Moving to Scotland
Sirelo’s Expert Moving to Guide

Have you caught yourself daydreaming about moving to Scotland? If yes, don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone. After all, the Scots are known for being incredibly friendly, the scenery is beautiful (highlands, anyone?), and the culture is rich —what’s not to love? To help your dream become a reality, we’ve compiled an expert moving to guide which will walk you through the entire process –from costs, to visas, to housing, we got your back! The Kingdom of the Gaels awaits for you!

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Cost of Moving to Scotland from America

First things first, let’s talk money. It probably comes as no surprise that moving abroad isn’t a cheap deal. But let’s be honest, great things in life rarely come at no cost –and a moving adventure of this magnitude is certainly no exception.

Like with any international move, there are more than a few factors that will affect the costs of your move to Scotland —hint: the size and departure point of your move play the biggest roles in this equation.

Because we know that all of this can sound a tad bit vague, we’ve compiled some ballpark estimates for a sea-freight move to Edinburgh from both the East Coast and West Coast of the United States in the tables below.

Moving from the East Coast to Scotland

PropertyShipping TimeEstimated Cost
1-bedroom6 – 9 weeks$5,200 – $7,200
2-bedrooms5 – 3 weeks$7,100 – $9,600
3-bedrooms5 – 3 weeks$12,400 – $18,600
4-bedrooms5 – 3 weeks$13,300 – $17,800

Disclaimer: the rates shown above are just mere estimates. Your moving costs will vary depending on your actual point of departure, the size of your move and the service rates of the company.

Moving to Scotland from the West Coast

PropertyShipping TimeEstimated Cost
1-bedroom7 – 10 weeks$6,400 – $8,600
2-bedrooms5 – 7 weeks$8,600 – $11,600
3-bedrooms5 – 7 weeks$15,500 – $20,900
4-bedrooms5 – 7 weeks$16,400 – $22,000

Disclaimer: the rates shown above are just mere estimates. Your moving costs will vary depending on your actual point of departure, the size of your move and the service rates of the company.

As experts in moving we can tell you with certainty that moving costs are generally quite hard to estimate, so our pro tip is that you request moving quotes ASAP –this is truly the only way you’ll be able to get an accurate estimation of how much a move to Scotland will cost you!

Still looking for a professional moving company? Look no further!
Select the size of your move below to receive up to 5 free moving quotes!

Sirelo Tip! As the volume of your move heavily influences your moving costs, the easiest way to save money during your move is to downsize your belongings. Unsure how to do it? Check out our tips to learn how to downsize your home like a pro. 😎

Checklist for Your Move to Scotland

We’ll be honest, moving from the US to Scotland won’t be an easy task. In particular, remembering everything that needs to get done before, during, and after your move will definitely be challenging. But don’t be discouraged, we’re here to help! To start off easy, we’ve compiled five important steps you cannot miss when organizing your move abroad in the infographic below.

Checklist containing 5 important steps you cannot forget when moving to Scotland from America

Looking for a more extensive moving checklist? Well, look no further! Luckily, we have more than a few tricks up our sleeve that will help you ensure this big move runs as smoothly as possible —check them out here!

Things to Know Before Moving to Scotland

Before embarking on the crazy fun adventure that moving to Scotland will be, there are probably a few things you might want to get in check first. As an American moving to Scotland, you should be mindful of:

Visas

Trust us when we say that we know that the process of getting a visa is certainly as exciting as watching grass grow. But, unfortunately, there’s no way around it –we all have to go through it.

Luckily, Scotland is quite welcoming to American expats. So, although the process will be tedious, at least the chances of you being able to smoothly start a new life in the Kingdom of the Gaels is quite high.

As most countries do, Scotland offers a variety of visas for expats interested in staying in the country longer than 6 months. The visa you apply for depends on your circumstances, and include:

  • Skilled worker
  • Temporary worker
  • Global talent
  • Start-up
  • Investor
  • Innovator
  • UK ancestry

Remember! Every visa application is treated as an individual case, so make sure to check out the following governmental website for more information on what type of visa you’ll be eligible for.

Healthcare

As in the rest of the UK, the NHS is responsible for the public healthcare system in Scotland. The NHS operates under the principle of universal medical coverage for permanent residents of the UK. This means that, regardless of your nationality, healthcare will be free for you as long as you legally reside in Scotland –though you will have to pay additional fees for specialized services.

Alternatively, you also have the option to take out an international health insurance policy with an American company. Under these policies you’ll often enjoy coverage for both medical emergencies and routine healthcare work.

Financial Arrangements

One of the toughest tasks of moving to a new country is learning how to navigate the banking system –but don’t worry, we’re here to make it a bit easier for you. 😉

Unfortunately, we have to start off with some not-so-great news: unless you’re one of the lucky ones who holds an EU nationality alongside your American one, you’ll have to wait at least 3 months to open a bank account in Scotland. So, it’s important to contact your current bank in the States to find out what your options are for the first 3 months of your stay.

Once the 3 months have passed, you’ll be able to open a bank account in Scotland without much trouble. The requirements to open an account vary per bank, but they generally include:

  • Proof of identity (e.g.: valid passport);
  • Proof of address in Scotland (e.g.: utility bill);
  • An up-to-date photograph;
  • Current employment, income, and/or savings details (including those you might have in the US);
  • An initial deposit;
  • Credit check pass.

Sirelo Tip! Exchanging your currency a few weeks before your move to Scotland from the US (or immediately after you arrive) will save you a lot of headaches —trust us on that one.

Moving to Scotland with Pets

We can imagine that you want to bring your furry friends along with you on your move to Scotland. When moving to Scotland from America, you’ll need to make sure that your pet meets the following requirements:

  • Has been microchipped;
  • Owns a pet passport;
  • Has been vaccinated against rabies and received treatment against tapeworm.

Living in the Kingdom of the Gaels: All You Need to Know

Alright, so we definitely all know by now that moving to Scotland from America will be an adventure –at least we think we’ve definitely stressed this enough. But, before waving the good ol’ motherland farewell, it’s important that you’re well informed about what life in Scotland holds for you.

Cost of Living in Scotland

Life in ScotlandAverage Cost
Purchasing a property£165,000 (≈ $233,277)
Renting a property£689 (≈ $974) per month
Utilities (gas, electricity, water, garbage collection)£142 (≈ $200) per month
Food (including eating out!)£175 (≈ $247) per month
Transportation
  • Public transport ticket: £52 (≈ $74) per month
  • One-way public transport ticket: £1.70 (≈ $2.40)
  • Liter of gasoline: £1.17 (≈ $1.66)

Leisure

We cannot talk about life in Scotland without touching upon all the wonders the country has to offer entertainment-wise. With its picturesque sceneries, vibrant cities filled with warm and friendly people, and slightly unpredictable weather (don’t say we didn’t warn ya’), Scotland will definitely keep you on your toes.

To help you picture what your life could be like in the Kingdom of the Gaels, we put together a list of some cool things you can do in the country and their respective costs.

ActivityAverage Cost
Visit to the National Museum of ScotlandFree of charge!
Tour at a Whiskey Distillery£38 (≈ $54)
Visit to the Edinburgh Castle£15.50 (≈ $22)
Three-course meal for two£60 (≈ $85)
Single movie ticket£10 (≈ $14)
Visit to the Edinburgh zoo£19.95 (≈ $28)

For those of you who are lovers of the outdoors, we recommend checking out:

  • Mull of Galloway
  • Fairy Pools
  • Cairngorms National Park
  • Finnich Glen
  • The Loch Ness —extra points if you can spot our friend Nessie over there 😉

Picture of the Edinburgh skyline at sunset that you can view when moving to Scotland

Working in Scotland as a US Expat

If you’ve given moving from the US to Scotland an actual serious thought, then it’s likely that you are currently scouting for a job –unless you already have one lined up, which in that case, congratulations! 

Keep in mind that in order to apply for a Scottish work-related visa you’ll need to already have a job offer from a Scottish company. Luckily, Scotland has a few sectors which are currently seeking out skilled professionals, these include:

  • Financial services
  • Oil and gas industry
  • Healthcare sector
  • Service industry

When it comes to scouting for jobs, we advise to check out the following platforms:

Did You Know…?

  • Scotland’s national animal is a unicorn. Yes, you read that right, an unicorn! 
  • In the Harry Potter universe, the fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is found in the Scottish highlands.
  • The Scottish town of Bonnybridge has become the UFO capital of the world —space lovers, this one’s for ya’.
  • The world’s shortest commercial flight is in Scotland, lasting only 47 seconds and connecting two Scottish islands.

Ready for Your Move to Scotland from America?

Congrats –a move to Scotland from the United States now awaits for you! We hope that after reading this article you feel more than ready to pack everything and embrace your new life in the Kingdom of the Gaels.

If you still feel like you might need some extra help preparing your move to Scotland, we got your back. We recommend checking out the pages we have linked for you below. We wish you the best of luck on your move, or as the Scottish say, lang may yer lum reek! 🙂