Moving to Scotland from the US: What You Need to Know

Scotland is a stunning country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the southeast and is surrounded by water on all other sides. Perhaps best known for its highland cows, kilts, and bagpipes, there’s far more to be discovered in this lush gem of a country than first meets the eye. Around 150 million tourists visit Scotland per year to catch a glimpse of its famous sites, including the mysterious Loch Ness, where the Loch Ness Monster, known as Nessie, is said to hang out.

Edinburgh, the capital city, is widely visited for Edinburgh Castle, where two million tourists come annually to see this historical building and current home to the Scottish government. The Scottish landscapes are another draw, as the wet weather lends itself to the growth of lush, green grass that sways along Scotland’s rolling hills. If you’re looking for a change of pace and want to experience life in a beautiful country with a rich history, beautiful landscape, and exciting culture, then check out Atlas® International’s Scotland Moving Guide.

A castle sits on a green stretch of land next to a lake in Dornie, Scotland.

Dornie, Scotland

Moving from the US to Scotland

Why are Americans moving to Scotland? Many might make the move for school, as there are plenty of good universities that accept international students. Some of these schools include the University of Aberdeen and the University of Edinburgh, and there are even scholarships available for American students wanting to study abroad in Scotland. Outside of school, the culture and landscape are other reasons that people might choose to relocate.

Attractions & Nature

Castle lovers will delight in seeing the more than 1,500 castles that are located within the country, some of the most impressive of which include Inveraray Castle and Glamis Castle. The Scottish Highlands are also a famous part of the country due to their history and the beautiful, reddish cows that meander along the grassy highlands. Lakes in Scotland, also known as “lochs,” are another beautiful geographical feature that draws people to this land. Loch Ness, one of the most famous lochs in the country, is the largest body of water in Scotland, lending credence to the mystery of the monster that supposedly resides within. Visitors can take a boat ride on the water and search for this mythical creature, or merely take in the sights, including the ruins of the Urquhart Castle on the banks of the lake.


For lunch, one might stop by a local restaurant and indulge in a bite of Scottish cuisine. The national dish, haggis, is a meat pudding comprised of organ meat, oatmeal, and vegetables. Though many foreigners find the idea of haggis off-putting, the dish is worth a try and the flavor is milder than one might expect. No matter your interests or tastes, there’s sure to be a place for you in Scotland!


The climate in Scotland is generally oceanic, with cool, windy weather year-round. In the summer, the temperature gets to around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but not much hotter than that. Winter is generally cold and very snowy, more so than in other countries in the United Kingdom. Scotland is also the coldest country in the United Kingdom. It is best to wear layers when going outside, as the weather can change quickly, and it’s important to always have a waterproof outer layer in the event of sudden showers.

Where to Live in Scotland

Thinking of relocating to Scotland? Here are some popular locations for ex-pats:

  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Dundee
  • Leith
  • North Berwick

Moving to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and its second most populous city behind Glasgow. Edinburgh (pronounced by locals as “eddin-bra”) is characterized by its hilly landscape—in fact, many aren’t aware that the city of Edinburgh was built on extinct volcanoes, which contributes to the city’s rugged appearance.

One of the most impressive geological features of the city of Edinburgh is Castle Rock, the volcanic plug upon which Edinburgh Castle is situated. Arthur’s Seat is another volcanic landmark that visitors like to hike on, taking in the view of the city from its peak. The city itself is quite walkable, with winding, cobblestone streets that lead to shops and other delights at every turn. The Royal Mile in particular is an attraction featuring a long street in the old part of the city. This street is a well-known tourist attraction as a result of the number of pubs and quaint shops that line its sides.

No matter where you go in Edinburgh, however, you’re sure to find something exciting to get into. If you are moving to Edinburgh from the United States, you will likely run into the need for overseas shipping and specialized movers who are familiar with customs and import regulations.

A bunch of packed boxes are waiting to be loaded for their move with Atlas® International.

Atlas® International helps people move to Scotland every year.

Resources for Moving to Scotland

Thinking of moving from the US to Scotland? Check out our detailed customs guide for international relocation tips including household goods importing, restricted and prohibited items, moving pets, importing vehicles, and the documentation you will need.

Scotland (United Kingdom) Customs and Import Guide

Plan Your Scotland Move with Atlas® International

Plan your move to Scotland with Atlas® International! Our seasoned team of movers has decades of experience helping individuals relocate internationally to get started in the next chapter of their lives. We have locations in many countries across the globe, meaning that you are never far from your helpful professionals at Atlas® International. Whether you’re just getting started doing research about your new home, have questions about customs or visa applications, or you’re ready to start moving your items, Atlas® International can help.

Ready to get started? Get in touch with an Atlas® International moving expert and begin planning your move today. Give us a call at 206-526-1137 or contact us to receive personalized advice on beginning your move to Scotland.