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Newby thinking about moving to Scotland

My husband and I are considering moving to Scotland sometime this year and are looking for any help we can get in making the right decisions in this regard.  We are both retired - I was a golf architect with my own business and I now am an experienced writer and playwright.  I want to write a Historical Fiction Novel about my family (Armstrong) lives during the border wars.  My husband is a retired account executive.  We also are hoping to escape the Trump years.

Comments

  • argyllgirlargyllgirl Member ✭✭
    Do one of you have a parent who was born in the UK?  You will need visas.  I understand the need to escape Trump!   

    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration
  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    Hey Mary, I too moved from the US 2.5 years back for work after having lived there 5+ years.

    A couple of things are in your favour, the USD - GBP exchange rate is extremely favourable and it hasn't been cheaper to live in Scotland while spending USD post-Brexit vote. I also feel Scotland is perfect for retirement (thinking about it in my early 30s :wink:) because there is a strong sense of community outside the big cities that is heartwarming to see. Plus Europe is next door, its just fantastic for traveling.

    On the flip side, housing in Scotland can be quite old compared to the US. Though it looks charming from the outside, it can be a pain to get boilers fixed and the like (things you never deal with in the states). I'd suggest insisting on a new-ish build. Isle of Arran looked great for that, pretty new houses were up on offer in scenic locations when we went there on holiday. Also, the UK political situation is a bit up in the air due to Brexit (and potential 2nd ref) but it affects me (non first-world passport holder) more than you.

    Do you have any specific questions that you'd like answered? I know there are more US transplants on this forum who'll be happy to help out.
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkyeMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, Speyside)

  • argyllgirlargyllgirl Member ✭✭
    The first thing to find out is if you qualify for a visa.  I live here because I married a UK citizen. 
  • Mary_AMary_A Member
    I do not have relatives that I know of in Scotland.  I have been told by a Scottish friend that is encouraging us that I would qualify for a visa.  We are currently concentrating on what it will take on our American side:
    1.renting out our property (furnished or not),
    2. what to do with the rest of our "stuff",
    3. concerns over accessibility to my folks that are quite elderly,
    4. insurance (we are on medicare here),
    5. maintaining our voting ability here in the US, 
    6. a complete climate reversal from a hot dry desert climate of New Mexico to a damp, cool climate of Scotland.

    As for the Scotland side, I am fortunate in that I have a friend in Scotland that says he will help us.  However, I have these following concerns:
    1. Since I want to write about the borderlands and Armstrongs, I wonder whether I should be looking in that area for housing.  I don't think my friend has any connections in that area.
    2. In America, there is a tradition of free golf to those that are in the industry.  I'm wondering if that will hold in Scotland.
    3. I am transgendered and my husband is African American.  We are feeling very uncomfortable with Trump coming into the Presidency, but do not want to make a big move to find that we are not accepted in our new home.
    4. I understand that if we have a visa for longer than 3 months we will qualify for Scotland's National Healthcare Program.  I don't know if there is a cost to us.
    5. Will we be paying taxes in Scotland on our Social Security and meager pension?

    Thank you all for your help!

  • Mary_AMary_A Member
    Of course, the biggest concern I have is that there are issues that I don't know enough about to even ask a question!
  • 1) Travel in Scotland isn't always easy, so if you want to write about the Borders that would be the best place to settle.  It's a beautiful part of the country.  However, like everywhere else in Scotland, it gets cold and wet at times.  If you're used to a hot, dry climate you'll need a properly insulated house with an efficient boiler and central heating, so a new-build house is probably your best bet.  (That will also cover the accessibility issue for your parents: all new-builds have to be fully accessible. So do shops and public places but some are better than others.)

    2) Weather: you'll need sweaters, good waterproofs and walking boots/wellies and a "doesn't matter" attitude to weather.  On the plus side, there are no midges in the Borders, nor mosquitoes, dangerous snakes or other unpleasant wildlife :)

    3) Re transgender/POC: I don't think you'll find people any worse here than in the USA, and they're certainly more sympathetic than Mr Trump.  There'll always be one or two insensitive folk, wherever you go :(

    4) Culture: I moved to Scotland from England 19 years ago and was surprised by how big a difference there is between the two, especially in how people look at life and history.  Be prepared for culture shock! (But you've probably already discovered that if you've been here on holiday regularly.)

    5) Health care: if you have a visa that allows you residence in Scotland, medical treatment on the NHS won't cost you anything.  You will have to pay a proportion of the cost of dental treatments and you also have to pay for glasses and hearing aids, if you use them, but regular eye and ear tests are free.

    6) Taxes: you'll only pay tax on your income if it goes over a certain level.  You'll find full details on the gov.uk site (it's the same for England and Scotland as long as you earn less than £150,000/year - for the moment, at least).

    I hope that helps.  Good luck and I look forward to welcoming you to Scotland soon!


    Charlotte Fleming
    I blog about quirky bits of Scotland and especially my home county of Angus at www.scottishvisitor.co.uk
  • argyllgirlargyllgirl Member ✭✭
    Mary, I'm afraid you will not qualify for a visa.  No one living in Scotland can sponsor you to move here.  

    Check the visa site:  https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa
  • argyllgirlargyllgirl Member ✭✭
    1) Travel in Scotland isn't always easy, so if you want to write about the Borders that would be the best place to settle.  It's a beautiful part of the country.  However, like everywhere else in Scotland, it gets cold and wet at times.  If you're used to a hot, dry climate you'll need a properly insulated house with an efficient boiler and central heating, so a new-build house is probably your best bet.  (That will also cover the accessibility issue for your parents: all new-builds have to be fully accessible. So do shops and public places but some are better than others.)

    2) Weather: you'll need sweaters, good waterproofs and walking boots/wellies and a "doesn't matter" attitude to weather.  On the plus side, there are no midges in the Borders, nor mosquitoes, dangerous snakes or other unpleasant wildlife :)

    3) Re transgender/POC: I don't think you'll find people any worse here than in the USA, and they're certainly more sympathetic than Mr Trump.  There'll always be one or two insensitive folk, wherever you go :(

    4) Culture: I moved to Scotland from England 19 years ago and was surprised by how big a difference there is between the two, especially in how people look at life and history.  Be prepared for culture shock! (But you've probably already discovered that if you've been here on holiday regularly.)

    5) Health care: if you have a visa that allows you residence in Scotland, medical treatment on the NHS won't cost you anything.  You will have to pay a proportion of the cost of dental treatments and you also have to pay for glasses and hearing aids, if you use them, but regular eye and ear tests are free.

    6) Taxes: you'll only pay tax on your income if it goes over a certain level.  You'll find full details on the gov.uk site (it's the same for England and Scotland as long as you earn less than £150,000/year - for the moment, at least).

    I hope that helps.  Good luck and I look forward to welcoming you to Scotland soon!



    Retired Americans have no way of qualifying for a visa to live here.  The only way would be if one of the their parents was a  UK citizen.  

    Too many give people false hope without knowing about visa requirements. 
  • Mary_AMary_A Member
    I am retired by other than my own choice.  My business isn't active.  I have explored some possibility of golf work with some potential there.  I also am planning to write my novel, which I indicated.  I'm not so certain it is that clear.
  • argyllgirlargyllgirl Member ✭✭
    Sorry but it is highly unlikely that you will be able to get a visa.  Check out the link I posted about visas. 
  • SunnySunny Member

    Take the romance out of your notions and think about it practically.

    A lot in Scotland depends where you move to. If you are not in the big cities then the closer you get to the English border, the easier life is. And, if you want to be in a city, why would you choose a Scottish city? There are many nice cities all over the UK.

    It's colder in Scotland and some places are much colder than others. Some are much windier than others as well, if you are thinking of moving to the outer islands.

    The health service is free - at the point of service - but it's not that good. Scotland have their own health service which is nothing to do with the English one and the regulations governing it are completely different.

    It's only got about 6 million people in total scattered over a wide area so, although you might want to live remotely, what are you going to do when you need things in an emergency or the car breaks down. These things might seem to have simple solutions but often they can become very troublesome and worrying.

    Same story if you move into one of the snowier regions. Yes, it's all very pretty, but not if you are stuck behind a snow drift for 4 to 6 weeks.

    It's a very grey place. The sunny days when you can wander around wearing something as skimpy as a t-shirt, are few and far between.

    You want medical care and live rurally, you might have the option of maybe 2 doctors - but a lot of the time it's only 1.

    And don't bother complaining about anything even if you have very valid reason. Incomers are encouraged with open arms because Scotland needs the money and numbers - but woe betide any incomer who wants a problem resolving.

    Actually, I can't think of a single good reason to move there other than the rural lifestyle - and if you are going for that, then Wales is warmer if wetter and Ireland has a better reputation.










  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 24
    And, if you want to be in a city, why would you choose a Scottish city? There are many nice cities all over the UK.

    Actually, I can't think of a single good reason to move there other than the rural lifestyle - and if you are going for that, then Wales is warmer if wetter and Ireland has a better reputation.
    @Sunny I must disagree with your sentiments as someone who has a moderately successful career and lives in Scotland. Here's just a few reasons to move to Edinburgh, please name 1 city in the UK that can meet these criteria and is not London (where everything costs 2-3x the rest of the UK, the salaries aren't that high and is pretty polluted and congested).
    • The University of Edinburgh is recognized to be one of the best in the world. It's Informatics department in particular is home to ground breaking research, especially in Machine Learning. For my field (Computer Science), Strathclyde and St. Andrews are also recognized to be some of the best in the UK.
    • Extremely friendly locals all across the country
    • The city looks like a fairytale. And so much green space with the urban sprawl.
    • The Edinburgh Fringe. Enough said. Also, Hogmanay.
    • Accessible sports clubs all across the city (Meadowbank closure has set that back a bit but there's tons of awesome leisure centres serving many areas)
    • Home to atleast 3 tech giant company offices - Amazon, Skyscanner, Apple
    • Gateway to seeing other parts of Scotland, a country consistently voted by multiple travel magazines to be in the top 3 countries to visit in the world. Yes they call out Scotland specifically and not "the UK". The natural beauty of Scotland is so many times better than any other part of this country.
    • Access to some of the best food in the UK (Scottish Salmon and Aberdeen Angus anyone?)
    • And finally, the whisky, the beer and the craic. Is there anything more Scottish? :)
    Even for the rural areas, I have seen nothing but genuinely happy people who live there and work together as a community. And it is so safe, I've lived with families who don't lock their homes because that's just how safe it is. Sure, there are gaps in amenities but you speak as if rural areas in England fare any better with council budgets being cut left, right and centre.

    Finally, you have the gall to diss Scotland on a forum that is nothing but friendly and helpful. You took some time to write your thoughts which I commend. But I think your argument is shoddy at best. I shall await your response to which other city in the UK can possibly meet all the criteria listed above that Edinburgh satisfied, let alone beat it.
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkyeMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, Speyside)

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