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Moving to the UK

A Comprehensive Guide on Relocating to the UK

This guide covers the essential steps that expats must follow to move to the UK. We discuss everything you need to know, from the fast-paced housing market, to free healthcare via the National Health Service (NHS). We also have up-to-date information about the requirements to obtain a visa to move to the UK, including the newly established minimum salaries for skilled workers.

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

Wondering how to successfully move the UK? Even though the country offers a lot of opportunities, there are numerous factors you should consider if you want to start a new life there. The UK is expensive, but London is particularly pricey. To give you an idea, in Greater London the monthly average rent is around 1,700 GBP (2,200 USD), much higher than the national average of around GBP 1,000 (USD 1,300 USD).

So, what do you need to move to the UK? Due to Brexit’s ongoing transition period and all the complexities that this political climate entails, you should understand from the start how hard or easy it will be to move to the UK in your specific situation. Obtaining a visa is difficult in most circumstances, and with the additional post-Brexit developments, you are likely full of questions and in need of assistance. Contact our immigration professionals who can help you with every aspect of your visa and work permit process.

Here, you will be able to explore in detail all the things you need to know when moving to the UK. Will buying a house give you automatic citizenship? How much do you have to put down to get an investor’s visa? Find the answers here.

You will also learn about the many benefits of moving to the UK, from its renowned transport and healthcare systems to the top-notch education options for your children.  Thinking of enrolling your kids in an international school? Be aware that the average cost for tuition is around 20,000 GBP (23,500 USD) a year. If you are wondering why moving to the UK could be the right option for you, and you need more information on schooling and every essential aspect of your move abroad, our guide will help you clarify your doubts and get your plans in motion.

relocating

Relocating

Whether you are moving abroad for the first time or relocated multiple times before, the process raises many questions. Our complete guide to relocation will ease your doubts along the way, from the initial preparations to how to negotiate a relocation package, we help you GO! prepared with the key answers.

The process of moving to the UK might become overwhelming, even if you are a seasoned expat. But this is to be expected. During your relocation process, you will have questions about moving, shipping, and storing your household goods. These will be the first of many obstacles you will have to tackle. Since the UK is an island, its rules and regulations are stricter than in other countries, which adds complexity to the logistics of your move.

There are several points to consider before deciding on international moving options. Our team of advisors can talk you through them and match you with our tested international moving partners. Bear in mind is that rules are different depending on where your point of departure. If you are relocating from an EU country, you do not usually pay tax or custom duty on goods. Whereas if you are relocating from a non-EU country, you may be able to claim relief on tax and duty, but there are certain conditions.

What about your cat and your dog? Is moving to the UK with your pets difficult? What vaccinations are required? Know that it’s mandatory to get your pet microchipped before or at the same time as getting their rabies vaccine. You should not microchip your pet after the vaccine, as it will not fulfil the requirements. Find all the detailed steps on how to relocate with your pets in this section.

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Visas & Work Permits

One of the main pain points of a relocation is jumping through the legal and migratory hoops. You will need to be clear on how to get a UK visa or work permit, should you need one.

The UK visa types, costs, and requirements may be hard to navigate, particularly now with the added complexity of the post-Brexit transition period. If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, then all the guidelines will stay the same. If you are a national of any of the countries affected by the transition period, you will have to face these obstacles. Do not panic, there are government schemes in place to allow you to move and stay in the UK. The most important thing is that you adequately inform yourself on the visa application processes.

The UK visa costs depend on several factors, mainly the type of visa, and whether the application was made inside or outside the country. Just to give you an idea, a Tier 2 General Visa costs about 1,220 GBP (1,585 USD) if you apply from outside the UK, but costs around 705 GBP  (USD 915) if you apply from inside the country.

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housing

Housing

To get good accommodation in the UK, you will need to be quick on your feet, because good places go fast. You will have to know exactly what you are looking for and what steps to follow.

The housing market is fast paced, but the upside is that the UK has many different types of housing to offer. From modern apartments, to the classic Victorian terraced houses, and warehouse spaces. You will have plenty of choice!

You will also have to be clear about your budget. If your aim is to live in the capital, you will have to stretch your wallet to fit London prices. To give you an idea, the average rent in Greater London nearly doubles the national average. You will also have to factor in the cost of utilities in the UK, which tend to be higher than the rest of Western Europe. If you want to weigh your options, check out our article on the Best Places to Live in the UK.

Thinking about investing in property? If so, you will want to know how it is to buy a house in the UK for foreigners. For starters, properties come with a hefty tag price. The average house price is around 230,000 GBP (300,000 USD). Prices in London average 475,000 GBP (600,000 USD). Acquiring property does not give you any rights to citizenship, so be clear about what the future holds before putting your money into real estate. Also, be aware that due to the post-Brexit transition period, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the housing market. It may be a good idea to get advice from our InterNationsGO! Home Finding team. In an hour-long call, they will provide an overview of the UK, insider information about the local housing market, valuable information about the neighborhoods that match your requirements, and other essential insights to help you secure your ideal home.

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healthcare

Healthcare

Both the public healthcare system and private health insurance sector in the UK have pros and cons. If you are having difficulties understanding what these options entail, our UK healthcare system section will help inform your decision. You will find information on your public and private alternatives, and other essential aspects of health care, such as finding a doctor, and giving birth in the UK.

The country’s National Healthcare System (NHS) is regarded as one of the best in the world. As an expat, you will be entitled to all the services provided by the NHS, reducing health care costs to a minimum. However, be aware that the wait lists for specialists or for non-emergency surgery can be long. Should you decide to get private medical insurance, you will have faster access to specialists, better facilities, and reduced wait times.

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Banks & Taxes

A critical aspect of your new life in the UK will be understanding the local tax system and swiftly opening a local bank account that serves your needs. Expats have financial commitments in both their home country and destination. This means that it is essential to grasp the new tax systems, have the ability to easily move money between countries, and be clear on how to administer finances in different currencies.

To successfully juggle all these factors, it is important to have at hand information on the best banks in the UK, what you will need to do to open a non-resident bank account, and how much taxes are in the UK. You will find all this information and more in our Comprehensive Guide about Opening a Bank Account and Managing Your Taxes.

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education

Education

If you are relocating with your children, one of the best ways to give them a broad and diverse education is by sending them to an international school in the UK. A benefit of this education system is that students get the best of international education standards and are not limited to the national curriculum. As global markets arebecoming the new norm, this style of education will open many doors for your child in the future. On the other hand, some of the disadvantages of enrolling you children in an international school is that they will have fewer opportunities to immerse in the local community, and culture. Did you know that “public schools” in the UK are not the same than in the rest of the world? In fact, this is the name for traditional and expensive boarding secondary schools. In our Education section, you will learn about this and everything else you need to make an informed decision for your children’s future schooling.

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working

Working

If you are moving and planning to work in the UK, it is likely that you have already secured a job.  But if you haven’t, one of your priorities will be to look for one. How do you get a job in the UK? A good initial approach is to start job hunting online. With apps like Gumtree, Indeed, Totaljobs, and Glassdoor boasting tens of thousands of job listings at a time, you can begin the process before departing. Simply update your CV, upload it, and click on apply.

The job market in the UK is highly competitive but there is a lot on offer. Regardless of all the post-Brexit uncertainties and the threat of a global turndown, the economy is steadily creating more jobs and increasing pay levels. To give you an idea, for those in full-time work, the average salary in the UK is currently GBP 35,000 (USD 45,500) per year.

Did you get your dream job in the UK, but you are unsure about what to expect? What is business culture likethere? Be aware that companies and organizations are usually hierarchical. British managers are usually firm but formulate instructions as polite requests or even as simple suggestions. Being in control and effectively leading a team, while keeping a good relationship with employees is expected of a person with good management skills.

If you are more of the type to take things into your own hands, you might be looking at becoming your own boss. If you want to be self-employed or start a business in the UK, there are some basic steps that you should follow. You will have to ensure that you can legally take this path, structure a business plan, define your business’ legal structure, register with HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs), and more. Learn how you can do all this in our Guide on Jobs and Finding Work in the UK.

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living

Living

Interested to know the pros and cons of living in the UK? Is  public transportation in the UK reliable throughout the country?  What about social etiquette? Are you aware of the cultural norms in both social and business environments? Our guide covers everything you need to know about  living in the UK; from practicalities, such as emergency numbers, public holidays, and embassies’ contact information, to all the necessary details about driving in the UK. Should you decide to buy or rent a car, the first thing you will need to do is apply for a Provisional Driving License. What next? Read this section for information on all these aspects of UK life, and more.

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Updated on: August 27, 2020
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