The powerful country of the United Kingdom is located off the northwest corner of Europe. This includes the islands of Great Britain which contains England, Wales, Scotland, and the northern part of the island of Ireland. 

This nation is famous for its spectacular Scottish landscape, a number of castles and forts, the British royal family, the Beatles, and a lot more to count.

It is a highly developed country that exerts considerable international political, economic, scientific, and cultural influence. 

Moreover, this country is decked up thousands of years of history. A simple walk down to the street can turn into an impromptu history lesson as you pass historic churches, castles, and homes.

Moving to the UK From USA

In the UK, you’ll be at the doorstep of some of the top museums, the best music, and the greatest sports teams in the world. 

The United Kingdom is also known to be a melting pot which makes it a unique and exciting place to explore. It has been attracting ex-pats for centuries and for many good reasons.

This beautiful country has a lot to offer, from shimmering coastlines, fabled countrysides to snow-clad mountains. 

Also, it is home to the 24 commercial airports that make traveling to and from the UK simple. The UK is one of the ideal destinations to live for nightlife junkies.

The pub culture of this country is second to none. Moreover, the UK boasts a world-class culinary scene to stand alongside the food capitals of the world. 

Moving to the UK from the USA

but are not sure where to start from? Worry not and keep scrolling the page to find all the important aspects here.

From visa requirements, citizenship process, education system, healthcare facilities to best places for ex-pats, and culture and climate, our comprehensive guide has everything you need to know. 

Just take a deep dive and make yourself aware of the essential facts before kick-starting your moving process. 

Take a look!!

Visa

Types of Visas

Visa typeDescription
Retirement VisaThis visa used to be available in the name of the ‘Retired persons of independent means’ that granted residency to ex-pats in the country if they could prove the minimum disposable income of £25000 without working in Britain. However, this visa has scrapped a few years back and no new program has still started in its place. 
Residency VisaThe UK residency visa permits immigrants to live in this European country permanently and to use public funds and services. 
Work VisaImmigrants moving to the UK from the USA need a work visa if they intended to stay in this country permanently or for a period longer than 5 years.
A total of 9 types of UK work visas are available ex-pats can choose the one that meets their requirements. 

Required Documents for Visa

The important documents required for a UK visa depend on the type of visa you are applying for. However, there are certain common documents that are needed by all. These include:

  • UK visa application form
  • Two photographs
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Valid passport
  • Proof of having the financial means to cover the living cost while in the UK
  • Detailed travel itinerary
  • TB test results
  • Paid UK visa fee
  • Biometric information

Applying for a UK visa from the USA

how to move to the UK? Follow the steps given below to apply for a visa for the United Kingdom from the USA.

  • Complete the online UK visa application form.
  • Compile the document file.
  • Book an appointment for biometrics.
  • Attend the visa interview at UK Embassy or consulate in the USA.

Do I need a visa to visit the UK from the USA? No, not at all. American citizens can travel to the United Kindom without any visa if they are visiting there for tourist purposes only. However, a valid visa is needed if they are coming to this European country for any other purpose like work, residency, etc.

How much is a UK visa from the USA? The UK visa fee depends on the duration for which the visa is applied. 

  • 136USD for a short-term visa
  • 517USD for the longer-term (valid for 2 years)
  • 937USD for the longer-term (valid for 5 years)
  • 1176USD for the longer-term (valid for 10 years)

How long does it take to get a UK visa from the USA? US Citizens can easily get a visa in just 1 to 2 weeks. However, there are certain applications that can take up to 6 to 12 weeks. 

Citizenship/ Immigration

Uk-Citizenship

How to immigrate to the UK from the USA?

Here is the detailed guide!! American citizens first need to apply for a specific UK visa depending on their purposes like work, study, or permanent immigration.

You need to live in this European country for at least 5 years without an absence longer than 450 days to apply for UK citizenship. 

There are 5 basic requirements that you need to fulfill before applying for British citizenship. These are:

  • Be over 18 years old
  • Currently living in the UK
  • Not involved in any serious crime or immigration fraud
  • Meet the English language requirements
  • Pass the Life in the UK test

Carry out the below-mentioned steps to start down the path to UK Citizenship.

  • Check if you meet all British citizenship requirements.
  • Prepare your application for naturalization.
  • Complete the biometrics.
  • Submit the application along with the necessary documents.
  • Wait for the final decision. It can take 6 months or longer for a decision to be made. 

Required Documents

The following documents should be submitted while applying for UK Citizenship. 

  • Proof you have settled in the UK
  • Proof that you meet the life and language requirements in the UK
  • Evidence of identity like valid passport or birth certificate
  • Proof of residence in the UK 

Can I live in the UK as a US citizen? Yes. A US citizen can live in the UK as a US citizen for a period of 6 months. After that, he has to make it official and will have to apply for dual citizenship. 

Is it easy for a US citizen to immigrate to the UK? Yes, of course. Americans can easily immigrate to the UK and can stay for up to 6 months without any visa. However, they need to qualify for a specific visa to stay longer. 

Taxes

Tax System in the UK

UK Tax system is one longest set of tax codes in the world. Basic UK taxes involve income tax, capital gains, property taxes, value-added tax, and UK inheritance taxes.

Many of these taxes are progressive in nature which means that those with higher incomes will have to pay the higher rate. 

UK tax system treats spouses as separate entities and taxes them as individuals. One needs to have a national insurance number before paying taxes in the UK. 

Taxes in the UK may involve payment at three different levels of government – the central government, the developed government, and the local government as council tax. 

Taxes in the UK vs the USA

Americans moving to the UK from the USA must compare the tax rates between these two countries before planning for a final move. 

MetricsUKUSA
Income tax range0 to 45% at an average annual salary of £27,60000 to 39.6% (Federal), 0 to 13.3% (State) and 0 to 3.645% (local)
VAT20%10%
Corporate tax 25%21%

Are the taxes high in England? Yes. Taxes in England are levied at the progressive rate as the higher tax rate is applicable to the higher bands of income.

How much does the average person pay in tax UK? The average single worker pays the net average tax rate of 23.3%. In other words, the final wage of an average worker in the UK after paying taxes is about 76.7% of their gross income wage. 

Can I get all my taxes back when I leave the UK? You can claim back some of the taxes when you leave the UK to live abroad. However, this claim depends on the fact that how much tax you have paid in the UK. 

Jobs

Uk-Jobs

Job Market in the UK

The European country of the UK is highly globalized which means that it boasts a competitive job market. It is home to the sixth-largest economy in the world and a hub for various international businesses. 

The country’s unemployment rate stands at 4%, relatively low than the global average. Competition for graduate jobs is fierce but the candidate with the right qualifications and skills stands a good chance of employment. 

The major industries in the UK where one can easily get a job are:

  • Engineering
  • Healthcare
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Education
  • Marketing
  • Recruitment and HR

How to get a job in the UK from the USA? Americans need to apply for a work visa first in order to get a job in the United Kingdom from the USA.

Thereafter, you can simply browse the UK job-related sites, apply for the job, submit the CV, attend the interview, and get a job.

You can also contact the job consultants who will then help you in finding the job that matches your skills and qualifications. 

Jobs in the UK for the US citizens

Americans who are planning to relocate to the UK from the USA can find a job in all sectors, be it education, engineering, marketing, wholesale and retail, etc. They can also apply for a job in the US embassy or consulate in the UK. 

What jobs are in demand in the UK? Some of the high-demand jobs in the UK are: Delivery Driver, Customer Assistant, Store Manager, Sales Assistant, Store Assistant, Software Engineer, and Customer Service Advisor.

Is it hard to get a job in the UK as an American? No, not at all. Since there is no language barrier, Americans moving to the UK from the USA can easily find jobs in this country. However, you need to prove that you are more valuable and competent than a UK citizen. 

What is the UK average salary? The average salary in the UK is around £31,461 which is 3.4% more than the figure released in the previous year. 

Healthcare

Healthcare in the UK

The UK has a free publicly-funded healthcare system in the name of the National Health System (NHS). It is funded through taxation rather than any health insurance and this is what makes it different from elsewhere in the world. 

Each region of the UK has its own NHS body which is managed by the Department of Health. This system is residence-based rather than insurance-based which means that all UK residents including ex-pats can use this service for free. 

Healthcare in UK vs the US

Americans must compare the healthcare system of both countries before planning to relocate to the UK from the USA. While the United States has the largest private-sector system, United Kindom has one of the largest public-sector systems.

Since the US healthcare system is mostly owned by private sector providers, it ranks #1 in terms of responsiveness. However, the UK is ranked higher than the USA in financial fairness owing to the national tax-based system. 

Another advantage of the UK healthcare system is that it offers equal care to everyone, irrespective of income or financial status. 

Is the UK or US healthcare system better? Both UK and the US boast world-class healthcare systems but the UK is slightly higher in the ranking than America.

The healthcare system in this European country has the least variation in the health outcomes across its population than the USA. 

Is healthcare free in the UK? Yes. All British citizens can enjoy free healthcare that includes mental healthcare, hospitals, and physicians. This is given through National Health Service which is funded by general taxation. 

How much does healthcare cost in the UK? The public healthcare system is available for free in the UK. However, the citizens need to pay an average premium of around £1435 per year if they opt for private health insurance. 

Education

Education-in-UK

Education System in the UK

The British Education System is divided into 4 parts, namely – primary education, secondary education, further education, and higher education.

Children must have to attend primary and secondary education levels that begin from about 5 years old and continue until 16 years old.

This country has ranked #1 in the Best Countries for Education in 2019, according to the US News & World Report.

It is home to some of the well-known universities in the world such as Oxford University, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, The University of Edinburgh, and many more. 

Is Education free in the UK?

UK students can enjoy free education if they get enrolled in state schools funded by the government. However, they have to pay the fee if they prefer to study in the private independent schools.

In the English system, the students will not have to pay anything upfront as the full amount will be financed by government loans. In short, the fee is deferred until after graduation. 

Education in UK vs the US

Americans moving to the UK from the USA must compare the education system between both countries to have a better idea. 

MetricUKUSA
Education Level43
Is uniform applicable?YesNo
Compulsory education system1212
Literacy Rate99%99%
Primary education teachers per 10004.085.49

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What is the education rate in the UK? The education rate in the UK shows that around 45.7% of British aged between 25 to 64 years have attained some kind of post-secondary education. 

Which is better UK or US education? Both countries boast a top-grade education system in the world but the UK stands a bit higher when it comes to the ranking. Also, the UK education system offers plenty of courses to choose from. 

Is Education better in the UK? Yes, of course. According to the US Best News & World Report, the UK has ranked at the first position in The 2019 Best Countries For Education. 

Property/ Housing

Housing in the UK for foreigners

Housing in the UK is known to be the largest non-financial asset class The average price of a house in this country is around £234,742.

The UK is one such country that allows foreigners or non-residents to buy a property in the country without any restriction.

Expats can also get a mortgage in the country. However, those with less than 2 years of residency in the UK and without a job might face more stringent requirements and larger deposits. 

Americans moving to the UK from the USA are required to hire a UK solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legal paperwork while purchasing a property.

One can easily buy a house in this country without any visa, however, they need to keep certain factors in mind like taxes, deposits, etc in mind. 

Types of Houses in the UK

Numerous different kinds of properties are available in the United Kingdom to go for. It is currently estimated that there are more than 25 million residential properties in the country and you have a host of amazing options at your disposal. 

Some of these are:

  • Detached houses
  • Semi-detached houses
  • Terrace housing
  • End of terrace houses
  • Flats
  • Converted flats
  • Split-level flats
  • Studio-level flats
  • Bungalows
  • Mansions, and conservation properties. 

Can foreigners buy a house in the UK? Absolutely yes. There are no restrictions on foreigners to buy a house in the UK. They can also get a mortgage and has to pay tax on property and property-related income. 

Can foreigners buy property in the UK without Visa? Yes. Foreigners can buy a property in the UK as a foreign investor and no visa is required to make a purchase. 

Cost of Living

Living in the UK as an American

Living in the UK as an American can be difficult even though these countries share linguistics. You need to get a grip on the British culture, health standards, and everything to live here comfortably. 

The United Kingdom has been growing in popularity as an expatriate destination.

It has a long rich history and some of the most deep-rooted traditions that ex-pats should learn in order to blend in smoothly and to avoid the typical cultural faux pass. 

Cost-of-Living-in-UK

Cost of living in UK vs the US

The overall cost of living in the UK is around 0.49% lower than in the United States. We offer you a table for comparison here to better understand the cost of living in these two countries.

MetricsUnited KingdomUnited States
Cost of Living (One person)$902$1900
Cost of Living (Family) excluding rent$3140$3313
Basic Utilities$212.31$165.11
One-Way Ticket (Local Transport)$3.45$2.25
GDP Per Capita$46,343.67$63,416
Average Household Income $32,342$61,937

Are groceries more expensive in the UK or the US? Yes. Groceries are a bit expensive in the UK as compared to the USA. The average weekly grocery bill for 2 people including basic laundry and toiletry items is around £80 to £100. 

How much money do you need to live comfortably in the UK in 2021? A single person needs around £33,000 per year to live comfortably in the UK. The price bracket goes higher to £47,500 for couples. However, £10,200 is enough for one person to achieve a minimum living standard.

Is the UK a good place to live? Yes. The UK is counted amongst the best-developed nations to live and work in, according to the Better Life Index. 

Best Places to Live in the United Kingdom

Americans moving to the UK from the USA must know about the best places to live in this country. Here is given the rundown of the best cities in the UK where ex-pats can enjoy a higher standard of living. 

1. London

A capital city of the country, London sits beautifully on the River Thames in South-East England. This modern city opens a world of opportunities for the skilled and professionals and has a long history stretching back to Roman times. 

2. Edinburgh

The hilly capital of Scotland, Edinburgh has a medieval old town and an elegant Georgian new town. This Scottish capital is a hub of culture and arts and is well-known for its festivals.

3. Birmingham

This beautiful city of England is located in the West Midlands county and is famous for its food and cuisine heritage in the world. It is also home to the network of canals. 

4. Manchester

This city is located in the northwest of England and is well-known for its rich industrial heritage. Manchester beats the capital city of London when it comes to culinary excellence among ex-pats. 

5. Glasgow

Glasgow is the fourth-most populous city in the UK. It is famous for having a welcoming and friendly community and ex-pats here can expect to receive a warm welcome when they arrive. 

6. Brighton

This seaside resort city is located on the Southern coast of England and is known to be the green capital of Britain. 

7. Liverpool

Liverpool is a maritime city in northwest England where the River Mersey meets the Irish Sea. It is the tenth-largest English district by population. 

8. Cambridge

The city of Cambridge sits peacefully on the River Cam in eastern England and is well-known for its legendary University of Cambridge

9. Bristol

A cultural hub and a former city-center port, Bristol is straddling the River Avon in the southwest of England. It is famous for its harbor and its contribution to the arts and science. 

10. Belfast

Belfast is Northern Ireland’s capital and is the birthplace of the famous RMS Titanic. This is one of the safest cities to live in the UK and the people here are friendly and helpful. 

Culture & Climate

Culture

The UK has a multicultural society and its culture is influenced by the combined nation’s history. English is the main language which is spoken by around 98% of the population in the UK with numerous dialects. 

The official state-sanctioned religion in the UK is Christianity. However, this country is open to new religions and is home to several other cultures as well.

The major celebrations in the UK calendar include Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Boxing Day, Easter Sunday, Good Friday, and the Queen’s Birthday. 

Climate

This European country enjoys a temperate climate and has a reputation for having cold, wet, and dreary weather. This enjoys both summers and winters with moderate variation in temperature throughout the year. 

The weather in the UK is determined by the jet stream which is basically a flow of strong winds across the Atlantic.

This usually blows from the east coast of Canada across to Northern Scotland. The Eastern part of the country is most sheltered from these winds and therefore the driest. 

What cultures are there in the UK? The UK is one of the culturally diverse countries in the world. A majority of people in this country practice Christianity (around 50.7%).

However, this is also home to the people who follow different cultures such as Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist,  Sikh, Muslim, and other non-Christians. 

What are British cultural values? British cultural values include 4 fundaments, namely – Democracy, Individual Liberty, Rule of Law, and Respect and Tolerance. 

What is the weather like in the UK all year round? The United Kingdom enjoys a temperate oceanic climate with lots of rainfall all year round.

The temperature varies from one season to another but never rises more than 95-degree Fahrenheit and seldom drops below 14-degree Fahrenheit. 

Is the UK hot or cold? The UK enjoys mild weather and does not have extremes of temperature or rainfall. 

Ranking in the World

Americans moving to the UK from the USA must know about the overall ranking of this country before getting their plans in motion. The UK stands at #8 in the overall world rankings, according to the US News. 

It has the 5th largest national economy in the world if measured by the nominal GDP, the 9th largest by purchasing power parity (PPP), and the twenty first-largest by GDP per capita. It constitutes 3.3% of the world GDP. 

The currency of the UK is Pound Sterling which is the world’s fourth-largest reserve currency after US Dollar, Euro, and Japanese Yen. It is also one of the 10-most valued currencies in the world. 

UK-Ranking-in-World

This country has ranked #38 out of 160 in the World Index of Moral Freedom in 2020.

According to the US News, the UK stands at #14 in terms of quality of life. This country is economically and politically stable and has a good job market. 

The UK has a reputation for having a well-developed education system in the world. Its institutions are ranked among the top 10 global institutions in the world.

This country has scooped the first spot in The 2019 Best Countries For Education. 

Moreover, the United Kingdom is one of the safest countries in the world to live and work in. This has been ranked #57 out of  163 in the list of the safest countries 

It has ranked #13 out of 189 countries in terms of the Human Development Index.

The country’s HDI value is about 0.932 which puts the country in the high human development category. In the annual World Happiness Report, the UK has scored 18th place on the global list. 

Moving to the UK From USA FAQs

Can a US citizen live in the UK?

Yes, of course. A US citizen can easily live in the United Kingdom for up to 6 months without any visa. A valid American passport and a round-trip ticket are enough to stay in this European country. However, you need to apply for a specific visa for an extended stay. Americans need to make it official that they want to live or work in the UK if they want to stay beyond six months. They can apply for dual citizenship as well after meeting all the requirements.

How hard it is for an American to move to the UK?

Moving to the UK from the USA is a structured process. Americans must have to obtain a particular visa before planning their move. There are two types of visa options available to them – the UK works. visa and a family visa. Work visas are further divided into many options and you need to pick the one that meets your requirements. Moving to this country might be difficult if none of them applies to your case. 

Can an American retire to England?

Sure but Americans will have to qualify for a visa to retire to England. Established business connections to the UK, family ties, or dual citizenship with a commonwealth country like Canada may help in speeding up the visa process.
There is no retirement visa for the UK since this pathway was abolished permanently in 2008. Therefore, Americans need to obtain a residency visa to enjoy retirement in this feature-packed country. 

Can Americans move to England?

Yes, absolutely. There is a lot of misinformation out there on how to move to England permanently or whether a US citizen can easily immigrate to this country or not.
Americans who wish to reside in this country must have a valid residency visa. They can easily move to England either as a temporary resident with a valid visa or as a permanent resident if they have a path to citizenship or the Right of Abode. 

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Conclusion

So, this is all about a guide to moving to the UK from the USA checklist. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading the same. Moving away from your home country and adjusting to life in a new one can be really strenuous even when your home and destination country are sharing linguistics. 

Just because US and UK citizens speak English does not make your international move a breeze.

It still involves the risk of miscommunications and mishaps here and there. Hence, it is required to be extra careful when you are relocating to a country with the same language. 

We have created this guide to offer you an insight into the potential language and cultural barriers that you might face as a US citizen after arriving in the UK. 

This country was a forerunner in the developing world but now it has remodeled itself into a leading wealthy European nation. It is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and takes a global stance in foreign policy. 

The UK is an ideal country to relocate to for art and culture buffs. This country is at the forefront when it comes to art, sports, and cultural events. Expats living in the UK enjoy access to some of the world’s leading museums and cultural centers. 

This country has a long history of immigration owing to its world-class education and outstanding healthcare facility. This is what makes it a melting pot of cultures.

Another huge advantage of moving to the UK from the USA is its close proximity to the rest of Europe. Living here makes it possible for ex-pats to discover a host of beautiful European destinations without paying through the nose. 

Whether you are moving for work or just starting afresh, the welcome culture of the UK makes it a great destination to settle down. Keep our guide handy to make your transition to the new country as smooth as possible. 

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