- Do I Need a Visa to Immigrate to the UK from the US?
- Eligibility Criteria for Immigrating to the UK from the US
- What Type of Visa Do I Need to Immigrate to the UK from the US?
- Employment Visas
- Family Visas
- Study Visas
- Immigration Process from the US to the UK
- Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
- Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR)
- How Can Total Law Help?
Do I Need a Visa to Immigrate to the UK from the US?
Immigrating to the UK from the United States means you plan on living in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland permanently. So, you will need a visa. The type of visa you need depends on the immigration route you are eligible for. There are various routes through which you can immigrate to the UK from the US.
There are various ways to immigrate to the UK. However, many visas that can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain can be very difficult to obtain. As such, it is recommended to work with an experienced immigration lawyer to increase your chances of being accepted.
Some individuals can obtain permanent residence from family connection with a British citizen or through spending time in the UK on a work or business permit.
There are other ways to immigrate to the UK, including if an individual is seeking asylum or has been granted refugee status.
Apart from permanent immigration, you can also get a temporary resident visa so you can work or study in the UK for a specific time.
Call +1 844 290 6312 for an immediate discussion about your case. We are available to speak over the phone or via online call.
Eligibility Criteria for Immigrating to the UK from the US
Eligibility for UK immigration is case-specific. This means your visa application will be treated based on your personal data and supporting documents. In most cases, however, people who meet the following criteria are usually eligible to immigrate to the UK from the US.
- You have a family member who is a UK national
- Your spouse or partner is a British citizen
- You have a job offer from a UK-based organization
- You work for a US organization that has a branch in the UK and is willing to transfer you to the UK branch
- You are able and ready to start a business in the UK
- You can invest in the UK
- You have an ancestral connection to the UK.
If you are coming to the UK through an employment route, you can apply for any of the following visas:
UK Business Visas
You can immigrate to the UK through the UK business visa route if you are a ‘high-value migrant’ with the ability and readiness to invest, set up a business, or work in some fields regarded as ‘exceptional talent’ in the UK. There are different subcategories, which include:
- Global Talent Visa: This category is for individuals who work in certain fields and are recognized as leaders in their field. These professions include medicine, science, engineering, or arts.
- Innovator Visa: This category requires you to have a capital investment of £50,000.
- Investor Visa: You may qualify for this if you have access to at least £2 million, which you can invest in the UK.
- Start-Up Visa: You can apply for this route if you are coming to the UK to start your first business. The startup visa doesn’t have a specific minimum investment amount. The important thing is to demonstrate that the business has a high potential for growth.
UK Work Visas
You can immigrate to the UK from the US through work visas if you have been offered a skilled job by a UK employer. The occupation must be on the Shortage Occupations List, and your prospective employer must have a certificate of sponsorship. The subcategories are as follows:
- Skilled Worker Visa: This category is for people who have received a UK job offer for one of the positions on the Shortage Occupations List or for an occupation that does have not enough skilled workers in the domestic labor market.
- Intra-Company Transfer Visa – ITC: If you are currently working in the US and your organization has an office in the UK, this category should work for you. Your employer must be willing to transfer you to the UK branch. You can apply for the ITC visa whether you are a new graduate trainee or a long-term staff.
- Sportsperson Visa: This category is for internationally acclaimed athletes and coaches whose role is endorsed by the governing body in charge of their sport.
- Minister of Religion Visa: This is designed for missionaries and religious workers coming to work within a faith-based community in the UK.
You may be eligible to immigrate to the UK from the US through any of the following family visas:
- Adult Dependant Relative Visa: You can apply for this category if you are the parent, sibling, grandparent, or adult child of a British citizen or settled person. To be eligible, you must require long-term personal care as a result of illness, age, or disability.
- Child Dependant Visa: You can apply for this visa if you are a child of a British citizen or settled person and you’re under the age of 18.
- UK Ancestry Visa: You can apply for this if you are a Commonwealth citizen or one of your grandparents is a UK national. Many Americans have British citizenship without knowing. If you were born in the UK before 1983 or any of your parents were born in the UK, you may have British citizenship even if you have never applied for a British passport. British citizenship by birth is a little bit complex. So, if you think there is an ancestral link to Britain in your family line, you may need to speak with an immigration lawyer to have a clearer insight on this.
If you are married to or in a civil relationship with a British citizen or settled person, you may immigrate to the UK from the United States through any of the following routes:
- Spouse Visa: Also known as a marriage visa, this is one of the fastest and easiest ways to immigrate to the UK from the United States.
- Fiancé Visa: You can apply for this visa if you intend to join your partner in the UK and get married within six months after your arrival.
- Unmarried Partner Visa: This visa is for long-term civil partners of British citizens or settled persons who wish to join their partner in the UK. In some parts of the UK, this visa allows both same-sex and opposite-sex partners as long as you can demonstrate that your relationship is two years or longer. But in England and Wales, opposite-sex couples aren’t allowed to form a civil partner relationship.
You can also immigrate to the UK from the US through UK Student Visa. This is for those studying in higher-level education., For younger children in a secondary school or lower, you can get a Child Student visa.
After your study, you can apply for Graduate Immigration Route, which allows you to stay in the UK for 2 years or 3 years for Ph.D. students. After that, you can apply to permanently stay in the UK if you meet certain requirements.
1. Complete Application Form Online
You will start by filling the online application form and pay the required fees. While completing the form, be sure to provide accurate and honest information. The application process can take several months, depending on your case. So, it is important to apply as early as possible. The earliest you can apply is usually:
- 3 months before your employment start date if you are coming on a work visa
- 6 months before the start date for your course of study if coming on a student visa
2. Gather Your Supporting Documents
Document checklist for UK immigration depends on the visa category you are applying for. For instance, a family visa applicant will need documents to demonstrate a qualifying family relationship with the relative they are applying to join in the UK. If you are choosing a work visa route, you must demonstrate that you have the required credentials for the position. As an investment or startup visa applicant, proof of financial ability to invest in your choice of business will be required. In general, however, most individuals immigrating to the UK from the US will need to provide the following:
- Completed UK visa application form
- Valid passport
- Passport size photographs taken within the past six months
- Proof of payment of application fees
- Proof of means of subsistence
- Tuberculosis test results
- Biometric information
- Proof of accommodation in the UK
3. Book and Attend Biometric Appointment
Once you have completed your application, you will be prompted to book a biometric appointment at an Application Service Centre (ASC). At this appointment, you will have your fingerprints and photo taken. You can also have your biometric appointment at a VFS Premium Application Centre (PAC). If you choose a VFS PAC, you will have to purchase a Premium Service. Children under the age of 5 will not be asked to provide their fingerprints, but their photographs will be taken during the biometrics appointment. You must have the following with you when going for the appointment:
- A printout copy of your application form
- Your current passport
- A copy of your biometric confirmation receipt
4. After Your Application
Once your appointment confirmation letter is stamped at the ASC, you will have to post the following items within 5 days:
- Your current passport
- Your appointment form
- UPS return shipping label
Any supporting documents (if you have not uploaded them online).
The address to post them to is:
VFS Services USA Inc.
UKVI Scanning Hub
145 West 45th St
New York NY
Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
If you are granted permission to stay in the UK for more than 6 months, you will receive a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), which stands as:
- Proof of right to live in the UK
- Proof of right to work or study in the UK
- Confirmation of your identity when needed
- Proof of right to use public services you are entitled to
Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR)
After spending some time in the UK, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). How long you will stay before being eligible for ILR depends on the type of visa you hold. For most visa categories, it takes at least 5 years before getting ILR. In some cases, however, people may be eligible for it earlier. For instance, if you are a Spousal Visa holder, you will usually be eligible for ILR after only two years in the UK.
Having ILR means you have been granted settlement or permanent residence in the UK and are no longer subject to any immigration-related restrictions. You will be free to live, study, work and travel abroad and reenter the UK without the need to apply for a visa. And after 5 years of lawful permanent residence in the UK, you can apply for British citizenship by naturalization.
How Can Total Law Help?
Immigrating to the UK can be an exciting prospect for Americans looking to make a new start in a foreign country.
However, the process of moving abroad can be a long and difficult one, with many challenges to face along the way.
If you need any extra assistance with the immigration process to the UK, Total Law are here to help.
We offer complete and comprehensive immigration services for those looking to move to the UK and anywhere else in the world. Whether you need help with the immigration and visa application process, deciding which visa is right for you, or help with the logistics of moving to the UK, we can help.
For more information about the services we provide and what we can do for you, call us on +1 844 290 6312 or contact us online.
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