I know that a US citizen could potentially remain in the UK for up to 6 months on travel. However, I'm also sure that this wouldn't allow them to work while here. If someone were to be visiting the UK for this long, are there legal ways to earn an income while in the UK for 6 months of travel?

  • What does acceptable mean? Legal? In terms of standards of living? – JoErNanO May 9 '16 at 13:11
  • Sorry i should have been more clear - I mean legal. Edited the post. – millerbr May 9 '16 at 13:14
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    Legally? Don't use the 6 month visa-free entry, but apply for the correct type of work visa (which may or may not also allow longer than 6 months). Alternativley, have sufficent investments that they pay an income that can sustain you. – CMaster May 9 '16 at 13:30
  • Is this a digital nomad type of enquiry? Or more towards what's legal, like dividends, rental income, and such? Unclear. – Gayot Fow May 9 '16 at 13:33
  • Put I'm simply, I'm looking for what options are available for a US national to support themselves while in the UK for a period of up to 6 months. – millerbr May 9 '16 at 13:47

Working on a Standard Visitor Visa

You can't do paid nor unpaid work on a UK Standard Visitor visa.

You can’t:

  • do paid or unpaid work
  • live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits
  • get public funds
  • marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership

Similarly, you can't do paid nor unpaid work if entering the UK as a visa exempt US citizen (or any other non-visa national).

Working in the UK

To work in the UK you'll have to apply for the appropriate Work Visa. There are some exceptions to this for US citizens coming into the UK for less than 6 months with the purpose of working, provided:

You don’t need a visa if you’re coming to the UK for activities allowed under the following visas:

  • a Standard Visitor visa - eg if you’re coming to the UK for conferences, meetings, training, academic research or a sabbatical
  • a ‘permitted paid engagement’ (you must have been invited to the UK because of your expertise) - you can only stay for up to 1 month

However, you should bring supporting documents to show at the border.

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    (Or the visa exemption that US citizens enter on) – CMaster May 9 '16 at 13:29
  • Am I correct in thinking that all of the available work visas for a US citizen would only be accessible if you have a company willing to sponsor you? – millerbr May 9 '16 at 13:30
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    @millerbr Have a read: gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/work-visas – CMaster May 9 '16 at 13:36
  • Yep been reading through that - looks like the best way is to get a company to sponsor you. I might be stretching now, but do you know of any options available to someone who doesn't have a degree? – millerbr May 9 '16 at 13:51
  • @millerbr For extended discussion use the travel chat. – JoErNanO May 9 '16 at 13:57

Depending on your nationality you can apply for a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa:

  • want to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years
  • are aged 18 to 30
  • have £1,890 in savings
  • have certain types of British Nationality or are from certain countries
  • meet the other eligibility requirements

Currently allowed nationalities:-

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Hong Kong
  • Republic of Korea
  • Taiwan

I have copied only some portions from the website. For full details do visit the website as that will be the most authentic source of information.

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    Reading through this, it would seem this doesn't apply to someone who was born in the US? – millerbr May 9 '16 at 13:22
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    Americans do not qualify for YMS, the US govt turned it down. – Gayot Fow May 9 '16 at 13:31
  • @GayotFow I presume because the UK expects reciprocal "Working Holiday Visa" opportunity for Britons? – CMaster May 9 '16 at 13:34
  • @CMaster, yes reciprocity has to be part of the deal and they were not buying into it. I'll let you figure out why :) – Gayot Fow May 9 '16 at 13:38
  • Of course, young brits have the opportunity to work on US Summer Camps (I don't know what visa/permit they use). I can't think of a similar line of work for the UK. – CMaster May 9 '16 at 13:40

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