Best Ways to Immigrate from the US to UK
A USA flag in front of an immigration agency helping to immigrate from the US to UK

Best Ways to Immigrate from the US to UK


The UK attracts people from around the globe to make it their permanent home. Free health care, immense job opportunities, and other crucial state services guaranteed by the UK are the reasons for such immigration.

American citizens or Green Card holders must obtain a UK visa to travel or settle in the UK. But before applying for a UK visa, you need to analyze the purpose of your immigration to the UK. The procedure also varies depending on your country of citizenship.

Do US citizens need a visa to settle in the UK? Yes. You need a visa to immigrate from the US to the UK and to obtain permanent residence in the UK. You can stay in the UK for six months without a visa, but you cannot work during this visa-free stay.

Since US citizens can stay up to six months without a visa, you may first visit the UK and see the places in person. It helps you decide on renting or buying a permanent residence in the UK.

To rent a house in the UK, you need a bank account. Without an address, you can’t get a bank account in the UK. There are several options available for this purpose. For example, you can open a bank account with the help of your bank in the US or find a UK bank with an international account option.

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Which Routes are Available to Immigrate from the US to UK?

Two signs outside an agency helping Immigrate from the US to UK

To immigrate from the US to UK, you must explore the various visas and their specific requirements. There are also multiple immigration services and immigration rules which we will discuss below:

UK Business Visa

To attract successful business people from the US to come and invest in the UK, the UK has established a UK Business Visa category. Investors, entrepreneurs, and other business people can apply for this visa by providing the following documents:

  • Short CV
  • The UK-recognized bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. awarded before your date of endorsement
  • Letters of recommendation from recognized experts
  • Examples of recent significant media recognition
  • Letters of support from a UK-based organization, institution, or company
  • Proof of international awards for excellence
  • Proof of performances, publications, or exhibitions in the last five years

UK Non-work Visa

If you are planning to immigrate from the US to UK without a job offer, you will have to meet the following criteria for non-work visas:

  • If you have evidence that one of your grandparents was born in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man, you can apply for the UK Ancestor Visa. Using this visa, you can stay in the UK for up to five years.
  • If you can invest a minimum of two million euros ($2,760,000) in the UK’s economic growth, you can get an Investor Visa.
  • If you are an expert in academia, research, arts, and culture or digital technology, you can get a Global Talent Visa.
  • If you have a business idea about something that has not been done in the market and you have an eligible sponsor, you can get an Innovator Visa.

UK Student Visa

If you plan to immigrate from the US to UK for your studies, you must apply for a student visa. You can live in the UK for up to five years with this visa and finish your degree. You must provide the following documents to apply for a student visa:

  • If you are under 18, you will need a parent’s or legal guardian’s letter.
  • Criminal record certificate from the US Government.
  • Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Clearance Certificate issued by the Foreign and the Commonwealth Office, the Department of the Counter-Proliferation Department.
  • Confirmation Letter from the Official Financial Sponsor.

Only prospective students who plan on enrolling in UK educational institutions, such as universities and schools, can apply for this UK student visa. However, you can apply for any one of the following visas after you graduate:

  • If you wish to work or find a job in the UK after graduation, you can apply for a post-work study visa. This visa allows you to stay in the UK for two more years. Once you get a job, you can switch to a work visa.
  • If you have an innovative business idea and wish to start a business in the UK, you can apply for a graduate entrepreneur visa.

UK Family Visa

If you are planning to immigrate from the US to the UK to join a family member, the most common visa is a family visa to join a parent or a family visa for relatives who need long-term care. With the help of this UK family visa, you can join your family members as their dependents for more than six months. The dependents can be husband or wife (spouse), partner, fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner, children, parents, or other family members.

UK Transit Visa

If you are a foreigner using the UK as a transit country to pass from another country to your destination, you can apply for a UK Transit Visa. It is a long-term visa if you need to travel regularly through the UK but have no intention to stay or live in the UK permanently. You must provide the following documents to apply for the UK transit visa:

  • Visa for the other country.
  • Confirmation from the travel agent.
  • Booked travel tickets confirmed.
  • Documents to confirm your permit to enter the other country.
  • Documents to confirm the reason for traveling to the other country.

UK Temporary Visa

There are Temporary Visas in the UK for Refugees and Stateless persons in the US. When life is at risk, and you have no option but to leave your country, you can apply for this visa. This visa application is made within the UK. However, you must provide the following documents to apply for this visa:

  • Birth certificate.
  • Education certificate.
  • Marriage certificate.
  • Police registration certificate.
  • Medical documents, in case you are suffering from any medical condition.
  • Other necessary documents to confirm your home address in the UK.

Is it easy to get a UK visa for US nationals?

A women holding a UK flag ready to immigrate from the US to UK

It is hard to immigrate from the US to the UK without meeting at least any one of the following criteria:

  • Enough money for investment.
  • Ancestral relationship with the UK.
  • Job offer in the UK.
  • Transfer from your company to the UK.
  • Join a partner or family member in the UK.

In addition to the above categories, you can provide your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or a valid document from the Home office to support your legal stay in the UK. Getting a long-term residence permit in the UK might be more challenging without belonging to these categories.

Points-Based System

To regulate immigration from the US to the UK, they have introduced a Points Based System in the UK Visas. This system evaluates visa candidates based on their points. Each visa requirement has its points. You must gather the appointed number of points to receive your visa. In this Points Based System, there are five different kinds of visas which are as follows:

  • There are Tier 1 Visas for highly-skilled professional foreigners.
  • There are Tier 2 Visas for skilled foreign workers with the job offer.
  • There are Tier 3 Visas for low-skilled foreign workers with a temporary job offer.
  • There are Tier 4 Visas for foreign students and specialists.
  • There are Tier 5 Visas for youth mobility and temporary foreign workers.

How Much Does it Cost to Move from the US to the UK?

There are various expenses when you are planning to immigrate from the US to UK. According to your situation and how you plan your immigration to the UK, you need at least $20,000 up to $40,000. It is essential to be well aware of the following expenses before your immigration from the US to the UK:

  • The visa fees generally cost $2,000 up to $3,000. These visa fees may change depending on what type of visa you apply for. In addition to the visa application fee, other costs may apply to your visa application, such as the cost of translating documents, submitting your biometrics, or courier service.
  • The health care surcharge costs around $860. When you apply for your visa, this fee is usually paid.
  • The flight ticket for immigration from the US to the UK is around $1,000. But you can find cheaper flight tickets starting from $160 as well.
  • The shipping costs are around $6,000 up to $10,000 if you choose to ship your things by sea. However, it is cheaper than by air. The only concern is it may take up to five months to get your belongings.
  • The rental fees differ from city to city based on where you plan to immigrate from the US to the UK. Some of the cheapest apartments in London cost around $1,200 per month.
  • There are special costs for bringing pets to the UK. It costs approximately $6,000, including vet bills, vaccination, transportation crate, airline fees, and transportation fees.
  • In addition to all the above expenses, it is estimated that when you first arrive in the UK from the US, you need to have at least $1,750 as personal savings.
  • Apart from the above expenses, you will also have to consider travel health insurance fees, payments to change your cell provider, car rentals, furniture purchase after you arrive, and so on.

How to Apply for UK Immigration from the US?

A UK passport of an US immigrant ready to Immigrate from the US to UK

You must follow the steps given below to apply for a UK visa in the US when you decide to immigrate from the US to the UK:

Online application

You can begin this application process if you decide to apply for a UK visa from the US. You need to complete the online application by entering the correct information. Then you will have to pay the visa application fees. However, your application might be rejected if the information in your application form does not comply with the information in the other required documents.

Document compilation

Green card holders must provide the following documents concerning immigration from the US to the UK:

  • UK visa application form.
  • Two UK visa photographs taken within the past six months.
  • Your passport must be valid for three more months beyond the date you plan to leave the UK after your trip.
  • Your fees paid receipt to confirm your payment.
  • Translation of documents that are not in English.
  • Green Card or an original US visa to prove your US status.
  • Any valid proof showing you have purchased round trip flight booking on your planned travel dates.
  • An employment letter to confirm that you are an employee of a company and it has approved your dates of leave.
  • You may need a letter of invitation for a UK visa or a hotel booking confirmation to show proof of your accommodation in the UK.
  • You will have to submit proof of means of subsistence that you are financially capable of maintaining yourselves during your whole stay in the UK.
  • You will need to submit your biometric information to stay in the UK for more than six months. It includes your fingerprints and digital photographs.

Application Support Centers (ASCs)

About 130 Application Support Centers (ASCs) throughout the United States for biometric testing. You will have to schedule an appointment, and your digital image will be taken along with a digital scan of ten fingers. You will have to provide the following documents when your appointment is confirmed:

  • Current passport 
  • Printout of application form
  • Copy of biometric information receipt

Final Steps

You will have to send all your required documents to the British Consulate General in New York via mail or by a registered travel agent. Arrange your passport, application form, and other documents as per the checklist in an envelope, and do not staple any of them.

The settlement applications take place within the United Kingdom. You will have to provide a fully addressed prepaid electronic shipping label inside the packaging of your application along with your other required documents. Once your visa application is approved, you will be duly informed by International Operation and Visas, United Kingdom.

Considering all the above kinds of visas and the specific procedures to be followed, it is always better to consult a professional to assist you in your decisions. You can visit our LegaMart directory and hire a lawyer via your smartphone.

What are the UK priority and Super priority visa services?

When you immigrate from the US to the UK, there are certain optional visa services that you might want to consider. These are the Priority, Super Priority, and Premium UK Visa Services. If you have any of the following visa types, you can take advantage of these services. 

  • Tourist visa and visitor visa.
  • Authority to be living in the US for Tier 2 and Tier 5 of the Points-Based System
  • You are currently in the US for a similar purpose to take up in the UK – Tier 5 of the Points-Based System.
  • Tier 4 of the Points Based System for student visas who are resident in the US and have to provide the required documents.


We all know that moving to a new country is always challenging in many ways, and for that reason, you need to consider all the options available to you before immigrating to the UK.

Some US citizens plan to get both US and UK citizenship. This US/UK dual citizenship has many benefits and disadvantages. You are required to file taxes in the US even when you are not living or working there because of the double taxation rule. 

Immigrating from one country to another always creates a list of queries. LegaMart is always happy to help with your queries. If you have any questions, you can leave them on our community page, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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