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Moving to Guernsey and Jersey: The Expat’s Guide

Jersey and Guernsey are located in The Channel Islands, an archipelago located just off of the French Coast of Normandy, in the English Channel. These two islands boast beautiful coastlines, dreamy harbours, and plenty of classic charm fit to woo any expat into loving them. If you’re considering moving to Jersey or Guernsey, here’s what you need to know. 

Top 10 Reasons to Move to Jersey and Guernsey 

If you’re considering moving to Jersey and Guernsey, here are ten smart reasons to take the plunge.

1. The Channel Islands offer a unique political climate
When you go to The Channel Islands, you’ll quickly find that, while they’re not self-governed, they’re also not entirely British. This creates a unique political climate that many expats love.

2. There are four individual islands to explore
The Channel Islands are comprised of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark, so there’s plenty of beautiful areas to explore when you wind up in this attractive environment

3. The Channel Islands offer fascinating history
The Channel Islands are the scene of disputes between England and France and provide decades’ worth of fascinating history set to pique any history buff’s interest.

4. Jersey and Guernsey are beautiful
Between the verdant landscape, crashing waves, and mild climate, the Channel Islands offer more than enough to explore, and stand out as some of the most beautiful places on earth.

5. The islands offer a close-knit lifestyle
Jersey is the biggest of the Channel Islands, with an area of roughly 45 square islands. Its capital has about 16,488 people living there, and expats who find themselves in the area will enjoy tight-knit communities and plenty of people to get to know. 

6. The cost of living in Jersey and Guernsey is relatively small
When you relocate to Jersey and Guernsey, you’ll find that the cost of living in these beautiful areas is pretty close to what it is in the UK. Some things are, in fact, cheaper.

7. Jersey and Guernsey offer plenty to do, see, and explore
If you’re worried about what you’ll have to do after work, worry no more. Jersey and Guernsey offer plenty of outdoor attractions, cultural events, and local performances. Ideal for expats from all walks of life, these unique attractions will help keep you busy and entertained for your entire time in Jersey and Guernsey.

8. Moving to Jersey and Guernsey is simple
If you’re an EU or UK national, you won’t need a work permit to find employment in Jersey and Guernsey. This makes it easy to move to the area and helps ensure that settling in will be a breeze.

9. The pace of life is lovely in Jersey and Guernsey
If you’re looking for a place that offers a laid-back pace of life and plenty of things to see and do, Jersey and Guernsey are a great bet. Enjoy these beautiful areas and all they have to offer when you choose to move to these unique islands.

10. People are friendly in Jersey and Guernsey 
The communities of Jersey and Guernsey are friendly and welcoming, so you can always find someone to get to know or to pursue new things with. 

Getting a Visa to Jersey and Guernsey 

If you’re a British citizen, EU national, or Swiss national, living in Jersey and Guernsey will be simple and requires virtually no paperwork. If you’re not a national from one of these countries, however, the process will likely be more complicated.  If you’re a national from outside of those countries, your best bet for immigrating to Jersey and Guernsey is to contact the Guernsey Border Agency about current immigration requirements and paperwork needed. Jersey and Guernsey both have relatively strict immigration policies, and ensuring you adhere to them is critical when deciding to move to either of these beautiful islands.

Finding Housing in Jersey and Guernsey 

If you’ve decided that living in Jersey or Guernsey is what you want to do, the next step is to find housing. Fortunately, this isn’t as difficult as it may sound. Housing in Jersey and Guernsey is prevalent, and it’s simple to find a place to rent. Because of the permanence of purchasing a home, though, and the fact that, in Jersey, you need to be a resident of the island for 11 years before being able to purchase property, many new expats to Jersey and Guernsey choose to rent first and buy later. In addition to the fact that Jersey and Guernsey offer plenty of rental opportunities, it’s also a less expensive option in many places and can allow expats the freedom they need to settle in and find out where they actually want to be. As you set out to find a rental in Jersey and Guernsey, be aware of the following things:

Living in Jersey and Guernsey

Living in Jersey and Guernsey is a unique experience that few people will have. Jersey, for example, has structured itself to attract wealthy people that don’t want to live in London. As such, it’s an expensive, affluent, upscale area that’s packed full of prime real estate. It’s also a fast-growing area with many expats coming to live, work, and play there. This owes, in large part, to the climate of the region, which is mild and enjoyable. In the summer, both Jersey and Guernsey offer warm, sunny days, with an estimated 250 hours of sun each month. The temperatures sit in the 70s-80s and seldom dip lower or climb higher than that, which makes for an exceedingly comfortable and welcoming climate. Snow in the region is rare, although it does happen occasionally. Typically, in the deepest months of winter, such as February. Spring and fall are both mild in Jersey and Guernsey, and offer clouds and sun in equal measure.  Much like Jersey, Guernsey offers beautiful scenery, a comfortable lifestyle, and plenty to see and do in the 30 square miles it provides. The capital city of St. Peter Port is one of the best and most popular places to live, and many Guernsey residents call it home. Packed with unique attractions, rural areas, a beautiful interior, unique bars, clubs, and restaurants, and plenty of surprisingly upscale boutiques, St. Peter Port is the first place that many expats look for housing on the island of Guernsey. Another reason that so many people flock to St. Peter Port is the tax system. Unlike so many places in the world, Guernsey offers a flat rate tax system so that anyone living or working there is required only to pay a 20% income tax. Additionally, people who only work for a portion of the year often qualify for a tax refund, and high-income earners are capped at an individual tax rate of 250,000 pounds. Corporations in the area don’t have to pay any corporate tax, and the medical care system in the area is universal, accessible, and adequate. 

The Pros and Cons of Living in Jersey and Guernsey

Like all places, both Jersey and Guernsey have pros and cons. Understanding both the benefits and the drawbacks of these areas can help make your decision to move that much wiser:

The Pros

Cons

The Case for Jersey and Guernsey

While Jersey and Guernsey are little-known areas compared to London or the UK, they’re beautiful islands with plenty to see, do, and explore. From walking the rugged coastlines to hiking and horseback riding in the rural countrysides, there’s plenty to love about this are of the Channel Islands, and expats who find themselves here will enjoy the lifestyle Jersey and Guernsey have to offer. With favourable tax rates, beautiful scenery, friendly people, exciting attractions, and a unique and fascinating history, it’s easy to see why so many people flock to Jersey and Guernsey from around the world. If you’re considering moving to one of these beautiful islands, it’s likely that you won’t regret it, but it’s also wise to be prepared. Choosing between the two will be tough!