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First of all thank you to anyone who might be able to provide some advice. I've always wanted to travel and given my young age of 21 I was thinking that perhaps within the near future I might try relocating to the United Kingdom. My girlfriend and I got to talking and were merely tossing ideas up about different places. Scotland seemed to be the place we most agreed on. Now, I hope I'm not wasting any one's time, but this is pretty general and rather early in the planning stages. I've looked at Visa's on a couple of different sites but it all seems very intimidating.

I can say this, my chances seem slim; I don't have a degree. With as much said I've combed and combed but it just doesn't seem likely either of us would have the chance of relocating to our said destination because of this very matter. Was hoping to find a few answers from anyone here with the 'know how'. Firstly, we are both eligible to be students but can one ascertain a visa to study with say a smaller college? One not comparable to an American Ivy League? Secondly, I read about the 5 Tier Immigration Program and was curious as to how applicable that is to our situation? We really only qualified under 2 tiers; one as students the other as skilled laborers (not of a degree skill set).

What are some of the things we should be looking for? Is it hard for all foreign nationals to settle in the UK? I suppose really where do we put our feet down and start out? Anyways, thank you to anyone who can be of any help. Look forward to getting some sound advice.

Cheers,
August
 

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First of all thank you to anyone who might be able to provide some advice. I've always wanted to travel and given my young age of 21 I was thinking that perhaps within the near future I might try relocating to the United Kingdom. My girlfriend and I got to talking and were merely tossing ideas up about different places. Scotland seemed to be the place we most agreed on. Now, I hope I'm not wasting any one's time, but this is pretty general and rather early in the planning stages. I've looked at Visa's on a couple of different sites but it all seems very intimidating.

I can say this, my chances seem slim; I don't have a degree. With as much said I've combed and combed but it just doesn't seem likely either of us would have the chance of relocating to our said destination because of this very matter. Was hoping to find a few answers from anyone here with the 'know how'. Firstly, we are both eligible to be students but can one ascertain a visa to study with say a smaller college? One not comparable to an American Ivy League? Secondly, I read about the 5 Tier Immigration Program and was curious as to how applicable that is to our situation? We really only qualified under 2 tiers; one as students the other as skilled laborers (not of a degree skill set).

What are some of the things we should be looking for? Is it hard for all foreign nationals to settle in the UK? I suppose really where do we put our feet down and start out? Anyways, thank you to anyone who can be of any help. Look forward to getting some sound advice.
Welcome to the forum!
In short, young Americans will find it very difficult to get the right kind of visa to come over to UK to stay long-term, other than study, which I'll come to in a moment. Sadly, Americans aren't eligible for a kind of arrangement that is available to young people without much experience or qualification called working holidaymaker visa (WHV), which is now called Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) in UK and only open to under 30s from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. It's a reciprocal programme, and unfortunately the US has agreement with very few countries, the only exception in Europe being Ireland. There used to be a programme called BUNAC, which enabled young recent graduates to work in UK for up to 6 months, but this has now been abolished.
You are most unlikely to qualify for Tier 2 skilled worker visa, as it requires qualification in a shortage occupation or a sponsorship from a UK company arguing that you have skills and experience that are in short supply here.
Now about student visa. Since you are from an English-speaking country, you can only get a visa to study at degree level or higher. You need to meet the usual entry requirement for a degree course, which is roughly similar to what you have in US. Your major problem is paying the tuition fees, which are very high for international students at around £8000 to £12000 a year, plus meeting financial requirement which means you have to have enough money in your bank account, or regular remittance (e.g. from your parents or scholarship) that enables you to pay for all your expenses without resorting to state welfare benefits. While you can work - up to 20 hours during term and full-time at weekends and in vacations, you cannot include any projected earnings towards your financial requirement. You need at least £10,000 (US$15,600) per person per year, plus paying tuition fees, so at least $30,000 a year or $100,000 over 3 years (usual length of a degree course).
A lot of US students come over as part of their uni's study abroad programs, and this is probably your best bet, as all visa and other arrangements for accommodation and study etc will be taken care of by your uni. You need to be enrolled with a uni that offers such programs in UK.
Alternative to a student visa is some kind of voluntary or charity work visa, such as working on an organic farm or religious/charitable activities, but it all has to be set up before coming over and right kind of visa obtained. A lot of young Mormons come over under missionary/minister of religion visa, sponsored by their church, but I havn't looked into it recently and I don't know what opportunities there are for non-Mormons.
Finally, as a visitor you can come over and stay for up to 6 months (which cannot be extended), but no work of any kind - not even free board and lodging in exchange for work - is permitted.
Finally, if you have proven ancestry from Ireland or Italy, for example, you may be eligible for citizenship, and being a EU national, will be able to live and work just about anywhere in Europe including UK without visa.
Sorry I don't have much good news for you, but if it's any consolation, it will be just as difficult for any Britons to do the same in US.
 

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It's a real shame that the US do not reciprocate working visas with countries around the world. I would enjoy a year or 2 there travelling around and working. Such a huge country to discover. :)
 

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Have you really considered other countries?

When I was your age, I too thought of the biggies - Germany, UK, France. Mostly because they seemed similar.

Have you thought of India?

Scotland is very very expensive, and jobs not plentiful. Best bet is to contact your State University, enroll with them and use their abroad program. I did that for my year in Spain.

Additionally, if you are a college grad and speak another language, you can look at Rotary International for their International year abroad. The Rotary Club you work with sponsors you. (Find your local district to know if you are eligible.) I did that, and they required an interview in the local language, which was really tough - you must have fluency!

The student visa isn't impossible but does need financial support. There aren't loads of smaller colleges around like in the USA, but that doesn't stop you from enrolling in any here - it doesn't require you to go to St Andrew's or Edinburgh U!

If the dream is to see a new country, also consider teaching posts, again, try India or places in Asia. Just ideas.
 
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