Sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence. When you need a change of scene or are looking to have a life experience that can benefit you professionally, then moving abroad is a great idea. One of the most popular places for Americans to move is to the UK. It is not far from the US, there is no language barrier, and things are familiar enough while simultaneously being very foreign.
Unfortunately, you can’t just pick up and move. You have to be able to find a job, get a visa, and stay there legally. To be able to do these things, there needs to be a lot of upfront preparation. For instance, you’ll need to get UK health insurance for foreigners and prepare a CV to be able to get a job. You may even need to get some special certifications for your field of work to qualify to work there.
In this article, we will go over several things that need to be done so you can move to the UK.
1 – Find the right visa
There are several visas that could apply to you and your situation that will allow you to emigrate to the UK. The two that are going to be the most likely to fit into your situation are the work visa and the study visa.
The others are far more restrictive and only people with a very narrow set of circumstances will qualify for any of them. The other two are fairly straightforward and easy to understand. If you are able to transfer with your company to the UK, or you have found a job independently and they decide to sponsor you then you can get a work visa that allows you to live in the UK for that purpose. The study visa will give you the right to live there if you decide to pursue higher education and are accepted to a UK university.
These visas do have some restrictions, however. For instance, the Tier 2 visa for work purposes only applies to skilled workers who have been given a work contract. As part of the terms of the visa, the applicant has to have an appropriate salary that will allow them to live without depending on welfare. You’ll also have to show sufficient funds to support yourself for the period when you haven’t been paid yet.
The visa for the study also has similar restrictions. This means that you have to show that you have sufficient funds saved to live on while you are studying. Since you won’t be working it is important that you have plenty.
2 – Know the costs
As with any country, there isn’t a cost of living that applies to the entire country. There are places like London where the cost of living is very high. There are places around Wales and in the North where the cost of living is a fraction of what it costs to live in London.
You’ll need to understand how much money you will need to be able to get by depending on where you plan to live and how you plan to live while there. For instance, if you plan to have a car then do some research into what the cost of the car would be that you’re interested in. then figure in the price of insurance, petrol, and general repairs for maintenance.
Without a car, there are still transportation costs and the UK has some of the highest train ticket prices in all of Europe. How you get around is going to need to be sorted out ahead of time so there are no surprises.
The cost to feed yourself and your family will also factor in, as will entertainment and vacations.
3 – Understand the culture
Just because they speak English in the UK doesn’t mean that there won’t be some culture shock. A common language doesn’t mean a common culture. The British have a certain way of doing things that makes sense to them and their way of life. Things that may come across as odd to an American who is used to things going a certain way.
There will need to be a period of adjustment to things. For starters, you’ll need to remember at all times that they drive on the left side of the road. Then, if you are there doing business, the work culture is going to need to be navigated so you can fit in and work effectively.
When you do understand that they do things differently and accept that, your life gets much easier and you’ll feel fewer frustrations. Try to roll with the faux pas you are sure to make and enjoy your time learning a new culture.