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I am looking to relocate to the UK from the US with my boyfriend. I am a US citizen living in Philadelphia in the US, while he is a UK citizen, living in Glasgow, Scotland. We met 2 years ago in a bar in Glasgow when I was touring Scotland and Ireland.

Since then we made sure to visit each other back and forth between countries every 2 – 3 months, while staying in daily contact via email, messaging snd Skype. We plan to live in Glasgow for a year, then move permanently back to the US.

We were advised that we should apply for the unmarried partner visa, but were hoping to get some advice from anyone who is kind enough to offer up any guidance on this process. We have tons of questions, like do I still have to pay US taxes when living in the UK, is hiring an immigration lawyer wise, how will my money transfer without getting foreign transfer fees, how does credit history transfer (I have maintained a great credit score), what do I have to do to keep my US citizenship, how to find a job, what restrictions would I have with my visa, could I be able to travel freely from the UK to US & other countries, and could I at some point apply for dual citizenship?

As you can see – lots of questions. :)

Thank you to any and all who can help steer us in the right direction!

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You have a lot of questions and it's usually best to focus on one thing at a time.

  1. Taxes: As a US citizen, you are obligated to file a US tax return no matter where you live or where you earn your income (this policy is unique to the US).
  2. Lawyer: You probably don't need to hire an immigration lawyer if yours is a straightforward case.
  3. Money transfer: You will pay some amount of fees to transfer money, there's almost no way to avoid that. Shop around.
  4. Credit history generally does not transfer between countries.
  5. US citizenship: You cannot lose US citizenship unless you specifically renounce it (see item 1 above).
  6. Job: There's nothing special you need to know about finding a job.
  7. Restrictions: According to the Family of a settled person visa page, one cannot get public funds while on such a visa.
  8. Travel: While holding such a visa, you would be able to enter the UK any number of times. Travel to other countries would be as a US citizen.
  9. Dual citizenship: You can apply for that eventually. It usually takes several years of living in your new country and intending to settle there.

Having said all that, the "Joining your Partner" section of the "Family of a settled person" visa states:

You must prove that you and your partner are 18 or over and in a genuine relationship.

You must be one of the following:

  • married or civil partners
  • living together in a relationship for 2 years
  • engaged to be married or to become civil partners

From your description of your relationship, it sounds like you might qualify under the "engaged to be married" criterion. However, there is of course no formal documentation confirming an "engagement", so the responsibility falls upon you to convince the visa officer that you are indeed in a "genuine relationship".

  • This answer is good. I just want to add: for the unmarried partner visa, the Glaswegian partner needs to have an income equal to or greater than £18,000 per annum. Also, Transferwise or PayPal work fine for transferring money. Also, when considering 'proof' of the relationship, they don't care about IM records, they care about proof of money spent e.g. plane tickets to see each other, hotel bills, phone bills. – la femme cosmique Feb 9 '16 at 20:21
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Many questions! It is generally best to ask multiple questions separately. It leads to more focused answers, and it earns you more reputation points.

US citizens have to report their worldwide income, regardless of residence. However, if you reside abroad, you will most likely be able to benefit from the foreign earned income exclusion. For 2015, the amount is $100,800. See http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/Foreign-Earned-Income-Exclusion

As far as I know, credit history does not transfer whatsoever. If I were you, I'd find a US credit card with no foreign transaction fee and use it during your year abroad, keeping your US bank accounts with a friend's address. That is what I did when I lived in Europe (using my parents' address).

Why would you think you might lose your US citizenship? You will not lose your US citizenship unless you renounce it (I assume you are a natural-born citizen; if not, it is slightly more complicated). See http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english/legal-considerations/us-citizenship-laws-policies/citizenship-and-dual-nationality.html.

As to the particulars of the visa, you would be able to work, and to travel freely, but, looking at the requirements, I suspect you may not qualify as you have not been living with your partner. (See for example this unofficial site: http://www.visalogic.net/uk/uk-unmarried-partner-visa/4/24)

  • Thank you! Do you know if we married, would I have access to public funds? – UStoUK2015 Jun 11 '15 at 2:42
  • @UStoUK2015 according to this government site, "You can’t usually get benefits or other public funds": gov.uk/remain-in-uk-family/overview – phoog Jun 12 '15 at 17:28

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