How to Move to England: Brexit, Bangers and Bringing Football Home
Many Americans dream of moving across the pond to England, the home of The Beatles, Harry Potter, and the (disputable) best Christmas film, Love Actually. Never mind ancient towns with Roman ruins, castles in every county and fish and chips, honestly, England has something for everyone,
Despite the now-strong relationship between the US and UK, immigration between the two countries is notoriously difficult. Which is why it’s extremely important to make sure you’re eligible to reside in the UK. If you hold an EU passport, or are of dual nationality, the process will be a lot easier, otherwise, you should be prepared for a long process.
However, if you’ve got a reason to be there, the chances are you’ll fall in love with England. Just, don’t mention ‘sweet’ tea.
NB: This post contains information on England specifically, however, taxes/customs etc will apply across the UK. Stay tuned via Facebook and Twitter for more posts on other UK countries.
Where to live?
If you aren’t limited to a location due to study or a job, it’s worth exploring your options. England may be small (literally, California is 2x the size), but the weather varies a lot. Whilst the further north you are, the colder it will be, the extremities of the weather are still much less severe than in the US.
If you’re wanting to find somewhere with little to no snow, the south of England rarely receives more than a couple of inches, if at all. Meanwhile, the city of Oxford has the warmest national temperature.
The further North you live, the cheaper the cost of living, and it is also infamous for being friendlier, which is definitely worth knowing if you’re coming from afar.
Which visa suits you?
Meeting the eligible criteria to live and work in the UK will be easier for some than others, as mentioned. If you’re a US citizen working for a UK company, you’ll need a work visa which must be applied for by your employer before you arrive in the UK.
Student visas are another possibility, however, the student will need to prove they are able to live in the UK and pay tuition, plus all living expenses, as working in the UK is not allowed on a student visa.
If you have applied for a tourist visa, you may be asked for proof of a return ticket and/or funds for your trip. If you don’t have this on hand, you’ll be sent home with no more questions asked. T
he UK and US have made it as difficult as possible for their citizens to live and work across the pond, it may seem crazy, but if you don’t follow the correct visa procedure, you won’t be unable to return anytime soon.
Can you bring pets into England?
You are welcome to bring pets into the UK, so it’s definitely recommended talking to your vet about getting your four-legged-friend their pet passport. There are a lot of regulations, which you can read thoroughly on the Government website, including that your pet may not arrive outside 5 days prior/after your own arrival to the country.
Dogs, cats and (for some reason) ferrets, have more straightforward entry guidelines, whilst other pets differ. Different airlines request different information for transporting pets, so ensure to research who you’ll be flying with thoroughly.
Can you drive with a US license?
The short answer, is yes. So long as you’re staying in the UK for less than 12 months, you’re able to drive with an American license. However, after this period you’ll be considered a resident – temporary or otherwise – and will be required to get a UK license to drive legally.
Bear in mind, a UK license is neither easy nor cheap to get. You’ll have to unlearn some American habits, you’re driving on the opposite sides of the world and there’s both a theory test and a practical test. There are two types of license, manual and automatic, and whilst you can drive both vehicles with a manual license, you’ll be restricted to only driving automatics if you apply for the latter.
How do you send your belongings to the UK?
If you’re moving long-term or permanently, you’ll likely be looking at taking more than just a couple of bags.
Once you’ve decided what you’ll be bringing overseas with you, it’s time to look into how to get it there. The price might also help you decide what to bring, as naturally, the more you ship, the pricier it will be.
The cheapest option is to ship your belongings, which generally takes 6-8 weeks, but if you have the time, it is absolutely worth it.
The most important thing to do is ensure you’re using a transparent moving company that offers a no-hidden-costs policy on the upfront quote. Many companies will exclude port and customs fees, which will be presented to you at the end of your shipment. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
All of our rates are inclusive and upfront, you can find your price immediately via our website!
How will Brexit impact moving to the UK?
Dare we even discuss the B-word? Whatever way you look at it, the future of Britain is extremely uncertain. At the time of writing, the deadline has been extended four times, and a general election is scheduled for just over a month’s time.
The likelihood is, American’s will be far less impacted by Brexit than EU citizens, or those who are hoping their dual citizenship with an EU country will help them with a visa. Due to the complications, it may be worth talking to an immigration lawyer about your options. And most importantly, start this process as early as possible.
England is a vibrant, diverse country, and yes, Brits really do enjoy talking about the weather as much as everyone thinks we do. Make sure to have all bases covered before moving to the UK – and be prepared for a lot of discussions about the B-word!