Immigration Advice for US Citizens Moving to the UK banner


Immigration Advice for US Citizens Moving to the UK

  • Posted on

If you are a US citizen and you want to come to the UK you will need a visa if you want to stay for 6 months or longer. Specialist Immigration solicitors can look at your best visa options to help you move from the US to the UK.

Taking the time to get expert Immigration advice on the visa that meets your requirements and goals will ultimately save you time, money, and stress. At OTS Solicitors our specialists in US to UK relocations can help make your move as straightforward as possible.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors 

For immigration law advice call London-based OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Moving to the UK from the US

At the outset, our Immigration solicitors will want to find out a bit about you and your family. Why? We need to know what is motivating the planned move. Is it your career, a yearning to live in the UK as it was the home of your ancestors, you have fallen in love with a Brit, have a burning desire to set up business in the UK, or is your US employer transferring you to work in the UK branch of their business? Do you want to bring family members with you, such as your spouse, unmarried partner, or child?  The answers to these questions will help our Immigration solicitors work out which visa route is best for you.

Do you need a sponsor to move from the US to the UK?

Depending on the type of visa you want you may need a UK sponsor. If you need a work visa this will be a sponsoring employer with a sponsor licence. Alternatively, it could be a sponsoring partner if you are applying for a Family visa, such as a Spouse visa or Partner visa.

If you want a visa to come to the UK to set up a business you do not need a sponsor but you may require endorsement from an endorsing body. Examples of business visas include the Start-up visa or Innovator founder visa.

Our expert Immigration solicitors can advise you on whether you need a sponsor and what is involved in employer or individual sponsorship.

Will I qualify for British Citizenship if I move from the US to the UK?

Some people are planning to come to the UK for a few years to further their careers before returning to the US. For others, the move to the UK is all about achieving their goal of British Citizenship. It is best to talk to your Immigration solicitor about your plans as your goals may influence their advice on the best visa for your circumstances.

For example, if you want a work visa that gives you employment flexibility a Graduate visa would be a great option. However, if your goal is settlement as soon as possible then the Skilled worker visa may be your best route as you can apply for Indefinite leave to remain once you have been in the UK for 5 years. You can apply for British Citizenship once you have held ILR for a year or more. If you don’t want to lose your US citizenship then you can apply for dual US and British Citizenship.

UK visa options for US citizens

Our Immigration solicitors break down your visa options into 3 broad categories:

  1. Family visa
  2. Work visa
  3. Business visa

Family visas for US nationals

If you have a partner who is a British citizen or who has Settled status in the UK or Asylum status then they may be able to sponsor you for a Family visa.

There are several types of family visas:

  1. Spouse visa
  2. Unmarried partner visa
  3. Civil partner visa

All these Family visas last for up to 33 months. An extension application can then be made and once you have been in the UK for 5 years you can apply to settle provided you meet the residence requirement and ILR eligibility criteria.

Although there are individual immigration rules for each type of Family visa our Spouse Visa Solicitors can summarise the general eligibility criteria for Family visas as:

  1. You must be in a genuine relationship with a sponsor who is a British citizen, or a person with Settled status or Asylum status ( if you are not married or in a civil partnership your unmarried relationship must have been in existence for at least 2 years)
  2. You must intend to live with your sponsoring partner
  3. You ( or your sponsor) meet the financial requirement – this generally means you or your sponsor need to earn at least £18,600 a year. Alternatively, if you or your sponsor has cash savings of £65,000 or more then you don’t need to meet the income requirement. There are several complicated immigration rules on what types of income can be combined to meet the financial requirement and rules on the calculation of income if your sponsor is self-employed
  4. You have accommodation in the UK – you or your sponsor do not need to own a property or even rent a property. For example, you may have accommodation available with your sponsor’s family
  5. You meet the English language requirement – as a US citizen from an English-speaking country on the Home Office list you are exempt from having to sit an English language test
  6. You and your sponsor are both over the age of 18

If you are interested in applying for a Family visa contact our Spouse Visa Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Work visas for US citizens 

Whether you are transferring your employment to the UK branch of your employer bank, law firm, or accountancy practice you will need a work visa. If you are taking up a new job, perhaps in the tech or digital sector, you will still need a work visa. The type of visa you need depends on your work plans.

Work visa options include:

  1. The Graduate visa – only available if you are an international student on a UK Student visa and you apply for the Graduate visa whilst in the UK
  2. The Skilled worker visa
  3. The Health and care worker visa
  4. The Senior or specialist worker visa – if you are transferring your employment from the US company base to the UK branch
  5. The High potential individual visa

All the work visa options, save for the Graduate visa, require you to have a job offer and sponsorship by a UK business with a Home Office sponsor licence.

The UK does not have a work visa that allows you to come to the UK to take up lower-skilled work to fund your trip around the tourist spots of Europe. For example, waitressing or labouring. The only visa that gives you complete flexibility in your choice of job is the Graduate visa but that is restricted to international students and does not lead to UK settlement.

Our work visa solicitors can help you work out which type of visa meets your needs and advise on whether your family members will qualify for a Dependent visa.

US nationals setting up a business in the UK 

If your employer in the US wants you to go to the UK to set up a UK base of the US parent company then you may qualify for a UK Expansion worker visa. If you are an entrepreneur wanting to set up your own UK-based business then you may be able to apply for one of these 3 visas:

  1. The Start-up visa
  2. The Innovator founder visa
  3. The Global talent visa

These visas all have different eligibility criteria and require specific paperwork in support of the application. That is why it is best to get help with your business visa application. Our business immigration solicitors are experienced in working with US-based parent companies as well as with entrepreneurs and their financial and business advisors.

Successful US to UK relocation

We hope that our Immigration solicitors have given you a taste of the potential visa options available to you and your family. Whether you want to come to the UK to live with a partner, to study at a UK university, or to progress your career there is likely to be a visa option that is right for you.

If you want to find out more about US-to-UK relocation and your best chance of securing the visa you need then make an online appointment to discuss your visa options with one of our Immigration solicitors. You can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors 

For immigration law advice call London-based OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Related Posts

OTS Solicitors Celebrate the 2023 Legal 500 London Immigration Rankings

Business Immigration Solicitor Hans Sok Appadu Nominated for Rising Star Award 2022

Teni Shahiean, CEO of OTS Solicitors Features in Top 25 UGlobal Immigration Magazine Award Winners for 2021 in the Immigration Attorney Category

    Get in touch

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.