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Moving from Canada to UK – Full Guide

The United Kingdom, commonly called the UK, is home to the third largest community of Canadians in the diaspora. Not less than 90,000 Canadians live in the UK, and there are many more in the process of moving from Canada to the UK every year.

Therefore, if you are thinking of moving from Canada to the UK, whether to work, invest, or study, you can choose from the plethora of visas, the one that particularly suits you.

In addition, should you be looking for a visa for your partner in Canada or you desire to come live with a UK citizen who is a family member, there are well-tailored visas that can be provided for you as well as sound and precise immigration advice.

This post contains vital information that can assist you in making a smooth transition from Canada to the United Kingdom.

Types of Visas available to move from Canada to the UK

There are several types of visas offered by UK immigration that you can apply for when moving from Canada to the UK, depending on your particular situation and status. Below is a list of UK visa types.

  • Spouse Visa
  • Fiancé Visa
  • Family Visa
  • Study Visa
  • Visitor Visa

Each of these visas has peculiar requirements that must be adequately satisfied by a citizen looking to move from Canada to the UK before it can be granted.

Family Visas

This is required if you intend to join a family member in the UK; there are several family visas you can apply to, these include:

  • Parent of a UK citizen or settled person: This visa applies to you if your British citizen child is below 18 and living independently in the UK.
  • Children of UK citizens or settled persons: To apply for this category, your child must be a dependent under 18 years.
  • Coming to care for an adult relative: To qualify for this visa, the relative must be a British citizen or settled person. Furthermore, the individual must provide support and accommodation and take care of you without expecting public funds for support.
  • UK Ancestry Visa: Anyone who’s a commonwealth citizen and able to show proof that one of the grandparents was a UK citizen can apply for this visa.
  • EEA Family Permit: This visa is for those not nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA); however, they need to be united with their family in the UK within six months of their application.

Partner Visas

These visas are for persons engaged with, married to, or in a civil relationship with a British citizen or the settled person who wants to move from Canada to the UK to join their partner.

  • Spouse Visa: This marriage visa permits you to join your partner in the UK for as many as 30 months. However, you must be able to provide proof that your relationship is real and you satisfy the financial requirements.
  • Fiancé Visa: The fiancé visa enables one of the intending couple access to enter the UK to get married within six months from the date of application.

Business Visas to move from Canada to the UK

UK business visas are specifically designed for “high-value migrants” like entrepreneurs or investors who want to invest or start a business in the UK. This category includes the following:

  • Global Talent Visa: For those in a specific field like; science, medicine, engineering, arts, etc., who are well known as leaders in their field.
  • Innovator Visa: if you are an experienced business person and wish to start a business in the UK, this visa is for you; however, you must have an investment capital of £50,000.
  • Investor Visa: This permit requires at least £2,000,000 to be invested in the UK before you qualify.
  • Start-up Visa: This visa is for those individuals who want to move from Canada to the UK to start their first business. The investment capital here has no limit; applicants must prove they have good potential.

UK Skilled Work Visas

This category of UK visas is only applicable to individuals offered skilled job employment like; accountancy, IT, or engineering by a UK-based sponsor. This visa type is the major visa for skilled workers; nevertheless, there are several other kinds of visas for skilled workers in the UK.

Under the Skilled Worker pathway, there are four different visa types

  • Skilled Worker Visa: For international workers with a job offer in a position where there is no worker in the Shortage Occupations List or where the skilled workers in the domestic labor market are not enough.
  • Intra-Company Transfer: This visa is for employees working abroad; however, they must transfer to a UK branch of their company.
  • Sportsperson Visa: This visa is for athletes and coaches who intend to function in a role recognized and endorsed by the sports governing body of their country.
  • Minister of Religion Visa: Visa for religious workers and missionaries required for employment within a faith community in the UK.

Study in the UK: Visas to move from Canada to the UK to Study

These categories of visas are to move from Canada to the UK to study as a secondary, college, or university student. For eligibility, you must get a confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) from a UK institution.

Temporary Worker Visas are required to move from Canada to the UK

Temporary Work Visas: these visas are for those who wish to enter the UK for a limited time and do not intend to settle in the country. They include the following categories:

  • Charity Worker visa
  • Creative and Sportspersons visa
  • International Agreement visa
  • Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

UK Visitor Visas

The visitor visa gives you access to move from Canada to the UK as a visit for business, leisure, or private medical treatment.

  • Standard Visitor Visa: Required for
    • unpaid business appointments or artistic work, private medical treatment in the country
    • Leisure purposes.
  • Visitors in transit visa: Those who want to pass through the UK to another country.
  • Permitted Paid Engagement Visa: Visa recognized experts in their profession or field, such as; performers, academics, and researchers.

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) Requirement to move from Canada to UK

You automatically get a Biometric Residence Permit once you:

  • Get permission to be in the UK for above six months
  • You applied for an extension of your current visa for at least six more months.
  • Made an application to settle in the UK as a citizen.
  • Want to transfer your existing permit to a new passport?

Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR)

To be eligible for the ILR, you must have been in the UK for at least five years to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Nevertheless, if you are in the UK under a different visa, you can claim your settled status before or even after this time limit.

Consequently, immediately after you settle in the UK, you are no longer subject to any UK immigration restrictions. As a result, you are free to visit, work, study in the UK, and travel out and re-enter the UK without applying for a visa.

UK Citizenship and Naturalization

You will be eligible for naturalization as a British citizen after five years of residence in the UK or after three years, should you be married to a British citizen.

Upon receiving the Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK permit, you become eligible for British nationality after another 12 months. Nevertheless, before you make an application to naturalize in the UK as a citizen, you must meet other specific criteria such as:

  • Proof of adequate knowledge of the English language
  • Life in the UK Test exam to show your commitment to British customs
  • Proof that you do not have any severe criminal record nor lived in the UK in breach of any immigration law.
  • You haven’t been outside the UK for more than 450 days during your qualifying period.

UK Visa Application Process to move from Canada to the UK

Visa application procedures depend on the type of visa category. However, the majority of visa types have these common procedures.

  • Fill out and submit your application form online or on paper.
  • Pay the application fee and submit your paperwork, including your form and supporting documents, to UKVI.
  • Home Office may contact you for additional documents.
  • Submit your biometrics when you receive notice of appointment to have your biometrics collected.
  • With your documentation, the UKVI will thoroughly analyze your application to check that you meet all mandatory requirements.
  • After that, you will get a letter stating the UKVI’s decision.
  • Once your application scales through, you get your Biometric Residence Permit within ten days.

Required documents for a UK Visa application

The following documents must accompany your application to move from Canada to the UK

  • Completed UK visa application form with your signature
  • Two photographs
  • A valid passport
  • Proof of sufficient finance to cover your living expenses in the UK
  • Biometric information is collectible at your nearest application center.
  • Proof of Visa fees payment
  • Certified translation of documents not in English language or Welsh

When to apply for your UK Visa

The earliest time is three months prior to the date you wish to travel to the UK. Meanwhile, Applications for Settlement can take more than six months to process and approve.

Therefore, you can not enter the UK till you get official permission. Thus, you should submit your application keeping in mind potential delays, particularly during national holidays.

Who can certify the eligibility of your documents as you move from Canada to the UK?

The following group of persons can sign and certify your documents:

  • Religion ministers
  • Solicitors
  • Bank or building society officials
  • Dentists and doctors
  • Teachers or lecturers
  • Chartered accountants

Medical Health test Requirement for UK visa application

Before you move from Canada to the UK, you must provide a medical examination test, particularly the tuberculosis test, for UK visa applicants. In addition, nationals of some specific countries must undergo tuberculosis (TB) tests from an approved medical center if they intend to stay in the UK for more than six months.

However, the following groups do not need chest x-ray TB test:

  • Children under the age of 11
  • Children advised against the test from a qualified pediatrician
  • Pregnant women
  • Returning UK residents only away for less than two years
  • Applicants who have been for a minimum of six months in a country that doesn’t need TB testing.


If you are considering a move to the UK, be sure to do your research first. There are many factors to consider, including visa requirements and tax rates. Once you have a solid understanding of what you need to do, consult an immigration lawyer who can help guide you through the process. Finally, remember that patience and persistence are key when moving abroad; don’t give up until you’ve found the right place to call home.

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