Moving to Scotland from US: The Simplified Process

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Introduction

Scotland, being relatively cheaper than most cities in the UK, is the glamorous fantasy of so many people. It is a glaring and encouraging sign that with all the beautiful ancient castles, Scottish wool, whisky, and the not-so-stereotypical accommodating nature of the Scotts, moving to Scotland is probably the best option for you or anyone else.

Moving to Scotland From US

Moving to Scotland from US can be very challenging; you would be confused about how to get yourself there or what to take along with you. Not to worry, here is a list of things you need to get or do to make your move to Scotland successful.

Visa

Of course, getting a visa to Scotland is the first leap to a successful move.  However, Americans are allowed to visit and stay in Scotland for six months without a visa as long as their US passport is valid for six months after their due date of departure.

Required Documents

If you are moving to Scotland for study purposes, you will need proof of funds, an original letter from the sponsor (if you are being sponsored), a valid passport, original qualifications, and confirmation of acceptance for studies. Conversely, if you are moving to Scotland for work purposes, you will need to show proof of funds and other requirements.

Find A Place To Stay

Even if it’s temporary, it is still essential to get a good place to stay before moving to Scotland.

Get A UK Phone Number

This is super essential, and it can be done before traveling.

Get a National Insurance Number(NIN)

No one can work in Scotland or the UK without having a National Insurance Number. You have to work towards getting yours once you arrive in Scotland to ensure that you are taxed and paid correctly. You can find ways to get yours here. 

Set Up Your Bank Account

Whether you do this before moving or when you are already in Scotland, you still can’t deny the importance of it. One way or the other, you will need to transfer funds, especially when you move to Scotland from US for work purposes. So, you can open an account with Barclays or Natwest bank.

Find a Job

You will need a job before moving to Scotland because you can’t obtain a work permit without having a job offer already in Scotland.

Get Admission into a Scottish University

You will most likely need to be admitted into a college in Scotland before moving because you will need confirmation of admittance while processing your visa.

Get a Scottish CV

 You can get someone on a freelance website to change or format your CV into the Scottish style. This will help you in getting jobs faster while in Scotland. Also, don’t forget to highlight your skills and job experience appropriately.

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Cost of Living in Scotland vs. the US

In comparing the cost of living in Scotland and the US, we will be focusing on the two most expensive cities in these two nations. According to Bungalow, San Francisco is the most expensive city in the US. So, comparing the living expenses of San Francisco and Aberdeen, which is the wealthiest and most expensive city in Scotland, you will know which country has the higher cost of living.

According to Expatistan, Aberdeen is 35% cheaper than San Francisco. Based on statistics from Numbeo, this means that with $4,238, which is £3,074.70, you can live comfortably in Aberdeen, while maintaining the same standard of living that you have in San Francisco with $8,300. But what should be considered the average monthly cost of living? This table answers your questions.

Average Monthly Cost of Living (Without Rent)
Aberdeen, Scotland ($)
San Francisco, US ($)
Single person
908.27
1,235
Family of four
3,257.52
4,484

Visa (Student Visa and Work Visa)

You can’t move to Scotland from US for work or study purposes without obtaining a visa, and you can only be eligible for a visa when you meet the requirements. So, let’s delve deep into the two visa types that would probably apply to you.

Work visa

After getting a job offer in Scotland, you can begin processing your work visa. The successful completion of the entire visa process depends on you and how well your employer in Scotland is willing to cooperate because your employer might have to complete the Resident Labor Market Test, proving that no settled worker could do the job you were employed for.  

Student Visa

Any international student that desires to study in Scotland would have to apply for a study visa after getting admission into a well-known and legally recognized Scottish college or university. Ensure that you are eligible for the visa before applying and come with all the essential documents.

Item
Price in France
Price in USA
Lunch in the city
€17
€12
Fast Food
€9
€7
1 Bottle of red table wine
€8
€14
Pants
€88
€39
Visit to the doctor
€25
€91
Antibiotics
€7
€14
Cigarettes
€10
€7
Dinner at Upscale Restaurant
€59
€65

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Job Opportunities in Scotland

Getting a job in Scotland is undoubtedly very easy; you can ask any expat you know living in Scotland. The good news is that there are several industries with excellent career opportunities. These industries include teaching and education, technology, the sciences, creative art, and healthcare. So, why should you fret? Also, with the laudable work-life balance in Scotland that guarantees workers who work five days a week an annual twenty-eight days of a paid holiday, the job market got even more enticing.

However, to obtain a job in Scotland, you will have to utilize social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, Scottish newspapers like The Herald, and job search websites like Reed.co.uk.

Where to Live in Scotland as an American Expat

When relocating to Scotland, it is only normal that you ponder on where you would stay. Considering that you are an American expat, you would not want to live in a place that seems way too outlandish for your liking. So, to avoid that, here is a list of the five best places to live as an American expat.

Edinburgh

What could be more spectacular than living in the capital with a lush mixture of ancient castles and modernity? And yeah…the beautiful train station roof and Forth Rail Bridge!

Glasgow

If you are going for a less expensive yet beautiful city, this is suitable for you.

Dundee

This city is best for animal and art lovers. It has a low housing cost and is filled with the happiest people!

Cromarty

This city is family-friendly and beautiful.

Inverness

The great museums and attractions will leave you utterly mesmerized.

Daily Life in Scotland

Living in Scotland would mean a whole new and fantastic experience for you. Of course, it won’t always be exciting, there would be times when the culture shock would seem too overwhelming, and you would begin to feel homesick, but it’s still a place worth visiting. Indeed, living in Scotland would open doors to numerous opportunities for you. What is genuinely not to like about Scotland? Imagine basking in the beauty of the lush sceneries and accessibility to mother nature; what could be compared to that?

Living in Scotland means that you will have to get used to the accent and the British spelling, which is better than having to encounter people speaking a totally different language. Nonetheless, never hesitate to ask questions when you don’t understand a Scottish slang or term. In the end, the slang will come naturally.

There would be a time when you would get acclimated to having the four seasons all in one day! The weather in Scotland is really incredible because it has a mind of its own. Sometimes, it could feel like blessing the Scotts with all shades of the four seasons all in one day. So, you would have to bear that in mind because it is an everyday phenomenon in Scotland. Get yourself ready for whatever season the weather decides to bring in the day. Never forget to have an umbrella, sweater, or sunscreen to stay prepared for the unpredictable weather.

As per work hours, Scotland has a way of rewarding workers after having to work for 35-40 hours a week. A good pay (which may not be as high as that of the US), but a right work-life balance is all that makes the income worth it. All these and more make Scotland an even more wonderful place for you as an American. The only thing to note here is that you should give yourself time to get acclimated to whatever city you decide to live in. In the end, it will prove to be worth it, and indeed, an incredibly excellent experience.

Conclusion

While it isn’t easy to adapt, it should also be noted that Scotland isn’t so different from the US. It would be an exhilarating experience for you. If you are moving to Scotland for work or study purposes, it’s advisable to get your visa now and move swiftly to the nation with an even blend of 12th-century castles and modernity at its finest that does nothing but thrill its inhabitants. You will be thrilled!

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