Moving to United Kingdom

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The United Kingdom consists of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Moving to the UK has many different requirements as to how you are specifically applying to live there, whether it is residency, work or school. You must live in the UK for five years to become a citizen. To then establish residency, you must have sufficient practice of the English language and cultural knowledge about the UK.

In order to become a resident, you must demonstrate knowledge of the language and life of the country. If you speak English fluently, you must take a Life in the UK test. If you are not a native English speaker, you can take English language and citizenship courses. The Life in the UK test has 24 multiple choice questions based on the pamphlet “Life in the UK: A Journey to Citizenship.”  This test must be taken within the country. Your eligibility is also dependent on a good character requirement, in which your financial and criminal history are checked.

Visas in the UK:

Work Visa:

In order to obtain a work visa in the UK, you must pass a 75-point based system through the Tier 1 HSMP Highly Skilled Visa. Factors include education, mastery of the English language, work experience, and evidence that you can financially support yourself. The visa allows you to work in the UK for three years without a job offer. People part of the European Economic Area and Switzerland are free to enter and stay in the UK. Highly skilled workers, investors, entrepreneurs and foreign students who have graduated from a UK university may take this test. Otherwise, foreigners must have a job lined up for them as well as documented job sponsorship from the employer.

The three years can potentially count towards the five-year requirement to apply for permanent residency. It is expected that you will apply for a two-year extension upon its initial expiration.

For more information, and to review sample questions, click here. The UK Border Agency and Transitions Abroad offer more information about specific jobs.

Student Visa:

There are many different types of student visas in the UK, depending on your age and length of your stay. A “student visa” is for people over 18, want to come to the UK to study for up to six months without working. A “child student visa” is for those between 4-17, and must study in the UK at an independent fee-paying school. There are different requirements for a length of stay for the adult student visas.

Moving Your Pet to the UK:

Cats and dogs must be microchipped, blood tested, vaccinated (there is no rabies in the UK), get a Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) certificate and be treated for ticks. There is no quarantine for pets coming from certain counties, such as the US. For more information, click here. For a list of pet carriers to the UK, click here.

Other Information:

For some anecdotes and tips on the move, click here.  For some tips on local places on London, click here. For tips about Manchester, click here.

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