UK Visa Opportunities for US Citizens Wanting to Work or Set up a Business in the UK banner


UK Visa Opportunities for US Citizens Wanting to Work or Set up a Business in the UK

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If you are in the US and want to come to the UK to work or to set up a business there are several UK Work Visa and Business Visa options.

UK Immigration Solicitors say your visa options do not depend on whether you have a Green Card in the US.

If you are interested in relocating to the UK for work or business-related reasons our Immigration Solicitors detail your current UK visa options.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors 

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

Work or business immigration options

The UK points-based immigration system breaks down its visa options into work, business or family visas. If you are looking to relocate from the US to the UK your work and business visa options are:

Work Visas Business Visas
Skilled Worker Visa Innovator Founder Visa
Health and Care Worker Visa Global Talent Visa
Senior or Specialist Worker Visa Expansion Worker Visa
Graduate Visa
Business Visitor Visa if you want to come to the UK temporarily and the work you want to do while in the UK is on the permitted work activity list. For example, attending an interview or conference


Some, but not all, of these visas require you to have sponsorship to come to the UK.

For example, with Work Visas, you need a job offer and a sponsoring employer to obtain a Skilled Worker Visa or Health and Care Worker Visa. However, you do not need an offer of a job or employer sponsorship to get a Graduate Visa.

For example, with Business Visas, you need a Home Office approved endorsing body to endorse you before you can apply to the Home Office for an Innovator Founder Visa.

Why do you want to come from the US to live in the UK? 

Why do you want to come from the US to live in the UK is a question our Immigration Solicitors will ask you as we need to understand your short-term and long-term goals.

Some visas lead to settlement in the UK meaning you can apply for indefinite leave to remain and, if you choose to do so, then go on to apply for British citizenship or dual US and British citizenship. Others, like the Graduate Visa, do not do so. Accordingly, if you want to work in the UK and live here permanently you may be best applying for a Skilled Worker Visa once you have a job offer from a sponsor licence holder who can sponsor your employment. Much will depend on how quickly you want to settle in the UK as some people want to do so as quickly as possible. Normally the fastest time is 5 years of lawful and continuous residence in the UK on visas before you can apply for indefinite leave to remain but some specialist visas offer accelerated settlement.

Would you qualify for a Family Visa instead of a Work or Business Visa?

Although you may think you need a Work Visa or Business Visa you may qualify for a Family Visa if you are married or in an unmarried relationship with a British citizen or a person with settled status in the UK. To qualify for a Spouse Visa, you must be legally married and to qualify for a Partner Visa you must have been in a relationship with your partner for at least 2 years.

The advantage of a Family Visa is that you can work in the UK on this type of visa or set up a business and you do not need a sponsoring employer and your business does not need an endorsing body. After 5 years on a Family Visa, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Many US people who have met British citizens whilst the British citizen was temporarily working in the US may want to consider applying for a Family Visa if you and your partner are now moving to live in the UK for work or other reasons. However, Immigration Solicitors warn that whilst the Family Visa and Spouse Visa are very flexible (as you do not require sponsorship) the visa will be curtailed by the Home Office if the relationship ends because your right to stay in the UK is based on your having a genuine and ongoing relationship. Immigration rules do allow applications to switch to different types of visas if you find yourself in the difficult position of having separated from a husband, wife or unmarried partner.

Business Visas for US Citizens

Starting a business in the UK as a US national can be daunting but our Business Immigration Solicitors can advise you on the best Business Visa for your circumstances and then support you through the application process.

There are 2 main Business Visas available; the Innovator Founder Visa and the Expansion Worker Visa. The Innovator Founder Visa is the visa for you if you are setting up a new company in the UK. The Expansion worker Visa may be more suitable if there is a US-based parent company and you want to set up a subsidiary company or branch office in the UK.

With the Innovator Founder Visa, the good news is that you do not need a minimum amount to invest in the company. However, the immigration rules say that your business idea must be innovative, scalable and viable. This type of Business Visa is therefore ideally suited for those looking to set up a company in the tech, digital or fin-tech sectors where you will be more easily able to prove to an endorsing body that your business idea is innovative. Whilst your business plan may be soundly financed and researched, it is a lot harder to say it is innovative if it is a retail outlet or taxi service unless there is some ‘twist’ to your business idea, such as the use of an interactive app as part of the merchandising or customer experience.

If having talked to a Business Immigration Solicitor you are satisfied that your business idea is innovative, scalable and viable we can discuss your choice of endorsing body and help you get the expert help you may need in finalising your business plan so your ideas are translated into a credible plan that meets the expectations of the endorsing body.

Although the requirement for endorsement may appear off putting to some US nationals the reality is that endorsing bodies are looking for entrepreneurs to endorse. Some endorsing bodies are venture capitalists who will also provide the business funding you need to set up a business in the UK.

UK Immigration Legal Advice for American Citizens and Companies 

As Individual Immigration and Business Immigration solicitors, we advise many US-based visa applicants about relocation to the UK and provide immigration solutions and support and guidance with visa applications.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors 

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

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