One of the unique places to become an expat that is close by to the UK is the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man is located in the Irish Sea between England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland. You can easily visit the Isle of Man by air or sea and there are plenty of services that transport travelers and residents frequently.
The Isle of Man is similar to the Channel Islands in that it is a self governing locale. The Isle of Man is considered a crown dependency which means that it has its own government, but relies on the UK for protection and foreign affairs. While the currency on the Isle of Man is the British Pound, it does have its own postage stamps, traditional language called Manx, cuisine and culture.
The Isle of Man is relatively small only measuring 33 miles long and 13 miles wide. It has 227 square miles of which 40% is not habitable. The Isle of Man is home to over 80,000 people and most of the residents reside in the City of Douglas which is also the capital of the island.
The Isle of Man is known to have a temperate climate, however expect a lot of rainfall in certain locations. For instance, it is more apt to rain in the south along the coast than the northern plain. Summers are usually cool and during the summer you should have no trouble finding sunshine. The winter is usually mild, but it can be quite windy. Expect more sun on average than the British Isles due to the strong winds which push the clouds quickly. The usual amount of overcast skies runs at about 35% each year.
The Isle of Man is considered a crown dependency. It has its own local government, but its international affairs and defense are relied upon by Britain. The Isle of Man is stable and safe place to live and crime is fairly low. Entry requirements are the same as the UK, so for Americans, feel free to enter with just a passport (no visa is required). There are some requirements for residency and these requirements do cover services such as unemployment benefits, medical benefits, taxation and investment regulations. You can find out more about the government of Isle of Man at the Isle of Man Government web site.
For information regarding UK regulations, please consult with the British Embassy in the USA.
The Isle of Man is known to have very low income tax rates. Income tax rates are the same for individuals and corporations; they are either 10%, 18% or 0%. The Isle of Man does pursue investment on the island and offers a wide range of incentives to those businesses that can help the residents and government prosper. It is important to note that trade mostly takes place with the UK, but the Isle of Man does have easy access to the European Union markets.
Medical care is widely available on the island and is more than adequate for expats looking for long term residence. It should be noted that new resident will not be able to access certain benefits, unless they have been a resident on the island for more than 5 years. However, if you are employed on the Isle of Man, you should have no problem receiving medical insurance.
There are several hospitals, clinics, private practices, dentists and pharmacies on the island. Any specialist care is usually easily accessible by traveling close by to the mainland. For American expats that have tourist status, international medical insurance is possibly your best option, especially if you are suddenly hospitalized or in need of care.
Real estate is alive and well on the Isle of Man and there are many homes, of all shapes and sizes available. Prices vary as well; however for a small home, expect to pay about 150,000 pounds or about 300K in US dollars. Larger homes can cost as much as 700K in US dollars; these homes usually include 3 or four bedrooms, two garages and a large yard. Prices are similar to California or New York City.
There are also flats available and these types of accommodations are obviously less expensive. You can either purchase a flat or lease. Flat prices again vary depending on the size and quality of the flat and location. If you are an expat with a small income or budget, your best bet is to room with one or more flat mates. Renting a flat with flat mates can be as low as 200 -300 pounds per month.
For foreigners looking to invest in property, you might have to file certain applications to be approved, however for most investors, the guidelines are straightforward and do not take a tremendously long period of time.
The Isle of Man has wonderful shopping and entertainment. The Isle of Man is known throughout the British Isles as a resort area, where many families come for vacation. The Isle of Man has plenty of restaurants, pubs, night clubs, exhibitions and attractions such as carnivals, movie theaters and sporting events.
You can find many things to do including shopping. There are plenty of shops on the island and they include the big names so you can buy just about anything you can on the mainland. Restaurants are also widely available and vary in traditional recipes, to continental to world cuisines.
Besides shopping and entertainment, there are a wide range of business services on the island, so if you are an entrepreneur, you can find plenty of services that cater to businesses.
Cost of Living
The Isle of Man uses the pound sterling, but it also prints its own money and mints its own coins. It should be noted that postage stamps are different as well. Because the currency is on the pound sterling, the cost of living is usually higher than the rest of Europe and the United States. For those on a small budget, don’t let this discourage you because there are bargains to be found, however expect to pay more for most items compared to your home town in the states.
Extradition from Isle of Man
The Extradition treaty between Isle of Man and the UK was signed on July 13, 1983
The Treaty on Extradition between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, a Protocol of Signature, and an exchange of notes were signed at London on June 8, 1972.