One of the most frequently asked questions before moving to the UK is, can I move to the UK without a job?

Yes, you can move to the UK without a job if you have enough money to support yourself and if you are a European (EEA) Citizen, born to British parents or qualify for one of the following visa’s:

  • Tier 5 Youth Mobility (this is country and age restricted)
  • UK Ancestry
  • Right to Abode
  • Spousal Visa (this includes if you have an EEA partner as well, will change for EEA after Brexit)
  • Student Visa (limited working hours)
  • Investor/ Set-up or run your own business
  • Exceptional Talent
  • And a few others…

To check if you qualify for any of the visa’s above there is a check UK Visa questionnaire you can use here.

Can a US Citizen Live in the UK?

The most common type of visas for US citizen is a student, work or family visas.

As I mention above the Tier 2 Sponsorship visa is your best bet, unless you have met the love of your life that’s a UK Citizen or someone that can have a spouse on their visa like the UK Ancestry.

The Tier 4 Student visa is also an option but there will be restrictions for the adult and child visa types. The adult visa will allow you to work up to 20 hours as long as it doesn’t interfere with your studies.

Lastly the Tier 1 visa’s can be an option if you have enough money to get an investor, get an entrepreneur or bring your own business to the UK.

Use the link in the above section to see what you qualify for.

How to Move to the UK Without a Job

Many people have made the move like myself and it’s totally doable to move to the UK without a job. So how were myself and other successful? And if so, how did we go around finding employment once they got there?

From here on out I am going to assume you’ve figured out that you have the ability to work in the UK and you are now ready to start with the next steps. This guide will walk you through the two to three fundamental steps of moving to the UK:

  • Do you have enough funds ready for the move?
  • Applying for your visa (if required)
  • How to successfully job search (with hints and tips)

Do You Have Enough Funds Ready for the Move?

In my article how much money should I save to move to the UK I recommend bringing over £5,000 as a single person. A budget like this will help you cover three months’ worth of accommodation, travel, food, six weeks’ worth of bond money, being without a job and some money for fun activities. These figures are based two months of accommodation based at £20 a night, a shared house at £750 (including bond) and travelling costs for 3 months. You should also factor initial travel costs and visa costs which can be another £50 to £1000.

If you are lucky enough to have friends and family to stay within the UK they will be a life saver. Saving you a ton of money on accommodation! You can also save money on travel cost by locating yourself near to a high street which will give you access to shops, parks and other facilities you may need. Being savvy with your money in general and knowing where to spend it will help the pocket too!

Planning to move to a new place without any funds is always risky. It’ll put you in positions like:

  • accepting a job you may not want to do
  • not being able to support yourself if there are issues with the market
  • and many other issues that crop up when finding a job.

Of course this is fine if you are happy to accept the risk of not having enough savings.

Speaking from experience, I didn’t have enough money saved when I moved here and it ended up with a ton of credit card debt. By making this mistake it meant having to go to my family and asking for my first months’ rent and bond. Moving overseas was totally worth it but if I had put it off by three to fourth months to have enough money would have been better for my financial stability. I ended up spending four years paying off my debt each month.

How to Apply For A UK Working Visa (If Required)

The biggest part of getting a UK work permit is the preparations, mainly, the time to save (unless you’ve got that all sorted). All working permits will have pre-requisites and the two common ones are:

  • English language requirement.
  • Financial maintenance for yourself and any family members.
  • Valid Passport – No matter where you’re from, you’ll need a valid passport in order to enter the UK.

As a minimum, you will need to meet the financial requirements for your visa even if you don’t plan on moving with the recommendation mention above. Additionally the visa cost can be quite expensive in itself with the IHS surcharge.

I moved over on an UK Ancestry visa which is a 5 year working visa. It’s one of the more expensive visas as you have to pay for the IHS fee for every year of your visa an UK Ancestry Visa (i.e. 5 times £200 plus visa fee) which will set you back around £1,500 in fees alone.

Not all visas are clear in the financial requirements so to be safe I always recommend using the Youth Mobility requirement which is £1,890 per person if there is no definition.

Process for Applying for UK Visa’s

Three months before you intend to arrive in the UK you can apply for your particular visa. Applications go through the British Embassy or High Commission closest to you and tend to be quicker when dealt with in Commonwealth countries. Processing time, in general, is around 3 weeks but it is visa dependent.

You can check the likely processing time for different nationalities on the UK government website.

Applications are started online, some visas are required to have your fingerprints and other biometric data recorded. This means that you will need to visit your nearest visa application centre (in your home country) to have your biometric data processed.

If you’re already in the UK (and need to switch your visa type or extend it for example) then you can apply at a UK based application centre. It’s highly unlikely you will be eligible to apply within the UK.

The general application process will be as followed:

  • fill in the application form and answer in English
  • pay the health surcharge
  • pay for the visa fee online (in most cases)
  • print out your form
  • book and attend an appointment at a visa application centre
  • have your biometrics taken (fingerprints and photo) for a biometric residence permit

How to Start an Application for UK Visa’s?

Head to the Gov.uk first as the UK Visa Immigration department is in a transition period with a new website so it will direct you to the relevant website that you require to apply through.

For example Tier 5 Visa (via the new website):

Go to https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/apply-visa-type/tier5 choose the Youth Mobility Visa and confirm if you can attend on the application centres.

For example UK Ancestry Visa (via the old website):

Go to https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/ website. Once you register and select apply yourself you will reach a screen like the below, choose your relevant visa and then follow the application process.

What Happens If I Don’t Qualify for One Those Visas?

If you can’t meet any of the above then you will need to look into sponsorship which will require a job before you can move to the UK.

The visa structure means that your employer needs to be licensed before you can be considered for sponsorship.

Depending on the Tier 2 visa types you could also be evaluated against the points system and appear on the shortage occupation list. Make sure you double check that the employer has a license or is willing to apply for one and that your job is on the shortage list.

Alternatively, tier 1 visas could be an option if you have the exceptional talent, business or investor.

How to Successfully Job Search (Hints And Tips)

Finding a job in the UK can either be really easy or hard depending on your profession. London is very competitive and generally always has been. It’s never affected my ability to get a job, with motivation and determination you will get there. However, some industries are having a rough time with Brexit like the property industry and there have been redundancies with the downturn of the market.

My day job is as an IT project manager and on average each job it has taken me one month to land a job. I was willing to accept any job when I arrived so my first job in the UK was actually as an Information Manager not as a Project Manager. After 9 months of deciding I wanted to stay in the UK I took a lower level role as Project Coordinator. After 9 months I moved on to be a Project Manager again and since then all my jobs have been as a Project Manager for the last 4 years.

The main ways I applied for these jobs was through jobs boards, connecting with recruiters and individual companies.

Here are 10 tips to get you started:

  1. In this day and age social media plays a big part in our lives. Check that your Facebook and social media presence is boss proof. Google yourself. Might be a bit awkward if they find a compromising photo of you.
  2. Update your resume, LinkedIn, any portfolios and general documents that go with job hunting. Then ensure on LinkedIn that you have ticked that you are open to new opportunities and are following influencers in your industry. LinkedIn is a popular tool in the UK to find jobs, I get a message at least every week from recruiters asking whether I want to apply for xyz job.
  3. Have a UK number – no one wanted to speak to my mum whilst she had an Australian number.
  4. In the UK the majority of jobs go through recruiters and they typically specialise in fields. Target recruiters that may suit your career by looking at who is advertising the job suitable for you.
  5. Register with the largest employment websites like Monster, Indeed, Total Jobs, and Job Site.
  6. Upload your resume to theses job sites like Monster and Indeed. One of my bosses always recommended doing this on a Sunday so you are in the first batch that week recruiters are sifting through.
  7. When you find a job to apply to tailor your application to suit. You should be demonstrating your experience and utilising examples of how you meet the job description.
  8. In your cover letter and resume you could go beyond the role itself and look at the objectives of the organisation at large then help solve for those in your application.
  9. Be ready to write your resume to address different application requirements.
  10. Allow extra time for travel in case of some unforeseen event especially if you are new to the area. It is almost impossible to recover from being late to an interview.

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