I grew up in a small town (Brookings, South Dakota); once I escaped and moved to a large city (Salt Lake City), I swore that I would never live in a small town again. I pretty much kept to that promise until I moved to Kilmarnock, Scotland. I guess population-wise, it isn’t as small as Brookings, but it certainly is a lot smaller than Amsterdam.
We moved from Amsterdam to Kilmarnock in 2017. Even though the UK was still part of the EU at that time, I have to say that immigration-wise, it was an unnecessarily challenging move. I don’t believe the UK really warmed up to the idea of “freedom of movement”. It certainly was a lot easier moving from Belgium to the Netherlands.
I hired a UK immigration lawyer who advised us on the proper paperwork and procedures. The process was for us to travel together. We must bring documents proving that we were married and that my spouse (Stewart) is a British national. We also had to have proof that he had sufficient income to live in the UK (poor British nationals are not allowed to bring their non EU spouses to live and work in the UK apparently). Stewart had already set up a freelance company, had a contract with a Scottish Government entity, and had rented us a nice home in Kilmarnock.
You are limited to the number of pets that you can bring in at one time. I think that the limit is 5. We hired a company to handle the pet moving arrangements. Our 5 cats flew out the day prior and the 4 dogs were on the plane with us (although in the hold). It turns out that it is much easier to bring pets into the UK than to bring an American. They all had EU pet passports so that must make the difference.
Passport control gave us such a hard time. They said that we were supposed to apply for a visa for me before I left the US. It didn’t make sense at all; but you learn fast to never tell an immigration enforcement officer how to do their job. We waited for a long time and they finally put the stamp on our passport and let us into the country. That’s where my Scottish adventure begins.