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How Much Does it Cost to Move to London? 

So, you’re looking to move to London. That’s amazing, I lived there for six years and loved every minute of it. London’s a great city, but it’s famously expensive to live there. Add in the regular costs that come with moving and it all adds up. So, how much does it cost to move to London? 

There are a few factors that you’re going to have to consider when trying to save up and budget for your big move.

These are obviously all average and correct at the time of writing, but the cost of living is rising in the UK at the moment and London is definitely being affected by that.

It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the official government websites to stay up to date with the latest fees, requirements, and advice.

With that out of the way, let me break it down for you in this comprehensive guide to the costs of moving to London!

Where Are You Moving From?

First things first, the costs of moving to London are going to massively depend on where you’re moving from. Different countries have different rules and different expenses that come with them.

If you’re moving to London from the US, you’re going to have more visa costs and hoops to jump through than if you’re moving to London from Australia where you can capitalize on the Commonwealth connection.

Of course, it used to be super easy to move to London from other countries in Europe, but post-Brexit, it’s now trickier to get visas and relocate. 

Aside from visa costs, there are going to be extra costs that impact your overall moving amount.

Essentially all of the costs in this article are dependent on where you’re moving from and while some may be cheaper, they may be more expensive in other areas.

For example, Australian visa fees may be less than moving from the US, but the flight cost is going to be much more. 

Let’s dive into more detail about those essential costs, so you can be more prepared for your exciting new move to London.

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Flight Costs

Okay so whether you’re traveling or emigrating, flights tend to be one of, if not the biggest, cost. The obvious rule of thumb is that the closer you are, the cheaper the flight is going to be with some exceptions.

Those exceptions are when it comes to popular routes. You can often get flights from London to New York for £200 but at peak times, many routes within Europe can cost a similar amount. 

the Parliament Building and Big Ben in London

Speaking of peak flying times, if you can, avoid moving to London during the school holidays. Not only do flight prices and temporary accommodations go up during this period, but airports also get way busier.

When you’re going through the stress of moving and have more baggage to send and pack, you don’t want the added hassle of long queues of families. Thank me later.

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Pros and Cons of Bringing Your Own Things Vs. the Cost of Sending Them

This brings me nicely to bringing your own things with you versus sending them ahead of you. Obviously, this depends on how much you’re bringing with you to start with.

If you’re moving in a minimalist way with just clothes and essentials, buying everything once you’re in London, that is of course one option. In that case, it’s best to bring it with you.

Most long-haul flights will include 23kg of hold luggage so this will help with that, and you can always add on an extra bag.

If you’re relocating a lot of stuff including furniture, crockery, heirlooms, and more, there’s no way you’re going to want to bring that with you.

Not only will the airline charges be huge, but baggage handlers also aren’t super well known for looking after fragile items. In this case, sending them ahead with an international moving company is going to be best.

It’s worth remembering that both of these methods tend to be priced up based on weight.

London’s a big city with plenty of thrift stores and discount places to buy furniture and household goods, so unless there’s some sentimental value or it’s a piece that you don’t think you’ll find anywhere else, you can buy it there. 

Just a quick look on a shipping comparison site and a 50kg parcel from the US to the UK can cost £300 and honestly, 50kg is not that much.

When you can buy 23kg of extra luggage for £50, if you don’t mind hauling it around the airport, and it’s not super fragile, bringing your items with you is more cost effective.

Cost of Finding an Apartment in London

One of the things that a lot of Londoners will complain about is the price of an apartment. When most people move to London, they’ll rent a room in a larger flat or house share to keep costs down but even so that costs £768 a month on average. 

a girl standing in front of the River Thames and the Parliament Building in London

If you’re looking for your own place, the average two-bed property in London is £1800 a month, so it’s definitely not cheap.

Finding apartments is mostly free through sites like Spare Room, Zoopla, and Rightmove, but estate agents might have their own admin fees.

You’ll also be expected to pay the first month’s rent upfront as well as a security deposit, which is normally the same amount as one month’s rent.

Buying your place instead of renting? Look at you big spender!

In this case, you’ll have all the regular property buying fees such as surveys, solicitors fees, agent fees, and credit checks and if the property is over £400,000, you’ll have to pay stamp duty on it as well.

Extra Costs of Moving to London

There are a few extra costs that you’re going to want to consider when moving to London.

Getting official copies of all your documentation before you leave your home country can cost a fair amount, especially if you’re emigrating as a family and have to get multiple copies for visas, house contracts, and more. 

Another cost that you’re going to want to consider is the healthcare surcharge. When you apply for your visa, regardless of where you’re coming from, you’ll probably see this extra charge.

As the UK operates a free healthcare model through the National Health Service (NHS) for its citizens, you need to pay upfront in order to access this service. 

Currently, the fee is £624 per year but there are huge discounts for students or those on the 18-30 tier 5 mobility visa.

There are also plenty of exemptions including if you’re applying for an indefinite right to remain or you’re moving as a healthcare worker.

Check the government website to see if you meet any of the criteria for exemption as it’s always changing. 

The Total Cost of Moving to London

The total cost of moving to London should be around $5000 USD, including flights and luggage, visa costs, apartment deposits, and healthcare.

However, you don’t want to be on your last dollar when you move to London, so I’d recommend having at least $10,000-$15,000 in savings as a buffer.

Moving to London can be an expensive undertaking, but as long as you consider all the costs, do your research, and plan and save in advance, there’s no reason why you can’t make it work.

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Living in a new city or a new country is always a great adventure and allows you to experience a different culture or way of living. Like I said, I loved living in London, and maybe you will too! 

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