The Ultimate Guide to Moving to London

Discover all you need to move to London easily

Moving to London can be an exciting and life-changing experience, but it can also be a bit overwhelming.

From finding housing to sorting out paperwork or navigating the public transportation system, there are many things to consider when making the move.

Matutto makes moving to London actually simple.

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Step 1: Calculate your cost of living in London

London is known for being an expensive city, so it's important to have a clear understanding of the cost of living before you move. If you have an idea of how much you may be earning in London, calculating your expenses will help you better plan your new life in London.

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The cost of living in London can vary greatly depending on factors such as location, lifestyle, and individual needs. Accommodation is one of the largest expenses in London, with average rents for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center ranging from £1,500 to £2,500 per month. Outside of the city center, you can find cheaper rent prices, but if you need to commute to the center for work every day, you’ll pay higher transport prices instead. Make sure to familiarise yourself with the different neighbourhoods in London and their prices.

The average cost of commuting via public transport in London is £150 per month, but this will totally change depending on where you go and when. However, it is worth noting that London has a very efficient public transportation system. Many people find it unnecessary to own a car.

You also need to account for food and grocery expenses. A meal for two at a mid-range restaurant averages around £50, and a loaf of bread costs around £1.50.

Don’t forget to put aside some budget for entertainment: In London, movie tickets average around £15 and a pint of beer costs around £5. Museums and galleries are often free to enter, but other popular attractions such as the London Eye and the Tower of London can be quite expensive.

Step 2: Lock in your London job and Visa

Make sure you have all the necessary documents in order before you move. This includes a valid passport, a visa (if required), and any other paperwork needed for your job or housing.

If you are coming to london for work, you will most likely require an employment visa. Tier 2 visas are the most common type of visas for those seeking employment in the UK. Most applicants will need to have a job offer from a UK employer who is a licensed sponsor to be elegible for this type of visa.

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If you’re at the stage of looking for a job in London, here’s some tips to help you with your job search:

1. Research the job market
Familiarize yourself with the industries and job market in London to determine the best match for your skills and qualifications before you start applying.

2. Network
Reach out to people in your field and attend networking events. Join professional organizations related to your field and connect with people on LinkedIn.

3. Use UK Websites and Recuitment Agencies
Use UK online job portals and company websites to apply for open positions. Make sure to tailor your CV and cover letter to the specific job requirements. A great way to access open roles is by speaking to recruitment agencies in your field who will know which companies with sponsorships are recruiting.

Step 3: Make a list of everything you need to do before your move

Moving to London can be a big step, but with the right preparation and research, you can make the transition as smooth as possible. When you start preparing your move, make a thorough list of everything you need to sort out in preparation for your move.

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Here’s an initial list of things you may want to consider looking into, to add to your moving to-do:
Phone Plans
Things to pack
Organise travel
You can find a detailed list of everything you’ll need to do when you move to London in your free account when you sign up.

Step 4: Find a place to live

One of the most important things to do before moving to London is to find a place to live. There are several options available, such as renting a flat, a house or a room in a shared house. It's important to understand your options and the market before moving.

We always recommend booking short-term accommodation for your first couple of weeks in London, during which you can find a place to rent long-term. The reason for this is because there are many online scams, and even when you go through verified agencies, there are aspects of a property that cannot be assessed online. These are things like the smell, the atmosphere of the street, the noises, and so on…

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Related Article: How to find a rental in London

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Step 5: Get familiar with the transport system in London

London has an extensive public transportation system that includes buses, trains, and the underground. Take the time to learn how to use it, as figuring out the most effective route can save you a lot of money and time.

The London transport is divided into 9 Zones. The further away you travel, the more your rides will cost. In addition, travelling at certain times of the day, called “Peak Times” will be more expensive than doing the same route at an “Off-Peak” time.

You can read more about London transport below, where we deep-dive into the details of this and how to save money.

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Related Article: How to get around in London

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Step 6: Understand your taxes

Taxes in London are governed by the UK government and the London government. The taxes include income tax, corporation tax, value added tax (VAT), council tax, and stamp duty.

The income tax rate for individuals in London ranges from 20% to 45% depending on the income bracket.

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It's important to note that tax rates and regulations are subject to change and it's advisable to seek professional advice to understand the tax implications of any financial decision in London.

Step 7: Open a bank account

Opening a bank account is essential for paying bills and receiving your salary in London, and even though it can seem like a daunting task, with the right information, it can be a straightforward process.

Firstly, determine what type of account you need - Do you need a personal or business account? Do you require a current account, savings account, or both?

Most banks in the UK will require proof of identity and address, such as a passport or driver's license and a utility bill; to confirm that you are living in the UK. If you require a bank account before securing an apartment, there are plenty of digital banking alternatives.

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Step 8: Get a SIM Card

You will most likely want to purchase a SIM card for your phone as soon as you arrive, so you can stay connected with your family and friends. It also really helps getting around London.

Before buying a SIM card, make sure your phone is unlocked, so you can add a SIM card from the UK. if that’s not the case, there are many technology shops in London where they can unlock the phone for you, for a fee.

Once you’re ready to buy a SIM card, you’ll need to choose a provider. London has several major mobile networks to choose from, such as EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone, each offering different plans. Compare the plans and choose the one that suits your needs.

You may need to provide your personal details and a form of identification. You may want to consider getting a prepaid SIM while you receive all your UK paperwork, as you don’t need to prove that you’re a UK resident to get one of these.

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Step 9: Sign up to National Healthcare

Healthcare is a crucial aspect of our lives and it is essential to have access to good quality medical services when we need them. If you live in London, there are a number of options available to you for signing up for healthcare.

The National Health Service (NHS)
The NHS is a publicly funded healthcare system that provides medical services to all UK citizens, including those in London. If you are a UK resident, you can register with an NHS GP and receive free medical services such as consultations, diagnoses and treatments.

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Private Health Insurance
If you prefer a more comprehensive range of services or quicker access to medical services, you can consider private health insurance. There are a number of insurance companies in London that offer private health insurance.

EU citizens
If you are an EU citizen living in London, you can apply for an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) which provides you with access to medical treatment in any EU country, including the UK.
Regardless of which option you choose, it is important to do your research and compare different options to find the one that best suits your needs.

Step 10: Get familiar with life in London

London, the capital city of England, is one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the world - Once you’ve settled, it really is a joy of city to explore! You can get started with familiarising yourself with life in London by:

Explore the different Neighborhoods
London is divided into various neighborhoods, each with its unique character and culture. Explore different areas and you’ll definitely find at least one that suits your lifestyle and personality.

Embrace the Culture
London is home to numerous world-class museums, theaters, galleries, and music venues. Take advantage of the city's rich cultural offerings and immerse yourself in its history and art.

Enjoy the Food
London is a foodie's paradise, with cuisine from all over the world available. Try new dishes and visit local markets to sample the best of British and international cuisine.

Meet New People
London is a melting pot of cultures and nationalities, making it easy to meet new people. Join social clubs, attend events, or join a local sports team to meet new friends.

Make the Most of the Outdoors
London has plenty of green spaces, including parks, gardens, and open spaces. Spend time outside, enjoy picnics, or join a park run.

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Getting familiar with life in London can take time, but with a little exploration and effort, you'll soon feel right at home in this dynamic and exciting city.

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