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Frustrated American Wants to Move to London... Advice?

 
 
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 11:29 pm
I am looking to move to London within the next several months. I already have my passport and someone to share the rent with, but it would be nice to have a job in order to be able to afford my half of the rent! Confused However, this is proving to be both confusing and frustrating. I have no idea which Visa I should apply for, nor do I know how to go about doing it. I've searched all over the web and it only seems to get more confusing the more information I find. I even contacted the British Embassy and they only told me it was up to the applicant to decide which Visa to apply for! ...WHAT?...

I am not looking to move there permanently. I only want to experience life in London for somewhere between 6 months to a year and then I'll come back home to the U.S. I know there's something called the Working Holidaymaker's Visa and that would be perfect, if only it was available to Americans. Sad

Basically, I just need some advice. Some clear-cut advice about steps I should take toward getting over there. Anything anyone could tell me about Visas or jobs for Americans or... anything, I would greatly appreciate it!

Thanks ahead of time.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 16 • Views: 80,127 • Replies: 49
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TTH
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jan, 2008 12:04 am
You can start at this site if it applies:
http://travel.state.gov/index.html
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1052.html

then visit here:
http://britainusa.com
http://www.britainusa.com/visas/index_visa.asp?i=41000

That should get you a start on understanding the process.
0 Replies
 
donnacorleone
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2008 06:45 pm
Thanks for the tip! Smile

I think I really need to find a job first and see if they can't help me get a Visa. It looks as if I can't get a work Visa on my own. So, now I just need to find a job. I hear Gumtree and Loot are both good websites, but if anyone else knows of any others, or has any other suggestions, I'd appreciate it.
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jan, 2008 03:28 pm
It is very difficult for an American to get a job in the UK. An employer would have to show that they could not find a UK or EU citizen to fill the vacancy. If you enter on a tourist visa and take gainful employment, you are violating the terms of your visa and breaking the law, and you can be deported. There are plans to reduce the 6 month tourist visa to 3 months. Basically, you can't just up sticks and move to Britain. Your best chance might be to get a job with an American company that has offices in Britain, and try for a transfer, but even then it would be tricky.

A word of advice. If you come to Britain on a tourist visa you will be questioned. You will be asked by the immigration people how long you plan to stay, and how you plan to support yourself during that time. They will want to see a return ticket and bank statements or other documentary proof that you won't go broke while you are in the country. If you say you might work, or if they even think that you might, they have the power (and often use it) to refuse you admission and put you in detention until the next flight back.
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jan, 2008 05:56 pm
Contrex is right unless you have a skill that is deemed useful or needed in the UK- and then the way that works is the employer issues a work permit which enables you to obtain a visa.

I'd be surprised if anyone looking for skilled or professional employees would be interested in investing in training and then hiring someone for six months though, unless it was some kind of exchange situation.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jan, 2008 06:39 pm
Watch Titanic donna. That gives an idea of what can happen when you get bored with your hometown and think that there are lusher pastures elsewhere.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jan, 2008 06:42 pm
contie wrote-

Quote:
An employer would have to show that they could not find a UK or EU citizen to fill the vacancy.


I had wondered about how those Mormon disturbers of the peace had got in here.
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jan, 2008 05:30 am
Read and learn... Bristol (UK) Evening Post today

Quote:
A Facebook romance ended in tears when immigration officers at Bristol International Airport sent one half of it back home to the United States.The 34-year-old American claimed he was coming to the country to visit family. In fact, says the Border and Immigration Agency, he intended to live with his British girlfriend, whom he met through the internet social networking site.

The man arrived at Bristol last Thursday after travelling from Detroit via Amsterdam.

He told Border and Immigration Agency officers at passport control that he planned to spend two weeks in the UK visiting an aunt. But an officer became suspicious after learning the man had no return ticket and contacted the "aunt" by phone.

The interview revealed that the woman was in fact the American's girlfriend, they had begun a relationship and had discussed marriage after meeting on Facebook.

The man was then refused entry to the UK and removed from the country the following day.

Neither the man nor his girlfriend in the UK have been named by officials.

An agency spokesman said: "This case shows that our immigration officers do not simply check passports. They are also extremely skilful at interviewing suspicious passengers who try to circumvent UK border controls at our airports and ports.

"If someone wants to come to the UK, they have to apply for the correct visa. If we suspect someone is not genuinely coming to visit the UK and is likely to stay longer, we will refuse them entry."

The Government is currently introducing sweeping changes to the UK's border security. There has been investment in new passport technology to prevent people using someone else's identity and checks begin before people step on a plane or boat.

New passport scanners allow immigration officers to read chips in modern passports which contain further proof that the holders are who they say they are. Any document that arouses suspicion is taken away for analysis.
0 Replies
 
suepatoo
 
  2  
Reply Sun 3 Feb, 2008 10:08 pm
DON'T!!! I am currently a transplant from America. I moved here 8 months ago. Not to happy! People are not that friendly or open. It has been a bit of a struggle and I am not the only American I know whom has felt that way. But, by all means 'Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained' My personal recommendation is move to some other country like Australia or New Zealand or even better Netherlands! Not even the Brits are happy about where the live. I am sorry to be a downer and I know you will probably have to come over and see for yourself. But, make sure you have some buffer money. For it is expensive and you also better off securing employment before you come over. For once you are over here it might be difficult to find a job without a work Visa, but before you can get a work Visa you need someone to sponsor you. Whatever you do 'DO NOT GIVE UP YOUR PASSPORT' for it may take you awhile to get it back and you cannot go anywhere without it. Also USA passports are BIG money over in UK.

Bes of Luck and hope you find your adventure!
0 Replies
 
LostGirl811
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Apr, 2008 07:20 am
I could ramble on about this topic for days. I'm a 25 year old american who has been wanting to try this same thing, living in the UK for about a year just to try something new, travel, etc. There are ways, but let me tell you, it is complicated as hell.

There are several routes to getting a visa, none of them easy. This year, the british goverment has implemented a new Tier system which combines all the old visa schemes into a "simpler" group of levels.

There is the option to be sponsored by a UK company, but honestly, unless you are on an "occupational shortage" list, and have a skill that they are having difficulty filling with EU citizens (at present they need people like social workers, nurses, teachers) most UK companies will not bother with the hassle of hiring someone without a visa.

There is another option, it used to be called the highly Skilled Migrant Worker scheme, but will soon be known as the Tier 1 visa. This is a points based system in which you can score points in several categories, and you must score a certain number of points to be eligible. Be forewarned though, even if you appear to have the requisite number of points, it's no easy feat to get the visa. First off, you have to pay something like a thousand dollars just to apply. And let me tell you, they can deny your application on the smallest technicality. if you forget to send the proper documentation exactly like they wanted it, they will deny you and that's that. Chech out immigrationboards.com and you'll see what I mean. The categories you need to score points in are education, age, UK experience and past earnings. EG- if you have a bachelor's degree, you get 30 points, a Master's, 35 points, a PhD, 50 points. If you ever went to school in the uk, you get another 5 points. depening on what age bracket you fall into, you can get 20, 15, 10 or 5 points, or no points at all if you are over around the age of 33-34. most points are given for being younger (eg- people under 28 years old get 20 points for age). For past earnings, it depends on what country you are in, and what bracket your earnings for the past 12 months before you apply are. Assuming you 75 points in these categories, you are on the right track. BUT THEN, there are new stipulations. Now, they want to see what they call "maintenance funds". This means you need to have AT LEAST 800 dollars in your bank account AT ALL TIMES for the three months prior to application. Not even for one day can your account have less than this amount. PLUS, you need to have another 6000 dollars in savings to prove to them you have money to fall back on if you don't find a job right away when you move. THEN, there is also the English language requirement. You need to prove you are fluent in english, which means if you come from America this should be easy enough by showing them you have a four year degree from am american university, but on the safe side you should get a letter for NARIC stating your degree was taught in english. Mind you, it must be a Bachelor's degree, not a graduate degree, and in case you were thinking it's not expensive enough so far, the letter from NARIC cost money , too.

Still following me on all this? I'm not done. So let's say you have all the points in theory, you have to get the proper documentation to support it. You have to have every single paystub for the 12 months prior to application, stamped and signed by yoru company for authenticity. You need bank statemtns for same period, and the net amounts of your paycheck in your bank account need to match up to your paychecks TO THE PENNY. PLUS, you need to explain what your GROSS earnings are, as it is your gross earnings that will earn you the points for past earnings. Then, you need a letter from your employer stating , to the penny, the gross earnings you were payed between the 12 months you are using, and you better be sure this also matches your paystubs to the penny. I'm not kidding, they'll deny you for a 10 cent discrepency.

So that's past earnings. For age, easy enough, original birth certificate, driver's license, etc. For education, a letter from your university, your transcripts, and original degree certificate.

oh, and I forgot to mention, if they decide to call your employer or university to verify your earnings or degree, you better hope someone ansers the phone, because if they can't get in touch with anyone to verify if they so choose, they'll deny you for that, too.

If you know someone in the UK, it would be helpful to get letters from them stating they are willing to give you room and board until you find a job , etc.

in case you still feel optimistic, let me just say, this isn't impossible, but it is damn difficult.

even if you get the visa, which, by the way, is good because it entitles you to work anywhere you want in the UK for up to three years, and you can move to UK without already having a job offer, but, there's the chance that you pay allllll this money to apply for the visa, to get the documentation, to ssend the application, to arrange courier pick up to get your originals back, to fly to the UK, and there's the chance you STILL won't find a job. The UK job market is not friendly to non-EU citizens, even those with a visa, because even if you have a visa, to them it means you might not be a permanent employee.

Sorry to be a damper, Im not saying its impossible, im just saying its really tough.

i have tons of friends in the UK, and Im still nervous about it. I have a comfortable, albeit not luxurious life, here in NY. I may not be rich, but i have a job, i have insurance, i have family and friends nearby, i have an apartment in a nice neighborhood i can afford, a car, etc. in the UK, things are twice as expensive, if not more, than even in NYC where I live. I don't want to go over there just so I can struggle and live in some crappy neighborhood where I'll get shot on the way home just so I can live in London!

it's alot to consider, and i haven't made a final decision yet, but hopefully something works out where i can try it for at least a year. It would be a good experience, i think. it's sad that if i had alot of money none of it would be a concern, but that's life.

if you have any other questions regarding the visa thing, feel free to ask me via PM, I've done alot of research.....
LostGirl811
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Apr, 2008 07:46 am
PS- I forgot to mention.....you said "I'm ready to move to London , I have my passport and someone to live with"

I really hope you aren't moving without a visa. Even to go on a tourist visa, you can only stay up to 6 months, and customs will ask you when you go to the airport there how long you intend to stay, and if you don't have a return flight to show them, they will become suspicious and will not allow you in the country because they will assume you want to try to live there, which you would be doing illegally if you do not have a visa.

So I would not try to move without a visa of some kind, or you will risk getting yourself illegal status in the country, which could lead to deportation and being banned from re-entry for quite a long time.

Just FYI.....
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Apr, 2008 08:49 am
Re: Frustrated American Wants to Move to London... Advice?
donnacorleone wrote:
I am not looking to move there permanently. I only want to experience life in London for somewhere between 6 months to a year and then I'll come back home to the U.S. I know there's something called the Working Holidaymaker's Visa and that would be perfect, if only it was available to Americans. Sad


I lived in London (just outside of it really) for 6 months without all of these headaches described by lostgirl (looks like great info tho!) -- I was in a study abroad/ exchange student program in college. I had to get a passport but that was about it. All of the rest of it was handled.

I don't know how old you are but I don't think that should be too much of an obstacle -- might be worth looking into.

I didn't work when I was there but had regular student loans that were (barely!!!) enough to tide me over. I was definitely very, very poor, though.

If you save up a fair amount of your own money before you go, that should be a cushion.

The exchange rate is not at all favorable to Americans these days tho. (It wasn't then either, but even worse now.)
LostGirl811
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Apr, 2008 07:49 am
Re: Frustrated American Wants to Move to London... Advice?
sozobe wrote:
donnacorleone wrote:
I am not looking to move there permanently. I only want to experience life in London for somewhere between 6 months to a year and then I'll come back home to the U.S. I know there's something called the Working Holidaymaker's Visa and that would be perfect, if only it was available to Americans. Sad


I lived in London (just outside of it really) for 6 months without all of these headaches described by lostgirl (looks like great info tho!) -- I was in a study abroad/ exchange student program in college. I had to get a passport but that was about it. All of the rest of it was handled.

I don't know how old you are but I don't think that should be too much of an obstacle -- might be worth looking into.

I didn't work when I was there but had regular student loans that were (barely!!!) enough to tide me over. I was definitely very, very poor, though.

If you save up a fair amount of your own money before you go, that should be a cushion.

The exchange rate is not at all favorable to Americans these days tho. (It wasn't then either, but even worse now.)


Hey sozobe

Yes, the student this is an option if you're, well, a student! but otherwise it is a huge pain in the B U T T!!! Grrrrr. I direly want to go over there, but it is such a bloody hassle you cannot imagine.

by the way, if one were a recent college graduate, or about to graduate, you can apply for a six-month work permit from bunac.org.

I didn't learn abou tthat until too late. At the ripe old age of 25 I am apparently in some hell of a limbo in life where I am too young to have enough work experience to make me financially stable and able to readily move, and yet too old to qualify for anything that helps out students or recent grads. I found a company in the UK with a great marketing position where they trained you in everyting, with a 50K per year salary (USD), but they said because I was out of college nearly 4 years I was too old! I don't even have any marketing experience....

God I hate my life. Why didn't someone tell me a Bachelor's degree in psychology is useless, and that working in social services is not rewarding enough to make the **** hours and even shittier salary worth it?

*sigh*
donnacorleone
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 05:43 pm
Re: Frustrated American Wants to Move to London... Advice?
LostGirl811 wrote:
sozobe wrote:
I lived in London (just outside of it really) for 6 months without all of these headaches described by lostgirl (looks like great info tho!) -- I was in a study abroad/ exchange student program in college. I had to get a passport but that was about it. All of the rest of it was handled.

I don't know how old you are but I don't think that should be too much of an obstacle -- might be worth looking into.

I didn't work when I was there but had regular student loans that were (barely!!!) enough to tide me over. I was definitely very, very poor, though.

If you save up a fair amount of your own money before you go, that should be a cushion.

The exchange rate is not at all favorable to Americans these days tho. (It wasn't then either, but even worse now.)


Hey sozobe

Yes, the student this is an option if you're, well, a student! but otherwise it is a huge pain in the B U T T!!! Grrrrr. I direly want to go over there, but it is such a bloody hassle you cannot imagine.

by the way, if one were a recent college graduate, or about to graduate, you can apply for a six-month work permit from bunac.org.

I didn't learn abou tthat until too late. At the ripe old age of 25 I am apparently in some hell of a limbo in life where I am too young to have enough work experience to make me financially stable and able to readily move, and yet too old to qualify for anything that helps out students or recent grads. I found a company in the UK with a great marketing position where they trained you in everyting, with a 50K per year salary (USD), but they said because I was out of college nearly 4 years I was too old! I don't even have any marketing experience....

God I hate my life. Why didn't someone tell me a Bachelor's degree in psychology is useless, and that working in social services is not rewarding enough to make the **** hours and even shittier salary worth it?

*sigh*



LostGirl811, I tried to PM you, but it wouldn't allow me. I suppose it's because I don't have enough posts yet. They don't trust me yet. Ah well... just one more thing, eh? Anyway, if you could PM me I'd appreciate it. Sounds like we're in similar situations. I'm 25 also. And I too found out about the bunac thing too late.

"sigh" is right! Blah...
T3NN15
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 11:07 am
Re: Frustrated American Wants to Move to London... Advice?
Hello donnacorleone, sozobe, and LostGirl811!

I just read through your string of posts and felt compelled to write! I am 25 as well, desperately scouring the internet to see if there is anyway to do the same exact thing: move to London for about a year's time and find a job and live. I read about both BUNAC and the Skilled Migrant Worker scheme, but when I tampered with the estimate of the later, I didn't even qualify. I have enough money saved from a previous job prior to a year ago, does that count? My employer this past year did not pay me nearly enough so that I would be considered "stable" by the UK to live there. Otherwise, two of you mentioned that you found out about BUNAC too late? What is the latest date to sign up for this by? I am looking to make the move in early September. Should I be worried and try for this now? All it needs is a transcript or application page filled out. I graduated a few years ago, but maybe this can be arranged?

Otherwise, I have been looking and applying for jobs in the UK, but they all start with the Q: Are you free to work without restriction in the UK? I always click yes, because otherwise, it won't allow me to continue my application. Perhaps this is the wrong methodology?

I feel like securing a job either sponsored by the UK or by a US firm is not assured and would take far too long to leave anytime in the next few months. What was this HolidayMaker's Visa you mentioned? Does it not apply to Americans? Are there any other options???

Would love to hear this conversation keep rolling if anyone has ideas.
0 Replies
 
LostGirl811
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2008 12:19 pm
donnacorleone,

You can try to email me ? It won't let me PM either. Which is stupid , but whatever.

Anyway, so at 25, no bunac isnt an option anymore unfortunately. it has to be within 6 months to a year after you graduate from college, I believe. either way, we are now old farts who don't qualify lol.

The only options, really, are getting a UK company to sponsor you (near impossible, they'd rather not go through the effort of getting a foreigner a visa when they can easily hire someone in england), or get a job with a US company with a branch in london and hope you can transfer at some point, or the Tier 1 (former known as highly skilled migrant worker) visa I mentioned earlier. The last option is probably the "easiest" to get, as you dont rely on anyone else, but, just because you get a visa don't mean you'll get a job. It's really tough, and London is way expensive! And that's coming from someone who lives in New York City, where a studio apartment in Manhattan costs half a million dollars and is the size of a closet.

i thin I'll still apply for the visa, but, its going to be dependant on many other things moving there. Im not going to work some crap job with minimal salary so i can struggle....my whole point in wanting to move is wanting to travel and see europe and try a new life for a year.

oh the headaches.....
0 Replies
 
deanami6
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jul, 2008 03:36 pm
become a student
Become a student. I came over here to travel. Luckily I have good family friends who have thrown me some babysitting work. I love it here and would really like to stay longer than my planned 9 months. I made a friend who works in immigration and her advice, unless you can prove personal wealth or fit into the tier system, is become a student. Graduate programs are only 1 year and then you get permission to stay for 2 years.
It's cold and I've been wearing sweaters and scarves even in winter, but I've made amazing friends and really love it here so... come on over!
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jul, 2008 04:57 pm
suepatoo wrote-

Quote:
My personal recommendation is move to some other country like Australia or New Zealand or even better Netherlands!


I wholly support that idea. Fly direct too. The Pacific route is best I've heard.
0 Replies
 
CoExGal
 
  2  
Reply Sun 22 May, 2011 01:32 pm
@donnacorleone,
I have wanted to move to England for years, but I keep running into a dead end. U.S. Nationals simply cannot just set up residency or work in England--it's not that smple.

Unlike you, however, I don't want to live in London; I want to live in Bristol. I have friends there. I have a couple of questions for those who have posted here, who seem to be in the know:

I am a Flight Attendant, and I was wondering if I can get to England by obtaining a British Visa? I was told it should not be difficult to get one, being I am already in the travel industry. I fly for a regional airline, however, and we don't fly overseas. I don't know if that would make a difference.

Also, I was told another possibility is to work for, say, an International hotel chain in the States, such as the Marriott or Hyatt, and then apply for a transfer to the same hotel chain in the UK after working there awhile. Is that something that can be done?

Thank you for your help!

contrex
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 May, 2011 02:08 pm
@CoExGal,
CoExGal wrote:

I am a Flight Attendant, and I was wondering if I can get to England by obtaining a British Visa? I was told it should not be difficult to get one, being I am already in the travel industry.


Anyone can get a tourist visa to visit the UK, regardless of their profession or occupation. usually these are for 6 months, and you are not supposed to spend more than 6 months in any rolling year. repeated visits will attract curiosity at the border. People from certain countries including the US can apply on arrival and get stamped in. You have to show that you have ties to your home country, a return ticket, and enough money to support yourself during your stay. You are not allowed to work or volunteer or study and if the Immigration officers even think you are planning to stay they will refuse you entry, place you in detention and "remove" you back to where you came from. If they are suspicious, they can, and do, go through your luggage, diaries, phone, Facebook page, etc to get an idea of your real plans. Single American females aged 18-35 are viewed with great suspicion as they often turn out to be planning to "move to the UK" under the guise of a tourist visa, often to hook up with some guy they met on the web. If you are found to have used verbal or written deception to gain entry (this includes lying to the IO about who you are meeting or why you have come) you can be banned for 10 years.

If an American company wanted to transfer you to a British branch, that branch would have to apply for an (expensive) "work permit" for you, which would not be granted unless the company could prove that they could not get a British or EU national to fill the job.


0 Replies
 
 

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