How to Immigrate to the USA from the UK

Are you thinking of emigrating from the UK to the United States of America? If that is the case, you are not alone. The United States is home to people from different cultures and diverse backgrounds. People from the UK are definitely one of the top prospects in the country. In a 2016 report, The Telegraph rated the US as the second most popular destination for UK migrants

The United States immigration office uses a point-based system to group immigrants and travellers into the country. The points assigned to you determine your eligibility. This depends on factors such as where you come from, your level of education, occupation, and so on. Family connections or having enough capital to spend and invest in the country are also important factors. Moving to the USA can be a difficult and time-consuming process especially when you do not know what you are doing. If you wish to migrate, then we recommend hiring a US immigration lawyer service to assist you with the process. 

US Immigrant and non-immigrant visas 

For those travelling to the USA, there are two classes of Visas available. These include: 

  • Immigrant visas

These are issued to eligible foreign migrants who intend to live in the US on a long-term or permanent basis. People travelling to the US for work, education or to settle go for this visa category

  • Nonimmigrant visa

If you are only planning a temporary visit to the US for tourism or medical purposes, this is the visa class to go for. 

While an immigrant visa is long-term, it is also not permanent. If you plan to remain in the country after the visa expires, then you must obtain a lawful permanent resident permit or renew your visa. 

Travelling to the US without a Visa 

Under the US Visa Waiver Program, nationals of some countries (including the UK) can enter the US for a limited period of 90 days without applying for a Visa. However, this does not mean you can settle in the country beyond 90 days. You are required to provide proof of your intention not to remain in the US by providing a round-trip ticket. If you travel to the US using the VWP, you cannot apply for a change of immigration status while you are still in the country. 

Becoming a Permanent resident in the US

UK immigrants in the US who wish to become permanent residents must obtain a Green Card. This can be gotten either through employment or family sponsorship. The most common pathway to becoming a permanent resident in the United States for UK residents is through employment. 

  • Worker Programs

One of the most common ways to obtain a US Green Card which gives you a permanent residency status in the US is through employment. For an individual to work legally in the US, you will need to get a work visa. 

For UK citizens, the Employment-Based Immigration: First Preference and Second Preference (EB-1 and EB-2) are the two possible types of work visas available. The first group applies to individuals with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors of research, or a Multinational manager or executive. The second preference application refers to individuals with an advanced degree or individuals with Exceptional ability. 

Getting any of these Immigrant work visas implies that you will be getting a Green Card soon after entering the US. Your chances of gaining entry are also improved if your profession is on the list of skill shortages. 

Another pathway is through sponsored employment. A US-based company can apply to have you work for them. But this will require you to get a job first before your application can begin.

  • Family Sponsorship

Some UK migrants also get into the US through a family visa. In this case, you have to have an immediate relative such as your parent, spouse, or sibling who is a US citizen or green card holder in the US. How long your application will take depends on your relationship with the family member. 

  • US Study Permits

The US also opens its doors to international students from different countries of the world including the UK. If you wish to immigrate to the US for study, you will need to apply for an F1 visa which permits you to study in a US university, high school, private elementary school, and other institutions. 


Dealing with the different kinds of applications and paperwork required to move to the US can be complicated. But you can learn all about it and simplify the process by getting in touch with an immigration lawyer that can guide you through the process.

Drew Neisser