The UK is an excellent place to live and work for obvious reasons; its GDP is the 6th highest on the planet and it’s also one of the most developed places around. Actually, there isn’t much the UK doesn't have and its wealth and opportunities have been the reason for people to cross the sea for ages.  

It was the first place where an underground subway system was built and even the world’s oldest rail lines can be found in the UK, showing that development goes a long way back and has never stopped. When it comes to work, life and wealth the UK is in the top 20% of performers and the quality of the environment is really high too. From clean water to low pollution, the United Kingdom is a clean and healthy place to live. 

But do you have a picture in your mind of dull and grey skies?  It doesn't rain nearly as much as people seem to think and there are many wonderful places to discover. Stunning landscapes with cliffs, Stonehenge, lochs and cute villages, stunning cities and of course people who are world famous for their sense of humour. 

Currently, citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) can live and work freely in the UK.  This may change however with Britain leaving the EU due to Brexit.

If you are from the UK and want to see what options will be available to you after Britain leave the UK, use our smart wizard and when you get your results, click on the button that allows you to toggle between being a member of the EU and not being a member of the EU.

Here are some of the ways to live in the UK if you are a citizen of a non-EEA country:

Through your family

  • If your partner or spouse is a citizen or permanent resident of the United Kingdom, you are probably eligible for residency.  If your spouse is a citizen, you can apply for citizenship after living together in the UK for a period of 3 years.  
  • If one or more of your parents was born in the UK and was a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies when you were born or adopted and you were a Commonwealth Citizen on the 31st December 1982, you can apply for Right of Abode to the UK.  This gives you the right to live and work in the UK without any immigration restrictions.
  • If one of your parents is a British citizen then there is a high likelihood that you may be eligible for citizenship (see the next section).  If not, there are other ways of getting a family visa
  • You can apply for an ancestory visa if one or more of your grandparents was born in the UK, you are over 17 and a citizen of a Commonwealth country.
  • If one or more of your grandparents was born in what is today the Republic of Ireland,  you are over 17 and a citizen of a Commonwealth country, you may be able to apply for British residency.  The birthdate of your grandparent needs to be before 31st March 1922.
  • See the citizenship section below for more information on residency or citizenship based on your descent.

Work and Business Visas

There are numerous types of work visas available in the UK which can be viewed here.  Here is a summary however of the more common visas:

  • You can be sponsored by a company to work in the UK.
  • Intra-company transfer visa is for those who have been transferred to the UK by their international company.
  • Exceptional Talent visa is available to those who are proven or promising talent in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts.
  • There are a number of temporary work visas available (Tier 5 visas)
  • If you want to setup or run a business in the U.K. you may be eligible for a Tier 1 - Entrepreneur visa 

Investment Visa

  • If you invest £2,000,000 in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies, you can apply for a UK Tier 1 Investment visa.

Startup Visa

  • You can apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa if you have access to £200,000 in investment funds to invest in your own business or startup and you can prove that the money is either:
    • your own
    • made available to you by other people (‘third parties’), such as a spouse, partner or investor
    • in a joint account with your spouse or partner but only if they aren’t applying for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.

The funds must be held in the UK if you’re applying for leave to remain. 

The required investment amount can be reduced to £50,000 if you have access to investment funds from one or more of the following:

  • UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition endorsed by the Department for International Trade (DIT)
  • a UK government department making funds available for the purpose of setting up or expanding a UK business
  • a venture capital firm registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

or

  • You have membership of approved startup incubator or accelerator

Retirement

  • If you can prove an annual income of £25,000 for you and your spouse,  you are over 60 years of age and have a connection to the UK then you can apply for leave to remain as a retired persons of independent means.

Work holiday visa

  • If you are between the ages of 18-30 and from certain countries, you may be eligible under the Working Holiday Maker programme. 

Student Visa

  • There are many types of student visas available in the UK to study at schools and universities.

Citizenship by birth

  • If you were born in the UK before 1st January 1983, you are most likely a British citizen.
  • If you were born in the UK after 1st January 1983, one of your parents needs to be a British citizen for you to be eligible.

Citizenship by Descent

  • If one of you parents is a British citizen however you were not born in the UK, you may be eligible to become a British citizen.  There are a number of eligibility requirements and you need to apply before the age of 18.
  • If one or more of your parents was born, registered or naturalised in a British overseas territory and you were on or born before 1 January 1983, you may be eligible for British citizenship.
  • If one or more of your grandparents was born, registered or naturalised in a British overseas territory and you were on or born before 1 January 1983, you may be eligible for British citizenship.
  • If you were born in a British overseas Territory on or before the 1st January 1983, you are most likely a British citizenship.
  • If you were an ordinary resident in Hong Kong on 3 February 1997, you may be eligible for British citizenship.

To qualify to be a naturalised British citizen you need to have :

  • lived in the UK for at least 5 years 
  • spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years and
  • spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months

See here for the full requirements.

The passport for the UK allows you to travel to 160 countries without a visa.

Its global rank is 11.

`