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Moving to Channel Islands

Situated in the English Channel, the Channel Islands are an archipelago just off the coast of Normandy, France. The two largest islands are Jersey and Guernsey, while smaller inhabited islands include Alderney and Sark.

Living in Channel Islands as an expat

The Channel Islands have been a dependency of the UK since the 11th century, but technically they aren't part of the United Kingdom. The islands are governed as two separate bailiwicks: the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Each bailiwick sets its own policies for central issues such as healthcare, immigration, homeownership, schooling and more. Britain is responsible only for the islands' defence and foreign affairs. However, in terms of culture, cuisine and history, the Channel Islands have also been influenced by nearby France.

The Channel Islands are well known for being a tax haven and, while the islands are not entirely tax-free, taxes do tend to be lower than in many other countries. Finance and banking services are the backbone of both Jersey and Guernsey's economies, with tourism being another major industry. Expats with experience and qualifications in these fields and who can prove that they can fill a skills gap are sure to find lucrative employment on the islands.

Accommodation isn't easy to come by in the Channel Islands, as housing permits are often granted only to expats who will fill skills gaps in the local markets, or bring important revenue to the islands. Added to that, space is obviously at a premium on the islands, which means demand for housing is incredibly high, and this makes it even harder for expats to find a place to live in the Channel Islands.

Cost of living in Channel Islands

Life in the Channel Islands is far from cheap, especially when it comes to accommodation, furniture and groceries. Both Jersey and Guernsey have a higher cost of living than the UK mainland, with Jersey being the more expensive of the two. Expats who manage to secure a job in the Channel Islands will find that salaries are fairly high in order to compensate for the steep cost of living.

Expat families and children

The Channel Islands are a wonderful place to raise a family. Education is high quality and inexpensive, locals are friendly, and a beach is never more than a stone's throw away. There's also plenty of opportunity for family holidays exploring France or the UK, both of which are just a ferry's ride away.

Climate in Channel Islands

New arrivals can expect a pleasant climate thanks to the more southerly location of the islands in comparison to the UK. Jersey is one of the warmest locations in the British Isles. Even in the colder winter months, snow and ice are rare.

While there's no doubt that moving to Jersey or Guernsey can be challenging, particularly when it comes to red tape, expats who are able to secure employment and housing often report an outstanding quality of life, and often stay far longer than intended.


Fast facts

Population: 176,000

Capital city: Saint Helier (Jersey) and Saint Peter Port (Guernsey)

Neighbouring countries: The English Channel completely surrounds the Channel Islands. The closest countries are England to the north and France to the south and east.

Geography: There are seven permanently inhabited islands, of which Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark are the most populous. There are also a number of uninhabited islets.

Political system: The islands are dependent territories of the British Crown, and defence and international affairs are handled by the UK. However, they have their own legal system, administrative bodies and fiscal policies.

Major religion: Christianity

Main languages: English

Money: The currency of the UK is the British Pound Sterling (GBP), which is subdivided into 100 pence. There are local versions of the British Pound in both Guernsey (GGP) and Jersey (JEP). Notes and coins from the UK can be used in the Channel Islands but currency from the Channel Islands can't be used elsewhere.

Tipping: 10 to 15 percent of the bill in restaurants, hotels and taxis is the norm if a service charge has not already been added.

Time: GMT +1

Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. Plugs have either three flat blades or two round pins.

Internet domain: .uk; .je (Jersey); .gg (Guernsey)

International dialling code: +44

Emergency contacts: 999 or 112

Transport and driving: Driving is on the left-hand side. Jersey and Guernsey both have efficient bus systems. Some residents use private cars but on the smaller islands no motorised vehicles are allowed. In this case, travel is either by bicycle or on foot.

Weather in Channel Islands

The Channel Islands have a similar climate to that of the UK, although they tend to be slightly warmer and sunnier. Temperatures remain moderate throughout the year, and rainfall is commonplace. Winters tend to be damp and cloudy, while summers are warm and sunny. With a relatively mild and predictable climate, the Channel Islands are rarely subject to extreme weather or temperature variations.

July and August are the warmest months. Maximum temperatures hover between 66°F (19°C) and 71°F (22°C). Conversely, the coolest and wettest months are January and February. This time of year also brings the highest chance of snow, which is a rare occurrence. Typical maximum temperatures in winter range between 46°F (8°C) and 50°F (10°C).

 
 

Embassy contacts for Channel Islands


British embassies

  • British Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 207 008 5000

  • British High Commission, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 237 1530

  • British High Commission, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6270 6666

  • British High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 421 7500

  • British Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 205 3700

  • British High Commission, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 924 2888


Foreign embassies responsible for the Channel Islands 

  • United States Embassy, London: +44 20 7499 9000

  • Canadian High Commission, London: +44 20 7004 6000

  • Australian High Commission, London: +44 20 7379 4334

  • South African High Commission, London: +44 20 7451 7299

  • Irish Embassy, London: +44 20 7235 2171

  • New Zealand High Commission, London: +44 20 7930 8422

Public holidays in Channel Islands

 

2022

2023

New Year's Day

1 January

1 January

Good Friday

15 April

7 April

Easter Monday

18 April

10 April

Early May Bank Holiday

2 May

1 May

Liberation Day

9 May

9 May

Spring Bank Holiday

2 June

29 May

Summer Bank Holiday

29 August

28 August

Christmas Day

25 December

25 December

Boxing Day

26 December

26 December

*Some dates vary between islands. When a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is a public holiday. 

Pros and cons of moving to Channel Islands

Moving to a new place is always an adventure, but it can be difficult to imagine the ups and downs of everyday life before the big move. To help prospective Jersey and Guernsey expats, here are some of the pros and cons of moving to the Channel Islands.


Lifestyle in Channel Islands

+ PRO: Easy travel to France and the UK

The Channel Islands are situated in the English Channel between Britain and France. A ferry can take expats to the seaside city of St Malo, France in less than 90 minutes, and to the UK in about three hours.

+ PRO: Relaxed island living

Both Guernsey and Jersey are small islands, so a beach is never far away. Jersey has an area of 45 square miles (120km²), while Guernsey has an area of just 30 square miles (78km²).

+ PRO: Good weather

Most of the year, expats can expect a decent amount of sunshine in the Channel Islands. The weather here is generally much more pleasant than the cold, overcast conditions that mainland UK is known for.


Accommodation in Channel Islands

- CON: Complicated and limiting housing regulations

Due to limited space, housing in the Channel Islands is strictly regulated. Whether planning to rent or buy, the various requirements and allowances can be difficult to untangle. After all the restrictions have been applied, the resulting accommodation options tend to be some of the most expensive housing on the island.


Working in Channel Islands

- CON: Difficult to find a job

Though the islands have a number of strong industries, including finance and tourism, job opportunities are limited. To obtain employment, expats will need to be able to fill a skills gap in the local workforce.

+ PRO: Favourable tax regulations

Both Jersey and Guernsey have a flat income tax rate of 20 percent, and there's no capital gains tax, inheritance tax or VAT.


Education in Channel Islands

+ PRO: Good quality education at a good price

Both Jersey and Guernsey are home to some excellent public and private schools. While private schools are of course more expensive than public schools, Channel Island private schools typically offer a quality of education equivalent to UK-mainland private schools at a much lower fee point.

- CON: Limited options

There aren't any foreign-curriculum schools on the islands. This means that, if expats wish for their children to continue with their home country's curriculum, they will need to consider other options such as boarding school abroad or homeschooling.

Working in Channel Islands

The Channel Islands have traditionally relied on agriculture, but tourism and offshore banking are now the strongest economic sectors in both Guernsey and Jersey. The banking industry is particularly attractive to expats, as is the fact that the islands boast a favourable tax environment.

Unless expats are British or EEA citizens, however, they will need to prove that they have skills or expertise not found in the local workforce in order to get a job on any of the islands.


Job market in Channel Islands

It can be difficult to find job openings in the small but well populated Channel Islands, both of which have low unemployment rates. Expats who want to work in the Channel Islands will need to have niche skills that can't be found in the local population in order to qualify for a visa.

Having extra qualifications or specialised experience will go a long way toward finding a place in the workforce, particularly in bustling industries such as finance and tourism.


Finding a job in Channel Islands

The governments of both Jersey and Guernsey have online job centres where employers can advertise work opportunities. Recruitment agencies and other online job portals, including social-networking sites such as LinkedIn, are also good resources.

If already in Guernsey or Jersey, expats should take advantage of their situation by putting out word that they're looking for work. Since the islands have such a small population, networking is key and personal recommendations can go a long way.


Work culture in Channel Islands

Expats familiar with the work cultures of the UK or France will notice many similarities in the workplace in both Jersey and Guernsey.

As in the UK, most businesses in the Channel Islands have hierarchical structures, though some companies are moving towards a more egalitarian approach to management, where all employees are invited and encouraged to weigh in during important business discussions. 

Doing business in Channel Islands

Thanks to the favourable tax climate, many expats find that the Channel Islands are an excellent place to set up a business. The islands' business culture is heavily influenced by both British and French customs.


Fast facts

Business language

English and, less frequently, French.

Business hours

Typically Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, with an hour for lunch. 

Greetings

Expats should avoid addressing colleagues by their first names until asked to do so. Correct use of titles is important too.

Dress

Businesspeople in the Channel Islands tend to dress professionally and conservatively, but the exact dress code differs from company to company.

Gifts

It is considered polite to take a small gift like flowers or chocolates when invited to a colleague’s home.


Business culture in Channel Islands

Expats familiar with business culture in the UK or France will notice many similarities when doing business in the Channel Islands.

Management style

As with many corporations in the United Kingdom, most businesses in the Channel Islands have a hierarchical structure, with the most important decisions being made at the very highest levels. Employees lower down in the hierarchy are expected to carry out orders without giving much input when it comes to decision-making. That said, some companies are moving towards a more egalitarian approach to management, where all employees are invited and encouraged to weigh in during important business discussions. 

Communication style

It’s important for expats working in the Channel Islands to be tactful in all their business dealings. Delicacy and finesse are also valuable tools for expats to use when adjusting to their new business culture.

Visas for Channel Islands

The difficulty of applying for and obtaining a visa for the Channel Islands will vary depending on one's nationality and reason for entering the country. Due to the ties that the Channel Island has with the UK, visitor visas are applied for and processed through UK visa system.


Visit visas for Channel Islands

Nationals of the EU, EEA and UK are allowed visa-free entry into Jersey and Guernsey. Other nationalities will need to apply for a visit visa ahead of time. This can be done online via the UK government visa application portal. A visitor visa allows a stay of up to six months. During this period, no work can be undertaken. Visitors cannot switch visa categories from within the Channel Islands.


Work permits for Channel Islands

Jersey work permits fall under one of two categories: skilled or temporary. Skilled work permits require that the holder fills a local skills shortage and are valid for up to three years. Temporary work permits are for shorter periods in specific industries. These permits are valid for up to 12 months for construction workers or up to nine months for hospitality, fishing and agricultural workers. If the permit holder meets skilled work permit conditions, it's possible to switch from a temporary work permit to a skilled work permit.

To take up a job in Guernsey, an Employment Permit (also known as a Right To Work document) is required. Depending on the position, the Employment Permit can range in validity from one to five years.

On both Jersey and Guernsey, the employer is responsible for applying for the initial permit. Once the permit is granted, the employee must then apply for a visa in order to enter the country.

Cost of living in Channel Islands

The cost of living in the Channel Islands is fairly high. In comparison to mainland UK, most things in the Channel Islands are more expensive. This is largely because of the cost of importing goods to the islands. Jersey, the larger of the two bailiwicks, has a slightly higher cost of living than Guernsey. Accommodation, food and furniture are particularly pricey, but fuel and insurance are generally cheaper than in the UK.


Cost of accommodation in Channel Islands

With limited space on the islands, it's expensive to both buy and rent accommodation on Jersey and Guernsey. There are extensive licensing and permit regulations governing the rent and purchase of housing on the islands, and expats are often limited to just a small portion of the local market.

The cost of parking might not be included in rental costs, and the price of utilities such as gas and electricity has been steadily rising over the last few years.


Cost of transport in Channel Islands

The small size of both Jersey and Guernsey make it quite possible to live without a car, although those who do decide to drive on the islands will be glad to know that petrol, insurance and parking are cheaper here than in mainland UK. Public transport, cycling and walking are good alternatives to driving. Channel Island bus services are efficient and affordable.


Cost of food and groceries in Channel Islands

Much of the fresh produce sold in the Channel Islands has to be imported from elsewhere, and the cost of doing so is generally passed on to the customer, hiking the price that these goods would otherwise be sold for. Local produce is much cheaper and can be found at town markets, although quantity is limited.

The Channel Islands are well known for fresh and high-quality cuisine, particularly seafood. Eating out in Jersey or Guernsey costs about the same as eating out in London.


Cost of education in Channel Islands

The cost of education in the Channel Islands is equal to or lower than in the UK. State schools are free to attend in Jersey and Guernsey, as they are in the UK, while private schools on the islands are usually just as good as private schools in the UK, and have much lower fees.


Cost of living in Channel Islands chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Jersey in February 2022.

Accommodation 

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

JEP 2,500

Three-bedroom apartment outside city centre

JEP 2,300

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

JEP 1,300

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

JEP 1,000

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

JEP 3.30

Milk (1 litre)

JEP 1.20

Rice (1kg)

JEP 2.40

Loaf of white bread

JEP 1.60

Chicken breasts (1kg)

JEP 7

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

JEP 10

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

JEP 6

Coca-Cola (330ml)

JEP 1.80

Cappuccino 

JEP 3

Local beer (500ml)

JEP 4.50

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

JEP 70

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

JEP 0.48

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

JEP 45

Basic utilities (per month for small household)

JEP 160

Transport

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

JEP 3

Bus/train fare in the city centre 

JEP 2.10

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

JEP 1.30

Culture shock in Channel Islands

The culture of the Channel Islands is a fascinating mix of French and British influences, thanks to the archipelago's rich history. Although the islands are situated in the English Channel, they're significantly closer to France geographically. Despite this, British culture predominates and the islands are particularly similar to the culture of southern England.


National identity in Channel Islands

The unique history, geography and politics of the Channel Islands intersect in a complex way that can be difficult to grasp at first.

Jersey and Guernsey are not part of the UK, but are rather dependencies of the British Crown. All governance and political matters are managed solely by the islands. The UK government is responsible only for the defence and international representation of the islands.

Those born in the Channel Islands have British citizenship but it's important to note that they are not English, Irish, Welsh or Scottish. Expats should make note of this distinction as born-and-bred Jersey and Guernsey locals, proud of their heritage, may not take kindly to being called 'English'.

The demonyms for Jersey and Guernsey are 'Jerseyman/Jerseywoman' and 'Guernseyman/Guernseywoman'. More commonly, the term 'Channel Islanders' or simply 'Islanders' is used.


Population groups in Channel Islands

The population of Guernsey and Jersey is made up of about 50 percent locals, with about another third of the population being born in the UK. Portugal is the most common country of origin apart from the UK and, in Jersey, the Portuguese make up 8 percent of the population. Other minority groups include expats from Poland, Latvia and France.


Languages in Channel Islands

Up until the mid-20th century, French was Guernsey's official language. Today, English is the official language in Guernsey, although French is still used in administration. In Jersey, French and English share official-language status.

Each island has a local French dialect – Jèrriais in Jersey and Guernésiais in Guernsey – but both are spoken only by a small percentage of the population today.

Accommodation in Channel Islands

Expats moving to the Channel Islands may be surprised to learn that finding and arranging accommodation is often a complicated matter involving a lot of red tape. The relative ease of a property search and subsequent rental or purchase typically depends solely on one's residential or work status on the islands.


Types of accommodation in Channel Islands

Accommodation in Guernsey

In Guernsey, housing is divided into Local Market and Open Market housing. Local Market housing can be purchased or rented only by select groups of people, namely those born on the island, those with strong family ties on the island, or those who fill a vital skills shortage on the island. Local Market housing makes up about 90 percent of the property market in Guernsey.

Open Market housing is not only limited in terms of the number of properties available (around 1,600 total), but is also generally larger and more luxurious than Local Market housing. Accordingly, it is also more expensive.

The Guernsey government website has more information on regulations.

Accommodation in Jersey

To rent or buy a house in Jersey, a housing permit is needed. The possibility of obtaining a permit is determined by a person's residency, work or financial status on the island.

Everyone living on the island is assigned one of four categories, each of which has associated privileges. The categories are as follows, from highest to lowest:

  • 'Entitled' status: Those who have lived on Jersey for more than 10 years
  • 'Licensed' status: Those considered essential employees
  • 'Entitled for work' status: Those who have lived in Jersey for at least five years or have a spouse of equal or higher status
  • 'Registered' status: Those who don't qualify for any of the above

'Entitled' residents can rent, buy and sell property as they wish. 'Licensed residents' can rent or buy any one property, excluding social housing or first-time-buyer housing. 'Entitled for work' residents can rent without restriction but can only purchase property with a spouse who has a higher status. 'Registered' residents are limited to living in boarding houses, tourist accommodation or lodging in private homes.

For more information, visit the Jersey government website.


Finding accommodation in Channel Islands

Because accommodation and space are limited on the islands, demand for housing is incredibly high, and this makes it even harder for expats to find a place to live in the Channel Islands.

Laws governing foreigners’ rights to rent or buy property also differ from one island to the next. For this reason, expats are advised to contact an estate agent, immigration specialist or property lawyer based in the Channel Islands to ensure they find a suitable home with minimal hassle.

Healthcare in Channel Islands

The healthcare system in the Channel Islands is run independently by each bailiwick, meaning that Guernsey and Jersey have their own separate healthcare systems. Overall, healthcare in the Channel Islands is excellent, but it is also expensive.

It's worth noting that, despite the close links that the Channel Islands have to the UK, neither Guernsey nor Jersey have reciprocal healthcare agreements with the UK. As a result, British citizens will have to pay out of pocket for any medical treatment on the islands. The Channel Islands are also not part of the EU, so the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can't be used here.

There are a handful of countries that do have bilateral health agreements with one or both of the bailiwicks, but these agreements only cover short-term visits. It can take a while to obtain local health insurance after moving to the Channel Islands, so we recommend taking out a comprehensive health insurance policy beforehand.


Healthcare in Guernsey

When moving to Guernsey, the first step to accessing the island's healthcare system is to register with a local General Practitioner (GP). The GP is the first port of call for most medical needs and can provide prescriptions and referrals to specialists if need be. New arrivals to Guernsey will need to cover the full cost of GP consultations.

Emergency care in Guernsey incurs a flat fee, which is determined according to the time of presentation at the hospital as well as the nature of the emergency. After-hours visits to the hospital are more expensive and consultation charges increase with the severity of the condition, which will be categorised as minor, intermediate, major or critical.

Health insurance

Those who are employed in Guernsey and make social security contributions will have access to a number of benefits, including subsidised consultations with a doctor or nurse and free specialist treatment when referred by a GP. Social security also provides access to certain prescribed medications for only a small fee.

Emergency medical services

St John Emergency Ambulance Service operates Guernsey's only ambulance service, providing accident and emergency cover and paramedic response 24 hours a day. St John is only partially subsidised by the government, though, and ambulance services are expensive. 

Guernsey residents have the option to support St John by purchasing a yearly subscription. This subscription entitles them to use the service free of charge and is generally a good deal, given that one ambulance trip costs approximately 10 times the yearly subscription fee. Health insurance is also accepted as payment for ambulance services. Patients without health insurance or a subscription have to pay the full ambulance fee.


Healthcare in Jersey

While Jersey has reciprocal health agreements with select countries, most expats will have to cover their own medical expenses or take out private health insurance. Treatment in the emergency department is, however, free for everyone.

Health insurance

Once an expat has been resident in the bailiwick of Jersey for six months and has made the required social services contributions, they become eligible for a Social Security Health Card. Holders of this card have access to discounted GP consultations. If the GP prescribes any medication, it's provided free of charge.

Thanks to a reciprocal agreement between Jersey and France, French citizens are eligible for the Social Security Health Card right away and aren't required to observe the six-month waiting period. Jersey also has reciprocal healthcare agreements with a number of other countries, including the UK, Australia and New Zealand, among a few others. However, only short-term visitors can take advantage of these, meaning they aren't of much use to expats moving to Jersey for the long term. 

Emergency medical services

In Jersey, emergency care is provided free to anyone who needs it. Non-residents will need to pay for all non-emergency services and care. This includes any treatments outside the public emergency departments as well as post-emergency evacuation and repatriation costs.


Pharmacies and medication in Channel Islands

Both chain and independent pharmacies can easily be found in Jersey and Guernsey. Pharmacists can offer basic medical advice for minor ailments.

Usual pharmacy hours are from 8am or 9am to 5pm or 6pm Monday to Saturday. In Jersey, most pharmacies are closed on Sundays, but some open for a half day. Guernsey's pharmacies operate on a rota system for Sundays and bank holidays.

Education and Schools in Channel Islands

As with many other aspects of living in the Channel Islands, the education system differs from one bailiwick to the next. As such, expats will need to take into account the exact location of their new home before considering schooling options for their children. There are a few common aspects, however.

Compulsory schooling throughout the Channel Islands is from ages five to 16. Most students choose to continue with either A-Levels or the International Baccalaureate, which can be obtained through the various post-secondary schools. Public schooling is free of charge from ages three to 18. 

Schools in Jersey and Guernsey generally follow the same curriculum as in England and offer high standards of education.


Public schools in Channel Islands

Public schools in Guernsey

Public schooling in Guernsey is known as the States Maintained Education System. All schools in this system can be attended free of charge. Attendance of schools in Guernsey is determined according to catchment area, so this is something to consider when deciding what part of the island to live in.

Guernsey has fewer than 20 primary and secondary schools, two of which are Catholic. Expats wishing to send their child to a Catholic school will need to submit a baptismal certificate along with their application.

To get an idea of the quality of each school, prospective parents can view individual school reports on the Guernsey government website, which also has lots of useful information.

Public schools in Jersey

Public schools in Jersey, also called 'government schools', are either free (non-fee-paying) or partly funded by the government (fee-paying). Though attendance at fee-paying schools does incur tuition fees, these are much lower than one would find at private schools. As in Guernsey, catchment areas apply.

There are around 30 non-fee-paying primary and secondary schools in Jersey. Most primary schools also have a pre-school section. The selection of fee-paying government schools is small.

In 2019, the Jersey government instituted a rating and assessment system for all government schools. This is known as the Jersey Schools Review Framework (JSRF). Presently, only a few schools have been assessed as the government works to initiate the programme, which will expand over time. Results for each school, along with other important information, can be found on the Jersey government website.


Private schools in Channel Islands

Private schools are known as 'independent schools' in Jersey and are called 'private/grant-aided' schools in Guernsey. Most of these schools are single-sex and teach from a Christian, Catholic or non-denominational perspective. Due to the small size of Jersey and Guernsey, options for private schooling are limited, with each having just a handful of private schools to choose from.


Special-needs education in Channel Islands

If parents think that their child may need extra assistance in school, they can put in a request for their child to be assessed by the local council.

Children with special educational needs will have an individual plan drawn up by the council. This plan will specify a particular school for them to attend, be it a mainstream or specialised school. The named school is obligated to give the child a place.


Tutors in Channel Islands

Tutors can be helpful for expat families in a number of situations. Children from abroad may need a little help with catching up to the local curriculum or may benefit from extra tutoring for the English language if it isn't their mother tongue. Parents concerned about children losing their mother-tongue language skills while in the Channel Islands should consider hiring a tutor who is a fellow native speaker and who can help maintain fluency.

Transport and Driving in Channel Islands

Getting around the Channel Islands is reasonably straightforward, thanks to a good network of roads and public transport options that include buses and ferries. Both Guernsey and Jersey are fairly compact and easy to navigate.


Public transport in Channel Islands

Buses

Both Guernsey and Jersey have efficient bus services. In Jersey, buses are operated by LibertyPass and passengers are charged a flat rate. Tickets can be purchased onboard the bus. In Guernsey, fares are based on the distance of the journey. Guernsey has a pay-as-you-go smartcard system called puffinpass.

Trains

The smaller isle of Alderney has the only railway service in the Channel Islands group. Mostly a historical attraction, the track is just two miles long and only runs once or twice a day on Saturdays.

Ferries

Ferries are a popular means of getting from island to island. In addition to these interisland ferry connections, there are regular services to France and the UK. 


Taxis in Channel Islands

Taxis cover both main islands, and can be caught at designated ranks or booked ahead of time by phone or online. The official tourism websites of Jersey and Guernsey each have lists of reputable taxi companies.


Driving in Channel Islands

Driving in the Channel Islands is on the left-hand side of the road. While Guernsey and Jersey have reasonably good road networks, the smaller islands of Sark and Herm are car-free zones.

Expats planning to have their own vehicles in the Channel Islands will also need to consider the challenges associated with island driving. For instance, parking is limited and as such it’s strictly controlled by the local authorities; motorists parked in the wrong spot and those who run over their allotted parking times are liable to be fined. On the other hand, fuel is relatively inexpensive compared to the prices common in England, and distances are short.

Once resident in the Channel Islands, expats will need to get a local licence. Some countries have an exchange agreement, allowing expats to simply swap their licence for a local one. If an expat is from a country without such an agreement, they'll have to take practical and written tests to get their licence.


Cycling in Channel Islands

Bicycles are a highly popular mode of transport in the Channel Islands. Guernsey and Jersey both have cycle networks with a number of different routes available for different ability levels. 


Air travel in Channel Islands

Guernsey and Jersey each have a major airport that is accessible by bus and taxi. Parking and car rental facilities are offered at both. Flights between these two islands are about 20 minutes long.

Banking, Money and Taxes in Channel Islands

Banks have played a key role in the development of the Channel Islands as an international financial centre. These institutions represent a range of countries and include a variety of banks with head offices all over the world.


Currency in Channel Islands

The official currency throughout the Channel Islands is the pound sterling, which is divided into 100 pence. Although it’s the same unit as used in the United Kingdom, the bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey produce their own notes and coins. British currency is accepted throughout the Channel Islands, but Guernsey (GGP) and Jersey (JEP) pounds can’t be used outside the islands. 

  • Notes: 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 GGP/JEP

  • Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 pence, and 2 GGP/JEP


Banking in Channel Islands

The Channel Islands boast a good selection of both local and international banks, including most of the big British banks such as Barclays and Lloyds.

The range of services offered is quite diverse. Some banks provide retail services such as savings and transactional accounts, mortgages, personal loans, and debit and credit cards, while others cater to the affluent expat market with offshore investment opportunities.

ATMs are widely available in Guernsey and Jersey, often located at the branches themselves, but may be harder to find on the smaller islands.


Taxes in Channel Islands

Taxes in the Channel Islands are considered relatively low, and there is no VAT, capital gains tax or inheritance tax. This is one of the biggest attractions to expats and offshore investors. Those working in the Channel Islands can benefit from a flat income tax rate of 20 percent. However, as the laws governing tax can be complex, it’s best for expats moving to the Channel Islands to get advice from a resident tax expert who will have access to the latest information.