Would it be possible for me to move to London? (US citizen)?

Just curious of the possibility, not likely something I may actually do but still interested to have opinions/advice from anyone who is familiar with London, or any other areas close by.

From what I currently understand the three types of visa are either for up to 6 month stay as a tourist, a work visa, or a student visa.

A tourist visa seems out of the question, because I would need to be allowed to search for work in order to afford my stay (I can't even afford a normal 1-2 day vacation to London with my current salary). That would leave either a work visa or a student visa, although I have doubts what my education/work experience skills would amount to.

I'm currently 21 attending a community college (with fair grades) for an associate's degree in Early Childhood Education. As for work experience, I have worked as a daycare teacher assistant for 4 years now with children ages 6 months-Kindergarten and am CPR certified. So with my background, it would make the most sense for me to pursue a job at a daycare or as a nanny but I have no idea what the odds are of me finding such work easily. I would be interested in being a student to go further into Early Childhood Education or get into Art Therapy, but I don't think my community college background would give me much credit for transfering into a good college in or near London as a US citizen...

Unfortunately, I don't know anyone who is from the UK or is familiar with England any further than I am, so I would love to hear any stories/advice/tips that you may have if you do. I've never even traveled outside of the country before, but call me crazy, I've always loved London and seems like it would be an adventure as well as a refreshing change from my boring town in Connecticut where I have lived my whole life. I'm clueless how possible this actually may be for me or what it would really be like to move to London/live there for an extended period of time, but I just might be brave enough to go about this without any connections/friends already living in there. I appreciate all responses to this post and thanks in advance! =)

10 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    You've obviously started checking out the visas issue, and you're right: it isn't at all easy for a US citizen to get a work visa for the UK. We have the same difficulties with visas for the US. =)

    Your suspicions are correct about your own work prospects here: you wouldn't be granted a UK work visa as a daycare assistant or as a child education specialist. Competition for jobs here is *massive* and priority goes to any citizen of a European Union (EU) country. EU citizens have the right to live and work in any EU country.

    The UK also has a reciprocal agreement with several countries (the US isn't one of them) to allow young people to come here to live and work temporarily - and childcare / teaching are popular fields of work for many of them.

    So for people from countries with no reciprocal immigration or work policies, your choices are limited.

    You can get a UK work permit if you are a successful entrepreneur (with the $$m to prove it)

    Or if you have a skill needed here which no one in the EU can offer

    Or if you're working on assignment for a US company with bases in the UK. In this case, the job must be one that no EU citizen could fill.

    The only other exception is if one of your parents was born a British citizen, in which case you can claim British citizenship "by descent" which gives you full work and residency rights.

    All this sounds pretty extreme - but it's very similar to the restrictions which the US places on potential workers from overseas.

    Why not think again about coming here as a visitor? As you already know, that would let you stay for anything up to six months, though I realise that your budget would probably limit it to a few weeks max.

    Have a think about travelling with one of the hospitality-exchange networks. That way you can stay with a local, in their home - a better kind of travel experience for many than hotels/hostels. And you stay for free, so you'd only need to save up for your flights, food and day-to-day expenses. You might dip a toe in the water first by having visitors to stay with you. Your Connecticut home town may not be boring to someone from another country. =)

    Of the hospex organisations, Bewelcome is the one I'd suggest starting with - it's a small organisation, but growing. It's fiercely uncommercial - it has the same irrevocable non-profit status as groups like Greenpeace (so no prospect ever of selling of its members' data etc!) Couchsurfing is the biggest: the one everyone's heard of. But it sold up last year and went full-on corporate. Many members there are now v unhappy because the terms & conditions have been changed to allow CS to use any data of members anyhow they want. So be careful with photos and info if you decide to make a profile there.

    Anyway, good luck. Hang on to your travel dreams; they're a Good Thing. =)


    The Wikipedia entry on hospex is basic but good and has links for all the hospex sites I know and a couple more. ;)


  • rison
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Moving To London From Us

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    As a yank you are going to need a visa. You should look at the website that the lovely poster above has given you. and work out from there which way would be easier, a student visa or a working visa. What you also need to bear in mind is the cost of education over here. Doing a masters degree is expensive, but as an international student its REALLY expensive. Its not just the course fees you have to consider, but living cost, and as a student I think they limit the amount of hours you can work. So you probably going to need some savings. Additionally its not that easy to get a job over here, so even if you do study here it doesn't guarantee a job, I doubt having an English degree would make much difference. You don't actually say what you are studying in. You might also consider doing your masters in the US and then considering travelling once you have some experience. Oh and we don't know what a freshman is, an age would be more helpful.

  • TSK
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    We can NOT up sticks and settle in your country any more than YOU can in OURS...IMMIGRATION....WE happen to speak the same language of sorts but that does NOT make us some 51st state.... You neither KNOW the UK nor have ties with it....NOT a citizen of a MEMBER STATE of the European UNION, in your field, SORRY but NO CHANCE.....THINK you KNEW the answer all along?

    THE UK is not so generous, but IRELAND does give citizenship if at least ONE IRISH grandparent...Long shot? Know a Canadian, with an ITALIAN passport, living and working here and a South African with a PORTUGUESE one..Even though these two are from Commonwealth countries was easier to settle here based on their EU status.....

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Although most of us like Americans, our governments have made it very difficult for any of us to relocate in either direction across the Atlantic.

    You don't need a visa to stay for up to six months without working. However, to gain a work visa you should successfully apply for a job on the UKBA Occupation Shortage List

    Good luck!

  • 8 years ago

    no. Unless you have a skill that puts you in front of 300 million EU citizens, you will never get a work visa. Plenty of childminders here.

    you live on a great big continent where you CAN work. You could try somewhere other than your boring town...(although I think you may be the boring one...)

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  • 4 years ago


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  • .
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    its incredibly hard to emmigrate here (the EU sets all EU immigration laws, not us :/ ) but there is a *bit* of a way around it.

    1~ study.

    we have no equivalent of an asociates degee- it's closest to the level we have when we leave school, so pre uni (university).

    i doubt credits you've so far accrued would transfer to uni here, into 2nd or 3rd year, as the systems & courses are very different. you could apply to BA courses, but fees are high for you~ $40k a yr, & financial aid comes from the US, not us. fees vary a little, but not a lot as much as in america.

    if you moved into a BA course in the US, you would then try to find one which offers study abroad, for a term (semester) or year. finally, you could apply for MA here, after a BA.

    either on a NA or MA here, youd be able to legally stay year round, work pt in terms, full time in holidays (vacation), get free healthcare etc. a part time MA is 2 years, so slightly easier to manage financially, as you can work more.

    if you do decide to study here, there are an array of unis in london; from a couple of the very best in the world, to a couple of the very worst in the uk, so youd no way need to be an elite scholar to come.

    SEN (special ed to you) degree in london ~ http://www.uel.ac.uk/undergraduate/programmes/spec...

    2~ retrain. 2~legally, the jobs list open to you is VERY restricted, but there's a couple of things for which you could re-train. SEN teachers are required atm; i KNOW its miles away from early years, but if youve got any interest in it, its worth mentioning. maths, & science teaching jobs are also in need, for senior school (high school), but obv maths is horrible : )

    other jobs are science, medicine etc. art thearpy is'nt on the list, but you could train for special ed w a interest in integrating art therapy, either at home or here. you could legally work here in special ed, then back in the US in AT- plus! more interesting résumé having worked abroad, & taught : )

    social workers are also on the list, but obv more stressful work.

    if you want to nanny or au pair, you can't legally, though there is a bit of illegal work. you might be lucky and get a nice family (just paid less); you could just as likely get exploited w long hours and little pay. my friend did this the other way, and got in a LOT of trouble in america- can never go back. though we are more lenient, i imagine the same'd happen to you if caught; it doesnt seem worth risking in light of your prospective career! (my friend was 18, wild & miss throw-caution-to-the-wind!).

    the same with working; cash-in-hand (as its called, ie, untaxed) some work is out there, but again- first flight out if caught, i imagine (though really, our immigration are WAYYYYY more chilled than yours- i had to sign a form when i was a kid, saying id never committed genocide when i entered america, ha ha). unless youve got some really strong pull here, i dont think its worth it.

    3~ if youve an irish grandparent you can get an EU visa, then come here legally to work. a few other countries in europe do this too, but im not sure which.

    4~ tourist visa.

    its for up to 6 months, & though you cant work, you can eek out your money by volunteering somewhere w accommodation includuded, which'd reduce your costs. though this'd mainly be outside london, england is weeny compared to you (just 500k sq miles!!) so london is easily reached in 6 hrs by train, from anywhere, really. nights stay light til 10 or 11 in high summer, so you can still do stuff.

    couch surfing is an excellent idea, camping too (tho at pay campsites, not wilderness). you can live frugally on $10 a day, camping & eating basic food; again, it'd cut your costs to extend your stay. if you aimed for a month w a week in london, the rest outside, you could still have a great experiance. youre probably too young, but if you own your own place you can do holiday home swap, and stay in their place, while theyre in yours; so no rent!

    tho i moved to london & love it, its kind of sad so many people think the uk is just london, & a couple of castles elsewhere. just like america is waaay more than just new york & LA, (inc the east coast, with which i have an armchair based love affair atm), there are plenty of cool cities elsewhere. food is about the same price in london as elsewere, but socialising is at least double, rent's far higher. even sofa surfing in london would be expensive if you want to go to a pub. bristol, manchester, leeds, edinbrugh etc- all incredible, cool, surrounded by beautiful countryside, and far cheaper. london's one of the most expensive cities in the world.

    Source(s): but honestly- the grass is always greener. we think london's like this~ http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Education/Pix/... you think its this~ http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/thumblarge_358/123302... but today its all http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/About... to me ct is all http://www.nps.gov/heho/photosmultimedia/images/ai... & you go to work, like any typical american, like this~ http://bisousmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/... as thats how you all dress over there, even the girls :D X good luck, whatever you end up doing : )
  • 8 years ago

    Well yeah its so easy to just come here because i mean the country is full, you know?

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