Expat Guernsey

Part of the Channel Islands, Guernsey offers expats stunning scenery and comfortable living. There is much natural beauty on this island that is situated in the English Channel North East of Normandy France. The island of Guernsey is about 30 square miles and has about the same amount of coastline. The city of St. Peter Port is the capital and one of the main areas that residents of Guernsey call home. St Peter Port enjoys a buys flow of tourists and a bustling trade. For expats, there is much to enjoy about Guernsey, from the warm people, rural regions in the interior of the island and lots of boutiques, bars, clubs and restaurants.

While most expats would jump at a chance to live in Guernsey, it should be noted that just like the other Channel Islands, finding a place to live and being allowed to stay is very difficult.


For those seeking sunshine in the summer months, Guernsey delivers, just like her sister islands, Guernsey during the summer months can deliver 250 hours of sun per month. The air temperature on the island during the summer months is usually warm, but not uncomfortable with highs just barely reaching 80 degrees. During the winter months, it is not as nice, with much more rain, overcast skies and artic winds that can make things chilly. Expect temperatures in the low 40’s, but add in the wind chill factor and it can feel much worse. While snow is rare, it does happen once in a while, usually in the month of February. For the spring and fall, expect mild temperatures with a mix of sun and clouds.


Guernsey is considered a British crown dependency and while she relies on Britain for defense and foreign affairs, her local island government is totally dependent. The government of Guernsey has a parliamentary democracy and for the most part runs extremely smooth and efficient. Population on Guernsey is about 65,000 and with the rate of population staying steady, the infrastructure and utilities operate smoothly.

Guernsey relies on tourism for a major part of their income and because Guernsey is lucky enough to receive so much support from tourists, taxes are extremely low.

It should be noted for expats looking to live in Guernsey, while you can easily visit Guernsey, becoming a legal resident can be difficult, even for UK or EU citizens. Housing is usually the biggest problem, due to the fact that there are only a few homes available for the free market, most homes for residents of the island require a special license from the government of Guernsey to live in. For more information on the government and expat requirements, check out the Guernsey Channel Islands Tourist Board.

Tax System

The tax system in Guernsey is extremely attractive. There is a flat tax rate in Guernsey so those earning an income in Guernsey only have to pay 20% income tax. In addition, for those that only work for a short period of time, you may qualify for a tax refund. If you have earned an extraordinary amount of money during the year, you will be happy to know that there is a capped tax rate for individual income tax at 250K pounds.

For corporations, there is no corporate tax, however if you fall into one of the industries such as banking, you may have to pay a 10% corporate tax. You can find out more regarding taxation in Guernsey at Guernsey Domestic Corporate Taxation.

Medical Care

The medical care system in Guernsey is very similar to that of the UK in that many of the doctors and nurses have been trained from the UK health perspective. While there is universal health care for residents of the island, those with insurance from the UK, EU and in many cases the US should not have a problem attaining health care. While there are adequate medical resources, many serious ailments are treated in the UK. In case of a serious medical emergency there are enough specialists on the island to deliver care.

Real Estate

For those looking to invest in Guernsey or even just find a home to buy for seasonal or full time living it should be know that the real estate market is difficult to say the least.

The housing market is divided into two sectors, the small amount of open market properties available and the local market in which only residents and specific individuals can qualify for. Usually, to obtain a home in Guernsey in the local housing market, you must either have been born on Guernsey, obtained a license to purchase property through the government or move in with someone who already has.

For expats looking for a home, if you don’t fall into any category for local housing properties the open market is extremely costly and for most expats out of reach. However for those expats that are categorized as a tourist and do have a significant savings, you can always rent accommodations that are seasonal or for the short term. It should be noted that if you are employed in Guernsey due to a specific skill, you should have no problem obtaining affordable housing.

Because Guernsey is on the British Pound, housing and real estate prices are extremely high, much higher than the US and even more expensive than many parts of Europe.


While shopping is available and in many cases geared towards tourists, don’t expect to find products and services that are common on the mainland. For the most part everything sold on the island is shipped in making most goods even more expensive than the mainland and add in the British Pound currency that is mostly taken in shops and you have a recipe for high prices.

Entertainment wise, there are plenty of interesting activities to do on the island. Not only does Guernsey have extraordinary natural beauty, but this bustling harbor town has many bistros, pubs and cafes. Many expats and tourists alike find the area very comfortable, exciting and relaxing.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Guernsey is very high due to the fact that most goods are shipped in from the mainland. The island of Guernsey has its own money, but the British Pound is tied to it. The British Pound is used as currency as well, making both currencies interchangeable. While some costs such as healthcare are lower and tax rates are extremely below the UK’s, products and services and most importantly housing can be very high. If you are an expat looking to live in Guernsey, make sure you either have a job lined up or a large savings.

Map of Guernsey