The 5 things to do before you move country

The UK, and London in particular, is expensive and it can be extremely hard for people to just land on their feet.

Nathalie, a French expat in the UK didn't have the best start to her time living in the UK after deciding to move to just 'hop on a flight to London.'

50 days later she had only just sorted out a UK phone number, bank account and job

Fortunately, she had friends to live with and she landed on her feet, but there is no need to arrive to unprepared.

1) Have a clear idea of what you are looking for:

What is your main objective to move to the UK? Is it to just enjoy a new country, to go to university or to further your career. Writing down your long term objective will be extremely helpful and this will help you decide what to do in the short term. As Pablo Picasso, a Spanish expat who lived in France, once said:

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan

So if you don’t have a plan, make one now!

2) Know what you are going to do for work!

If you don't have gazillions in the bank you need to start thinking about the most important initial decision - how you are going to live! Start by writing down a list of the jobs you are interested in and have a quick look at what is available BEFORE you move! You don’t want to spend money and time just flying to the UK and flying back and if you do then your on the wrong guide and that is called a holiday :)

Once you have decided on the job you want there are lots of job sites and forums for each sector that will help you understand if you what you want to do is possible and the best way to apply for jobs. One job site that covers virtually every sector isReed.

3) Look at some areas you would want to live in

The UK isn’t as large as Russia or Australia, but it is still big. Most people know of a little place called London, but there are 68 cities here that aren’t called London. And countless villages and towns that all have their pros and cons.
London is definitely the place that people focus on for career advancement and is the top destination for people who move to the UK. But, it is worth considering other areas that are cheaper and less competitive than London, while still having the same English charm that expats often enjoy.

If you want to move to a city outside of the capital take a look at here to give you a starting point to focus your research.

4) Know your budget to start

Know how much you will need to have to move country to then how much you will need to make to live. The initial budget should cover the cost of transport, food and accommodation for the first 6 weeks. This will give you time to get organised and to find a job. Every expat is on their own adventure so it is hard to put a figure to your budget, but £1000-£1500 should be enough to get started.

5) Research what Visa you need

If you are not a British citizen 🇬🇧 you might need permission to enter the UK. Only British nationals, European Union citizens, non-EU member states of the European Economic Area (EEA - Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland), Switzerland, and members of the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) are exempt from needing a visa to enter the UK.

If you aren't from any of the above countries, you must check here whether you will need a visa for entry, or for long stays (over 6 months).