Travelling to the United Kingdom from the United States can be an exciting and fulfilling experience, whether you’re planning a visit, looking to work, or thinking of settling down. However, as with any international travel, there are a few things you need to know before you go. In this guide, we’ll go over the visa requirements, travel documents, and other information you’ll need to know in order to make your trip a success.

Visiting the United Kingdom

When it comes to visiting the United Kingdom, there are a few different visa options to choose from depending on the purpose of your trip.

The first step to visit the UK is to determine what type of visa you need. Depending on the length of your stay and purpose of your visit, you will need either a tourist or family visa. 

If you plan to stay for up to six months for leisure purposes, you will need to apply for a tourist visa. The application process requires that you provide certain documents and fill out an application form. You will also have to pay a fee and wait for your visa to be approved.

Visa requirements

When travelling to the United Kingdom from the United States, the visa requirements depend on the purpose of your visit. If you are travelling for a holiday or visiting friends and family, then you will need to apply for a tourist visa. This type of visa will allow you to stay in the UK for up to 6 months. 

The application process for a tourist visa involves submitting your passport, as well as any other relevant documents, along with your application form. The cost of a single-entry tourist visa is £95.

If you wish to travel to the UK to visit family members or friends who are residents there, then you will need to apply for a family visa. This visa will allow you to stay for up to 6 months and can be extended for a further 6 months if necessary. The application process for this visa involves submitting your passport and any relevant documents, along with your application form. The cost of a single-entry family visa is £95.

For those wishing to stay in the UK for longer than 6 months, then you may need to apply for a Temporary visa. This type of visa is usually given to those who want to take up employment, study or train in the UK, and will allow you to stay for up to 2 years. The application process for this visa is similar to that of the other visas, but you must also provide evidence of your job offer or place of study before being able to apply. The cost of a single-entry Tier 5 visa is £225.

Tourist visa

If you’re planning to visit the United Kingdom for pleasure, then you will need a tourist visa. Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa or an Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) to enter the UK. The EVW is an online system which allows visitors from certain countries to travel to the UK without having to apply for a visa in advance. 

If you do require a visa, the application process is straightforward and involves filling out the online UK Visitor Visa application form, submitting required documents such as passport, photos, evidence of funds, and proof of a return ticket or onward journey. You may also be required to submit biometric information such as fingerprints and a digital photo. After submitting your application, you should expect a decision within 3 weeks.

Costs involved: Depending on your nationality, you may need to pay a visa fee when you apply. For US citizens, the standard visitor visa fee is £93, while for non-US citizens, the fee is £95. There may be additional fees for priority and super priority processing of the visa application.

Costs involved in tourist visa

If you are looking to visit the United Kingdom on a tourist visa, there are certain costs that you will need to consider. Firstly, you will need to pay the applicable visa fee. This is usually around £95, but can vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for. Additionally, you will need to pay any service fees which may be applicable. These may include fees for processing your application, obtaining any necessary documents, or for an in-person consultation.

You will also need to consider any costs associated with travel and accommodation. Depending on your travel arrangements, these costs can vary greatly. You may wish to purchase flights, book hotels or other accommodation, or rent a car during your stay. Furthermore, you may need to pay for other services, such as airport transfers, visas for entry into other countries, or even special insurance policies. 

Finally, it is important to remember that you may need to cover additional costs once you arrive in the United Kingdom. These can include items such as food and drink, entertainment, souvenirs and other items you wish to purchase while in the country.

Business visa

If you are looking to travel to the United Kingdom for business purposes, you may need to apply for a business visa. This type of visa is generally used for short-term business trips, such as attending meetings or events, or engaging in activities like market research and surveys. A business visa may also be necessary if you are attending a training course or engaging in any other kind of work-related activity in the UK.

The exact type of visa you need will depend on the duration and purpose of your trip, as well as any other factors relevant to your application. You may be eligible for an entrepreneurial visa, which is suitable for entrepreneurs setting up a business in the UK, or skilled work permit, which is required for skilled migrants working in the UK.

When applying for a business visa, you will need to provide evidence of your financial situation, such as bank statements and a letter from your employer confirming the purpose of your trip. You will also need to submit evidence of your qualifications and experience, as well as proof that you have accommodation and a valid passport.

If you are planning to stay in the UK for more than six months, you will need to apply for an extension on your business visa. The length of time you can stay in the UK will depend on the type of visa you have and the reason for your visit.

It is important to remember that business visas are not intended for long-term stays in the UK. If you plan to stay longer than six months, you will need to apply for a different type of visa, such as a tier 5 visa or an entrepreneur visa.

Costs involved in applying for a business visa

Applying for a business visa to the United Kingdom can be costly and time consuming. The cost of applying for a business visa varies depending on the type of visa required and the length of stay. 

The UK Government has set a range of fees that are applicable to different types of business visas, including Investor Visas, Entrepreneur Visas, and skilled worker Visas.

The application fee for all business visas is £983, which must be paid in full when submitting your application. You will also need to pay a healthcare surcharge of £400 for each year you apply for. This fee must be paid before your visa can be granted.

In addition to the application fee, you may need to pay other costs associated with your application, such as:

  •  Professional fees for an immigration lawyer or solicitor; 
  •  English language proficiency tests; 
  •  Immigration health surcharge; 
  •  Police registration; 

 Any other administrative costs related to your visa application.

It is important to remember that the costs involved in applying for a business visa are only the start. Once you have arrived in the United Kingdom, there will be additional costs associated with living in the country. These include accommodation and living expenses, such as food and travel costs.

Family visa

If you are planning to visit the United Kingdom with your family, then you must apply for a family visa. To be eligible for a family visa, the applicants must be the parents, grandparents, children, or grandchildren of either a British citizen or a person settled in the UK.

The cost of a family visa depends on the type of visa you are applying for. The standard visitor visa for adults costs £95 per person and the long-term family visa costs £2,389 per person. However, if you are applying for a family visa for minors (under 18 years of age), the cost is reduced to £516 per person.

In order to apply for a family visa, you must provide evidence that you and your family members have close family ties in the United Kingdom, as well as documents showing your financial and travel arrangements. You must also submit a valid passport and other relevant documents. 

When applying for a family visa, you must ensure that all your documents are accurate and up-to-date. This includes making sure that any necessary fees are paid in full and that all required forms are submitted. 

Once you have applied for a family visa, it can take up to three months for it to be processed and approved. Once approved, you can then travel to the UK and visit your family for up to six months. 

It is important to note that family visas are only valid for short-term visits, so if you wish to stay in the UK for an extended period of time then you may need to apply for a different type of visa.

Passport requirements

Travelling from the United States to the United Kingdom requires a valid U.S. passport. All travellers must present a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond their stay in the United Kingdom, and it must also have enough blank pages for all the visas and entry stamps required for the journey.

It is also important to remember that the name printed on the passport should match the one used to purchase the tickets for your trip to the UK. In addition, if you are travelling with a minor, they must also have their own passport.

If you are planning to travel from the United States to the United Kingdom, you should apply for a new passport or renew an expired one at least three months prior to your intended departure date. It may take up to 8 weeks to receive a new passport or renewal, so please plan accordingly.

The CGM App is for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

Travel documents and information

Before you travel, you should have a detailed travel itinerary, travel insurance, and any necessary health documentation. It’s also a good idea to familiarise yourself with the customs and immigration rules of the United Kingdom.

  1. Travel Itinerary – It is important to have a detailed travel itinerary when travelling from the United States to the United Kingdom. You should include your flight and hotel details, as well as any planned activities or sightseeing destinations. This will help the UK immigration officials determine if you are eligible for entry into the country.
  2. Travel Insurance – It is strongly recommended that you purchase travel insurance before traveling to the United Kingdom. This will ensure that you are covered for any medical expenses, lost luggage, and other unexpected costs.
  3. Health Requirements – The United Kingdom requires that visitors have an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) form completed by a medical practitioner no more than 10 days prior to their arrival. The ICVP must list all vaccinations administered, including their dates.
  4. Customs and Immigration – When entering the United Kingdom, visitors must present their passport and other required documents to customs and immigration officials. Visitors must declare all currency and valuables over a certain value, and may be subject to additional questioning regarding their visit.
  5. Checklist of Items Allowed/Prohibited – Visitors are not allowed to bring firearms, explosives, or weapons of any kind into the United Kingdom. There are also restrictions on items such as food, plants, and alcohol. A full list of prohibited items can be found on the UK government website.
  6. Declaration of Cash and Valuables – Visitors who plan to carry cash or valuables with a value greater than £10,000 (or equivalent) must declare them at the point of entry. Failure to do so may result in seizure of these items by UK customs officials.

Working in the United Kingdom

If you are looking to live and work in the United Kingdom, you will need a visa. The United Kingdom has a points-based visa system for people coming from outside the European Union (EU). The main categories of visas that allow you to work in the UK are the skilled worker and Temporary visas. 

The skilled worker visa is for skilled workers with a job offer from an employer in the UK. To be eligible for this visa, you will need to score at least 70 points from the UK Home Office. This score is determined by your job offer, your qualifications and experience, language ability, age and other factors. If you have a job offer in the UK, you must also have a sponsor who will help manage your application process.

The Temporary visa is for temporary workers, such as au pairs or interns, and can last up to two years. You must have a sponsor who is authorised by the UK Home Office to employ you in the UK.

To apply for either visa, you will need to meet certain requirements, including passing English language tests, having a valid passport, being able to show sufficient funds to support yourself while in the UK, and providing evidence of any qualifications or experience needed to work in the UK. You will also need to pay an application fee.

Once you are granted a visa, you can then look for work and apply for jobs in the UK. You will be expected to pay taxes and social security contributions, but you may be eligible for certain benefits, depending on your employment status. If you decide to stay in the UK longer than the duration of your visa, you may be able to apply for permanent residency or naturalisation.

Work permit requirements

If you are looking to work in the United Kingdom, you will need to obtain a work permit. Depending on your situation, there are several types of work permits you can apply for.

If you are from a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you can work in the UK without a work permit. If you are from any other country, you will need to apply for a work permit before starting a job.

The type of work permit you need depends on the type of job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a skilled job such as a doctor, nurse or engineer, you will need to apply for a  skilled worker visa. If you are looking for an unskilled job, you may be able to apply for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa.

When applying for a work permit, you will need to provide documents such as your passport and proof of qualifications. You will also need to provide evidence of your ability to support yourself financially.

In addition to obtaining a work permit, you will also need to register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). This allows HMRC to track your income and ensure that taxes are paid properly.

It is important to remember that all applications for a work permit must be made before entering the UK. It is not possible to apply for a work permit once inside the UK. Therefore, it is essential that all required documents are obtained and the application is made in good time.

Skilled worker visa

The Skilled Worker visa is a UK work permit that allows highly-skilled non-EU/EEA nationals to work in the UK. To be eligible for this type of visa, you must have an offer of employment from a licensed UK employer and have the required qualifications and experience for the job you are being offered. 

Applying for a Skilled Worker visa involves completing an online application form, providing a passport-sized photograph, your passport or travel document, a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from your UK employer, proof of qualifications and experience, and paying a fee. Depending on your circumstances, you may also need to provide biometric information (such as fingerprints) and take an English language test.

You will need to provide a passport-sized photograph with your application that meets the requirements set out by the UK Visas and Immigration agency. This should be a recent photograph taken within the last month.

  1. Passport or travel document – You will need to provide your passport or travel document with your application. The passport or travel document must be valid for the duration of your stay in the UK.
  2. Certificate of sponsorship from UK employer – Your employer will need to provide you with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship before you can apply for a Skilled Worker visa. This will include their UK employer reference number, which you will need to include on your application form.
  3. Proof of qualifications and experience – You will need to provide proof that you have the relevant qualifications and experience required for the job that you are being offered in the UK. This could be a copy of your academic certificates, professional qualifications or references from previous employers.
  4. Cost – The cost of applying for a Skilled Worker visa will depend on your nationality, the type of visa you are applying for and the length of time it is valid for. As of July 2020, the application fee is £610 for most applicants, with additional costs for any family members travelling with you.
  5. Validity and renewals – The Skilled Worker visa is valid for up to three years, after which you can apply to extend your visa or switch to another category if eligible. If you wish to remain in the UK after the initial three-year period, you will need to renew your visa before it expires.

Temporary Work Visa

The Temporary Work Visa is a non-immigrant visa which is meant for people who come to the United Kingdom to take up temporary employment. This visa is available to applicants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland who have a job offer in the UK and have an accepted certificate of sponsorship from a licensed employer.

In order to apply for the Temporary Work Visa, applicants must have an accepted certificate of sponsorship from a licensed employer in the UK. The employer must provide an application form which needs to be filled in and submitted along with passport-size photographs, passport or travel document, certificate of sponsorship from the UK employer, proof of qualifications and experience. 

Applicants may also need to pay additional costs such as visa processing fees and document submission fees. The visa is usually valid for 12 months, after which the applicant can apply for a renewal. 

The renewal process involves providing evidence of continued employment in the UK and submitting a new application form with all the relevant documents.

Finding a job

If you are planning to work in the United Kingdom, there are a few things that you should consider before beginning your job search. First of all, it is important to research what types of jobs are available in the area in which you would like to work, as well as any specific qualifications or skills that may be necessary for the job. 

In order to get started on your job search, there are several ways you can go about looking for positions. Job search websites such as Indeed and Monster are great places to begin your search. Here, you can use keywords to narrow down your search, allowing you to quickly find relevant openings. Additionally, many of these websites have useful features such as the ability to set up job alerts and save searches, so you can be notified when new positions become available. 

Another option is to reach out to recruitment agencies. These agencies can help connect you with employers who are looking to hire, as they often have access to exclusive listings. Networking is also a great way to find jobs, as it allows you to get in touch with people who already have connections within the industry. You can also use sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter to expand your network and find potential job openings. 

Finally, don’t forget to check job postings in local newspapers and other print media. This can be a great way to find more specialised positions that may not be posted online. 

By researching what types of jobs are available and exploring the various job search options available, you will be able to find the perfect position for you in the United Kingdom.

Taxation and social security

If you’re considering settling down in the United Kingdom, you’ll need to be aware of the taxation and social security systems.

Taxation: The United Kingdom has a complex tax system, with different rules and regulations depending on your circumstances. You may be required to pay income tax, national insurance contributions (NICs), capital gains tax, and other taxes, such as council tax. You may also be eligible for certain tax reliefs and credits, so it is important to speak to an accountant or tax advisor to understand your obligations and opportunities. 

Social Security: Social security payments, also known as welfare benefits, are available in the United Kingdom. These benefits include income-related employment and support allowance, child benefit, disability living allowance, pension credit, jobseeker’s allowance, and state pension. Your eligibility for these benefits will depend on your residence status and other criteria. It is important to speak to a qualified advisor to find out if you are eligible for any of these benefits. 

Overall, understanding the taxation and social security systems of the United Kingdom is key to ensuring that you are able to successfully settle down in the country.

The CGM App is for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

Settling Down in the United Kingdom

For those looking to make a long-term move to the United Kingdom, there are several important considerations. First and foremost, foreign nationals need to secure permanent residency. This can be done by either becoming a citizen of the UK, or obtaining a work permit that allows for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). 

To obtain UK citizenship, foreign nationals must have held indefinite leave to remain for at least 12 months, have been physically present in the country for at least five years, and must pass the Life in the UK test. Those granted ILR must also take the Life in the UK test. Additionally, naturalised citizens are required to take an Oath of Allegiance to become a British citizen.

Foreign nationals must also consider the cost of living in the UK, which can vary significantly between cities. This includes looking into rental property and housing prices in their preferred area of residence. Property prices tend to be more expensive in major cities such as London and Edinburgh.

Those planning to stay in the UK must also plan for healthcare and education. Foreign nationals are eligible for free or reduced-cost healthcare under the National Health Service (NHS). The UK also offers free education to children aged 5-16 who have obtained ILR.

Finally, foreign nationals must also arrange to open a bank account and get a mobile phone in order to establish themselves in the UK. Most major banks in the UK offer accounts to foreign nationals, with varying fees and services available depending on the provider. It is also important to look into the costs associated with purchasing a SIM card and setting up a mobile plan.

By carefully considering all of these factors, foreign nationals can properly plan for their long-term relocation to the UK and set themselves up for success in their new home.

Permanent residency

Permanent residency in the United Kingdom is a privilege offered to non-EU citizens who wish to live and work in the country for an extended period of time. The process for obtaining permanent residency involves a set of requirements which must be met before it can be granted. 

The application process requires an application form, a passport-size photograph, a valid passport or travel document, proof of income/funds, proof of accommodation, an English language proficiency test, and other documents depending on your circumstances. The costs involved with the application process will vary depending on the route you take and whether you use a third-party consultant to guide you through the process. 

Once all the required documentation is complete and submitted, your application will be reviewed by the Home Office. Upon successful approval, you will be issued a Permanent Residency Card which is valid for 5 years. You must renew your PR Card every 5 years in order to remain in the UK with permanent resident status. 

In addition to the permanent residency requirements, applicants may need to meet additional criteria such as passing the ‘Life in the UK Test’ or meeting certain income or employment requirements. 

Being granted permanent residency in the United Kingdom provides significant benefits and allows the holder to enjoy a high quality of life and unrestricted access to job opportunities.

Naturalisation

Naturalization is the process by which someone who was not born in a country becomes a full citizen of that country. In the United Kingdom, this means becoming a British citizen. To be eligible for naturalisation, you must meet certain criteria:

  1. Be aged 18 or over
  2. Have lived in the UK for at least 5 years
  3. Have no criminal record
  4. Be able to communicate in English
  5. Have knowledge about life in the UK
  6. Meet the ‘good character’ requirement

Once you have fulfilled all these criteria, you can apply for naturalisation. You will need to provide documents such as your passport, birth certificate, and proof of residency. You will also need to take an oath of allegiance and attend a citizenship ceremony. After this, you will officially become a British citizen and be granted a certificate of naturalisation.

The naturalisation process can be lengthy and complex, so it is best to seek help from an immigration specialist if you have any questions. With their help, you can make sure that you fulfil all the requirements and go through the process without any issues.

Property and housing

For those looking to settle down in the United Kingdom, property and housing are two of the most important factors. Property prices vary significantly depending on the area, but generally, property prices tend to be higher in the big cities such as London and Manchester.

When it comes to renting, you may find a wide range of properties available to rent on websites such as Zoopla, Rightmove and others. You should also consider contacting local estate agents to help you find a property that meets your needs. It’s important to ensure that any property you rent or purchase is well-maintained and compliant with health and safety regulations.

When purchasing a property, you should be aware of the legal process involved in buying a property in the UK. You will need to find a solicitor to help you with the conveyancing process, and you should also be aware of any stamp duty or fees involved.

Before committing to a rental agreement, you should make sure you understand all terms and conditions, as well as any deposit or fees required by the landlord. You should also ensure that you are aware of any tenancy rights that apply to the property and your rights as a tenant.

If you are looking for more permanent accommodation, it is important to research different areas of the UK and decide where you would like to live. You should consider the cost of living, access to transport links, schools, local amenities and other important factors when choosing an area. 

Once you have found a suitable property, you should contact a local solicitor to discuss all of the legal requirements involved in buying or renting a property in the UK. They will be able to provide guidance and advice on the best way to proceed with your purchase or rental agreement.

Healthcare and education

The United Kingdom has a comprehensive and effective system of healthcare, with the National Health Service (NHS) providing free access to medical care. In addition to the NHS, there are also a range of private healthcare options available. It is important to note that all residents of the UK, regardless of their visa status, are entitled to free emergency treatment at any NHS hospital.

When it comes to education, the UK offers a variety of options, including both state-run and independent schools. The majority of state schools are free, while private schools may charge fees. International students should contact their local embassy or consulate in order to determine which schools are available in their area.

In terms of higher education, there are several universities throughout the UK offering courses for both domestic and international students. To study at a UK university, it is necessary to apply for a student visa and meet certain eligibility criteria. Tuition fees vary depending on the institution and course chosen, but financial aid may be available.

The CGM App is for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

Opening bank accounts and getting a mobile phone

If you’re planning to stay in the UK for any length of time, it’s a good idea to open a bank account and get a mobile phone. Opening a bank account is relatively easy and can be done in person at most banks. The process usually involves providing proof of identity such as your passport and two forms of address verification such as a utility bill. Some banks may also require a deposit to be made in order to open the account.

Once you have a bank account, you will need to obtain a mobile phone. There are several options available including prepaid SIM cards which are available from most stores. Prepaid SIM cards are usually the cheapest option and you will be able to choose from various plans and tariffs. Alternatively, you can take out a contract with one of the major providers, although this often requires a credit check.

When opening a bank account or getting a mobile phone in the UK, it is important to read all of the terms and conditions carefully before signing any contracts. This will help ensure that you are aware of any fees or charges that may apply. Additionally, it’s important to remember that mobile phones and bank accounts can be used as an effective way to track your spending while in the UK.

SIM cards and mobile plans

When travelling to the United Kingdom, you may want to get a local SIM card to make sure you have access to the internet and cellular services. There are many different SIM cards and plans available in the UK, so it is important to research and compare prices before making a purchase.

Most major carriers offer prepaid SIM cards that can be used for a fixed number of days or a specific amount of data. Prices usually range from a few pounds to several hundred pounds, depending on the package. It’s important to consider the data speed when selecting a plan as well. Generally, most operators offer 4G coverage, though some offer 5G coverage as well. 

It’s also important to look into roaming charges when travelling abroad. Most carriers offer roaming packages that allow you to use your phone abroad at a discounted rate. Be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully so that you know what you are getting into. 

If you are planning on staying in the UK for an extended period of time, you may want to look into signing up for a contract with a mobile operator. This will usually include a phone and a plan that is tailored to your needs. However, this option can be more expensive than a prepaid plan and may require a credit check. 

Overall, it is important to shop around and do your research when selecting a SIM card and mobile plan for your trip to the United Kingdom. It can be a bit overwhelming due to the number of options available, but doing your homework ahead of time will ensure that you get the best deal for your needs.

Travel arrangements checklist

When travelling from the United States to the United Kingdom, it is important to be prepared and organised. Having a travel checklist can help ensure that all of your travel arrangements are taken care of before you depart. Here are some key items to include on your travel arrangements & checklists: 

  • Book transportation and accommodation in advance: When travelling to the UK, it is important to book your transportation and accommodation in advance. This will ensure that you are not left without a place to stay or stranded at the airport. 
  • Research entry requirements: Make sure you have researched the entry requirements for both the US and UK, such as visa requirements, passport requirements, and customs regulations. 
  •  Get a Travel Insurance Policy: Ensure that you have a valid travel insurance policy so that any unexpected costs are covered while abroad. 
  •  Make copies of important documents: Make copies of all important documents such as your passport, birth certificate, driver’s license, etc. It is also a good idea to store these copies in a secure online location such as Dropbox or Google Drive. 
  •  Pack necessary items: When packing for your trip, make sure you include items such as comfortable clothing, toiletries, medications, and other essentials. 
  • Prepare for currency exchange: Before leaving for the UK, make sure you research the exchange rate for your currency and prepare for the exchange. 
  • Plan out daily itinerary: Before leaving for the UK, make sure to plan out your daily itinerary, including any attractions you would like to visit and activities you would like to do. 

Following this checklist will help ensure that all of your travel arrangements are taken care of before you depart for the UK and will help ensure an enjoyable and hassle-free trip.

Conclusion

Travelling from the United States to the United Kingdom can be an exciting and rewarding experience. With the right visa and travel documents in hand, you can visit, work, and even settle down in the UK. It is important to understand the requirements for each visa and plan ahead to ensure a smooth transition. Familiarising yourself with the country’s customs, culture, and laws is also important in making your experience as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible. Whether you are visiting, working, or settling down in the UK, you will find that there is plenty of opportunity to make the most of your time there.

 

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