Moving to Scotland from US

Moving to Scotland from US

With a brave heart, you have decided to move to the “land of braves”, Scotland.

Congratulations! This means you are all your way to witness beautiful scenery, incredible culture, stunning climate, state-of-the-art innovation, and most importantly, a cheaper cost of living.

The state is welcoming you with open arms to support you in any stage of your life, with plenty of possibilities and opportunities to make a move.

But, are you aware of the moving to Scotland from the US requirements? Well, you won’t need to worry about it as we have got you covered.


Here is the comprehensive guide to all the essential information you need to know before relocation. So, read on! 

How to move to Scotland as an American?

To move to Scotland as an American, you need a valid US passport, a return flight ticket, and proof of funds to support your stay.

Although you are allowed to visit and stay in Scotland for six months without a visa as an American.

1. Scottish VISA Process

Getting a Scotland visa for a US citizen is the first step to a successful move. Since this European country offers several visa options, it is good to learn about all of them and apply according to your purpose of moving. 


Scotland visa types

Check the Scottish visa types here before immigrating to Scotland. 

Student VisaTwo categories – Student Visa – UG or PG courses in Scottish universities.Child Student Visa – Students between 4 to 17 years of age
Skilled Worker VisaAmericans who have a secured job can apply for a work visa for Scotland.
Business VisaAmericans who want to invest or start a business in Scotland.

Scotland Visa Requirements

The Scotland visa requirements for US citizens are as follows: 

  • Visa application form
  • Two passport-sized photographs
  • Proof of the funds to support your stay in Scotland
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Valid passport
  • Detailed travel itinerary
  • Biometric information
  • Tuberculosis test results.
  • Job offer letter, in the case of a work visa.

Do US citizens need a visa to visit Scotland?

No. US citizens can visit Scotland and stay up to six months without any visa.
However, they must have a valid US passport, a return flight ticket, and proof of financial means to support their stay in Scotland. 

How long does it take to get a visa for Scotland?

It takes about 21 days to get a Scotland visa application. Expats can begin the visa application process three months before their travel plans to avoid any last-minute delays. 

How long can you stay in Scotland without a visa?

You can stay in Scotland for six months with a standard visitor visa.

2. Becoming a Scottish Citizen

Since Scotland is a part of the UK, expats can only get Scottish citizenship by becoming British citizens. 


So, How to get citizenship in Scotland? There are several ways to claim Scottish citizenship. 

  • By Birth: You can claim Scotland citizenship if you were born in this country and at least one of your parents must be either a British citizen, possesses EU settled status, or is a non-EU/ EFTA citizen with residency rights in the UK. 
  • By Descent:  Scottish citizenship by descent can be used if you were born abroad and one of the parents is a British citizen by birth, descent, naturalization, registration, or adoption. 
  • By Naturalization: You can apply for Scottish citizenship by naturalization after living in Scotland for five years. 
  • By Marriage: You can also claim a Scottish citizen if you are married to a British citizen and have lived in Scotland for three years.  

Scotland citizenship requirements

You must fulfill several requirements to become a Scottish citizen. Some of them are listed here.

  • The applicant must be over 18 years.
  • Pass the good character requirement i.e. don’t have any immigration fraud or criminal records.
  • Pass Life in the UK test requirements.
  • The applicant must be living in the UK or Scotland during the entire Scotland citizenship process.
  • Must have passed the English test requirements. 
  • You must have lived in Scotland or the UK for over five years, having been outside the country for not more than 450 days. 

How to apply?

Check the step-by-step procedure to apply for Scottish citizenship here.

  • Check if you meet the citizenship requirements.
  • Prepare your application form. 
  • Provide biometric information.
  • Apply the application along with the supporting documents and fee. 
  • Wait for a decision. It might take up to six months for a decision to be made. 

How to get Scottish citizenship as an American?

Americans moving to Scotland have to fulfill all eligibility requirements to get Scottish citizenship such as they should be more than 18 years, have lived in Scotland for over five years, etc. 

How long does it take to get Scottish citizenship?

It may take up to 6 months or more to get Scottish Citizenship. 

Does Scotland allow dual citizenship?

Scotland allows Scottish dual citizenship i.e. you can be a Scottish citizen while remaining a citizen of other countries.

However, you do not need to apply for the same, just follow the Scottish citizenship process without giving up the citizenship of your parent country.

3. Understanding Scotland’s Tax System

The tax rates in Scotland are different than in the rest of the UK. The Scottish government has full control over income tax bands and rates, except for the personal allowance. 


Scottish income tax is applied to non-dividend and non-saving income only. The taxpayers also pay income tax rates that apply in the rest of the UK on their savings and dividend income. 

The Scottish government generally proposes its rates and bands for income tax in its annual draft budget. 

Types of taxes in Scotland

The whole Scottish income tax system is divided into five bands, namely – Personal Allowance, Starter Rate, Basic Rate, Intermediate Rate, Higher Rate, and Top Rate.

The higher rate threshold is £43,662, compared to £50,272 in the rest of the UK. The Starter,  Basic, and intermediate rate bands together for Scottish income are £30,930. 

Taxes in Scotland vs the USA

Check out the table mentioned here to learn about the differences in taxes in Scotland and the USA.

Taxes listScotlandUSA
Income tax20% – 47%10% – 40%
Property tax4% – 6% (LBTT)Nil
Sales tax0% – 20%2.9% – 7.25%
Corporate tax25%4.04% – 7.07%

Are taxes higher in Scotland?

Taxes in Scotland are slightly different than other countries in the world. According to the Scotland Act 2016, the Scottish government has full control over tax rates and bands, except for personal allowance.

What are the tax rates in Scotland?

The basic income tax rates in Scotland vary from 20 to 47% for different band values from £14,733 to £125,140 and above.

4. Housing System in Scotland

Whatever type of home you are looking for, there are endless options available to you in Scotland. Check the housing details in Scotland here. 


Rental Property in Scotland

Property renting in Scotland is a straightforward process. The step-by-step process to renting a property in Scotland here.

  • Register with your local council.
  • Learn about the responsibilities of a tenant.
  • Arrange the required documents.
  • Know the right tenancy deposits. It should be lodged with the third-party scheme within 30 working days of the tenancy beginning. 

The average cost of a house in Scotland

According to the latest official data, the average house in Scotland is about £200,000. 


Can an American buy a house in Scotland?

Sure. Americans can easily buy property in Scotland. They can also get a mortgage in Scotland. 

Can foreigners buy property in Scotland?

Yes, there are no restrictions on foreigners buying property in Scotland. 

Are homes in Scotland expensive?

Can an American buy a house in Scotland?
Sure. Americans can easily buy property in Scotland. They can also get a mortgage in Scotland. 
Can foreigners buy property in Scotland?
Yes, there are no restrictions on foreigners buying property in Scotland. 

How much is rent in Scotland?

The average rental value in Scotland is about £900.

How much does it cost to build a house in Scotland?

The average cost to build a house in Scotland is nearly £100,000 and more.

5. Job Opportunities in Scotland

Getting a job in Scotland is way easier than in the rest parts of the UK. This is because it has plenty of job opportunities in several sectors for both locals and foreigners.


The employment rate of the country continued to rise by 3.1% from the year 2022. 

Moreover, Scotland has highly regulated, good working practices, and conditions to safeguard employees.

It boasts high retention and high employment rate among the UK’s four countries. So, if you are moving to Scotland without a job, don’t worry, Scotland has a lot of job vacancies waiting for you as per your qualification and expertise.  

Best-paying jobs in Scotland

Before moving to Scotland from America, it is good to know about the best-paying or highest-paying jobs in Scotland

Profession Income
Surgeons370,000 GBP
Lawyers252,000 GBP
Chief Executive officers222,000 GBP
Orthodontists200,000 GBP
Pilots148,000 GBP
Marketing Directors133,000 GBP
Bank Managers237,000 GBP

Jobs in Scotland for US Citizens

When it comes to work opportunities, there is an abundance of jobs in Scotland for Americans or ex-pats.

Americans can apply for all the average and high-paying jobs available in Scotland. However, they first need to apply for a work visa through the UK Government immigration website. 

Is it hard to get a job in Scotland?

No, getting a job in Scotland is not challenging as compared to other countries. Whether you are immigrating to Scotland permanently or temporarily, there’s an abundance of jobs available in this country.

Can a US citizen work in Scotland?

Yes, but they need to apply for a work visa through the UK government immigration website to work in Scotland. Also, you must have a job lined up before moving to Scotland from the United States.

Are US citizens legally allowed to work in the UK?

Yes, sure. They have to apply for a work visa through a Tier 2 work visa scheme that allows skilled workers to work in the country. The procedure to get a work visa is based on the type of work you will be doing.

Can you move to Scotland without a job?

Yes, but having a job in hand from the US is better than nothing. Searching, applying, and getting a job in Scotland can be a lengthy journey.

6. Healthcare System in Scotland

Healthcare in Scotland is one of the top priorities in the country. It offers free comprehensive healthcare facilities through National Health Service (NHS) to all people in Scotland and UK.


It works on the principle of universal medical coverage and all permanent citizens living in the country can access it. 

Prescription drugs, eye tests, and dental check-ups are available free of cost in Scotland. Moreover, it is the only country in the UK to provide nursing and domestic personal care services to all citizens over 65 years of age.

This makes Scotland Healthcare rankings at #5 among other UK states. 

Public vs Private Healthcare

Scotland offers both public and private healthcare facilities to its citizens. 

Public healthcare is managed by the Scottish Government and the majority of NHS provision is paid through taxation.

Private healthcare, on the other hand, is generally paid for through private healthcare insurance plans. 

While public healthcare features long waiting times, the private system is quick with immediate appointments. 

Healthcare in Scotland for Visitors

Visitors must get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before moving to Scotland from the USA to access the Scottish medical care facility.

NHS staff may ask to see your EHIC card before offering healthcare services. 

Does Scotland have free healthcare?

Yes. All Scottish citizens are entitled to free comprehensive healthcare and free prescriptions. 

Is healthcare free for foreigners in Scotland?

Yes. A free comprehensive medical care facility is available to only those people residing in Scotland legally, irrespective of their citizenship. However, tourists and holidaymakers need to bring an EHIC card to access Scottish healthcare.

Is healthcare in Scotland good?

Yes. Health care in Scotland is the most efficient as compared it all its neighbours. It is the only country in the UK to offer domestic personal care and nursing services for citizens over 65 years.

7. Education Options for Expats

Scotland is home to some of the world’s oldest and best universities in the world. The country is committed to excellence in education for more than six centuries. 


The Scottish education system is slightly different from other countries in the UK. It consists of three sections, namely – Nursery (preschool_, Primary (ages 5 – 12), and Secondary (also known as High School, ages 12 – 18). 

Children are taught under a system called Curriculum For Excellence that emphasizes interdisciplinary learning and skills development. The universities in Scotland offer courses a year longer than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK. 

Education in Scotland for International Students

Since Scotland boasts some of the best universities in the world, it attracts international students from far and wide.

Moving to Scotland, education can be expensive even though there are several cheap universities present in Scotland.

The tuition fee depends on the institution and course you have chosen but it generally ranges from $15,000 to $20,000. 

Education in Scotland facts

Check the Scottish education facts here before moving to Scotland from the United States. 

  • Scotland offers free education to students living in Scotland or from other EU countries.
  • The students remain at primary school for seven years.
  • Three Scottish universities are among the Top 100 worldwide – the University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow, and the University of St. Andrews. 

Is education in Scotland free?

Yes. Scotland offers free education to all children living in Scotland. Universities are also free but only if you are a student from Scotland or the EU.

Can international students study for free in Scotland?

Yes, international students can study for free in Scotland if they are either UK citizens or a citizen of another EU country.

Does Scotland have a good education system?

Yes. Scotland offers world-class education and is counted amongst the most educated country in Europe. It is also among the well-educated countries in the world in terms of tertiary education attainment.

8. Cost of Moving to Scotland from the USA

The cost of moving to Scotland can be expensive and the final cost depends on various factors such as the distance between their source and destination, the amount of luggage, the type of moving company, and more. 


Remember that carrying heavy furniture from one country to another might be exhausting and costly.

It is good to get an accurate estimate of the moving cost before making a transition. Try to book the moving firm early as it may cost you more if you leave until the last minute. 

Make sure your new home is ready to move into so you can easily relocate. However, if not, then arrange the storage to put your belongings safely.

The moving firms will do this as a part of their service at an additional cost. 

How much does it cost to move to Scotland?

While moving cost varies from one moving company to another, it can cost anything around £100 to several thousand.

The price increases or decreases according to the services you ask for and the number of items you want to relocate.

Can an American move to Scotland?

Yes, absolutely. Scotland welcomes foreigners from all around the world. All you need is the right visa before moving to Scotland.

9. Cost of Shipping to Scotland

There are plenty of carrier options available to ship your stuff to Scotland. However, the four major companies are – USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Keep scrolling to know more information about the same.


Shipping to Scotland from the US

The cost of shipping depends on the volume of the container, the distance between your previous and new home, and the total number of days in which the shipping will be done. 

The four major carriers that ensure to ship your package safely without shaking your budget are -USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL.

You can choose what option you want and ship your package to Scotland securely. 

Keep in mind that shipping to Scotland from the US is relatively expensive owing to the cost associated with the international shipping and trade agreement between countries.

As per the trade policy between the UK and the USA, a Value Added Tax of 20% or more is added to the shipping cost.

Otherwise, ex-pats have to pay the Delivery Duty Paid Shipping charges if they refuse to pay the VAT on the package. 

The belongings may take from 2 to 20 days to reach Scotland, depending on the moving company you have chosen and the charges you are paying. 

FedEx international drop-off is the cheapest shipping option to consider. It takes about 2-5 Business Days to deliver the package. 

How much does it cost to ship a package to Scotland?

It takes about $35 – $70 along with 3-8 business days to ship a package to Scotland. Shipping of packages depends on the type of service or company you have opted for.

10. Cost of Living in Scotland 

Scotland is one of the cheapest countries in Europe to live in. The cost of living in this country is slightly lower than in other parts of the UK and USA. 


Scotland ranks #1 in the UK when it comes to quality of life, thus attracting foreigners from around the world. It is one of the safest countries in Europe with lower crime rates. 

Costs of living in Scotland Vs the USA

It is important to note down the average cost of living in Scotland vs the US before making a move. 

Cost of living of one person (without rent)$888$1,900
Cost of living of a family of four (without rent)$3,126$3,313
Basic Utilities$200$167.71
One-way ticket (local transport)$2.20$2.15
Average monthly salary after tax$1,31,326$3,572.98
GDP per capita$37,460$63,543.58

Living in Scotland as an American

The US citizen can live in Scotland for six months with a valid US passport and sufficient funds.

However, they need to apply for a specific visa if they are immigrating to Scotland permanently.

Living in Scotland is not much challenging for US citizens as Scotland is the least expensive country with friendly locals. 

What is the cost of living in Scotland per month?

The cost of living in Scotland averages 1500 GBP which is 2% less than the UK average. Where in the US you will need 9200 GBP to maintain a standard life, in the UK, it’s only 4731.2 GBP.

Living in Scotland Pros and Cons

Check the Moving to Scotland pros and cons as an American. 


  • The cost of living in Scotland is lower than in the rest of the UK.
  • Immense travel opportunities.
  • Welcoming and friendly people.
  • Excellent healthcare system.
  • World-class education.
  • Great accessibility.


  • Unpredictable weather.
  • It is challenging to get a driving license in Scotland. 
  • Slightly different housing standards.
  • Learning the local language might be difficult.
  • Ample job opportunities.

Is Scotland a good place to live?

Yes, sure. Scotland is one of the safest countries in Europe to live in. Moreover, the cost of living in this nation is relatively cheaper than in the rest of the UK, making it a good place to settle in.

Is Scotland an expensive place to live in?

No, not at all. Scotland is famous for being the least expensive country in the UK. The weekly household in Scotland is 10% cheaper than in the United Kingdom and 20% cheaper than the London. 

How much does it cost to live in Scotland per month?

A family of four requires an average cost of $3,126 per month without rent and a single person can easily spend a comfortable lifestyle for $888 per month (excluding rent). 

Can an American live in Scotland?

Yes, absolutely. Americans can easily live in Scotland for 6 months or 180 days without a Scottish visa. All they require is a valid US passport and a return flight ticket. Moreover, they can easily move to Scotland permanently by applying for a specific visa.

Is it cheaper to live in Scotland than in the US?

Yes. The overall living cost in Scotland is around 0.49% lower than in America. You require around $4,700 to live a modest lifestyle in Scotland as compared to $5,800 for a similar lifestyle in the US.

Best Places to Live in Scotland


Moving to Scotland from America? Check here the list of the best Scottish places to settle in. 

1. Edinburgh

The compact, hilly capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is loaded with neoclassical buildings, lush gardens, and medieval charm.

Living in Edinburg means  enjoying modernization without sacrificing their quality of life. The Edinburgh cost of living is 34% cheaper than the US average.

2. Glasgow

It is a port city on River Clyde in Scotland’s western lowlands. Glasgow is the most populous city in Scotland and the fourth-most populous city in the UK.

It is referred to ad the world’s friendliest city and is famous for its beautiful architecture. The cost of living in Glasglow is 32.7% less than the US average. 

3. Dundee

A coastal city in eastern Scotland, Dundee is listed amongst the safest cities in the UK according to a survey conducted by Complete University Guide 2021. 

4. Stirling

It is located in central Scotland and is famous for the medieval Stirling castle on a craggy volcanic rock. Stirling is renowned as the Gateway to the Highlands. 

5. Aberdeen

A port city in northeast Scotland, Aberdeen is the place where the Dee and Don Rivers meet in the North Sea. It is also known as Granite City due to the abundance of greystone buildings. 

6. Inverness

It is the largest city and the cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands. Inverness is located on the country’s northeastern coast where the River Ness meets the Moray Firth. 

7. St. Andrews

It is a seaside town on Scotland’s east coast and is famous for several golf courses. This town is a perfect location for golf lovers and is home to the very famous University of St Andrews. 

8. Perth

A popular city in central Scotland beside the River Tray, Perth is a great place to live and work. It is an ideal location for those looking for a quaint lifestyle. 

9. Paisley

It is a small town situated in the west-central Lowlands of Scotland. Paisley straddles the banks of the White Cart Water and borders the city of Glasgow. 

10. Elgin

It is originated to the south of the River Lossie and is known to be the administrative and commercial center for Moray. It ranks higher on the list of The Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live. 

Culture and Climate

Before moving to Scotland from the United States of America, it is important to know about the culture and climate of this European nation to avoid any surprises later on. 



Scotland’s culture and customs are incredibly vigorous and distinctive, despite its union with the United Kingdom.

It is also deeply connected with Europe owing to the mobility of the Scottish people since the middle ages. 

Scotland is home to a wide array of internationally-famous bands and Scottish love enjoying a range of music, from Celtic to pop and rock.


Scotland experiences a temperate oceanic climate. Although it is a small country, there are considerable climatic variations.

Precipitation is more in mountainous regions of the west owing to prevailing winds and high moisture.

The Scotland’s climate is influenced by North Atlantic drift and is thus mainly cold and wet with extreme variations in the daytime hours. 

What are the cultures of Scotland?

  • Scotland is a Celtic nation, hence usually represented at intercepting events at home or in the world. 
  • Kilts are a significant part of Scottish culture. These are the men’s skirts and are more of a historic tradition. 
  • Golf is a big deal in Scotland. It is likely due to the sense of pride in having the oldest course or in inventing the sport. 

Does Scotland have four seasons?

Since the weather in Scotland is unpredictable, it might be possible that you’ll get to experience all four seasons in one day. 

Is Scotland a hot or cold country?

Scotland is a cold country with higher variations, especially during the daytime hours.


That is all about moving to Scotland from the USA!! We hope that this guide has surely answered your doubts about your move and that your in-depth research will surely help you in an easy transition.

Scotland is a beautiful country with rugged scenery and vibrant landscapes. It is a progressive nation and follows the concept of innovation, creativity, and warmth. 

It is an i deal destination for those who are looking for a peaceful life, mouth-watering cuisines, excellent healthcare, world-class education facility,  without shaking their budget. 

So, Don’t wait for more!! Get a visa, pack your stuff, and relocate to your new home hassle-free.