Moving to London from an international location? Get prepared with the ultimate checklist for moving to London, including everything from visas to woolly jumpers!
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London is a very desirable city to live in.
Every year, more than 200,000 people migrate to the British capital from overseas. The growth is faster than any other area of the country, with people drawn by the jobs, the modern lifestyle and the city’s sheer notoriety. But for all its perks, London is a big and complex city with many different types of people living there. That’s why we’ve put together a helpful moving to London checklist to get you ready for your international relocation.
London is a great place to live in, with a wealth of things to see and do. It is also a very safe city. If you are at the stage where you’re looking for a moving to London checklist, chances are you’ve already made the decision to join the millions of others in the capital of Great Britain, and you’re just after some insider tips for moving to London.
So, let’s not waste time.
The Best Moving to London Checklist
Like any international move, moving to London is not without its preparatory stages. Ready to start checking off your pre-moving to-do list? Here is everything you need to have sorted before you move to London:
The Cost of Living in London
Before you move, the top item on your checklist for moving to London should be to perform a cost of living analysis to find out which areas you can afford. Prices vary widely across the British capital, even between streets. Do your research and you’ll be more than capable of living within your means. Forget this step and you may be in for a shock when first living in London!
How much money do you need to move to London?
London is not a cheap place to live. If moving from abroad, you will need enough funds to cover the cost of your visa, travel, and likely your first few months of rent and bills. On top of this, living in London is an expensive experience, so finding a job immediately or even prior to your move will be essential to moving to London successfully.
Moving to London: Visa
In order to move to London from abroad, you’ll need a visa. Even those coming from EU nations should look into the process, simply to make sure they qualify post-Brexit. There are a variety of visas available, so spend some time looking at them to be sure you get the right one for your circumstances when moving to London. If you are confused about visas, it’s best to get help from visa specialists to maximise the chances of a successful application. Visas can take months to come through, so make sure this is the first tick on your moving to London list!
Taxes in London
What are your tax obligations going to be when you move? Ignorance is not an excuse, unfortunately, so get to know more about how you’ll be paying tax as an international citizen or a new citizen of the UK.
Finding a Job in London
Getting a job based in the city before moving to London will make your relocation much smoother, with specific visas for those moving for work. If you have specific skills that are in demand in the city, this could help with the job finding process and therefore your visa application process. Wages tend to be higher in London, and it’s also been named a very attractive city to work in.
Many of the country’s, and the world’s, biggest companies have headquarters or branches in London. The finance industry is booming in the UK capital, with positions for accounting, insurance, investments and more always in demand. Following the pandemic, there is also a surplus of roles in the retail, hospitality, and service industries, so there is bound to be an opportunity for finding a job in London.
Most licences are transferable, but it is a good idea to check with local authorities prior to your move if you plan on driving. Make sure you will be allowed to use your vehicle. If not, take the steps necessary to get a valid driving licence. If you are driving in London make sure you save on potential charges by making sure your vehicle is compliant with the Ultra Low Emission Zone requirements.
In order to pay for goods and services when living in London, you’ll need money. But cash will only get you so far. You’ll need to establish a British bank account before travel, so it is ready for you once you arrive. You may be able to use your international account, but it will incur additional fees.
The National Health Service is your first line of defence against injury or illness. But, although free for British citizens, you cannot just walk in and expect free treatment as a member of the international community. Work out your eligibility for NHS treatment and be sure you get appropriate coverage before your plane’s wheels touch the tarmac.
This may seem like an obvious item to put on a moving to London checklist, but you’ve got to have somewhere to live once you arrive in the British capital. Don’t board that plane until this box has a firm tick in it. If moving to London alone, living with housemates or flatmates is the best way to ensure you can afford to live in London. Adequate shared houses or flats with 3 or 4 other residents typically cost around £400-£500 a month, but this price can vary depending on the quality, size, and exact location of the property. Make sure you check the details of your lease and tenancy fees.
Pets are more than just an animal. They are family. Where you go, they go — and overseas is no exception. Moving a pet abroad can be tricky, but with the right support from an international moving service like Gerson Relocation, you’ll have them by your side in Britain in no time. London is quite welcoming of dogs, and many pubs have water bowls ready for canine guests. The British love their dogs, so your best friend will probably enjoy living in London as much as you will. Be sure to secure your pet passport and get vaccines early so as to not face problems later on.
Things to Know Before Moving to London
Once you have navigated the difficult process of being permitted to enter the country and found a place to live, the challenges may not be over. Unexpected costs and aspects of London culture can surprise you out of nowhere, leading to difficulties and unwanted risks to your living situation. We have come up with a list of things to be aware of before moving to London, ensuring you know how to move to London and settle into your new life as quickly as possible.
In the UK, it is illegal to drive a car without insurance, so if you are hoping to use a car when you have moved to London this is something to consider. You may also need to acquire other insurances too, especially property insurance if you are renting, or health insurance depending on your type of visa and NHS eligibility.
It doesn’t matter if you’re buying or renting; in most circumstances, you’ll need to arrange your own utility bills, including gas, water, electricity, internet and TV. Check out utility comparison websites and hunt for the best deals.
Britain is famously dreary, but it can be warm, too. With lows of sub-zero temperatures and highs of over 30’C, you’ll need to come prepared for every eventuality. Living in London doesn’t always see extreme weather in the same way that other parts of the country do, but you’ll still want to be prepared for rain, wind, heat, and the occasional snowfall.
You need a mobile phone for just about everything these days, but bringing your own mobile from another country with an international network is going to incur massive fees. Buy a British phone or SIM card and get connected to a domestic network.
Wherever you move, things are going to be a bit different. The language may be different, the customs may be different, the laws may be different. The culture of London is unique and, as such, you should take the time to embrace it. Getting to know your new home prior to moving will help you reduce the chances of culture shock, as well as help you integrate socially with the people of London. Meeting new people with similar interests is easy enough in this large and diverse city, whether it be at social clubs, through work, or just by chatting to people at the local pub.
From Bank Holidays to festive breaks, there are numerous public holidays and celebrations in the UK you should be aware of. London is a hotspot for enjoying a day out, so people will often flock to the city during public holidays. This will avoid misunderstandings at work with colleagues, and ensure you know when London will be busier!
Transport in London
How are you going to get around your new home in London? Cabs? The tube? Buses? Your own car? Be aware of your transport choices and learn how to use them prior to moving. For example, for public transport, it is advisable you get an Oyster card before your move. If you are driving, be sure to learn about congestion charges. Taking cabs everywhere? Be sure to get your first paycheck in advance…
Storage in London
Moving all your possessions at once may not be an option, but leaving them behind or selling them may not be an option either. In these circumstances, storage is the answer. Arrange storage facilities now and you’ll have peace of mind knowing you won’t have to give up any of your favourite things when moving to London.
Make use of Relocation Services
If you are a graduate moving to London, you may only have a backpack and some dreams to bring with you. For those with more to bring, getting the help of an international moving company, like us here at Gerson Relocation, is essential. We can arrange everything from logistical planning to freight transport and could answer many of the questions you might have about how to move to London.