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Moving to the UK from abroad

Everyone knows that moving house ranks highly in the stressful life events stakes. Moving to a new country takes on a whole new level – there is so much to consider and plan, so much to learn and discover. Our ethos at Instant Home is to ensure that we support you to make moving process as stress-free as possible, and, as a furniture hire business, we have a lot of experience with helping people get settled in the UK when relocating from abroad. We have compiled our top tips of things for you to consider when moving to the UK, kicking off with a little advice from Mark Twain:

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.


Money: Even if you are starting work straight away you need to ensure you have enough money behind you. Most things move-related you will have to pay for upfront. Get several quotes for shipping. If you are only planning on being in the UK for a year or so and don’t want the hassle of shipping all your furniture over, or if there will be a delay, then you can hire it. You also need to think about a bank account – although you will not be able to open a UK bank account until you are in the country and can prove residency. It is a good idea to open an account with a bank that has a UK branch and also keep your account from home open.

Immigration: Before you come, check what visas you need to live and work in the UK.

Pets: If you are bringing a pet into the country, the UK operates a Pet Passport Scheme Service, which means your pet needs to have a passport, to be microchipped and had been vaccinated against rabies. The UK is very strict on this and your pet will have to go into quarantine if the rules aren’t adhered to.

Family: Consider your partner and children if they are coming with you. What will they do when they are here? Make sure you have as much in place for them as you can, discuss it a lot as a family. Will your partner be working? Are the children of school age? It is very important to consider schools and catchment areas when choosing somewhere to live.

Education: Free education is provided by the state from the ages of 5-18. These vary and many are academies which means that they specialise in certain subjects. Most have strict catchment areas which means you can only go to the school if you live within a certain radius, so it’s essential that you research this before you decide where to live. There are also a variety of independent schools which you have to pay for. It’s important to note that ‘public schools’ in the UK means private/ independent schools, not state schools! All schools are Ofsted inspected and release their exam results every year. GCSE examinations are taken at 16 after which students can stay on to take A levels or attend college.

Housing: Renting is your best option here. Even if you plan to stay long term and eventually buy a property, renting gives you flexibility when you first arrive to check that you like the area and schools. Good places to look are Rightmove and Zoopla.

Taxation: Income tax is collected at source by the employer on behalf of the Inland Revenue. It ranges from 10-40% depending on income. If you are not permanently in the UK then you may want to hire a tax consultant to advise on which country you pay tax in. HMRC can provide you with more information.

Health: The good news is that the National Health Service (NHS) is funded by the government and provides free medical care to UK residents. You have to pay prescription charges in England (they are free in Scotland and Wales). You also have to pay for eye tests and dental treatment.

It will take you a little while to get used to living in a new country and our strange idiosyncrasies. Prepare yourself to feel homesick, remember to bring key things which are important to you and remind you of home. Be patient, with yourself and others, ask lots of questions, get involved in the local community, make friends and get to know your local area. Enjoy the discovery and the adventure and you will soon be calling it home.