Relocating to London – Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Relocating to London? There are various reasons why you might be moving to this bustling metropolis. Thousands of families, singles, students, foreigners, and retirees move to the City each year. Whether you are moving from abroad, or locally, we have some pointers on how to get started, and what you need to know about London. 

Relocating from abroad 

The relocation process for people wanting to move to the City can be complicated, especially with the UK leaving the European Union. Post-Brexit, all non-UK residents (including those in the EU) will need to apply for a visa in advance (this excludes Irish citizens). For more information on exactly what visa you need to enter the UK, head over to the official government website. You can even apply online.

Internations Go offers detailed information about finding housing and schools, work and residence permits, vaccinations, and more.

No matter where you are coming from, some general things you can start preparing are: 

  • Work / study permit 
  • Other documents (transcripts, degrees, references, birth certificate, medical reports) 
  • Updated passport
  • Travel insurance 
  • Health insurance
  • International driver’s license 
  • International removals company 
  • Accommodations 

And once you arrive: 

Relocating for work 

In general, salaries in the City are higher than other cities in the UK. The capital is home to a massive financial sector and other booming sectors including business, law, IT, medicine, engineering, tourism, retail, graphic design, and media. 

If you want to have a job lined up before you arrive, but aren’t sure where to begin, the following sites are good places to start: 

You may also want to reach out to recruiters in your industry, as they can often help get interviews as well.

Relocating as a student

In 2018 and 2019, London was named the world’s best city for students. This was based on a ranking of six criteria: the number of top universities, the portion of the city’s population who are students, quality of life, career opportunities after graduating, affordability, and student feedback.

Study / Scholarships 

If you are thinking of relocating to London as a student, you will first have to find a university that offers the degree you’re looking for. There are almost 40 higher education institutions to choose from. Check out the complete list of universities and colleges.

Study in UK is a helpful website for international students looking to study in the UK.  Here are some of the scholarships available: 

  • Gates Cambridge Scholarships
  • Rhodes Scholarships at University of Oxford
  • Edinburgh Global Research Scholarships
  • Denys Holland Scholarship at University College 
  • Bristol University International Office Scholarships

Where to Stay 

As a result of high rental costs, it’s very common to share a flat with other people. Websites such as SpareRoom and Gumtree make finding people to live with a little easier.

Relocating with a family 

Whether you want to live in the bustling heart of the city or find your home in one of the quaint suburbs, London is an incredible setting for you to raise your family. There are however, some costs that you should consider.

Day care 

Parents can spend an average of over £9,000 a year on a part-time nursery in the capital. To offset the cost, the government does provide some aid. For example: 

  • Most working parents in England are entitled to 30 hours of free childcare (1,140 hours a year), funded by the government, once their child reaches three years old. You are not eligible if your child doesn’t live with you or you earn over £100,000.
  • Tax-free childcare is a government scheme set up to help working parents in the UK. For every £8 you pay into the scheme, the government will pay £2. You can get up to £500 every three months (up to £2,000 a year) for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare. This goes up to £1,000 every three months if your child is disabled (up to £4,000 a year). 

School enrolment 

Whether you’re moving boroughs or moving from outside the UK, if you’re relocating to London with children, choosing a school is a top priority. 

You will first have to consider:

  • state or private
  • single-sexed or mixed gender
  • faith-based or not
  • UK curriculum or International Baccalaureate

Second, you need to know in which borough you will live in, as school admissions are handled by each borough. You cannot apply for a place at a state school unless you already reside in the capital.

Information about the different types of schools and how each one performs can be found here. 

The most family-friendly areas are: Sutton, Brixton, Hampstead, Richmond, Barnet, Dulwich, Wandsworth, St John’s Wood. 

Relocating to rent 

The further away you are from Central London, the cheaper your rent will be. South of the river is also generally cheaper than the north, while parts of East London have cheaper, newer buildings.

London Town is a great website that provides a map of each borough, with a small description of each area. The LND Assembly is a great website that offers average rental costs, and a host of other important information.

Relocating to buy 

Looking to relocate to London and buy a home? Here are our top ten tips: 

    1. Plan your finances
    2. Investigate home ownership schemes for financial assistance available to you 
    3. Know what you want 
    4. Register with an estate agent 
    5. Investigate and be patient 
    6. Decide if leasehold or freehold is best for you 
    7. Get a surveyor / conveyancer
    8. Negotiate
    9. Look into insurance and storage 
    10. Find a removals company 

Of course, that’s just a quick checklist. You can find more information on each step of the process in the article: Buying a home in London – The complete step by step guide. 

Relocating with pets 

Bringing pets to the UK differs whether you’re coming from an EU country or from elsewhere. In general, you should be prepared to: 

  • Get your pet microchipped 
  • Get your pet vaccinated against rabies 
  • Get your pet tapeworm treatment 
  • Get a pet travel document (also know as a pet passport) 

Check out the official government website for more details. 

We hope that our expert tips helped get you started on the relocation process. With the right planning and preparation, this can be a challenging, but exciting experience. 

Here at Southlondonmovers, we offer professional removals throughout London with our award winning service. For full household relocations to Europe, the team that packs and loads your contents will be the same team to greet you on location in your new country of residence. For more information about the services we offer, get in touch with us today – contact our team.