Crossing the Pond – Your Ultimate Guide to Moving to England

Posted Country Guides / February 13, 2024
Hannah Michaelson

Hannah is a freelance relocation writer from NYC that has become an expert on packing and unpacking.

Embarking on the adventure of moving to England? This comprehensive guide is your beacon through the exhilarating process. From navigating the complexities of visa applications to finding your new home and integrating into the local culture, we’ll cover every aspect of this journey. Whether you’re drawn by history, education, or the promise of a fresh start, let this be your roadmap to a successful transition.

What You Need to Know About England Before Moving Abroad

Moving abroad to England is an exciting prospect filled with new opportunities and experiences. However, before packing for a move, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with a few key aspects of life in this historic and culturally rich country.

Known for its diverse landscapes, from the bustling streets of London to the serene hills of the Lake District, this country offers a unique blend of modernity and tradition. The weather here is famously unpredictable, with possible rain showers even during the summer months. The first relocation tip you should remember is to always be prepared with an umbrella!

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Cultural Nuances and Social Norms

Understanding the cultural nuances and social norms is essential for anyone planning to move to England. The English are known for their politeness and love for tea. Punctuality is highly valued in professional and social settings, so always aim to be on time.

Additionally, this country is a melting pot of cultures, which is reflected in its culinary diversity, festivals, and the everyday life of its cities and towns. Embracing these aspects will not only help you adjust to a new country more quickly but also enrich your living experience.

The Essential Documentation for Moving to England From the USA

When organizing a move abroad, the first step is gathering important documentation. A valid passport is a must-have, but the cornerstone of your move is obtaining the right visa. The type of visa you’ll need depends on your reason for relocating – be it for work, study, or love. For work, you might need a Tier 2 visa, which requires a job offer from a UK employer. Students should apply for a Tier 4 visa, provided they have an acceptance letter from a UK institution.

How Can You Get Permanent Residency and Citizenship?

Permanent residency in the UK, known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), can be applied for after legally living in the country for a certain number of years, typically five. Eligibility depends on your visa category, with requirements including passing the Life in the UK test and proving knowledge of the English language – at least you won’t have to worry about learning a language!

Citizenship is the next step after obtaining ILR, and it is available after living in the UK for at least one year with ILR status. Citizenship involves a more stringent application process, including a good character assessment and further evidence of your commitment to the UK.

What Are the Best Cities to Live in England? Moving to London vs. Other Cities

The entire UK is a tapestry of history, culture, and innovation, making the decision of where to live an exciting challenge. From bustling metropolises brimming with life to serene towns offering a quaint and picturesque lifestyle, England has something for everyone. Here are three of the best cities to live in, each unique in what it offers to its residents.

London: A Cosmopolitan Hub of Opportunity

London is the heart of England, a global city teeming with opportunities, culture, and history. It’s the economic, political, and cultural capital, offering an unparalleled lifestyle. With iconic landmarks like the British Museum, the Big Ben, the West End theaters, and countless parks, London is a city that never sleeps. Relocating here is a decision very few people regret.

The diversity here is unmatched, providing a wide array of cuisines, languages, and cultural festivals. However, this comes with a higher cost of living, making it a challenging yet rewarding city to call home.

Bristol: Creativity and Sustainability Combined

Bristol stands out for its blend of historical charm and modern innovation. Known for its vibrant arts scene, independent shops, and eco-friendly initiatives, Bristol offers a high quality of life. It’s a city that encourages creativity and sustainability, with plenty of green spaces and a strong community vibe. The cost of living is more affordable than London’s, and its excellent schools and universities make it a great choice for families and students.

Manchester: A City Reborn With Culture and Innovation

Manchester is a city of progress, famous for its music scene, sports teams, and thriving job market. It has undergone significant regeneration, transforming it into a hub of culture and commerce. Manchester is more affordable than London, offering a dynamic urban lifestyle without the capital’s price tag.

It boasts an extensive public transport system, making it easy to explore the city’s rich industrial history and lively entertainment options. Manchester’s diversity and friendliness make it a welcoming place for newcomers, solidifying its status as one of the best cities to live in England.

The Cost of Living and Housing After Moving From America to England

Transitioning from America to the UK, new members of an expat community often face a significant change when it comes to the cost of living in the UK and housing expenses. Generally, urban areas in England, particularly London, have higher living costs compared to many American cities.

Housing costs can vary widely for an American moving to England. For example, renting a one-bedroom apartment in central London is considerably more expensive than in smaller cities or rural areas. Groceries, transportation, and utilities also contribute to the monthly expenses, with prices typically higher in England due to VAT and import costs.

Buying vs. Renting Property in England – Which One Is a Better Option?

The decision between buying and renting hinges on your long-term plans, financial stability, and lifestyle preferences. Renting offers flexibility, less responsibility for maintenance, and the ability to easily move if your circumstances change.

On the other hand, buying is an investment that can offer long-term financial benefits, especially in areas with appreciating property values. However, it requires a substantial upfront cost and commitment. For those unsure about their long-term plans or seeking to avoid the complexities of property ownership in a new country, renting may be the preferable option.

British Healthcare System – Options You Can Expect as an Expat

Expatriates have access to the National Health Service (NHS), one of the world’s leading healthcare systems, providing residents with mostly free healthcare. To use the NHS, expats must pay a healthcare surcharge as part of their visa application, granting them access to NHS services similar to that of a UK resident.

However, some opt for private healthcare insurance to cover services not included by the NHS, such as faster specialist access and private rooms. It’s essential to evaluate your healthcare needs and decide if additional private insurance is necessary for your peace of mind and health requirements.

Researching Job Opportunities and Educational System

For those seeking employment, England’s job market is diverse, with opportunities ranging from finance and technology to creative industries. Networking, online job portals, and recruitment agencies are valuable resources for finding a job. It’s also beneficial to recognize any accreditation or qualification conversions needed for your profession.

When it comes to education, the British system is renowned for its high standards, offering a range of options from public schools to prestigious private institutions and universities. Understanding the system is crucial for expats relocating with children, considering factors like location, curriculum, and extracurricular activities. Additionally, the UK is home to some of the world’s top universities, providing excellent opportunities for higher education.

England Expat Guide on Climate, Culture, and Cuisine

Relocating to England offers a unique blend of historical heritage, rich cultural experiences, and diverse culinary delights. Learning about the climate, culture, and cuisine is essential for anyone looking to move across the world and make England their new home.

British Culture and Etiquette You Should Know About

British culture places a high value on politeness, punctuality, and the infamous ‘stiff upper lip.’ Queuing is a serious matter, and skipping the line is frowned upon. The English are known for their dry sense of humor, so be prepared for sarcasm. Also, remember that personal space is important in social interactions.

The Basics of English Cuisine

English cuisine has evolved significantly, embracing multicultural influences while maintaining traditional favorites like fish and chips, roast dinners, and full English breakfasts. Modern British cuisine is a testament to the country’s diversity, featuring a wide range of flavors and ingredients. Pubs play a central role in social life, offering a cozy environment to enjoy classic dishes and a pint of ale. Exploring the local food scene is a delightful way to experience England’s cultural fabric.

The British Climate and Weather to Consider

The temperate maritime climate in England features mild temperatures and frequent rainfall throughout the year.

Winters are generally cold, with temperatures often dropping below freezing, while summers are mild to warm, rarely exceeding 30°C (86°F).

It’s advisable to pack a versatile wardrobe, including waterproof gear and layers that can accommodate the country’s unpredictable weather.

The average temperature in the UK is 4.5°C in the winter and 14°C in the summer

Hiring Movers to Help With Shipping Overseas Is a Wise Decision

Moving overseas is an exciting step, but it can also be daunting and filled with relocation stress, especially when it comes to the logistics of transporting your belongings across the ocean. Hiring movers can alleviate much of this stress, making your transition smoother and more efficient. Here are the main benefits of relocating with professionals from an overseas moving company by your side:

  • Expertise in international regulations – Movers from an overseas shipping company are experienced in international relocations and are familiar with the customs and import regulations of your destination country, ensuring your belongings clear customs.
  • Comprehensive services – Many offer door-to-door moving services, handling everything from packing at your current home to unloading in your new home.
  • Safe and secure transport – Movers use quality packing materials and methods to protect your valuables, providing peace of mind that your items will be moved safely.
  • Time and stress reduction – Outsourcing the physical aspects of moving frees you to focus on other important tasks, such as securing housing and acclimating to your new country.
  • Insurance and liability – Reputable movers offer insurance options to cover potential damages, offering further assurance throughout the process.

Contact Sunset International Shipping for Expert Relocation Assistance When Moving to England From the US

Moving internationally is a significant transition that involves meticulous planning and coordination. Sunset International Shipping is an international moving company that specializes in making the relocation process as smooth and stress-free as possible. With years of experience in international relocations, we offer expert relocation services tailored to meet your specific needs.

From packing assistance and handling all the logistics of shipping your belongings securely to navigating the complexities of customs clearance, our team ensures that every detail is covered. Our commitment to providing personalized service means you’ll have support every step of the way, allowing you to focus on the excitement of starting a new chapter. Contact us for a seamless relocation and start your English adventure with confidence and peace of mind.

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