Move to the UK as a Canadian or American

How to move to the UK a an American or Canadian

First of all, you need to understand exactly where you want to live in England and that while England is in Great Britain the country is actually comprised of several other nations, which includes, Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland which is actually part of the United Kingdom. Ireland is a separate country and has different rules.

Confused? LOL, doesn’t really matter all you need to know is that the UK is Northern Ireland, Scotland, England( it’s many islands and Wales. Great Britain is actually the landmass that includes Scotland, England and Wales.

Boats on the River Stour at Dedham, Essex, England, in Constable Country.

Whether you are a young professional looking to advance your career, a student seeking quality education, or simply someone seeking a change of scenery, this article will guide you through the essential steps and provide valuable tips on how to smoothly move to the UK.

First and foremost, you will need to determine your eligibility to move to the UK. Thankfully, as an American or Canadian citizen, you have certain privileges that make the process somewhat easier. For instance, Americans can stay in the UK for up to 6 months as tourists without obtaining a visa, while Canadians can stay for up to 180 days as visitors. However, if you plan to stay for longer or pursue employment or education, you will need to apply for the appropriate visa.

Move to the UK as a Canadian or American

How to plan your trip to the UK and Ireland

Xyuandbeyond is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commissionYou can read my privacy policy here.

What you need to know before moving to the UK

 Before moving to the UK, there are several things you need to know to make the transition as smooth as possible. Firstly, weather is always a topic of conversation in Britain, so be prepared for unpredictable conditions and always carry an umbrella. Secondly, the cost of living can be high, particularly in cities like London, so ensure you have a realistic budget in place.

Move to the UK as a Canadian or American

It is also important to familiarize yourself with the healthcare system in the UK, as you will need to register with a local doctor and understand how to access medical services. Additionally, understanding the UK’s transportation system is crucial, as there are various options including trains, buses, trams, and the London Underground. Lastly, acquaint yourself with British etiquette and norms, as this will help you assimilate into the culture more easily. Overall, thorough research and preparation will greatly contribute to a successful move to the UK.

Opening a Bank Account in the UK

As a newcomer, navigating the process of opening a bank account can be overwhelming. From choosing the right bank to understanding the required documents and eligibility criteria, there are several factors to consider.

Although most banks and building societies expect you to have a UK address before you can open a bank account, there are some specialist products that have been designed for non-residents and those who don’t have a fixed address, which could be an alternative if you do not meet the standard criteria.

Move to the UK as a Canadian or American

These are the various forms of identification needed: Council Tax bill (for current year) – including online bills. utility bill (dated within last 4 months), including UK online bills. phone bill (dated within the last 4 months). Mobile phone bills are not acceptable. You should also check with the Bank or Building Society if you cannot produce any of these documents to see what requirements they may have.

Finding accommodation in the UK

 Finding a rental property in the UK can be a daunting task, especially if you are new to the area or unfamiliar with the local rental market. With so many different options available, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you are looking for and how to find it.

When determining a budget you should be aware that many rental properties in the UK do not include Council Taxes or rates in with the rent and this can add a great deal to your basic rent. The same goes for utilities such as electric, gas, oil, water and rubbish removal. Check how your potential location is heated as electric heating is the most expensive.

Traditional Houses in Penzance, UK

Because you have no rental history or credit rating in the UK you may have to be prepared to pay up to one year’s rent in advance. UK landlords are also not welcoming to pets so you may have to pay an increased rent to allow your pets to stay.

Two of the most commonly used rental platforms in the UK are: Right Move and On the Market.

How to move to the UK: Ancestry Visa or by descent

If you are someone whose descendants come from anywhere in the EU or UK (or Ireland) you may be entitled to a European Union Passport by virtue of descent. This means if your parents and in some cases grandparents were born within the EU or the UK you can apply for a passport from that country.

If you were lucky enough to be born in the U.K, coming “home” will be relatively easy and you won’t need any special visa. I would highly recommend applying for your UK passport from the country where you are currently living before you decide to move to the UK. The earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before you travel.

Tourist Visas

If you’re not a UK or EU citizen, then make sure you get your visa arranged prior to leaving your home country. A tourist visa does not give you the right to live or work in the UK. While Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and nationals from certain other countries can usually enter the UK visa-free as tourists, this does not give you the right to work.

Move to the UK as a Canadian or American

 If you’re caught working without the correct visa, you’ll likely be removed from the country and you could be barred from re-entering the UK for up to 10 years. As a citizen of any of these countries, you can stay in the UK for up to 6 months as long as your passport is valid.

The UK is now no longer a European Union member and over the next few months and years, things will change with regard to visas for the EU. It will still maintain the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

I’m an American/Canadian/Australian/New Zealand citizen, can I move to the UK?

If you’re a citizen of any of the above and you’re looking to move to the UK to stay for 6 months or more, you’ll need to obtain the relevant visa. Work, family, study or investment are all relevant reasons for a visa, however, so you’ll need to apply for whichever visa type you legally need in order to be able to move to the UK.

If you have family or a relative living in the UK with either British Citizenship, settlement or asylum status then you may be able to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa. This entitles you to move to the UK for a period of 6 months or more. You can actually stay for up to 33 months, at which point you can then extend your visa.

Move to the UK as a Canadian or American

Ancestry Visa

You can live and work in the UK for a period of up to five years with an Ancestry visa, as well as exit and re-enter the UK freely on multiple occasions. You can then begin to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), which can lead to full British citizenship.

You can apply for a UK Ancestry visa if you’re one of the following: a British overseas citizen (Hong Kong), a Commonwealth Citizen (of which there are 56 countries).

However you have to prove that one of your grandparents was born in the UK, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel and if applying from outside the UK it will take a minimum of 3 weeks. The cost is £531, and you will have to pay a healthcare surcharge. You can check how much here.

How long you can stay on an Ancestry Visa

You can stay in the UK for 5 years on this visa. You can apply to extend this visa after 5 years or apply to settle permanently in the UK and apply for indefinite leave to remain.

What you can and cannot do on an Ancestry Visa

With a UK Ancestry visa you can work, study and bring your spouse or partner and children. However you will not be entitled to any public funds.

How do I become a UK citizen?

After living in the United Kingdom legally for five years in a row as a Tier 2 (General) Migrant, you are eligible to submit an application for indefinite leave to stay (ILR) Before you may apply for British citizenship, you will need to have Indefinite Leave to Remain for a minimum of a year.

Spouse Visa

U.K spouse visas are one of the most common visa types. If your husband, wife or civil partner is a British citizen then you can apply through this visa category to live in the U.K. Different from other visa types, a spouse visa will give you the right to work in the U.K whilst living there. You must be able to prove that you’re legally married, that you intend to live together for the duration of your living here and be able to financially support yourself independent of any government funding.

Whichever spouse is a British citizen must also meet the £18,600 per year minimum income requirement for a spouse visa. The same rules apply if you are an unmarried partner who wants to join their boyfriend or girlfriend in the U.K, although you must have lived together for a minimum of 2 years and meet the financial requirements. If there are children involved there is an additional financial requirement for the children.

Types of Visas for Non-UK/Non-European Nationals

A Standard Visitor Visa is the most commonly applied for and it allows you to stay in the UK for a variety of reasons, which can include:

·        on holiday or to see your family and friends

·        for business, or to take part in sports or creative events

·        to receive private medical treatment

·        you’re an academic and are doing research or accompanying students on a study abroad programme

·        you’re a doctor or dentist and are coming to the UK to take a clinical attachment or observer post

·        you want to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

·        you want to get funding to start, take over, join or run a business in the UK

·        Take a course of study for up to 30 days as long as it is not the main reason for visiting

·        Take part in an exchange program for students under 18

You can check if you need this visa if you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and see the full list of any business-related activities you can undertake.

You might be able to stay for longer if:

·        you’re coming to the UK for private medical treatment – up to 11 months (£179 fee)

·        you’re an academic on sabbatical and coming to the UK for research – you, your spouse or civil partner may be able to stay for up to 12 months (£179 fee)

·        If you’re staying in the UK as an academic or to receive private medical treatment for longer than 6 months, you must apply for a biometric residence permit.

Long-term visit visas

If you can prove you need to visit the UK regularly over a longer period, you can apply for a visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years. You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit. The cost of this Visa is £89 for one year, £337 for 2 years, £612 for 5 years and £767 for ten years.

Chester, UK: Mar 1, 2020: A general street scene of Northgate Street at early evening with few shoppers.

UK Study Visas & Tier 4 General Student Visas

Student Visas are designed for people from outside the European Economic Area who are doing a short course or some form of study in the UK.

Study visas allow you to stay in the UK for a maximum of 6 to 11 months but it does depend on exactly what you are studying.

A study visa will cost £85 for a 6-month visa and £162 for an 11-month extended visa.

You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa which is for longer-term study if you’re 16 or over and you:

·        have been offered a place on a course

·        can speak, read, write and understand English

·        have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – the amount will vary depending on your circumstances

·        are from a country that’s not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland

·        meet the other eligibility requirements

It costs £335 to apply for this visa from outside the UK. You must pay £335 per person for any dependents.

You will also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

How long you can stay

·        You can arrive in the UK before your course starts:

·        up to 1 week before, if your course lasts 6 months or less

·        up to 1 month before, if your course lasts more than 6 months

·        How long you can stay depends on the kind, of course, you’re doing and what study you’ve already completed.

What you can and can’t do

You can:

·        study

·        work as a student union sabbatical officer

·        apply from inside or outside the UK

·        apply to extend your stay

·        work in most jobs – depending on what level your course is and what kind of sponsor you have

Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

You can apply for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa if you: are between the ages of 18-30 you can work in the UK for up to 2 years with a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa without sponsorship if you:

·        Have £2530 in savings

·        Have certain types of British Nationality or are from certain countries (Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, or Taiwan)

·        Meet the other eligibility requirements: you cannot apply if you have:

·        children who live with you

·        children, you’re financially responsible for

·        already been in the UK under the scheme or in the former ‘working holidaymaker’ category diverse country can become a reality.

Business Visitor visas

A business visitor visa is designed for people from outside the European Economic Area who intend to visit the UK as part of their job. Business visitor visas allow you to stay in the UK for up to 6 months (or 12 months if you are an academic visitor).

As a business visitor, you are only permitted to do activities related to your job, but you must be employed by an overseas business corporation and paid via them.

If you are an academic visitor, you should apply for a specific academic visitor visa, which will allow you to stay in the UK to do research or accompany students who are studying in the UK. Family members of academic visitors can also apply for a general visitor or child visa and can stay in the UK for up to 12 months.

Doctors and dentists should apply for the specific Doctors and dentists visa, which permits an individual to undertake clinical assignments in the UK. A business visitor visa costs £84 per person.

Getting a Work Visa as a Canadian or American

You can work in the UK either as a Canadian or American if you have received a job offer with sponsorship from a UK employer. You can only apply if you’ve been offered a skilled job in the UK. Your employer must be on the list of licensed sponsors and provide you with a certificate of sponsorship in order to sponsor your move to the UK.

What jobs am I eligible for? Skilled Worker Visa

This will depend on the individual employer, the type of role, and your relevant skills and experience.

Whilst some organisations have a licence to sponsor temporary and/or permanent employees to allow them to work at their business, not all of them will be able to do this.

To find out whether the job is suitable for EU, EEA and Commonwealth citizens, or for applicants outside of these areas, check the job description – or get in touch with the employer directly.

The NHS – Healthcare in the UK

The National Health Service or the NHS as it is known here was created in 1948 to provide free health care services for all British citizens.

The NHS includes hospitals, accident and emergency, dentists, and general practitioners along with other medical services.

Residents of the UK have access to the NHS free of charge, and foreign nationals are able to use the service free of charge in emergencies.

Foreign nationals can use the NHS free of charge if they intend to take up a permanent residence or if they are claiming asylum. If a foreign national has been a resident in the UK for over twelve months, they are also entitled to free health care via the NHS. More information about NHS services for visitors can be found on the NHS Website.

Move to the UK as a Canadian or American

Moving to a new country is a major decision that requires careful planning and consideration. For many Americans and Canadians, the United Kingdom offers a unique blend of culture, history, and opportunities that make it an attractive destination. However, the process of relocating to the UK can seem daunting, especially when it comes to navigating the visa requirements and immigration procedures.

So there you have it, everything you need to know about moving to the U.K. Like I said, in the beginning, various areas have different rules and regulations when it comes to things like the NHS or looking for work but usually there is a citizens advice bureau in these areas that will be able to answer your questions.

You might also like

My Move to Europe – 21 personal stories

International Housesitting & how to get house sitting jobs

Moving to Ireland the ultimate guide

Want to live in Ireland? Here’s how to move there

Good luck with your move to the U.K.


  • Faith was born in Ireland raised in Canada and has lived in over 10 countries in Europe including England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Northern Ireland, Wales, along with Mexico, Antigua, the US and has slow travelled to over 40 countries around the world. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Women's Studies Faith is a student of history, culture, community and food and has written about these topics for over 40 years.

68 thoughts on “Move to the UK as a Canadian or American”

  1. Carmela Hansen

    Thanks to you, now I know which documents to bring with me when I move to the UK. Aside from this, I know that I should also be considering to hire a removal company seeing the numerous belongings I have to take with me. Do you have an article or write-up solely focused on hiring removal companies? I already found one which might be able to help me with the process, but I need tips or advice to help me ensure that they’re the right one for the job. I hope you could help me, thanks in advance.

  2. Harjit Singh Lakhan

    Hi, “England is Britain the country is actually comprised of several other countries, which includes, Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland”

    Actually, England is part of Great Britain. Great Britain comprises of England, Scotland and Wales. United Kingdom comprises of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  3. Tesseir Francis

    I would love to relocate from Antigua UK but don’t know anyone I am trying to better my self I am asking for some help to relocate

    1. 18 – 45 year olds from Antigua And Barbuda are able to apply for a Work Visa to the UK. Successful applicants can migrate and work in the UK permanently or temporarily you should check with the local Embassy to find out if you are eligible.

  4. I am a 48 year old Canadian who can get British Citizenship as my dad and other family are from there. I would like to move to England permanently. I would like to work and study there. Do I need to have a certain amount of savings to move there? Also what is the age of retirement and what would be my options at that point?

    1. Your first step would be to obtain your British Passport, which can be done through the Consulate in Canada and you can get in touch with them to obtain the right paperwork. You would supply them with your details, your dad’s birth certificate and all the usual passport application details. Once you have obtained the Passport you are then considered a British citizen and can move to England. At that point, all you need to do is get on a plane and go. Of course its a little more complicated as you would have to have savings to keep you going until you find work. As for your pension, England has a reciprocal arrangement with England so that you can transfer or collect your Canadian Pension in the UK. The England pension age is somewhat different from Canada, but you can also collect your Canadian pension at the usual age and simply have it paid into your Canadian bank account which you can then transfer to the UK. You can also collect a British pension if you have paid into the system through whatever work you obtain in England. I hope that helps a little. You can email me at [email protected] if you have other questions.

    2. My wife and I UK born and life in Canads with s Canadian citizenship. We want to retire in England.
      Can we do that with Covid restrictions now?

      1. Yes you can return to the UK with certain restrictions according to the website “To enter or return to the UK from abroad (except from Ireland), you must follow all the rules for entering the UK. These include providing your journey and contact details, and evidence of a negative COVID-19 test before you travel. When you arrive, you must quarantine and take additional COVID-19 tests. This will take place in a managed quarantine hotel if you enter England from a red list travel ban country, or enter Scotland.”

        Canada is not on the banned list so it appears as long as you have a negative test and hopefully the vaccine you should be fine. You can check with the British Embassy but here is the link to the above information

  5. Hello!!

    I am a Canadian citizen (born and raised). My family has no connections with the UK at all, so to become a citizen, I need to meet and marry a UK citizen, is that correct?

    1. Not necessarily you could apply for a work or study visa both of which can lead to being able to stay in the UK until you can apply for citizenship.

  6. Hello:

    I am a Canadian Citizen who has recently gotten my Italian Citizenship (Italian passport). Question. Can I move to England, and if so is there any limitation on how long I stay, without employment. I am too young to retire, and currently work as a Mechanical Engineer. Any advice would be appreciated

    1. Hi Micheal thanks to the whole Brexit uncertainty I would wait until after October 31st to make plans to move. Currently with England as part of the EU freedom of movement between EU countries is the law and those with EU passports can move to any EU country within the EU and live there. Of course, you have to register for services like healthcare, taxes and so on which can get complex but is doable. I would recommend that you search job boards for employment to see if you can get a job offer before you go. Failing that do your homework with regard to where you want to live in England, what jobs are available and so on. Currently there is no limitation on length of stay or getting employment in the UK but of course, Brexit could change all that.

  7. I am a Canadian citizen , self employment in Canada and I want to work as self employment in England too, would you please let me know which visa i have to get it ?

      1. Hi, just to clarify … Can my child become local UK student when I move over in start-up visa, or they will be categorised as international student?

        Thanks in advance.

        1. If your child is under 18 I believe they will be treated as a local UK student. You will have to pay for their Visa and of course the healthcare supplement that is required under law for every family member. There is also no access to public funds for dependents such as childcare allowance and so on. There is a list here–2/public-funds. If your child is over 18 I suspect they would have to apply for a separate visa as a student if they hope to attend University or College.

  8. I am a Canadian citizen who arrived in the UK Sep. 9 2019 and I have house sitting commitments in the UK until Mar 25 2020. That’s 3 weeks past my allowable 6 month period. Im going to be in S. Ireland in January 2020 for 12 days. When I re-enter the UK, does my 6 month allowable time begin again?

    1. Hi Michael well according to the law –

      “If you’ve stayed longer than you’re allowed to under your visa, this is called overstaying. You’ll have 30 days to leave the country from the date it expired. If you’re an overstayer and want to stay in the UK, you should check what you can do. If you applied for a new visa before your old one expired, you can stay in the UK until you get a decision. You won’t be an overstayer if your application’s valid.”

      As a housesitter you can’t claim that as an excuse as it is considered “work” even though you are not being paid. You are a visitor or tourist not a housesitter. You could apply for an extension of your Visa or permit to stay in the UK for 6 months and this would mean that you can safely overstay as the permission process would be in the works. You would need to prove you are self-supporting and can afford to travel in the UK without access to financial supports, you would also need to prove you have healthcare insurance if you became ill in the UK those would be mandatory for being able to apply for a visa extension.

  9. Hey
    I have residentce permit in UK
    I can bring my girlfriend to UK from Canada then I wanna marry her and we want to live in UK
    Thanks a lot

  10. Hi I’m from UK lived with my Canadian wife for 18 years in Canada, I now have dual citizenship have my wife and 2 kids 9 and 15 who o ly have Canadian passports.
    My mum has health issues so we need to move back quickly, while I know I can get in with my UK passport can my wife and kids apply within the UK? Like I say it’s pretty urgent, she doesnt need to work.
    If not… do they have to go back to Canada or can they stay with family in portugal or CZ and apply from there? Can they apply ome back to uk while it’s being assessed? I will be buying a house when I get there, so will be a resident.

    1. Hi Paul, since your wife and children are Canadian they can stay in the UK for up to 6 months without a visa. Since you are a British citizen your family can apply for permanent residence while in the UK staying with you. The visa can be applied for while in the UK. You can check with your local consulate or go to this link for more information

      “The family of a settled person visa allows people from outside of the EEA to join a family member in the UK, who is a British citizen, has indefinite leave to remain in the UK, or is in the UK under asylum or humanitarian protection laws.”

      Hope that helps

  11. Darlene Vukorep

    I am a Canadian citizen, over 65 years of age and will be retired shortly. My daughter is a settled person in the UK and will shortly have UK citizenship. I would like to move to the UK for 2 years to provide childcare and assist my daughter in the care of her baby. Can you please tell me what type of visa I need to apply for. My regular visa only allows me to stay for 6 months.

    1. Hi Darlene, I believe you can apply for what is called a derivative residence card. The law says this:

      You’re eligible for a derivative residence card if you’re living in the UK and you’re one of the following:

      the primary carer of someone who has the right to live in the UK
      the primary carer’s child
      the child of a former worker from the European Economic Area (EEA) and you’re at school, college or university in the UK
      Being a ‘primary carer’ means you’re someone’s main carer, or you share the responsibility with someone else at least equally, and you’re their direct relative or legal guardian.

      I think as you will have a pension from Canada and will be financially independent you should be able to apply for this visa. You can read more and apply here Or simply call the consulate close to you and have a chat with someone there about this particular visa and what documentation you may need.

      1. Shahid Malik

        I am Canadian citizen over 65 years old. I am living on my pension money with free medical treatment (as a old citizen). I would like to move to the UK to live with my daughter. My question is that will I be able to get free medical and benefits in England. Or will I be able transfer my pension from Canada to the UK. I want to move to the UK because Canadian weather is not suitable for my health. Please feed me back as soon as possible.

        1. Hello, if your daughter is a citizen of the UK she can apply to sponsor you and you can move to the UK to be with family. You can still receive your Canadian pension as the UK has a reciprocal agreement with Canada so you can be sure to still get your Canadian pension with no problem. As for healthcare if you receive your UK residency you should be covered with the NHS for medical benefits.

  12. Hi our Family live in the UK. My husband and 3 kids are British Citizens by birth even though we lived in Jamaica (where I am from) form many years before moving to the UK. I am a permanent resident in the UK. I have an older son who resides in Canada and is a Canadian citizen by birth. He lived with the family in Jamaica but went to Canada to study. How can he move to the UK to live with us. He is over 18 and not married.

    1. You would need to become a naturalised British citizen if you don’t qualify under the CUKC rules (see below quote), you could then pass on your citizenship via descent to your son. Depending on your year of birth you may qualify for British citizenship as “Any person born within the UK and any of the UK Colonies between 01.01.1949 and 31.12.1982 were classified as a Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (CUKC) and could hold a passport to that end.” Take a look at this link for naturalisation information and you could also contact them about your son’s citizenship.

  13. Timea Terzic

    My Aunty lives in Canada and a Canadian citizen for 25 years(she’s 70), has pension there after the Bosnian war in the 90’s. Her husband died recently and all her family lives in the uk and uk citizens. She would like to join us to be near. What options does she have? Thank you. Timea

    1. There is a possibility that she may be allowed to come to the UK under your sponsorship. This would mean that you would be responsible for her financial support and she would probably have to live with you. She is legally allowed to collect her Canadian pensions in the UK as they do have a reciprocal arrangement with Canada so she could get her pensions. She may need to have a private health care plan but at this point I would not be able to tell you that as the law changes all the time. I would strongly advise that you contact the government or your local MP and find out if they can get you the information you need. There is a lot of information here but it isn’t clear and these visas can sometimes be difficult to obtain.

  14. Hi
    My daughter was born in the uk in 1989 ,I and her dad were illegal at the time, but now Iam a UK citizens . Daughter now 30 years old living in Canada unmarried wants to come to to Uk to live with me . How do I start.

    1. I suspect since your daughter was born in the UK her birth cert would state that. Given that I think she would automatically be a UK citizen and she could apply for a UK passport and that’s all she would need to enter the UK and stay there. I would advise checking with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau ( just to be on the safe side, but as you are now a legal citizen of the UK she may also be able to claim citizenship through you.

  15. Bozhidara Savchova

    Hi, I’m British citizen living in Canada with my wife, who is Canadian. We want to move to UK. What kind of visa she needs and how we can apply?

    1. No requirements except travel insurance, as a Canadian you are allowed to stay in the UK for up to 90 days without a visa of any kind so you are good to go.

  16. I am a 25 year old Canadian Citizen looking to work out of my current company’s (Canadian Company) UK office for 6 months. What kind of Visa would I need? If i chose to stay longer would I be able to?

    1. Hi James, you would need your company basically to sponsor you to work in their UK offices. This is called an intra-company transfer. However, there are a lot of conditions that apply you can read about them here You have to be an employee who has worked for the company for more than 12 months or be a graduate trainee for specialist roles. You need to be a recent graduate with at least 3 months’ experience with your employer overseas. In addition to the rules for the transfer, you will have to pay a Health care fee per year upfront. This fee is 400 sterling a year and if you stay for 5 years you have to pay all of it upfront. If either of your parents was born in the UK you could apply for citizenship based on this as well. Otherwise, you need to be hired by a UK company to work in the UK because of your specialized skills. Hope that helps a little.

    1. If you have parents that were born in the UK you can claim citizenship which means you could move there and work. Or if that’s not possible you can study in the UK and receive a work permit for a long term educational program. You couldn’t get a work visa for a short term program though. And then there is the option of being transferred to the UK if your company has offices there, or being hired by a UK company.

  17. Hi ,
    I’m a Canadian citizen and want to move and work in Britain after getting my Ph.D. next year. I’m 54 year old.
    Thanks in advance,

    1. If you don’t have any immediate relative to qualify for British Citizenship you would have to apply for a Visa. So you would need to have skills that Britain needs or be recruited by a company that is UK based and hiring. You can also check if you might fall into any of the potential visa categories here

      Tier 1 Visas are for investors, entrepreneurs and industry leaders. These visas do not require you to have a job offer in the UK but still have some very strict requirements.

      A Tier 2 (General) Visa requires proof that you are a skilled worker who has been offered a job from a recognised workplace for a permanent (longer than six months) contract. The workplace should hold a UK Sponsor Licence.

      A Tier 5 Temporary Visa allows you to work in the UK as a skilled worker for a period of six months or less. The workplace should also hold a UK Sponsor Licence.

      For this reason, your individual situation and skills determine which working visa you require. To decide which visa category best suits your circumstances, contact one of our immigration experts who can assist you with no-obligation advice


    hello, i’m a Canadian citizenship, I’m between the age of 25 to 30 is it possible for me to move to UK for while and work and what type of visa would i need?

  19. I am a 53 year old Canadian Citizen and a Ph.D. Engineer. There are far more opportunities in the UK than there are in Canada, and I would like very much to move to London permanently. I have a wife and a 16 year old son. My wife is a Nurse and a Canadian citizen.

    How should I proceed?

    1. Hi Karl, your best best is to get hired by a London based company unless of course you or your wife have a British parent from which you can claim citizenship. To get a work permit you need to have received a confirmed offer of employment from a licensed UK employer who will act as your sponsor; and. Be in possession of a Certificate of Sponsorship issued by your sponsoring employer.

  20. Hi! I’m 21 years old, and newly married! My husband and I are looking to live in the UK for about 3 months so that I can sing. There are people who I plan to take singing lessons from while I’m there. How should I approach getting there, especially if any of the gigs I get set up with are paid gigs? Do I need a special type of visa? Will this visa cover travel to Ireland for the same thing? There are people I can take lessons from there as well. Thank you!

    1. I would suggest that you and your husband each apply for a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa if you:
      want to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years
      are aged 18 to 30
      have £1,890 in savings
      have certain types of British Nationality or are from certain countries Canadians can easily apply

      You have to apply 6 months before you want to go to England and I would check with the Consulate with regard to being a couple and what the financial savings might be in case they are different for the two of you.

  21. Hi!
    I am a Canadian citizen and have recently offered a job in the NHS, England. I applied for Tier 2 Visa. My Certificate of sponsorship mentioned that it will be a single entry visa for 1 year. Does that mean I cannot come back to Canada for a short holiday and return to the Uk during this 1 year period?
    Many Thanks.

  22. Hello,

    Just to be certain, my wife and I are both Canadian with no connection to the UK.
    We both have pensions and would like t retire in England, are we eligible for NHS after 1 year of residency? I would assume we’d have to apply for residency and NHS. Thanks for all the helpful information you provide.

    1. Hello, it is very difficult right now to retire to the UK without any connection. There used to be a Visa you could get as long as you met the income requirements but that has been done away with although they promise to establish a new program soon. I suspect that nothing will be done until after the whole Brexit mess has been sorted.

  23. I recently got my Canadian citizenship. My parents live in UK on settled status. My dad has a Spanish passport. I would like to move to UK to live and work there. Please could anyone guide me how could I do that.

    1. It may be tricky for you to move to the UK and settle there due to Brexit. You might be able to move depending on your age and your work by obtaining a job offer. Check here for more details As a Canadian citizen and as someone who has ties to the UK that will go in your favour but I would contact the British Embassy near you in Canada to determine what category you could apply under.

  24. Hello,
    Thanks for this article and for being good enough to respond to so many inquiries. I hope you won’t mind one more. I am 66 years old and retiring in 2021. I will receive Canada Pension Plan and an income from my private plan. I have no ties to the UK. But I have had a deep desire to live there since I was a child. I am hoping there is a chance for someone like me. Is there, do you think? What would I need to do to fulfill this dream, if it is at all possible?
    Thank you.

    1. It may be tricky for you to move to the UK and settle there due to Brexit. Currently, there is no way for a Canadian to retire to the UK unless they have ties/family there. They are looking at creating a category visa for retirees but usually, the sums of money you have to have available to you are quite high. For example, in Ireland, you must have a pension of 50,000 euros per month and enough to buy a house which would be around 400,000 euros. The UK does look favourable on Canadians due to the countries relationship with each other so if I were you I would contact the British Embassy and check with them to see if the government has implemented a way for retirees to come to the UK.

  25. I’m a British emigrant living in Canada. My daughter has her British passport and wants to attend a music program at a university in Ireland (she specifically likes this program). We’re aware of the right to live/work/study between the UK and Ireland, but I’ve warned her that they’ll charge international student rates because she isn’t a resident of the UK. Her argument is that there she can’t see anything in the rules that specifically says she has to be a resident of the UK.

    Where can I find out if she’s right? I’ve been looking through the legalities of it and I don’t have satisfactory proof. There are music programs in Canada and the UK. If she doesn’t want to stay in Canada, she has more than enough relatives in England who would put her up for free for a few years while she gets residency if it means that much to her. I’ll be honest that I’d prefer she go to school in Canada, near us. Or England, where she could stay with my family to keep an eye on her. She isn’t known to be the adventurous type and this is out of character. I’d be worried about her in Ireland. Is this something she could even do?

    1. Hi Emily, your daughter is right as a British citizen and passport holder she can study anywhere in Ireland and Northern Ireland as a British subject and will be the same as any other student from the UK or Ireland. It is most definitely something she can do. However, I will warn you that depending on which university she wants to attend living costs in Ireland can be stupendously high as in major Canadian city high. Apartments and so on in Dublin cost the earth although I do believe some Uni’s offer student accommodation. My friend’s children all went to school in Dublin and are now getting their Masters degrees in Queens in Belfast. Ireland is very safe and she will make friends really quickly and probably the easiest way for her to do that is to find student accommodation or a shared apartment. As long as she is accepted she can go to university either in Northern Ireland or in the ROI. She may need to arrange for private healthcare insurance which would give you some peace of mind regarding anything that might happen medically, but I truly believe she will have the time of her life attending school here in Ireland,

  26. I’m originated from HKG but moved to Canada and now I’m Canadian. If I understand correctly, I’m not eligible to apply for the (HKG) BNO Visa as I don’t reside in HKG for the past 20 years (only go to HKG when I’m on vacation). I was an overseas student in the UK back in the 80s and very much hope that I can move to UK for my retirement life. As a holder of an expired BNO am I still eligible to apply for the BNO visa? Thank you very much.

    1. I have read that you can renew a BNO even if it has expired – you could try that do you have family in Hong Kong? That way you do have a residence with your family that still lives there which you could use for a renewal. The British government has no retirement visa currently as they were supposed to institute one when they changed the immigration laws. They are supposedly working on some kind of retirement visa for Canadians and others but that will probably take a few years. They used to have a plan whereby if you had a certain amount of income, private health insurance and so on you could retire to England and not be dependant on the state in any way – there will be eventually some kind of Visa for that.

  27. Hi. I just want to ask. Me and my wife along with our 3 year old daughter are going to move to UK with Tier 2 Visa. Now, my both parents are Canadian Citizens, my father is 64 years old and my mother is 61 years old. We want them to live with us in the UK to look after our 3 year old daughter. Me and my wife are both working as a Nurse. What kind of visa they need to acquire other than the 6 months visit visa? We want them to stay longer to avoid travelling every 6 months.

    1. In order to sponsor your parents for residence in the UK you must be a permanent resident. This means that you have to have lived in the UK for 5 years. This is from the UK government site about sponsorship – Tier 2 to Permanent Residence If you are currently employed under a Tier 2 visa, you need to have stayed in the UK for at least five years before you apply for Permanent Residence also known as ILR. Only when you become a permanent resident can you sponsor other family members.

  28. My partner is looking to move to the UK with me. I have a British passport she has a lot of money saved and in investments. Would she be taxed on it coming in?

    1. Hi Scott I’m not an expert on taxes but I do know there is a taxation agreement between Canada and the UK. I believe that if you are taxed at source in Canada you won’t be taxed again in the UK. It would be best of course if you plan to live in the UK permanently that you sort out the relevant taxation issues which I think can be done with Revenue Canada. If you declare yourself non-resident in Canada that does change the taxation situation but never having done that I’m not sure just how it would change.

  29. I am a Canadian citizen as is my wife.
    I also hold a British passport.
    If I move to the UK can my wife live there too?
    We also have a son and two grandchildren who have British passports and live in the UK.

    1. Hi Rob, yes you can apply for a British spouse visa for your wife. You will have to prove an income of I believe £18,000 per year and there is a fee to process the application. I believe it takes around 24 weeks or so if applying from another country. you can also get in touch with the nearest British consulate and ask them about the process.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top