How to Move to England
Migrating from the United States to England can be a relatively easy transition for those with highly-sought job skills. Learning the differences in culture and language will be the most challenging part of relocating; however, immigrants are widely accepted and welcomed in England.
Whether you’re there for a few months or a lifetime, here’s what you should know if you are considering moving to England:
How Long Will You Be Staying?
Those working or visiting England for less than six months needs only a passport to travel. Otherwise, a visa is required. There are two types of visas:
- Student visa - Undergraduate or graduate students can apply for a student visa.
- Work visa - Typically, applying for a work visa requires that you accept a job offer while still living in your home country. However, highly-skilled workers, like computer programmers and doctors, can visit England and look for work in their field with hopes that a UK company will sponsor them.
Anyone working in the UK will require a National Insurance Number and a passport photo.
Applying For Citizenship
You must live in the UK for five years before applying for citizenship. It is important to note that living in the UK with a student visa does not count toward the required five years.
The population in England is very diverse. Roughly 13 percent of the population was born outside of the United Kingdom, according to the Office for National Statistics. That’s an estimated 630,000 people. Since 1994, more people have moved to the United Kingdom than have moved out of the sovereign state. The United Kingdom is made up of four countries — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The basic unit of currency is the pound sterling (£). It is made up of 100 pence. Unlike many other European Union members, the United Kingdom does not use the euro. The exchange rate changes constantly, but the pound has been worth between $1.35 to $1.75 in U.S. dollars since 2012.
Check with your bank to see if a sister bank exists in England. Transferring your bank account may be easier than expected. Otherwise, you may have to wait until arriving in England to open an account due to address requirements.
Students are eligible for university-owned accommodations. Most dorms are for single students. Some universities offer flats for married students or those with children. Living on the school grounds will be least expensive; however, there is university-affiliated housing for families. Most are near bus lines with easy access to markets. The best time to search for student housing is mid-semester.
Professionals searching for rentals in England should expect small living quarters, a single bathroom and prices similar to those in New York City. You may not find space for your clothes dryer since they are not commonplace. Most refrigerators, especially in rentals, are smaller than American versions.
A two-bedroom flat averages £1,900 per month. Popular sites like Gumtree, RightMove, Zoopla, or RoomMatesUK can help you find potential properties.
If you will be taking your pet to England, make certain your pet has the required vaccines and treatments. Dogs, cats and ferrets must all have a EU pet passport. See your vet about this before leaving your home country. Pets should also be microchipped and be treated for tapeworms. Proof of rabies vaccination is required and should be administered no less than 21 days before arrival. Only approved transport agencies can handle the immigration of pets. See immigration officials for more information and a list of approved travel routes/agencies.
Many parts of England (particularly the countryside) will require one to own or lease a car, but you should know that parking fees are commonplace. The good news is that large cities like London have excellent public transportation. The tube (London Underground) and London Overground are considered rapid public transit. There are also buses, taxis, trams and rail services. A prepaid card called The Oyster Card makes traveling about town easier. The prepaid card is widely accepted and reduces the price of a single fare in most cases.
UK residents also frequently walk or ride bikes around town. The cities has many walking and biking paths.
Emergency medical services are free to all UK visitors, including hospital stays in most cases. Private physicians may charge visitors fees for office visits.
When you move from one city to another in the same country, changing your address is fairly simple. However, moving to a new country presents a unique challenge for mail forwarding. There are private companies that will forward your mail to England; however, it can become expensive and it may take weeks to receive your mail. If you’re staying in the UK temporarily, it is recommended that you forward your mail to a friend’s house in your home country. If you do need a private company to forward mail, it’s a good idea to remove yourself from as many unnecessary mailing lists as possible before moving.
It is possible that you may have no phone service after arriving in England. Check with your cellular phone carrier about roaming internationally. Also, be certain you have the correct adapter to charge the phone since wall outlets in England have a different voltage than in some other countries. It may be easiest to purchase a phone in the UK once you arrive.
Saying hello or waving to strangers in England is not commonplace. The English are quite friendly, but they tend not to talk to strangers.