Ways for an American to become a permanent resident or citizen of the UK?
October 26, 2004 6:56 AM   Subscribe

UK immigration: My cousin (an American) is investigating ways that she can become a permanent resident or citizen of the United Kingdom.

Does the UK have a repatriation scheme? I have records to prove that she's the direct descendent of a dozen English-born people, but the real number is at least in the hundreds and can be documented with a little legwork. Unfortunately, they came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony nearly 400 years ago.

We have another cousin who will eventually be a citizen through marriage, but that's probably years away. Could the naturalized cousin eventually sponsor the cousin in question?

Or is there a better option than either of these?
posted by Mayor Curley to Law & Government (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I don't know anything about repatriation - it doesn't ring any bells. But I know quite a few Americans who have become permanent citizens via marriage. Is she interested in marrying anyone? A marriage of convenience?
posted by skylar at 7:12 AM on October 26, 2004


no-one else cares as much as americans about their ancestors ("you're english, gee, my great-aunt's second cousin was from glasgow"), although i believe there are european community laws related to immediate ancestors that people use to get passports.

however, at least 10 years ago, immigration to the uk was pretty easy. my partner got permanent residency with nothing more than a reason to be in the country. i suspect it depends strongly on where you come from - it is no doubt infinitely more difficult if you're from s asia, for example.
posted by andrew cooke at 7:37 AM on October 26, 2004


There is a highly skilled migrant worker program in the UK that would allow your cousin to move over and start looking for work. I've heard it's highly competitive, but it might be worth a shot. Then if she stays for four years under this program, she can apply to live in the UK permanently.
posted by hazyjane at 8:00 AM on October 26, 2004


I have records to prove that she's the direct descendent of a dozen English-born people, but the real number is at least in the hundreds and can be documented with a little legwork. Unfortunately, they came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony nearly 400 years ago.

Um, if that's how tenuous the connection is, you'll have to find a different route, I'd say. Marriage or employment, plus maybe artistic reasons are the most likely route. Is your cousin able to support herself via creative endeavours, perhaps? Journalists and musicians have little problem remaining here for many years - think Greg Palast, Rich Hall, etc.
posted by dash_slot- at 8:16 AM on October 26, 2004


I did some work in the summer reading over immigration law, I can't remember exactly, but I think something like 6 out of 10 illegal immigrants are eventually not deported, because by the time they have been processed through the system, they have been living here for about a year, and everyone has given up caring. So if you want to chance it, there’s only a 40% probability she'll get chucked.

As far as I know, there is no repatriation scheme. Marriage or enough money to start a successful business whilst supporting yourself (I *think* that was one of the ways - basically having lots of cash and not bothering anyone or stealing peoples jobs) are the best bet.
posted by Orange Goblin at 8:32 AM on October 26, 2004


A British grandfather gets you the passport and citizenship. A British grandmother gets you nothing, which is terribly sexist.

I got a passport and citizenship this way (even though I've never been there!)
posted by dydecker at 9:14 AM on October 26, 2004


A British grandfather gets you the passport and citizenship. A British grandmother gets you nothing, which is terribly sexist.

And mentioning British people in the woodpile beyond that inflames British sensibilities, apparently. Sorry folks who snarked-- I apologize.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:47 AM on October 26, 2004


http://www.immigrationexpert.com/uk has a series of questionaires that help you assess your eligibility under different schemes, and walks you through creating a migration plan. There is a cost at the end to see a complete plan.

My wife and I are just starting to learn about migrating from the US. It's on our 5 year plan.
posted by putzface_dickman at 11:52 AM on October 26, 2004


My wife and I are investigating this, and it seems that the process of becoming a British subject .... errr... citizen is just time-consuming and not difficult. But the easiest way to get there is to have money and not go on the public dole. Once you need a job, etc then you have to deal with whether you will be taking someone else's job or if you have skills that others don't. Again, this is just a paraphrase of what I have been reading.

Personally we are thinking of buying a flat outright and seeing how long we can get away with staying :)

Unless this is illegal in which case I should probably deny having been here.
posted by terrapin at 12:17 PM on October 26, 2004


The site putzface is referencing apparently is for medical and academic folks only, BTW.
posted by terrapin at 12:33 PM on October 26, 2004


I looked into this last year, and , I may be incorrect because I can't find the page now, it seemed as if you had to have about $250,000 in assets or they wouldn't let you in. So as to not strain their welfare system.
posted by Espoo2 at 1:27 PM on October 26, 2004


I looked at some notes when I got home.
If you have UK born grandparents or parents AND are a citizen of a Commonwealth Country, you can get in.

The High Skilled Worker Program is probably the best bet for US mefites. Its on a points system, and an employer doesn't have to claim that you are more qualified than any UK applicant. A company can do that though, and Fortune 500 companies do so often. It's easier for you but harder for the employer.

There's a 2 or 4 year probational period depending on the visa you choose, after which you can apply for permanent residency.

Nobel, Oscar, BAFTA, and Booker prize winners get right in.

If you have 250,000 to start a company that will create at least 2 jobs, you get right in.

If you have 1,000,000 pounds to invest / bank in the UK, you get right in.
posted by putzface_dickman at 3:14 PM on October 26, 2004


I think it would probably be best to start with the official Home Office guidelines on Immigration Rules. This includes sections on 'highly skilled migrants', 'persons with UK ancestry', 'writers, composers and artists', i.e. pretty much what everyone else has already said, but helpfully summarised in one place.

Orange Goblin, I hope your suggestion was not intended seriously. Becoming an illegal immigrant might make sense if you are desperately poor and have run out of legal alternatives, but it might prove to be more than slightly problematic if you want to buy a house, get a job, get married, register for health care, etc etc ..
posted by verstegan at 4:27 AM on October 27, 2004


« Older US Election Results   |   The Great Pumpkin Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.