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I’m a US Citizen, How Can I get a UK Visa?

By on November 9, 2016

How Can US Citizens Get a UK VisaDear transatlantic cousins, we know us Brits are hardly in a position to criticise your political decisions after the Brexit fiasco, but it seems like you’ve really fumbled the ball on this one, chaps.

Understandably, a good portion of you probably aren’t particularly thrilled about the prospect of a caricature of an 80’s super-villain holding office, so the good people of Carter Law would like to offer you some advice on how you can elope to the UK.

If you’re an American citizen who would like to move to the UK, to escape your new galactic overlord or otherwise, we’ve put together this handy guide on the routes you can take to acquiring a UK visa.

How Can American Citizens Apply for a UK Visa?

It is a legal requirement for an American who desires to live in the UK for more than 6 months to get a visa. If you don’t apply for and obtain the correct visa, you will be denied entry into the UK and regrettably you’ll be deported by the Home Office back to the good old US of A, where Donald is. Sorry. If you don’t want to go back, then you better make sure you pick the RIGHT visa!

So which visa is right for you?

I want to come to the UK and study! Then the Student Visa is the correct visa for you brain box.

Student Visa for US Citizens

I want to come to the UK and study! Then the Student Visa is the correct visa for you brain box.

If you want to study in the UK, then you must apply for a Student Visa. You should apply for a student visa within 3 weeks of your courses start date. You are permitted to arrive in the UK 1 week before your course starts if the course is 6 months or less and 1 month before your course starts providing the course is longer than 6 months.

How long you’re allowed to stay in the UK on a student visa is entirely dependent on how long your studies last. We’d advise getting yourself onto a four-year Undergraduate course, that should see you through to the next election.

Requirements

  • You must have an unconditional offer on a course licensed by a Tier 4 Sponsor.
  • You must have enough money to pay for the course and to support yourself during the course.

Family of A Settled Person Visa

I have family in the UK / My Boyfriend / Girlfriend live in the UK and I want to live with them! Good news, blood is thicker than the water that separates America from Britain (The Atlantic Ocean) and you can move to the UK on a family of a settled person visa.  

A Family Of A Settled Person Visa allows a person to enter the UK for 6 months or more, to join their unmarried partner or family member who is living in the UK permanently. This visa allows you to live in the UK up to 33 months and if you decide you want to stay you can apply to extend your stay.

Requirements

Your family member living in the UK must meet one of the below requirements:

  • Be a British Citizen.
  • Have settlement in the UK.
  • Have Asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK.

And then you must be able to prove:

  • You are over 18 or older.
  • Your relationship with your family member is genuine and recognised in the UK aka legal marriage.
  • You intend to continue living with your family member or partner after you apply for the visa.
  • You and your family have an adequate place to live in the UK.
  • You have a good knowledge of English.

If you are joining your unmarried partner:

  • You must be able to prove you and your partner are over 18
  • You must prove you are both in a genuine relationship and any previous relationships are permanently over.
  • You must at least be:
    • Living together in a relationship for 2 years minimum.
    • Engaged to be married / civil partners.
  • You must also meet the financial requirements of:
  • Salary of at least £18,600 if applying for self only
  • Salary of at least £22,400 if applying for self and dependant
  • A further £2,400 per year for each additional child

If you and your partner are engaged, you must be able to prove that you plan on marrying or having a civil partnership within 6 months of arriving in the UK, during this period you are not permitted to work in the UK.

Spouse Visa

My husband or wife is a British Citizen; we want to live in the UK! Pack your bag love birds; the UK has a visa for that!

A Spouse Visa grants married partners of UK citizens to immigrate to the UK. On this visa, you are able to work in the UK.

Requirements

  • You must be 18 or over.
  • Must be able to prove you and your spouse have met each other and are married legally in the UK.
  • Must be able to prove you and your spouse intend to live together permanently.
  • You must have enough money to support yourself and any dependants without claiming public funds.
  • Your spouse must earn more than £18,600 a year or have enough savings to be able to cover you. This financial requirement is higher if dependants are also immigrating.

A spouse visa usually takes are 2-12 weeks and is viable for 33 months, after this a 2-year extension can then be applied for.

Tier 1 Investor Visa

I have a lot of money burning a hole in my pocket and want to live in the UK. JACKPOT! The UK is always ready for people with a lot of money to come and invest in the UK.

A Tier 1 Investor Visa allows you to live in the UK without the need to work study or undertake any business activities. You will not have to pass any English tests or satisfy maintenance requirements associated with other visas. Holders of this visa also have access to the UK’s education system.

Requirements

  • You must be 18 years old or older
  • You must achieve a score of 75 by:
    • Proving you have money of your own under control which is held in a regulated financial institute and disposable funds in the UK amounting to nothing less than £2million.
    • Proving you have opened an account with a UK regulated bank for the purpose of investing with the amount of nothing less than £2million.

A Tier 1 Investor Visa allows you to live in the UK for 3 years and 4 months. You are able to extend the visa by proving an investment of at least £2million has been made in the UK.

The right to remain in the UK is usually quicker to apply for under this visa as long as you can comply with the requirements.

Investment of £2million in the UK Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years
Investments of £5million in the UK ILR after 3 years
Investments of £10million in the UK IRL after 2 years

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

I want to join / set up a business in the UK. The UK thrives off new businesses and is always looking for new ways to lower unemployment rates.

A Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is suitable if you would like to come to the UK to set up a business or joining and investing into an existing UK business. Dependants are also permitted to move to the UK under this visa and have access to the UK education system.

Requirements

  • You must score a total of 95 points based on:
    • The amount of funds that are available for investment (75)
    • English Language ability (10)
    • Ability to satisfy the UK maintenance requirements (10)
  • You must be 16 years of age or older
  • You must have access to either of the following :
    • At least £200,000, all funds which are disposable and held in a regulated financial institution.
    • At least £50,000 available from the following source:
      • 1 or more registered venture capital firms regulated by financial services authority
      • 1 or more UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions listed as endorsed on the UK trade and investment website
      • 1 or more UK government departments, which made funds available for the specific purpose of establishing or expanding a UK business.

You must apply for this visa 3 months before you wish to arrive in the UK and it is granted for 3 years and 4 months. You are then able to extend the visa under the following conditions.

  • Proof of £200,000 invested in the company
  • Your Company registered within 6 months granted permission to stay in the UK
  • You have created at least 2 full-time positions for settled workers lasting 1 year at least.

Tier 2 General Skilled Visa

I just want to move to the UK for a new job. New country, new job, new you!

A Tier 2 General Skilled Visa allows you to move to the UK for a period of 3 years whilst being in employment. Apply 3 months before you want to arrive in the UK and you must have a job offer before applying for this visa.

Requirements

  • You must have a certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • An appropriate Salary of £20,800 or more
  • You must meet the required level of English
  • You must also have £945 in your savings account 90 days prior you apply. (This isn’t required if you sponsor is fully approved.)

Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Visa

My employer in America has offered me a position in the UK. Relocation, Relocation, Relocation, grab your passport you’re being transferred to Britain! 

You can move to the UK if your current employer in America has offered you a position in Britain with a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Visa. However, your employer would need to sponsor you before you can apply to work in the UK. The work which you carry out in the UK must relate to the work of your sponsor’s organisation. There are 4 types of intra-company transfer visas.

 

Long Term Staff

Transfer of more than 12 months in a role that can’t be filled by a new UK recruit. Must have worked for at least 1 year with a current American employer. If you earn more than £155,300 per year you can stay in the UK for up to 9 years, if you earn less then you can stay up to 5 years and 1 month.
 

Short Term Staff

Transfers up to 12 months in a role that can’t be filled a new UK recruit. Must have worked at least 1 year with a current American employer. You can stay in the UK for up to 12 months.
 

Graduate Trainee

Transfers into graduate trainee programmes for specialist roles. Must be a recent graduate with at least 3 month’s experience with a current American employer. You can stay in the UK for up to 12 months.
 

Skills Transfer

Transfers that allow people to gain skills and knowledge needed to perform their job role in America or to pass their skills to UK colleagues. You can stay in the UK up to 6 months.

Requirements

  • You must have a certificate of sponsorship reference number.
  • You must have the appropriate salary of :
    • Long term staff – at least £41,500 per year or the appropriate rate for the role (whichever is higher).
    • Short Term Staff, Graduate Trainee, Skills Transfer – at least £24,800 or the appropriate rate (whichever is higher).
  • You must have at least £945 in your savings account 90 days prior application (unless your sponsor is fully approved).

UK Immigration Advice for American Citizens

Mercifully you do have some options open to you! There are plenty of paths you can take to escape the US and make a new life in the UK. Canada might seem a little closer to home, but we hear their immigration authority’s website is a little overloaded at the moment.

How Can Americans Get a British Visa

The UK’s immigration laws may seem a little overwhelming, however, Carter Law’s friendly and highly experienced immigration solicitors (that’s attorney by the way), are here to offer you impartial advice and guidance.

Don’t hesitate to contact us and arrange a consultation with via Skype or telephone.