Many people around the world have been looking for information on how to move to London and become a permanent resident. However, the UK immigration regulations can be complex and sometimes confusing when it comes to moving to London and becoming a permanent Londoner. Additionally, these rules keep on changing and therefore the information can quickly become outdated and inapplicable. It is therefore important to constantly seek the current UK immigration information from credible sources such as the official UK government website and others like us. Here, you are sure to get the latest and most credible tips on how to move to London and permanently live in the city of London.
For ex-pats from the European Economic Area (EEA), you can move to London and become a resident permanently after staying in the UK for five years. Expats from outside the EEA can apply for Indefinite Leave to Enter or Remain (ILE or ILR) in the UK. This means that you can enter or leave the country without being subject to immigration controls governing entry and exit. Being granted ILR means that you have been given the “settled status” in the country and you can live in London without worrying about immigration issues. The time needed to elapse before you can apply for permanent residency depends on the type of visa held and the residency status. This ranges from two to six years. For example, a person on tier 1 or 2 visa will need to have been residents in the UK for five years before applying for permanent residency.
Although it is good and important to be in a foreign country legally, Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights allows an illegal migrant to apply for permanent residency status on the grounds of his/her right to private life. However, for you to apply for this having been in the UK illegally, you need to have stayed in the country for between 17 and 30 years depending on your age and years spent in the country.
In order to become a permanent resident in London or the UK, you need to take and pass the “Life in the UK” test. This is for all those relocating to London with the exception of those who were in the Highly Skilled Migrant Program.
Once your time of residence in the UK has elapsed and qualified to apply for ILE status, you can start the process by making an application to the Home Office Public Enquiry Office. The forms for this can be downloaded from the official government website using a step by step guide. The most downloaded forms are those for ex-pats on work visas and those for dependents.
The climax of moving to and becoming a permanent resident in London is by becoming a fully-fledged citizen in the UK (becoming a British Citizen by naturalization). After 12 months with ILE status, you can apply for British citizenship.
Although a typical Tier 2 visa these days is usually for 3 before you can apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR); it may vary depending on your company’s sponsorship. In the case of a spouse or partner of a UK citizen or permanent resident, the visa term is only 2 years before you can then apply for ILR. Applying for this status basically gives you permanent residency; you aren’t a British citizen, but you can reside in the UK for as long as you want if, after moving to London and living here a few years, you’ve realized you quite fancy it and want to settle in a while!
Eligibility for ILR does vary by visa classification, so check out the link: https://www.visabureau.com/united-kingdom/visas-and-immigration/indefinite-leave-to-remain to determine your particular requirements. If you do qualify, apply, and earn ILR status, be mindful that residing outside of the UK for 2 or more years afterward could lead to it being revoked (unless you attain citizenship by then).
Applying for ILR requires that you be knowledgeable about life in the UK, so you will need to take the aptly named “Life in the UK” test. This is a 24-question, computer-based exam that only takes 45 minutes to complete at one of the 100 test centers available in the country. To study, you’ll need to fork over £10 for the 2nd edition of the Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship textbook. The test itself presently costs £34 and is also a requirement of (but does not need to be taken again for) British citizenship.
Once you’ve been approved for ILR status, you’re possibly only a year away from citizenship if you so desire. This, of course, doesn’t mean renouncing your current citizenship (although some Americans will do just that to avoid paying U.S. taxes in addition to those in the UK). If you were born to a British mother between 1961 and 1983, you might be able to apply for citizenship right away. Otherwise, you need to have lived in the UK for at least 5 years (3 if married to a citizen), the last year of which you would have had ILR. You can’t have been outside the UK more than 450 days in those 5 years (270 in the 3 years if married to a citizen) nor more than 90 days in the 12 months prior to applying.
I realize this may be a ways away for those of you researching your initial international relocation to the UK, but, as I said, this is a common subject of conversation among ex-pats over here, particularly those raising children here and needing to decide whether to stay until children are school-age and educate them here or return home. At least you have the facts before you as you make your short and long-term plans—regardless of whether you stay or leave the UK, first moving to London is a grand adventure that will make you a citizen of the world!
In order to prevent a meltdown occurring in your new home follow these easy ‘how to move to London’ steps to make the transition from the US to England as smooth as possible.
Step 1 – Before moving to London families should have completed a detailed list of everything coming with them from the states. If that has been done, great, if not do it! Pronto! After that list is created another list of what the family needs for everyday living can be created. Go through your new home room by room to make sure nothing is overlooked.
Step 2 – At this point, the family is ready to get some shopping done. Rather than go crazy at a market or department store try looking for pre-owned merchandise before buying new. Much of the expense of an international relocation is in settling into a house. Buying furniture alone can cost as much as an entire month’s salary!
Step 3 – Now that all the necessities are in your new home take the time to organize them. It is very tempting to live out of a suitcase or box for far longer than necessary. Spending a Saturday or Sunday thoroughly unpacking everything and creating permanent homes for each item will go a long way in making you feel settled.
Step 4 – As soon as possible upon arriving in London everyone in your family should register with a General Practioner as this is the rule for healthcare in London. A London relocation agent can help with finding a list of open doctors in your neighborhood.
Step 5 – Once your new home is in some sort of order and a doctor has been chosen it is time to get out and explore your new city. Regardless of what time of year you are moving to London, there is plenty to do. Try and avoid spending all your time alone in your home. That only makes the transition that much harder.
If you are one of those young people thinking about taking the leap and traveling to UK’s capital city for an extended period of time and staying in London apartments for rent, you should do a bit of research and plan beforehand or you could find yourself in a mess instead of having fun. Here is some advice to help you to avoid problems and more thoroughly enjoy your trip.
The truth is that London apartments for rent, transportation, and other necessary items are expensive. If you don’t have a sufficient financial cushion to draw off of until you generate your own income and get settled into affordable London apartments for rent, you could quickly find yourself in a mess.
Although London has an excellent public transportation system, it can be expensive especially if you are traveling often or over long distances. Therefore, try to locate work and London apartments for rent near each other. Also, ensure both are located close to transportation hubs. Obtaining an Oyster card upon arrival will help you to significantly cut transportation expenses.
If you are relocating to an existing job then you are set to go. However, if you are planning on finding work when you arrive in the city, you may find it could take a while and you will need money to live on until then. If your financial cushion is small, you may need to stay with flatmates, in hostels, or find other cheaper accommodation options before searching for more expensive London apartments for rent until you find a job and start receiving paychecks.
Young people have a tendency to throw caution to the wind and feel as if every place is an exciting and welcoming destination. However, the reality of life is that bad people exist everywhere who look to take advantage of such naïve and unwary types.
Upon arriving in the city, it is advisable to stay in and around tourist areas where security is tighter and criminals are less apt to take advantage of you. When hailing taxis, be sure they are well marked and never enter Minis unless you have called to request one. Minis are forbidden by law to pick up hailing passengers from the streets like a regular taxi. Crimes often occur to those not knowing or heeding this advice.
It shouldn’t take long for you to meet a group of good London friends who will more than happy to show you around other parts of the city as well as help educate you on customs and bad sections to avoid when searching for London apartments for rent.
One of the most surprising elements of moving to London to American ex-pats is adjusting to culture shock while living in London. Since the UK is our next of kin and we speak the same language many assume the transition will be easy, similar to a move across the country. In reality, England (and London) is a different country with different cultures and traditions. Americans often have difficulty adjusting to the subtle differences between the US and the UK. Knowing that there will be an adjustment period one can take preemptive steps to combat the frustration and homesickness that will undoubtedly creep up when confronting culture shock.
This time-honored advice could not be more true for American ex-pats. Rather than staying holed up in London flats, Americans should take every opportunity to meet new people. One can begin by getting to know their co-workers, flatmates and neighbors. If that doesn’t do the trick joining a team or taking a community class will introduce one to people with similar interests. All Americans should try and connect with other ex-pats for they will be a great resource for dealing with cultural issues. There are many both real groups and online groups available.
It may be embarrassing to constantly be asking questions of those around you but if one hopes to eventually blend in with the natives the questions are necessary. Instead of constantly pestering a co-worker or neighbor Americans can turn to the internet or American ex-pat forums for advice or cultural explanations. If that doesn’t get the problem solved then turning to a real person is in order. Most British are happy to explain customs and traditions to Americans. Rather than appear standoffish or rude, those just recently relocated to London should ask for clarifications when in doubt.
No matter how well-traveled one maybe they will suffer some type of homesickness. This is natural and to be expected. Even though making new friends in one’s new country is recommended keeping connections to home is also important. Thanks to email, social media and Skype friends and family back home are just a click away. Although one doesn’t want to spend too much time chatting with those in America they do want to maintain the relationships to make the transition to English culture smoother.
Understanding that moving to England is a huge transition for even the most seasoned traveler allows Americans to prepare for down-and-out days when they long for comfort food and family. Adjusting to culture shock while living in London is par for the course and is easily handled if one is willing to be open-minded and forthcoming.
London is a fascinating town. It has its own charm, a magical attraction even. Sadly, there still are times when the magic fades. Especially for those who have just arrived to stay in the capital.
When you first come to London, you are a tourist. You are astonished by the size, the scale, the age-old architecture and the availability of colors. When you stay here for a while you get carried away into the routine. And with a town as big and busy as London, this routine can become your entire life.
Commuting, work, communing, dinner, sleep. Rinse and repeat tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow. And the day after, that until the weekend finally comes.
What would you do on your weekend? Have fun?
Nope, the odds are you will be managing the chores that have piled up during your busy work week.
This, my friends, is how London gets to you. Don’t worry though as this sad period of time is nothing but a stage. A test, if you will. London is making sure that you are made of Londoner material.
Luckily, if it is a test we are talking about, there is also a way to pass it. Thus I introduce to you my list of neat tips and tricks on how not to let London get the best of you!
What do Londoners do when the city becomes too lonely or depressing? That’s obviously simple, they get back to the things that helped them fall in love with the place.
That’s it. Staying happy in London is really that easy. Just follow the tips from above or at least some of them and you’ll see the difference. Feel free to thank me later!
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