International Moving Companies
International Moving
Because international moving can be much more complicated than moving domestically, finding the right international moving company is critical to the success of your relocation.

When moving internationally, plan well ahead, look into lots of international moving companies, and do plenty of homework about your new country. Our International Moving Guide can answer any questions you have about international moving, or shipping overseas for that matter.

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Moving to England

If you're moving to England, first get your place-names correct: The official name of the United Kingdom (UK) is "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland." The United Kingdom is twice the size of New York State and consists of England, Wales and Scotland, and six counties, part of the province of Ulster in Northern Ireland.

Great Britain is made up of England, Wales and Scotland, and is an island northwest of France and east of Ireland.

England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are not independent countries. England is the largest region of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, however, England does not have embassies in other independent countries.

Part of the British Isles are The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands (predominantly Jersey and Guernsey) but are not officially part of the UK. They are categorized as Crown dependencies, each with a Chief Minister as head of government. Being possessions of the British Crown, legislations regarding the islands can only be past by the British Parliament. These Crown dependencies are not part of the European Union, and together with the United Kingdom form the British Islands. They however, have local control over housing and employment for British and non-British citizens who do not have specified connections to these dependencies.

The United Kingdom have fourteen overseas territories or colonies; the US was a former colony.

The United Kingdom is a member of the European Union (EU), however, is not part of the Economic and Monetary Union, therefore, the monetary unit in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is still the British Pound Sterling (GBP). The UK is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a founding member of NATO and the Commonwealth.

Each region within the UK has its own local government that provides local law enforcement and fire protection. The national government of the UK controls criminal and civil law and defense and national security throughout the United Kingdom.

United Kingdom flag is the Union Jack which combines the three crosses of St. George (symbol of England), St. Andrew (Scotland), and St. Patrick (Ireland). This flag design has been in use since Great Britain and Ireland were joined in 1801.

Country Background

The Romans, Saxons, Vikings and Normans, occupied England since AD 43. The Middle Ages saw England endure a lengthy war with France and suffering was caused by the Black Plague. At the end of the Middle Ages, the Tudor family took control of the monarchy which ended with Elizabeth I 45-year reign. During the Elizabethan period dating from 1558 Shakespeare wowed audiences, and England continued to prosper and expand reaching its peak during Queen Victoria's 64-year reign in the 19th century. At this time Great Britain was the chief power in the world and the British Empire covered a large part of the world. Two World Wars during the first half of the 20th century seriously weakened the UK; during the second half the Empire fell apart, but slowly modernization and rebuilding set in, turning the UK into a thriving European nation. England in its present form has existed since the 10th century.

Wales' history includes occupation of the land by Celts, Romans, Angles, Saxons and Jutes. In the beginning of the 8th century, Anglo-Saxons from the east tried to invade, but were stopped by Welsh tribes. Norman armies attacked in 1093 with partial takeover, and the English finally conquered Wales in 1282. Welsh prince Owen Glendower led a revolt against the English in 1400, which was however, suppressed by 1410. The reign of Welshman Henry VII, King of England from 1485 helped in joining England and Wales under the Act of Union in 1536. During the 20th century, after World War I, the drop in coal prices hurt Wales' economy that depended largely on coal production, together with the Great Depression, caused high unemployment and economic uncertainty. The Welsh national assembly was opened in 1999 with British support, giving a boost toward greater self-government.

Scotland was first inhabited by a Celtic tribe - the Picts. Later the Romans invaded and named it Caledonia. The Scots migrated to the west coast of Scotland around 500; Kenneth McAlpin, king of the Scots, became king around 843 and by the 11th century Scotland's borders had extended to more or less what they are today. Scotland was successfully invaded by King Edward I of England in 1296. A revolt was led by Robert the Bruce a year later, and he was crowned king of Scotland in 1306. The English were finally defeated in 1314 and in 1328 Scottish independence was recognized by England.

Years of religious turmoil went on during the 16th century. Catholicism was replaced by the Presbyterian Church, and as a result, Mary, queen of Scots who was Catholic was forced to give up the throne and was executed by Elizabeth I of England. Mary's son, James VI succeeded the English throne in 1603, becoming the ruler of both Scotland and England. A century later, in 1707 the Act of Union was passed uniting Scotland and England.

The Northern Ireland Ulster province also went through religious and rebellion turmoil during the reign of Elizabeth I and after her. Catholics being disadvantaged and Protestant favoring by political policies, brought more Protestants to settle in Northern Ireland.

Ireland's North and South did not separate until William Gladstone presented his proposal for home rule in Ireland in 1886. Civil war loomed between the two sides at the beginning of World War I. The end of the sixties brought violent clashes between Protestants and Catholics and British troops were called in to help. They too became targets of Catholics, especially by the IRA who wanted a unified Ireland, without British involvement. Over the years several attempts were made to secure a peaceful solution, amidst the conflicts between those who wanted to remain part of the UK, and others wanting a united Ireland. After decades of conflict and violence in Northern Ireland, a new Northern Ireland Assembly was formed following the Good Friday agreement of 1998, it was then suspended in 2002 due to alleged IRA activities. The islands six counties of the Ulster province remained under direct rule from London, as part of the United Kingdom. Eventually, after further negotiations between the UK and Dublin, Assembly elections were held and a power-sharing government was sworn in on 8 May 2007.

Geography and Climate

The UK is located on two islands of the northwest coast of continental Europe and is made up of two main regions - the lowlands and the highlands. The weather is changeable; from snow and heavy rains to heatwaves. The far north location causes daylight hours to vary during the year. In general, waterproof wear is needed throughout most of the year, warm clothing is always advisable especially in upland areas.

England's countryside is mostly flat; the mountainous areas are mainly in the north and west. The lowest lying area is in the east of England, particularly East Anglia. The coastline varies with long sandy beaches to steep cliffs. The Cheviot Hills separate England from Scotland and the Pennine chain of uplands continue through the center of England reaching its highest point in the Lake District. The Thames, Humber, Tees, and Tyne are important rivers which flow into the North Sea.

Wales is mainly hilly; the Snowdon range ends in Wales' highest peak - Mount Snowdon (3,560 ft, 1,085 m). Along the Welsh border to the west of England are the Cambrian Mountains, and Wales is bordered on the northwest, west and south by the Irish Sea.

Scotland is bordered by England in the south and the other three sides by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and north side, and the North Sea on the east. Scotland is divided into three regions – the Highlands, the Central Lowlands which are the most populated, and the Southern Uplands. The Orkney and Shetland Islands are off the north coast.

People and Culture

The ethnically diverse population of the UK has brought issues of multiculturalism, national identity and terrorism to the forefront on the UK agenda, especially since the London transport network suicide bomb attacks in 2005.

Looking on the cultural side, the UK has been a cultural leader and made a major impact worldwide in music and literature for many decades. From England came the musical acts such as The Beatles and Rolling Stones, and contributing to the literature world have been the Englishman William Shakespeare, Robert Burns from Scotland, the Welshman Dylan Thomas and from Northern Ireland Seamus Heaney, to name a few.

Throughout the UK the English language is spoken. However, Welsh (or cymraeg), which is one of Europe's oldest languages is widely spoken in Wales, and taught at all schools in Wales. Road signs and other signs are in English and Welsh, and cities, towns and villages often have both English and Welsh names. In Northern Ireland, English is common, but Irish and Ulster Scots are also spoken, though much less. Not common but also spoken is Irish Gaelic. English, Scottish Gaelic and Scots are the languages spoken in Scotland. English is spoken in England.

The majority of the UK population live in England and about 5 percent of the total UK population live in Wales. The main cities are its' capital Cardiff, Swansea and Newport.

About 8.5 percent of UK's population live in Scotland, largely in the Glasgow (Scotland's largest city) and the capital, Edinburgh. Scotland's national drink is whiskey, and their national dish is Haggis which is eaten on special occasions, such as the dinner each January 25th to celebrate Robert Burns, their national poet's life. When the dish is brought to the table a poem called 'To the Haggis' is recited. Other things that are easily connected with Scotland are kilts and tartan. In present day Scotland, the computer games industry is thriving and making them a worldwide name. The Ulster Fry is the national dish of Northern Ireland, and it can be eaten at any time of the day.

From 1 July, 2007 England will be smoke-free by law. This applies to all public areas, including among others, pubs, restaurants, workplaces, taxis, private hire vehicles, etc.


Sport is a big part of the UK population's recreation activities. Over half of the British population engage in some kind of sport at least once a month. Some of the major sports began in the UK, such as football, rugby, cricket, golf, tennis and boxing. The Commonwealth Games were held in Manchester in 2002, using some of UK's best equipped stadia. The Government are very much involved in promoting and funding the different sports, and five Sports Councils exist which identify sport priorities. The national sport in England is football, and Wales' national sport is rugby. Their home ground is the Millennium Stadium at Cardiff Arms Park in Cardiff.


Business etiquette is similar throughout the UK. Business hours are usually 8am to 5pm with a break for lunch, and punctuality and politeness are important for good business relations. As you become more familiar with your UK business partners, the meetings will generally become less formal and more socially open. It is customary to shake hands when introduced to a new business acquaintance and to exchange business cards.

If you wish to open a business in the UK, the supply and cost will depend a lot on your desired location. Space is very expensive in the City or West End of London, however, Enterprise Zones and 'free' or 'assisted' areas are available, which is an advisable option to explore.


The UK is considered worldwide as a leading business center, and London the European Union's financial center. Many overseas businesses have their European base in the UK, which contributes to the economic wealth. The UK is a wonderful place for international business and academic partnerships, as apart from being an attractive European business center, also offers knowledge in research and development and cutting-edge technologies, such as telecoms, software, biotechnology, etc. The UK is an excellent choice as a business environment, for a number of reasons. Within the EU, it has the least regulated marketplace and workforce, has the most widely spoken language, has one of the lowest rates of corporation tax and is very cosmopolitan and culturally diverse. The UK is one of the quartet of trillion dollar economies of Western Europe. England's foreign and domestic trade is regulated by the UK parliament on their behalf. The Bank of England is the central bank for the UK and prints banknotes for England and Wales. In the UK over the past two decades, public ownership has been reduced and the growth of social welfare programs have been contained. The UK have one of the strongest economies in Europe, and inflation, interest rates and unemployment are low.


The UK have natural resources such as coal, natural gas, iron ore, lead, zinc, gold, limestone, salt, potash, silica sand, slate, arable land. Agriculture is a big industry and products include cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables, cattle, sheep, poultry and fish. This industry has become highly mechanized and efficient by European standards. Other industries include equipment for automation, railroad, electronics, communications. Exports include fuels, chemicals, food, beverages, tobacco and UK's export partners are US, Germany, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Italy. Import commodities include manufactured goods, machinery, fuels, foodstuffs and UK's import partners are Germany, US, France, Netherlands, Belgium, China and Italy. Scientific research and development in the UK have won British scientists over 70 Nobel Prizes. They are leaders in physical sciences, chemicals, electronics and aerospace and more than 16 billion pounds are spent each year on R&D.


The UK has a low unemployment rate and a high job turnover rate which creates many opportunities. The typical work week is 35 hours, salaries are good and there exist statutory maternity and paternity benefits and 12 public holidays.

Finding a Job

If you do not have an employer to sponsor your visa, it will probably be quite hard for you to arrange a job opportunity before your arrival in the UK. However, there are various options you can try from abroad, such as internet job sites or UK online newspapers like The Guardian or The Times. Recruitment agents are also an option, but it will be easier for them to help you if you are already in the UK. To familiarize yourself with British work practices visit

The UK encourages migration programs for various skilled persons. Here is a list of a few:

The "Highly Skilled Migrant Program" is a points-based immigration scheme that allows you to migrate to the UK to look for work or self-employment opportunities. For a better chance of acceptance, you should apply from abroad to the Highly Skilled Migrant Program Team at Work Permits U.K. (WPUK) in Sheffield. If you are in the UK with Home Office permission you can try to apply from within the UK. You will be able to apply for permanent residency in the UK if you have been living in the UK for four consecutive years with Home Office permission.

The Business Person category requires you run a full-time business in the UK, as a sole trader; in a partnership or in a company registered in the UK. Individuals in the UK under this category have to spend, as of 3 April 2006, a continuous period of at least five years in the UK before being able to apply for settlement in the UK.

The Innovators Scheme category aims to attract entrepreneurs with business proposals that will result in economic benefits for the UK, especially aiding development of e-commerce and other new technologies in the UK. This category is mainly aimed at people who specialize in high technology and science-based sectors.

The Fresh Talent initiative encourages people to consider living and working in Scotland, as well as supporting efforts to advance the careers of Scottish locals. This initiative is a joint undertaking of the Home Office and the Scottish Executive. It is for non-EEA (European Economic Area) nationals whom have lived in Scotland and successfully completed an HND, degree course, Masters or PhD at a Scottish university. Under this initiative, they can apply to stay in Scotland for up to two years after completing their studies.

To be able to apply for permanent citizenship in the UK under the category of a retired person of independent means, there are certain requirements that you have to qualify for which will normally grant you five years of stay in the UK. After that time you may be eligible to apply for indefinite residency in the UK.

For information on any of the above or other categories please see the following immigration rules at


Most of England's transportation network is under national control by Parliament. The Tube (London subway) is the oldest underground system in the world and is very efficient in getting you to any destination you desire. Driving in the UK is on the left side of the road, and the cars are built accordingly.
Communications and Media
Internet domain: .uk
International dialling code: +44 (England)
International dialling code: +353 (Ireland)
The UK have two postage rates – first class - for delivery of letters the next working day, and second class for non-urgent letters and items, which are delivered within three working days.

For more information go to Royal Mail website at

The BBC World Service began its' broadcasts in 1922 and grew to be a key player in the UK broadcasting network. It is funded by a license fee, which must be paid by all households that have a TV set. Nowadays, the BBC are rivaled by hundreds of privately-owned radio and TV stations. ITV launched in 1955, becoming the first of commercial TV, and commercial radio was introduced in the 1970s. Digital satellite and cable are strong competition to the TV networks. Britain's media regulatory Ofcom, have set 2012 as the target year by which to turn off the analogue TV signal and have dominantly digital TV broadcasting.

The British public have an appetite for newspapers and publications, and there are many to be found, with a wide range of political and social views, and reports on different areas of British life.

Famous People and Places

Dolaucothi Gold Mines, Pumsaint, Llanwrda, Carmarthenshire, Wales:

Almost two-thousand years ago the Romans excavated these rare gold mines which overlook the Cothi Valley, and evidence of their presence can still be seen today. Mining resumed during the 19th and 20th century, ending in 1938. The underground workings of the Romans and of the more recent times can be seen on guided tours, as well as the mining machinery of the 1930's; you can also try your hand at panning for gold and experience the highs and lows of the search for gold.

Ardress House, 64 Ardress Road, Portadown, Armagh, Northern Ireland

Located in the apple orchards of County Armagh is Ardress House which is a 17th century farmhouse. It was remodeled in Georgian times and has a lovely garden with a picturesque backdrop and rich apple orchards. The house has an elegant neo-classical drawing-room and a table dating back to 1799 upon which King George V signed the Constitution of Northern Ireland in June 1921.

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

On top of an extinct volcano, overlooking Edinburgh, stands a great fortress. In its' grounds you can visit St. Margaret's Chapel, Edinburgh's oldest building and the main courtyard, Crown Square, dating back to the 15th century. The Scottish National War Memorial was added after the first World War. In the 18th and 19th centuries Edinburgh Castle was a prison for sailors and you can still see their writings on the walls and other handmade items. The Castle also houses the oldest royal regalia in the UK. At around 1pm every day except on Sundays, the One O'Clock Gun marks the start to a spectacular display on the history of guns and timekeeping.

The British Airways London Eye

The 21st century landmark on the banks of the River Thames is the tallest observation wheel in the world. This is a spectacular engineering achievement, and through its transparent capsules you can see as far as 40 km in all directions.

The British Royal Family

No description of the UK is complete without a mention of the Royal Family, headed by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. Even though many critics are very vocal in their assertions that the monarchy is no longer relevant and should be abolished, this does not deter the nation from avidly following the state and family functions and affairs. The subtle influence of the Royal court also pervades many of the activities in Britain, so that important events are almost always patronized either by the Queen or senior Royalty, such as the Chelsea Flower Show; Wimbeldon; Roayal Ascot horse racing; important football and rugby fixtures; the new opera and ballet season; opening of art exhibitions, etc. And which visitor to Britain misses out an opportunity to watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace or visiting Carnaervon Castle in Wales where the Prince of Wales was installed?

William Shakespeare

The plays and poems of William Shakespeare are the most widely read in the English language. They have been translated into almost every language on earth and there is a universal interest in the life and works of "the bard of Avon". He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in circa 1564 and his birthplace is a mecca for tourists from all over the world.

Robert Burns (1759-1796)

Scotland's beloved national poet, Robert Burns, is continually adored in his native Scotland, and his popularity and timeless status is upheld in his many translated works too. The annual, festive "Burns Night" is celebrated on his birthday, January 25th. Together, Burns' poems contribute immensely to the preservation of the Scottish language and keeps the Scottish identity alive.

Richard Burton

Son of a Welsh coalminer, Richard Burton became one of the very finest of stage and screen stars in the UK in the post World War II period. In 1959 he starred in the important production of the film "Look Back in Anger" amidst the exciting "British New Wave" period of the UK cinema. His turbulent lifestyle, love affairs and marriages to Elizabeth Taylor often tended to distract attention in both Britain and America from his acting genius. In the famous production of "Cleopatra" he played Marc Antony opposite Elizabeth Taylor and even though this was by no means his finest performance, it is probably his best-remembered movie.

Van Morrison

Van Morrison, born in Northern Ireland in 1945, is a Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Van Morrison is thought by many to be the most unusual and influential vocalist in the history of rock and roll. His fans call him "Van the Man".

Living Locations

England's Capital London, an ancient city which dates back to the time of the Romans, is a central, rich, business and financial location. This city offers good employment prospects and higher wages than in other parts. A vast number of Europe's largest companies, as well as half of UK's top 100 listed companies (the FTSE 100) have their main offices in this city's center.

London public transport is efficient; the Tube (London underground) serves the center and most of the suburbs to the north of the Thames, and a vast rail network serves those to the south. For trips within the city there are day buses and night buses marked with the letter 'N'. Because of the road congestion, parking is scarce, and car drivers are required to pay a fee to drive within a defined zone.

London is vibrant by day and by night, with famous shopping streets like Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road which is best known for it's electronic and computer stores. Cultural and historical landmarks such as Parliament and Buckingham Palace, and not forgetting of course the wonderful restaurants which offer a mixture of cuisine's, the West-End theaters and the night clubs. Among the hustle and bustle of the big city, one can also enjoy the eight royal parks in London, which give a breath of fresh air and greenery.

Central London also offers a wide range of top learning facilities for all ages, from kindergarten to university. Some of the best in the UK are located in London, such as Harrow School for boys, the famous RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), and the LSE (London School of Economics).

London boasts fashionable, expensive neighborhoods such as Chelsea, Knights-bridge, Mayfair, Notting Hill, South Kensington and Soho with it's small streets full of shops and boutiques. The more affordable areas are Battersea, Bayswater, Clapham, Fulham, Islington, and Maida Vale, which are less central but still have the city atmosphere about them.

Cumbria in the North West of England, is the second largest county in the country and can be reached by road and rail. This county consists of seven areas in which each have several larger and smaller towns: Cockermouth, Keswick, Central Cumbria, West Cumbria, East Cumbria, North Cumbria and South Cumbria.

Inside this county area is the Lake District National Park which has England's highest mountains and some of its' biggest lakes; a large part of it is owned or held on lease by The National Trust. Part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park is also within the County of Cumbria. Tourism is the main industry in the county and ship-building still continues in Barrow-in-Furnes in South Cumbria.

Some of the most beautiful scenery in all England can be seen in this region, and in the summer it hosts thousands of tourists who come to enjoy its unique attractions. The most picturesque route from Scotland to England is undoubtedly along the Settle-Carlisle Railway, the last great mainline built in this country in 1876.

The most populous cities in Wales are in the south. Cardiff is the capital and largest city of Wales, located in the county of Glamorgan.

Most of Scotland's population lives in the central lowland region where Glasgow, the largest city and the capital Edinburgh are located. The Highlands to the north and west are spectacular and here are Britains highest mountains and offshore islands, such as Skye, Orkney and Shetland.

Belfast is Northern Ireland's capital and north of the city are the Antrim Glens and Fermanagh to the west.

Related link

- - for renting and buying in all areas of the UK.

Capital gain

The UK has a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) which must be paid both by companies and individuals. This is a levy which must be paid from proceeds gained from a rental or second home investment, for example, or when selling certain assets, such as property, antiques, arts, etc., or even when a gift is given or a prize is won.

Due to business organizations lobbying the government to abolish CGT, arguing among other things that this would give additional incentives to staff, the Chancellor has allowed an exemption for companies whom will dispose of large shareholdings in their businesses. The idea is to encourage companies to restructure more efficiently in response to new opportunities, and disposal of investments of 10% or more in trading companies will not be taxable. Restructuring incentives have also been introduced by the Chancellor, by easing CGT in certain areas to among other targets, encourage employee share ownership and to promote enterprise incentives.

Inheritance tax

Inheritance tax (IHT) is a type of death duty, and it is advisable to tax plan in advance in order to avoid leaving your close relatives with this burden. The current value of estates above the threshold is 300,000 Pounds for tax year 2007 to 2008 which includes the value of your house, and is taxed at 40%. The ceilings haven't risen in accordance with house prices, therefore affecting many people in the UK. This tax is paid by the executors of your will after your death. You can reduce your IHT by giving presents or assets to friends and relatives, however, in accordance to certain guidelines.

Revenue and Customs

You can find extensive information about tax affairs in the UK at the following website

Education in Wales, England, Northern Ireland

Approximately 90 percent of UK pupils attend publicly funded state schools. Primary schools usually include girls and boys, and Secondary schools may be single-sex or co-educational. In England, Scotland and Wales schools are funded through a Local Education Authority, and in Northern Ireland are financed mainly from public funds through five Education and Library Boards.

Compulsory school age in between 5 and 16. A national Curriculum introduced in the UK in 1992 is obligatory in state schools until students reach age 16. It is not obligatory in independent or public schools.

There are four key stages in the National Curriculum:
Key stage 1: up to age seven (Years 1 and 2)

Key stage 2: age seven to eleven (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6)

Key stage 3: age eleven to fourteen (Years 7, 8 and 9)

Key stage 4: age fourteen to sixteen (Years 10 and 11 – academic preparation)

The National Curriculum core subjects are:

English, mathematics and science; design and technology; information and communication technology; history; geography; modern foreign languages; music; art and design; physical education; religious education; citizenship; Welsh is compulsory in Welsh-speaking schools.

The curriculum is the same in Northern Ireland, however, additional subjects can be developed and added according to specific needs. The Irish language is compulsory in Irish-speaking schools.

Examinations at the level of General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) include a range of subjects, which are taken after five years of secondary education. GCSE is a single-subject examination set and marked by independent examination boards. After completing these examinations, students can choose how they would like to continue their education. The alternatives are vocational or technical colleges, or they can do higher level secondary school examinations (AS-Levels) after an additional year of study. After two years students can take A-Level examinations which are needed in order to enter universities in the UK.

The National Curriculum for 14-19 year olds is constantly being evaluated, and has been evolving since 2004.

Education in Scotland

The Scottish educational framework is different from that in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Here students have seven years of primary education, beginning at around five years of age, and four years of compulsory secondary education which starts at around 12 years of age. Pupils aged 15 to 16 can take the Scottish Certificate of Education (SCE), which is accepted throughout Britain as GCE a-levels equivalent; it is usually the entry qualification for university. The 5-14 curriculum broadly includes language; mathematics; environmental studies; expressive arts; religious and moral education. This curriculum has been assessed and re-developed in recent years, and the aim is to 'declutter' it.

For advice on private education in the UK try out these websites: - advice on 1300 member schools for children aged 2-19. - advice on all levels of education from age 5 and upwards. - general information and detailed entries on independent and state schools. - online directory of independent schools in the UK. - an organization of over 170 boarding schools across the UK that offers an information service on member boarding schools.

Higher Education in the UK

Firstly, it is important to point out that if your immigration status in the UK is that of a student, you have to be able to support yourself and your dependants without having to rely on working your way through university. This is a condition that must be conformed with.

Each educational institution in the UK set their own entry requirements. They are accustomed to reviewing overseas' university qualifications, and according to the subject, you may be required to take a few courses at a British university in order to achieve the level of knowledge needed before beginning a degree program.

If you are a US citizen wishing to enter the UK as a student or work permit holder for a stay of six months or longer, you must apply for an Entry Clearance which is a document in the form of a sticker placed in your passport. Entry Clearance applications are processed by the British Consulate offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago ( You can work up to 20 hours a week during each term or semester, and up to 40 hours per week during vacations. In order to work with the above restrictions, you will need your Entry Clearance document to be endorsed with a "Code 2" stamp – this is only for students studying in the UK for a period of six months or more. A US student's spouse may work in the UK, but only if the student is given leave to remain in the UK for at least twelve months or more.

It has become quite common in the UK for British universities to offer a work placement as part of your university curriculum in fields ranging from politics to science. However, only a UK-based employer may apply for a work permit on your behalf.

For information on all UK universities and most colleges of higher education check out the website of UCAS (Universities and Colleges admissions Service) at

Apart from university degree level education, the UK also offers other higher education options, both academic and vocational. For example, there are adult education institutions and "sixth form" education colleges which allow part-time or full-time study programs.

Related Links

Independent Schools Information Service - Independent education and independent schools in the UK.

Local Education Authorities in England - Local government organisations responsible for maintaining state schools in England and Wales.

Moving to the UK

A few tips on what is advisable to take or not to take when moving to your new living location:

You should decide carefully which of your personal belongings and clothing items you cannot part with. As far as household appliances and furniture, try to keep in mind that in general, taking as little as possible is not a bad idea; remember to take into account that electricity plugs may be different, so for your initial arrival pack various optional transformers. The UK is cosmopolitan and modern and should be able to supply you with everything you will need.

Visa and Immigration

To determine whether you need to apply for an entry clearance and to get details of your nearest visa section in your country where you can make your application, visit the UK visas website at and fill out the visa enquiry form. When applying, you must be outside of the United Kingdom and the Islands – this is a requirement of the UK immigration rules.

Work Permits are normally required for all non-EEA (European Economic Area) nationals whom are seeking employment in the UK.

Citizenship in Ireland

Irish citizenship among other benefits, gives you the right to live and work in any part of the European Union, the right to vote and be a candidate foe elective office in elections for the European Parliament and a national level.

Irish citizenship can be claimed in four different ways – through birth, through descent, through marriage and through naturalization.

Irish Citizenship Through Birth

At least one parent must be an Irish citizen or entitled to citizenship for the child born to be entitled to citizenship.

Irish Citizenship Through Descent

One parent at least must have been born in Ireland to obtain this citizenship. You do not need to register a claim or take up residency for the citizenship. In order to obtain the Irish passport, you must submit the needed documentation to the nearest Irish embassy or consulate. Among the many documents that you will need, will be your own birth certificate, your parents' birth and marriage certificates, these along with your passport photos. If you want to obtain citizenship through descent and you are not a resident in Ireland, the procedure is known as "foreign birth registration" and applications are through your local Irish embassy or consulate. If you are a resident in Ireland, you must go through the Department of Foreign Affairs. Note that since 1984, great-grandchildren can no longer obtain citizenship through descent.

Irish Citizenship Through Marriage

The law today regarding citizenship through marriage enables any non-national married to an Irish citizen on or after 30 Novermber, 2002, can only apply for citizenship through the naturalization process.

Irish Citizenship Through Naturalization

This process takes between 18-24 months. The criteria is that you must be a resident, 18 years of age or older. During the nine years preceding, you must have lived legally in Ireland for five of the nine years. The five years must have been continuous residence with only absence for vacations or business. Your good character and intention to continue living in Ireland after naturalization will be put to the test. If your application is granted, you will be required to stand in open court before a district court judge and declare fidelity and loyalty to Ireland.

For information on residency, nationality, citizenship or immigration see

Useful links and addresses:

British Embassy in the USA
3100 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 588 7800.

British Consulate in the USA
845 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022, USA
Tel: (212) 745 0200.

Renting a Home

It is more common to buy a property than to rent in the UK. However, before jumping into buying, it would be a good idea to rent while checking out the different areas you may be interested in. Renting is expensive in the UK, however, rental properties are usually furnished which can save on shipping or buying furniture. To get an idea of prices, see It is wise to contact an agent to help you with the renting process as it can entail quite a substantial amount of legal paperwork and they have more specific knowledge of prices and preferred areas; you will have to pay the agent a modest fee. However, if you prefer to go straight to the landlord, search the local newspapers for rental properties. For free information and advice on your rental responsibilities contact Citizen's Advice Bureau.

Obtaining a Driver's License

A license issued in an EEA (European Economic Area) country will allow you to drive with it for three years after entering the UK. Licenses issued in non-EEA countries are only good for twelve months, and after this period of time require application for a provisional GB license and a written and practical driving test. You can find out more at

Bringing Pets into Britain

Any rabies susceptible mammals, such as pet dogs and cats must be quarantined for a period of six months from the moment of their arrival into the UK, unless covered by the new Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) which is designed to keep the UK free from rabies and certain other diseases. This scheme allows dogs, cats and ferrets from the EU to enter Britain without having to enter quarantine under the following rules:
- they have been resident in any of the qualifying countries for at least six months;

- they are microchipped;

- vaccinated against rabies;

- an approved laboratory has blood-tested the animals six calendar months before travel;

- treated against certain parasites between 24-48 hours before travel;

- issued with an official PETS passport confirming these requirements have been met.

There are also certain 'long-haul' countries which may require additional conditions and documents. For more information you may contact The PETS Helpline at:

The National Health Service (NHS)

Medical consultations and free hospital care is available to most residents, including UK Work Permit holders and their dependents. At an Accident and Emergency ward of an NHS hospital you are entitled to free medical treatment, no matter what your visa status is. Other visa groups covered can be found at

After you have found accommodation in the UK, register with a General Practitioner (GP); a bill or lease is sufficient for proof of residence. To find a GP in your area see

Political structure

Government in England

A constitutional monarchy with two legislative houses – House of Lords and House of Commons. England has administrative divisions and the executive branch consists of the Chief of State: Chief of state: Sovereign Queen Elizabeth II (since 6 February 1952); Head of government: Prime Minister Gordon Brown (Labour Party leader) who took over from Tony Blair in June 2007. The Cabinet Ministers are appointed by the Prime Minister. Elections: the monarchy is hereditary; legislative elections decide on the prime minister. Constitution is unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice. Suffrage is 18 years of age. For more information on government departments and structure go to Directgov or check the PMS Parliamentary Companion guide or the Central London area section in the England telephone directory.

Government in Wales

The Welsh National Assembly was officially openend on 1 July, 1999, and established by vote of the Welsh citizens. Wales is still a part of the UK, and the UK government seats the Secretary of State for Wales and members of parliament from Welsh constituencies. However, the National Assembly cannot legislate or raise taxes, but can control most of Wales' local affairs.

Government in Scotland

Scotland elected its own parliament in May 1999, following a September 1997 referendum in which Scotland voted in favor of their own parliament. The new parliament was opened by Queen Elizabeth on 2 July, 1999, and controls domestic affairs such as health, education and transportation; can perform legislation and raising of taxes.

Government in Northern Ireland

Assembly elections were held and a power-sharing government was sworn in on 8 May 2007.

Interesting and Fun Facts

There is a town in North Wales named "Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch". The name means St Mary's (Church) by the white aspen over the whirlpool, and St Tysilio's (Church) by the red cave!

Did you know that Scotland's capital Edinburgh is built on an extinct volcano?

The famous ship Titanic was built in Northern Ireland's Belfast.
A pair of shoes were sold at Harrods in London for $1.6 million.

Useful Links:

Motor Vehicles - Guidelines on the importation of automobiles into the UK - Regulations on motoring in the UK - Regulations for bringing different goods into the UK

Firearms into the UK – Guidelines on bringing firearms into the UK

Up My Street - A guide to local services, schools, government, living locations in the UK.

The American's Guide to Speaking British.


Inland Revenue – UK tax matters

UK Taxation Directory
Inland Revenue International – International tax issues


Opening a Bank Account – information for students and individuals wishing to open a bank account in the UK.
Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland
Lloyd TSB

It is advisable to check out latest travel advice at the US Department of State website England Information

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