Buckingham Palace

HOW WE MOVED TO THE UK

Are you planning on moving to the UK or wonder how some people manage to move to a whole new country and get to stay permanently? How did they get there? What kind of visa did they have to arrange, is it temporary and if not, how do they get the ability to stay? It’s a question I often thought of back in my early days of travelling. However, after many years of wondering, I now get to live out this dream. Here’s our story….   

Back in mid 2016, my husband and I started exploring the idea of possibly moving abroad. By this time, we had been married for 4.5yrs and had already moved around quite a bit between Australian states and housing in general, so we were somewhat use to moving and travelling around.  We discussed our options as to where we would go, either America, Ireland, London or Manchester. Obviously, planning to move abroad or moving to the UK, requires a lot of hard work and dedication. In total, we worked for a good 18 months and saved as much as possible. Ensuring that we had enough funds to live comfortably for the first few months was also important to us. We didn’t want to worry about looking for work straight away, but rather, focus on finding a place to call home and settling in. Prior to leaving Australia, we sold the majority of our possesions through garage sales, gumtree and Facebook marketplace and arranged to ship the belongings we didn’t want to part with. 

Initially we had our heart set on going to America, but after much research and discussions with lawyers, we found that America was too hard to get in to, especially as an Australian, so we crossed that off the list. If you’re an Australian and have moved to America permanently, I would love to know your story. We toiled with the idea of Ireland, but than decided to make Manchester our home. At the time, we felt London was too expensive and would be too crowded and fast paced for our liking, while Manchester was affordable, slower pace (compared to London) and a great location to start our business.

My husband holds a Swiss and French passport, as well as an Australian one. This being said, we knew moving to the UK would be easy, as his EU passports allowed him to enter the country.  As for me,  I entered the UK using my Australian passport, along with an EEA (European Economic Area) family permit. Yes, this is a Family Permit, not a visa. My family permit was arranged only a few weeks before leaving Australia and was surprisingly quick and easy to do. This permit allowed me to have all the same rights as my husband (or any EU citizen), e.g; right to reside in the UK, leave and enter the country as I please and of course, work. 

After 6 months of living in the UK, we then applied for pre-settled status. This involved quite a bit of paperwork along with biometric testing of fingerprints. This process took around 6 months to be approved by the Home Office. Back in December 2019, just before Christmas, we received our confirmation of pre-settled status which was amazing and I now hold a UK residency card. Sorry to all the Brexit fans out there!! We’ve now been living in the UK for close to 2.5 years.

So what does it mean for us to have pre-settled status? To put it simply, this means we are on our way to accumulating 5 years of residency in the UK. Once we have resided in the UK for 5 years, we can then go on to apply for settled status, meaning we will be able to remain in the UK permanently. Following another 12 months after this, we will have the opportunity to apply for British citizenship (not that we necessarily would), although, my husband might, as he seems to like collecting passports, haha. Pre-settled status also allows us to be out of the country for no more than 6 months, without it affecting our status. Any longer would result in our status starting again. If, for some reason, we were out of the country for a continuous period of 2 years, then our status would lapse. 

How you get to enter and/or stay in the UK may be different to ours depending on your country of citizenship and your own personal circumstances, but we hope this information has been helpful to some.