What Options do Americans have to Retire in the UK? (2023)

So you’ve decided you’d like to retire in the UK – what are your options and is it a realistic goal? I’ve done the research so you can find out if it’s possible to livehere as a citizen or a individual with “indefinite leave to remain”.

Let’s say you’re an American citizen who’s considering whether or not to retire in the UK. Here’s the research from the official Gov.uk site to help guide you.

What Options do Americans have to Retire in the UK? (1)

Cheap Street in the town of Frome, Somerset.

Your Best Options to Retire in the UK

  1. as a family member or partner of British citizen
  2. as a family member or partner of a settled resident
  3. you already have a retired person visa
  4. you’ve settled in the UK before
  5. you’ve been in the UK legally for 10 years
  6. you’re in the UK on a UK ancestry visa
  7. you’re eligible for an Investor Tier 1 visa (see update)
  8. you’re eligible for an Innovator visa

Unfortunately, the UK recently retired it’s “Retired Persons” visa.

(Video) Can an American Retiree Move to England?

The Retired Persons visawas an affordable way to live in the UK with reasonable income requirements (a minimum income of £25,000 per year) and gain permanent settled status as a Retired Person of Independent Means but is no longer offered. Eligibility required a close connection to the UK either through family ties, business or residence so it wasn’t suitable for everyone. If you’re already in the UK under this visa, you still have the option of extending it.

Exploring Your Options to Retire in the UK

Unless you have family connections, have lived in the UK for a long period or are currently in the UK on an existing visa, your options to retire are limited.Check to see if these options to retire in the UK may apply to your situation:

Option 1

You’re the family member or partner of a British citizen. Learn more here.

Option 2

You’re the family member or partner of someone who has settled in the UK. Learn more here.

(Video) How Much do You Need to Retire in 2023? (Less than you think)

Option 3

You have a retired person visa. Learn more here.

Option 4

You’ve been settled in the UK before. Learn more here.

Option 5

You’ve been in the UK legally for 10 years. Learn more here.

Option 6

You’re in the UK on a UK ancestry visa. Learn more here.

Option 7

Investor Tier 1 Visa

UPDATE: February 2022 – according to BBC news, this investor visa, which was introduced in 2008, is being discontinued effective immediately over concerns about misuse.

(Video) 3 In 4 People Are NOT Ready To Retire - Here's Why

You can no longer apply for a new Investor (Tier 1) visa. If you already have this visa (or had one in the last 12 months and it was your most recent visa), you can still apply.

Eligibility for a Tier 1 visa was tough!

    • have at least £2 million in investment funds
    • be 18 or over
    • able to prove the money belongs to you, a spouse or unmarried or same-sex partner
    • open an account at a UK regulated bank to use these funds
    • these investment funds must be free to spend or disposable in the UK
    • have a current passport or another valid travel ID
    • a criminal record certificate from any country you’ve lived in for 12 months or more in the last 10 years
    • a letter of evidence from the UK bank account holding your funds

Give evidence of your funds origin and

    • how much you have and where it’s held
    • where it came from if you’ve had it less than 2 years
    • can funds be transferred to UK and converted to sterling

Additional information you’ll need if the money is your partner’s

    • certificate of marriage, civil partnership or proof of long term relationship of at least 2 years
    • statement from your partner allowing you control of the funds
    • a legal advisors letter stating your declaration is valid

Additional documents may be required depending on your circumstances. This type of Tier 1 Visa can be extended and a Tier 1 Visa holder’s family members are eligible to also apply for a visa.

What Options do Americans have to Retire in the UK? (3)

Famous Gold’s Hill in Shaftsbury, Dorset

(Video) The 6 Best English-Speaking Countries You Can Retire To

Live in England for 6 Months Guide

Other Visa Options to Retire in the UK

The UK government has also discontinued it’s affordable Entrepreneur Tier 1 Visa so you no longer can apply.

As an alternative you can apply for an Innovator visa which is limited to businesses different than any other in the current marketplace. Could be a tall order! However this visa can’t be extended so it’s not recommended for those seeking to retire or settle permanently.

Keep in mind, most of these options are open to non US citizens as well. In fact if you’re from a commonwealth country like Canada or some EU countries you may have different options to settle in the UK that aren’t open to Americans.

Before you get too discouraged, consider visiting or staying for up to 6 months to be sure this is where you want to be. It can be a very different lifestyle to get used to even with the common language and culture!

(Video) 15 Best Countries to Retire Easily in 2023

All of this information comes from the official Gov.uk website and will remain as up to date as the official source. During my research I found articles that weren’t entirely accurate or were out of date due to the UK government discontinuing some visa options. I’m not a lawyer nor am I offering legal advice, so please do your research and good luck!

Ready to make a move?: get the Move Abroad planner


Can I retire in the UK as a US citizen? ›

Moving to the UK From the US for Retirement

The UK no longer provides a retirement visa for foreign nationals. However, if you have enough money, you may be eligible for an investor visa and move to the UK to spend your golden years.

How can an American citizen move to the UK? ›

As an American citizen, moving from the US to the UK to travel, study, and live is permitted for up to six months at a time. However, you cannot work during this period. If you want to hold down a job, you'll have to have a suitable visa. There are UK work visas for just about every possible profession.

What is the easiest country for Americans to retire to? ›

In order of top to bottom, the following top 10 countries to retire abroad include Portugal, Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Spain, Greece, France, Italy, and Thailand.

How much does it cost to retire in England? ›

According to research (2021), couples in the UK need a minimum retirement income of £15,700, to live a moderate lifestyle for £29,100 or £47,500 to live comfortably. These stats are a national average outside of London, and your circumstances could be different.

What visa do I need to retire in the UK? ›

Retiring to the UK

The UK has scrapped its retirement visa, which was known as the retired persons of independent means permit. Under this, anyone needing a visa to stay could apply to retire to the UK if they could prove they have a minimum disposable income of £25,000 a year and close connections to the UK.

What is the cheapest country for an American to retire in? ›

Costa Rica

Climate, environment, and costs vary throughout the country, but the overall cost of living is about 38 per cent lower than in the United States, and housing is 72 per cent lower on average making it one of the cheapest countries to retire in, based on June 2022 data.


1. 9 Countries to Retire on a Small Pension, Social Security, or With Very Little Money
(Nomad Lifestyle)
2. The Real Truth About Retiring Abroad What Shocked Us
(This Is Our Retirement)
3. 10 Easiest Countries to Retire Comfortably in 2022
(Skerry Harry)
4. Best Places to Retire in UK || Best Places to Retire in the World - Places in UK - Real Homy
(Real Homy )
5. 4 Things No-On Tells You about Retiring Abroad Until It’s Too Late
(Sixty and Me)
6. Why Saving For Retirement Feels Impossible
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Roderick King

Last Updated: 01/11/2023

Views: 5247

Rating: 4 / 5 (51 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Roderick King

Birthday: 1997-10-09

Address: 3782 Madge Knoll, East Dudley, MA 63913

Phone: +2521695290067

Job: Customer Sales Coordinator

Hobby: Gunsmithing, Embroidery, Parkour, Kitesurfing, Rock climbing, Sand art, Beekeeping

Introduction: My name is Roderick King, I am a cute, splendid, excited, perfect, gentle, funny, vivacious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.