How to Move to Scotland from the USA

There’s no doubt that moving to a foreign country can be pretty daunting and complicated. You are tasked with the actual relocation aspect and getting familiar with customs, traditions, and an overall new lifestyle. If you are moving to Scotland from the US, there are certain areas you may want to research to make your transition as smooth as possible.

Scotland is one of the relatively cheaper parts of the UK, which inclines most people to fantasize about moving and living there. It is full of beautiful, ancient castles, Scottish wool, and whiskey. The accommodating nature of the Scots is enough to bring even a smile to the face of the most aloof individual. Moving to Scotland could very well be the best option for you.

Here are some other articles that might help you plan your move:
  • Best USA to Scotland movers: The long-distance moving industry is full of scammy movers, and when all of your belongings are at stake, don’t take chances.
  • How much will your move cost?: This cost calculator will provide an immediate calculation of what your move should cost. Just plug in your moving dates, the size of your move, where you’re moving to/from, and let the calculator do the rest.
  • Consider moving containers: Need a more budget-friendly option? With these companies, you load, and they drive! These are the best moving container companies.
  • Best car shippers: Moving your car? Use a company that prioritizes professionalism, cares for your vehicle, and is experienced.

How Much Does it Cost to Move from the USA to Scotland?

Home Size Moving Company Moving Container Freight Company Truck Rental
Studio/1 Bedroom $1,680-$5,840 $1,923-$2,429 $1,520-$2,160 $1,093-$1,509
2-3 Bedrooms $2,200-$8,050 $2,422-$3,650 $2,185-$3,180 $1,142-$1,763
4+ Bedrooms $3,885-$10,300 $3,273-$4,134 $2,850-$3,600 $1,444-$1,949

*Pricing above does not include gas, tolls, lodging, and other related moving expenses.

What are the best USA to Scotland movers?

Company Quote Rating Price
Best Overall Value
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4.5 overall rating
Best industry reputation
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4.5 overall rating
Best customer service
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4.45 overall rating

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How to move to Scotland

Moving to Scotland from the US can be a challenge if you don’t know how to get yourself there or what to take with you. There is no need to worry, though. Below is a list of what you can do to make moving to Scotland successful.

Naturally, obtaining a visa to move to Scotland is the first step. However, Americans are permitted to visit and stay in Scotland for up to six months without a visa. However, specific criteria must be met; that is, their US passport is valid for six months after their due date of departure. The different types of visas available for Americans who are moving to Scotland include the following.

Work visas

If you decide on moving to Scotland from the US after you have already found and secured a new job, you will need to apply for a visa. In most cases, the employer will assist you with this process since they will be your sponsor. In addition to sponsoring you, the employer may also need to complete a Resident Labor Market Test. This proves that no other person in the European Economic Area has the same set of skills as you.

Student visas

If you are looking to experience studying in Scotland, you will need to apply for an international student visa. Before moving to Scotland, though, you will need to secure a place at a university or school. Prospective students studying abroad can refer to Study in Scotland sites and the new Graduate Immigration Route.

If you want to bring your family along for the move, the process is quick and straightforward. Family members can apply for visas with you. Just be sure to have valid proof that you are competent to support them financially. You also want to confirm that you are all staying together.

Other required documents for moving to Scotland include proof of funds for studying purposes, a letter from the sponsor, if, of course, you are being sponsored, a valid passport, original qualifications, and a confirmation of acceptance for studies. You will need to display proof of funds and other requirements for business or work-related purposes.

Daily life in Scotland is vastly different from the United States. However, it won’t always be as fun and exciting as anything. There may be times when you experience culture shock or feel homesick, all of which is natural. As a new resident, you will be exposed to brand new opportunities like beautiful sceneries and accessibility to mother nature.

It is helpful to remember that you will have to become more familiar with the accent and British spelling. You may also need to acclimate yourself by having all four seasons in one day. Scotland’s weather can be unique yet unpredictable because it essentially has a mind of its own.

As for working hours, Scotland has a reputation of rewarding workers after long 35-40 hour weeks. Employees can expect good pay and a solid work-life balance to make the income worthwhile.

How to move your things from the US to Scotland

Should you decide to pack up and move to Scotland from the US, you need a step-by-step guide on how to do so correctly. Research and review moving companies to assist you during the process. Some international moving companies will do a home inspection to assess your needs and explain your best course of action.

If you don’t want to load all your belongings, arrangements can be made with a moving company to pack and load your items. Once everything is packed and ready to go, your items are shipped via air or sea and delivered right to the door of your new home.

It is crucial to compare and contrast international moving companies to evaluate what your needs are and what you can afford. That way, you remain cost-effective and receive quality services.

Why do people want to live in Scotland?

In Scotland, residents are given plenty of opportunities in many career fields such as healthcare, teaching, education, science, creative arts, and finance. Potential residents can visit the Work in Scotland website or check employment sites like Reed.

You will also notice that moving to Scotland is an excellent decision regarding the cost of living. Renting from private landlords is much cheaper than if you were to rent from an agency. This is especially true if you plan to rent an apartment or house in a bigger city like Edinburgh.

Air on the side of caution, though, as some owners rent illegally. If you decide to lease from a private landlord, always ask to see the registration number. If you go with an agency, you will find plenty of housing options on Lettingweb or other similar sites.

Scotland residents should know that there are additional taxes for local services like garbage collection, schools, and general maintenance. This depends on where you live and the type of accommodations you have, though. There is no reason for panic. All you have to do is a check-in with the landlord or agency beforehand.

What are some of the best places to move to in Scotland?

If it wasn’t already emphasized enough, moving to Scotland is instead a big deal. As an American, moving to another country can be quite frankly, scary. You start to wonder where the best place to stay is in Scotland. No one wants to live in an outlandish, expensive, or unsafe area. To avoid any setbacks, here are the top places to live as an American in Scotland:

  • Edinburgh- as the capital of Scotland, this city offers a lush mix of ancient castles and modernity. Down to the beautiful train station roof and Forth Rail Bridge is enough to attract new residents to the area.
  • Glasgow-those looking for a less expensive but still want to experience the beauty of the city should consider Glasgow.
  • Dundee- this city has a reputation as the best for all kinds of animal and art lovers. Housing costs are low, and you will find some of the happiest people in Dundee.
  • Cromarty-a beautiful and family-friendly city.
  • Inverness- is known for its excellent museums and attractions that will mesmerize you.

Below are additional facts about moving to Scotland from the US.

Moving to Scotland: FAQs

Can a US citizen move to Scotland?

If you are an American citizen and want to move to Scotland, your number one concern is acquiring a visa. Americans who meet the proper qualifications can stay in the UK for up to six months within 12 months with no visa mandate. After which, you will be required to submit documentation to obtain your visa.

Is it expensive to live in Scotland as an American?

In certain areas, the cost of living for foreign nationals in Scotland is somewhat high. This is mainly because Scotland is a very progressive nation with a flourishing economy. Regarding the general cost of living, though, Scotland is known as one of the cheaper places to reside among most places in the UK. The Scottish economy has been stable for the most part, despite market disturbances brought about by the recent Brexit. The most recent GDP report of the Government of Scotland in June 2020 states that the Scottish GDP has grown 5.7%.

Can an American get a job in Scotland?

Yes. Americans can get a job in Scotland. Whether temporary or permanent, you will need to find a job soon after moving to Scotland regardless of your residence status. Fortunately, there is an abundance of jobs in Scotland. Those who plan on staying temporarily do not have to worry about answering any questions regarding their plans for the future. Scotland has plenty of temporary jobs.

Is it safe for Americans in Scotland?

As with any place one can live, there will be safe and not-so-safe areas to watch out for on occasion. The safest areas of Scotland include the Orkney Islands, with just 15 crimes per 1000 residents. From 2015 to 2016, crimes in Scotland decreased by 4%, and Scotland’s government can attest that this is the lowest level of corruption dating back to 1974.

Is it easy to get a visa to go to Scotland?

For the most part, obtaining a visa to Scotland is relatively easy. If you are visiting for tourism or short business trips, it can very well be possible to travel without a visa. Anyone who is not British or Irish will typically need a visa for more extended visits to Scotland. For the most accurate and up-to-date information on visas, you can visit

What is the best time to visit Scotland?

The consensus agrees that the best time to visit Scotland is spring. This season runs from March to May and is a favorite because the number of daylight hours increases, the weather warms up, and nature blooms to make the country stunning. During April and May, tourists can explore and get a taste of some of Scotland’s coastlines.

What is the climate like in Scotland?

The climate in Scotland is temperate oceanic. This means it is milder than expected according to its latitude. The area is small, but there is a strong southwest wind that blows from the Atlantic into the mountains of the west. This results in precipitation.

Should I move to Scotland?

Moving to Scotland is perfect for anyone who is looking to move abroad. The pros of living in Scotland include but are not limited to opportunities, jobs, people, landscape, and food.

How much is the cost of living in Scotland?

The average cost of living in Scotland totals out to about $1,546. This is approximately 1.24 times less expensive than the average in the UK. Scotland ranked 8th most expensive and 2nd best to live in within the UK. After taxes in Scotland, residents can expect an average salary to equal roughly $2,576. That amount is enough to cover living expenses for 1.7 months.

What are the differences between Scottish and American cultures?

While there are many differences between the Scottish and American cultures, the most noticeable is the accent or dialect. Most shops in Scotland close between 5 pm and 8 pm. Scotland shuts everything down for the holidays while at the same time there are places that remain open on holidays in the US.

How long does it take to move to Scotland from the US?

By air, the total flight duration from the US to Scotland is approximately 8 hours and 59 minutes, give or take. This all falls under the assumption that the average flight speed for a commercial airliner is 500 mph. This is equivalent to 805 km/h or 434 knots. The additional 30 minutes for taking and landing are to be taken into consideration as well. Exact times will vary depending on wind speeds too.

Making a move to Scotland from the USA? This is a challenging move that should be researched thoroughly before pulling the trigger. The more information you have about such a major move, the easier it will be to plan once you make the decision. Moving to Scotland from the USA does not happen overnight. Plan accordingly, have your visa ready, and ensure you have enough money saved up for the trip.

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