Moving to London: Relocating Business as an Expat | Expatland
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Moving to London

So you’re thinking about moving to London, one of the oldest cities on the planet and home to many of history’s most famous writers, artists, and musicians. London has plenty to offer for anyone who wants to call it home, but moving to London from the US or other countries requires some work. Here’s where to get started in your move to London.

What To Expect After Relocating to London

  • With its proximity to mainland Europe and the UK's numerous iconic attractions, London remains one of the most popular places for expats who wish to relocate to Europe.
  • London is a city with nearly 2000 years of history but still has a distinctly progressive mindset. Digital infrastructure is becoming a basic utility for all residents.
  • HSBC listed London as the second best city for job opportunities, with the average salary for expats recorded at $107,863 in 2020. This is an encouraging metric for professionals moving to London.

Why Should You Move to London?

You may be so focused on how to move to London from the US or other countries that you forgot to ask if you should! Here are the main reasons people are moving to London.

  • London’s job opportunities and market remain strong regardless of your career goals.
  • London’s public transportation is both cheap and easy to use, with multiple options for getting around, some of which run for 24 hours a day.
  • Over 300 languages are spoken in London thanks to its rich variety of expat communities. It is a tolerant and friendly city to relocate and live in, thanks to its cultural variety, which also gives London expats a quick sense of community.
  • Between London’s world famous museums and its strong cultural scene, there is something for any expat looking for anything artistic.
  • London is urban sprawl, but it has over 3,000 parks covering over 17% of the city. Some of the more famous ones to visit are Hyde Park, Green Park, Kensington Park, St. James Park, and Bloomsbury.

With all this in mind, before moving business to London, be aware that the city is also one of the most expensive places to live in the world. Be prepared before moving to London that it is dense and can feel overcrowded at times, especially during your morning and evening commutes.

  • Tax & Accounting
  • Relocation & Shipping
  • Visa & Immigration
  • Property & Real Estate
  • Language & Culture
  • Health & Wellness
Tax & Accounting

Tax & Accounting in London

If you consider moving your business to London you should understand the basics of taxes for London expats.

Taxes for London expats isn’t always straightforward.

The Her Majesty Revenue & Customs (HMRC) office collects taxes, determines regulations like the national minimum wage, and pays out welfare and state support. The tax year is from April 6 to April 5. Electronically filed tax returns are due by January 31, while paper filed taxes are due on October 31.

Rates for income in the UK are:

  • Those earning up to £5,000 have a 10% income tax rate.
  • Up to £37,500 has a rate of around 20%.
  • Between £37,500 and £150,000 have a rate of around 40%.
  • Those earning more than £150,000 have a rate of 45% income tax.

In general, the amount of time you are physically present in the UK determines whether you will be subject to tax laws.

Tax & Accounting

Tax & Accounting in London

Relocation & Shipping

Relocation & Shipping to London

So now that you’ve decided you like the sound of the city you may be wondering how to move to London, UK. After you arrange your visas and find a residence, you need to budget for the transportation of goods to London. Air Freight is quite expensive, but sea Freight can take much longer. Air Freight runs around $8 per kilo with some minimum fees, while sea freight costs on average between $25 and $140 per cubic meter. It may be worth using air freight if you are moving to London light, whereas if you are moving to London with your family and have many heavy items to move, sea freight will be the better option.

Relocation & Shipping

Relocation & Shipping to London

Visa & Immigration

Visa & Immigration for UK

Regardless of the type of visa you decide is right for you, starting with a work visa or student visa is the best first step when determining how to move to London.

  • Tier 2 General Visas – These visas are for people who have an offer in hand for skilled labor or work in London. You will need a sponsor, and the job offer must meet certain requirements. Proof of savings in the amount of £945 for the three months leading to your application and three months of processing time is also required. Applications are between £625 and £1,423.
  • Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Visas – This visa is similar but is for people who are already part of a company and are simply relocating to a UK-based office. The same requirements and fees apply.

The UK government recommends applying for student visas at least 6 months before your course starts, though you will get a decision on your visa 3 weeks after you apply.

  • Student Visa – These visas allow for stays of between 2 and 5 years and are eligible for extension. They cost £363 for applications and £490 for extensions. Note that student visas disallow working in certain job types, which include self-employment.

Expats moving their business to London usually apply for Tier 2 General Visa.

Listen to our “Moving To Expatland: The Journey To London” podcast and get an overview of the tax considerations in moving to London as well as the common pitfalls that our London E-Team group leader shares based on his experience.

Visa & Immigration

Visa & Immigration for UK

Property & Real Estate

Property & Real Estate in London

As of April 2022, the average household in London costs £23,380 per year, with an additional £3,000 spent on bills. This means that the average Londoner spends nearly half of their take home income on rent and living expenses. This does not include commute costs or food.

For buying, the average price of an apartment in London was just under £689,000, and the majority of properties sold are flats. Terraced properties sold for an average of just over £768,000, and semi-detached residences went for about the same. These prices represent a 10% increase from 2019 prices.

Property & Real Estate

Property & Real Estate in London

Language & Culture

Language & Culture in London

English is the most populous language in London, but they are proud to say they host over 300 types of languages. For those culturally inclined, London has:

  • 192 museums and 11 national museums.
  • O2 arena, the world’s most popular music venue.
  • 197 annual festivals and more live comedy shows than any other city.
  • 30% of the world’s art market
  • Some of the oldest theaters and music halls in the world in the Globe Theatre and Wilton’s Music Hall
  • Over 800 bookshops and 325 public libraries.

London’s culture benefits from its history and being one of the oldest cities in the world shows.

Language & Culture

Language & Culture in London

Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness in London

London’s healthcare system is the National Health Service (NHS) which is regarded as one of the best health systems in the world. After moving to London you can pay a surcharge, after which, most medical procedures will be heavily subsidized in some of the best public health facilities in the world. Notably, dental care is sometimes excluded from NHS coverage. Private healthcare is also available, and usually features shorter wait times for expert consultations, but it is also much more expensive.

The UK historically was behind the curve on wellness facilities like spas, workout studios, and yoga classrooms. Recent trends have changed this significantly, with health food restaurants seeing widespread adoption and wellness centers opening citywide.

Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness in London

GLOBAL

Ian Miles

E-team Group Leader

Whether you are an expat moving to or out of the UK, James Cowper Kreston is here to help you by providing international tax advice. Their wealth of expertise in international tax matters, and worldwide connectedness make them the perfect choice for your financial advisory needs while in London.

Tony Dullaghan-Stone

E-Team Group Leader

Relocation doesn’t have to be a daunting process, Gerson Relocation will help you relocate to the UK with the utmost care and quality.

For over fifty years, Gerson has been providing expats with flexible relocation services tailored to their individual needs.

Kelvin Tanner

E-Team Group Leader

Headquartered in London, Charles Russell Speechlys offers expat clients a broad range of skills and experience across the full spectrum of business and personal legal needs.

The firm is known for its considered and personal approach which is recognised as a refreshing alternative to conventional business law firms by many major corporates and institutions.

Sarah Teasdale

E-Team Member

Established in 2013, Educatus assists families to navigate and understand the education system and the various admissions processes in the UK.

Educatus provides services to relocations companies and corporate sectors, as well as private individuals relocating to London with children needing schooling.

Sasan Lohrasb

E-Team Member

St. James’s Place Wealth Management is a FTSE 100 company with funds under management in excess of £109 billion, specialising in the provision of highly personalised, face-to-face wealth management services to individuals, families, trustees and businesses.

Nick Foden-Ellis

E-Team Member

In business for over 30 years, Starwood Animal Transport offers full pet relocation services ensuring that families stay together, no matter where their lives take them.

Their dedication to making your pet as comfortable as possible is an added bonus, making them a great choice for any expat that wants to bring their fur babies with them when they move.

Victoria Rennoldson

E-Team Member

Perfect Cuppa English provides help to expats to achieve business English communication & British cultural confidence, either when relocating to the UK, or for successfully working in international teams, wherever they live & work.

They work with private clients and individuals in corporate teams in personalised coaching programmes. British cultural training can also be delivered as bespoke team workshops.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is the Cost of Living in London?

    For a single person living in London, the average cost of living is about £889 a month without rent. A family of four can expect triple this price at about £3,072. Monthly rent in London is on average £1,572.

  • What Are the Best Areas to Live in London?

    • Camden – Home to the trendy Camden Lock, this neighborhood has many live music venues, parks, cafes, markets, and art spaces.
    • North Greenwich – Up and coming residential zone featuring the dome of The O2 Arena. Modern highrises are supported by an increasing number of cafes and international retail chains.
    • Shoreditch and Hoxton – Former industrial area in East London turned trendy neighborhood for young adults. Features clubs, restaurants, bars, and shops with a diverse community.
    • Putney – Quiet neighborhood on the River Thames in South West London. Features independent stores, national chains, and cozy pubs. The riverside walk is perfect for strolls or jogs.
    • Marylebone – Quiet residential streets and eclectic restaurants. This peaceful neighborhood attracts families and young professionals alike for its historic looks and easy access to amenities.

  • How Expensive Is London Compared to Other Cities?

    London is the sixth most expensive city in the world as of 2020 according to ECA International. This puts it just behind Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, Geneva, and Zurich.

  • Are There International Schools in London?

    The British school curriculum is world famous and is taught in many international schools around the world. Many international schools call London their home and teach the International Baccalaureate curriculum in addition to the national British curriculum.

  • Do I Need a Car in London?

    London is home to some of the best public transit in the world, and parking options in London remain quite limited. Add in the average traffic rates and the ease of use for bicycles, scooter, rideshare accessibility, and taxis, and leaving the car behind becomes the obvious choice.