place to increase your educational knowledge. 
  • Relocating to the UK provides an immense travel opportunity to visit and embrace the beauty of various European countries and cities. 
  • The United Kingdom provides compelling job opportunities, and this country offers a tremendous work environment. 


  • Compared to many US cities, the cost of living is pretty much high in the UK. It can be way too expensive if you live in a city like London.
  • The United Kingdom offers smaller accommodation places to live. Being a US citizen can be challenging when living in tiny houses or apartments. 
  • Immigrating to the UK from the USA comes with strict and complex UK immigration rules and regulations. Visa processing is time-consuming and requires legal help. 
  • You might require adequate time to adjust to the UK’s culture and understand its history. Cultural differences can become an obstacle for US citizens. 


Can I Move to the UK Without a Job?

Yes, you can move to the UK without a job. You can undoubtedly relocate to the UK from the USA without a job offer through a valid family, business and student visa route. 

Moving to the UK to Join Family Members

You can choose the UK family visa route to reunite or join your family members in the UK. However, several eligibility criteria and requirements must be fulfilled before applying for a family visa. 

How Hard Is It to Move to The UK?

Due to the complex UK immigration rules and regulations, it can be difficult for US citizens to relocate from the US to the UK. However, you can overcome this challenge with the help of experienced and knowledgeable immigration solicitors. 

How Much Does It Cost to Move to The UK?

Moving to England from the US can be expensive, depending on your visa type. Applicants need to pay the visa application fee, health surcharge fee, shipping, accommodation, logistics, and other relevant costs. You can calculate all the expenses and prepare for your relocation as per your requirements.

Cost of Living in the UK

The UK has been declared the 7th most expensive country in Europe and 14th most expensive in the world. Using public transportation, suitable accommodation, and earning your daily meals can be expensive. It’s evident that the cost of living in the UK is higher than in most US cities. 

 Do You Get Free Healthcare If You Move to the UK?

You can avail free healthcare in the UK once you become a permanent resident or obtain an indefinite leave to remain. Apart from that, you can get free healthcare if you have already paid a health surcharge. 

Moving to the UK With Pets

Relocating to the UK from the USA with your pet is allowed if it has been microchipped, has a pet passport or health certificate, and has been vaccinated for rabies. By following these steps, you can certainly move to the United Kingdom with pets. 

How Do I Get UK Citizenship?

To get UK citizenship, you need to legally stay in the United Kingdom for at least five years under a valid visa route. Skilled work visas and Family visas allow one to live in the UK for a more extended period. After this period of time, you can apply for ILR. If you successfully hold the ILR for 12 months, you can apply for naturalisation as a UK citizen. 

What is a Self-Sponsored Route?

With the Self-Sponsorship route, you can apply to work in the United Kingdom for your own company without needing a UK Sponsor. Moreover, if you plan to settle in the UK, this could lead to permanent residency and British citizenship for you and your dependent family members. The Self-Sponsorship route is suited for businesses looking to expand their business in the United Kingdom and have the capital for it. If you are a successful businessperson who has identified a business opportunity in the United Kingdom, or if you have a brilliant business concept and want to explore it in the United Kingdom, you should definitely take up this path.

 Eligibility Criteria For Self-Sponsorship

  • You should have expertise, talent, or qualification in the field where you intend to start a business.
  • You must have a business idea or have identified an existing business in the United Kingdom to expand.
  • You must have sufficient financial means to support your business in the United Kingdom.
  • You must have acquaintance with a UK local who is settled in the country or is a British citizen to take on the obligations of the Authorising Officer.
  • You must pass the approved English language test at Level B1.

Application Process for Self-Sponsorship

You must first apply for a Skilled visa route to apply for this route. It is a combination of a Skilled visa and a sponsor licence. Visit the official website of the UK government and apply for the Skilled worker visa. Prepare all the necessary documents, such as a copy of your passport, bank statements, a detailed business plan and an endorsement letter from your company’s key personnel. Attach all your original documents and application and re-check twice to avoid errors. You must pay the application fee before you submit your application.

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience with work visa applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your visa application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or at contact us today. We’re here to help!


Yash Dubal, Founder & Director of A Y & J Solicitors, is a renowned lawyer and entrepreneur. Known for innovative immigration law webinars, he's propelled the firm to award-winning heights. His work champions equality and accessibility, aiding UK immigrants. Yash also dedicates himself to social causes, participating in marathons for charities like the British Red Cross and Pratham. His dedication to immigrant success is unwavering.

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