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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to purchase a narrow boat in the UK and reside on it. My understanding of visas and passports, etc. is: US. Citizens are not required to have a visa for enter to the country. The basic passport allows one to visit for 6 months and then one must leave. How long must one be gone before returning? Does one have to go back to one's country of origin, or just exit the U.K. for a specified period of time and then return? I wondered if it would be possible to take the boat to France or Ireland when the 6 months is up, live on the canals there for a specified time and then return to U.K.? This sounds like a wonderful way to retire and really experience Europe.
 

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Although the UK isn't part of the Schengen group, I suspect they may expect you to leave the EU at the end of your "visitor's visa." And the general rule on those "visa-less visas" is that you are supposed to leave the country for roughly the same length of time that you were admitted. (Not sure of the specifics for the UK.) The rule for leaving, too, isn't necessarily that you have to return to your country of origin, but often they want you to leave for your country of residence. If that's the case, you would need to establish a legal residence (including for tax purposes) somewhere.

The problem with going to France is that France IS part of Schengen, and thus the clock starts ticking on your "90 days in a 180 day period" Schengen visa - and they count days spent in any Schengen country, which is most of the places you could take a boat.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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As Bev says, while the British immigration rule doesn't specify the length of time you have to stay away before returning, the general guideline is that after 6 months in UK, you shouldn't attempt to return for at least 6 months, i.e. 6 months' stay in any 12 months. And the UK Border Agency gets suspicious of those who try to spend lengthy periods in UK as visitors, and tries to find out if they are actually attempting to live in UK without necessary visas. You have to meet immigration requirements every time you (re-)enter UK, which means the immigration officer must be satisfied as to your eligibility, and if you can't, you will be refused admission and be turned away. And while Border Agency doesn't police Schengen rules, should you get banned from Schengen for having broken its 90-in-180 days rule with your passport marked as such, that fact will influence its decision whether to admit you to UK.
So if it's your intention to live long-term in UK, you should get an appropriate visa instead of trying to use visa-free visitor's category - a ruse BA is well aware of. Unfortunately, UK abolished 'retired persons of independent means' as a visa category last year, and it's difficult to find other ways of legally living in UK long-term, as the country tries to limit immigration from outside EU and lessen burden on its public services imposed by migrants, unless you are eligible to be a citizen of an EU country or are married to one. Since you are below UK retirement age, you can try work visa (points-based system), but getting hired in UK is none too easy with fierce competition for every vacancy and you need to be highly skilled to be eligible for Tier 1 visa of PBS (which allows you to come to UK to look for work).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Many thanks for the responses

I want to reassure everyone I am not looking for a shady means to immigrate but a legal means of doing so. It is difficult to find info without spending hundreds of hours on the web at dozens of different sites, parsing what is fact from what is fiction, and what scenarios apply to my situation.

Does anyone know if the UK still has the ancestry option of immigration? My maternal grandmother was born and raised in Cardiff Wales, as her people before her. She immigrated to the U.S. in 1915. I do still have cousins in Wales although we have never met. My paternal great grandfather was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland.

I just discovered narrow boat living about a month ago and I am knocked sideways. How I wish I had known years ago. I could sell my house to raise the sum to purchase the boat, mooring fees, insurance, and put aside savings for upkeep. Eventually social security will kick in.

One can live quite well on a narrow boat frugally for $23,000.00 per annum, traveling through the U.K. at 4-7 MPH, mooring on the canals, walking the towpaths and paths to nearby towns and villages, experiencing local history and current events, and meeting the local folks without being a tourist (which is a hideous way to travel in my opinion--more like being a caged animal in a zoo like setting, moved around by buses, with predetermined meals, pre-planned things to see, surrounded by mobs of other tourists.) One simply cannot take in several thousand years of history and geography in a two week fly-by.

My understanding is moving the boat to Ireland or the Continent costs about $4-6000.00 to hoist it on a truck at a marina and have the truck travel on a ferry over and deliver the boat on the other side.

Perhaps I shall look into a work visa, and see what--if any--work can be had at the marinas and on the canals for which I may be suitable. I am currently on staff at a top ranked public research university. I am an academic advisor for their distance degree program. I advise over 500 students who live all over the world, and who complete their degrees online without ever coming to our campus. I am also my department's academic integrity coordinator. I work with distance students who are caught plagiarising, instructing them in the finer points of writing for academia and understanding citation and attribution.

In my youth I cleaned fish in a cold storage, cleaned hotel rooms and airplanes at the airport, waited tables, bartended, and also was a part of a bomb search squad at an internatinal airport. I've worked as a cook and pastry chef at an Alaskan lodge, owned my own catering business, and I served as a Federal VISTA volunteer for several years. I was raised on a homestead in the Alaskan bush without indoor plumbing, or running water. I am a medicinal herbalist, and hospice volunteer. Hardy and able to look after myself in other words, although I don't know that I can parlay any of this into a means of immigrating to the U.K. to fufill my dream.

Again many thanks to everyone for sharing your information, knowledge, and experience with me. I really appreciate all of your responses.
 

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Does anyone know if the UK still has the ancestry option of immigration? My maternal grandmother was born and raised in Cardiff Wales, as her people before her. She immigrated to the U.S. in 1915. I do still have cousins in Wales although we have never met. My paternal great grandfather was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland.

Yes, but only for Commonwealth citizens, so as an American you aren't eligible for ancestry visa.

I just discovered narrow boat living about a month ago and I am knocked sideways. How I wish I had known years ago. I could sell my house to raise the sum to purchase the boat, mooring fees, insurance, and put aside savings for upkeep. Eventually social security will kick in.

One can live quite well on a narrow boat frugally for $23,000.00 per annum, traveling through the U.K. at 4-7 MPH, mooring on the canals, walking the towpaths and paths to nearby towns and villages, experiencing local history and current events, and meeting the local folks without being a tourist (which is a hideous way to travel in my opinion--more like being a caged animal in a zoo like setting, moved around by buses, with predetermined meals, pre-planned things to see, surrounded by mobs of other tourists.) One simply cannot take in several thousand years of history and geography in a two week fly-by.

I know what you mean, but for immigration purposes there is no other category than visitors for what you propose to do, and UK doesn't allow visitors to stay longer than 6 months. Only those with Right of Abode, EU citizens or those married to one, can do that long-term.

My understanding is moving the boat to Ireland or the Continent costs about $4-6000.00 to hoist it on a truck at a marina and have the truck travel on a ferry over and deliver the boat on the other side.

Perhaps I shall look into a work visa, and see what--if any--work can be had at the marinas and on the canals for which I may be suitable. I am currently on staff at a top ranked public research university. I am an academic advisor for their distance degree program. I advise over 500 students who live all over the world, and who complete their degrees online without ever coming to our campus. I am also my department's academic integrity coordinator. I work with distance students who are caught plagiarising, instructing them in the finer points of writing for academia and understanding citation and attribution.

Some kind of academic visa is a possiility, but you need to be either studying, researching or being offered a job by a UK uni, and work permit restriction is pretty tight (uni has to prove lack of suitably qualified alpplicants) except for highest posts like professorship.

In my youth I cleaned fish in a cold storage, cleaned hotel rooms and airplanes at the airport, waited tables, bartended, and also was a part of a bomb search squad at an internatinal airport. I've worked as a cook and pastry chef at an Alaskan lodge, owned my own catering business, and I served as a Federal VISTA volunteer for several years. I was raised on a homestead in the Alaskan bush without indoor plumbing, or running water. I am a medicinal herbalist, and hospice volunteer. Hardy and able to look after myself in other words, although I don't know that I can parlay any of this into a means of immigrating to the U.K. to fufill my dream.

Younger people have an option of a working holiday visa (now called Youth Mobility Scheme) to work part-time or casually and experience the country. But Americans are ineligible, as US doesn't offer reciprocal facilities to Britons.

Again many thanks to everyone for sharing your information, knowledge, and experience with me. I really appreciate all of your responses.
Hope you can find a way of fulfilling your dreams!
 
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