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What Do You Need to Move to London?

28 August 2021 Simon Banks Read time: 4 min
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Simon Banks

The capital of England. The Big Smoke. The numero uno place in the UK since it was built by William the Conqueror way back in 1078. London is where it’s at. And while we love other cities like Manchester, it’s hard to beat good ol’ Londinium.

It won’t come as a surprise to learn that London still attracts people from all over the world. This is a city in demand, especially with renters who like the idea of living in the capital and embracing a new way of life.

But if you’re about to move – or are thinking about moving – to London, what do you need to ensure it’s a smooth process? In this guide, we’re covering everything you need to move to London, whether you’re coming from the other side of the continent or Billericay.

Where did you come from, where did you go?

Renters moving to London from abroad will have a different moving experience compared to domestic movers. We’ve already covered how Movebubble can help you move home from abroad. Now, we’re focusing on the smaller details to make sure you have everything you need.

But fear not if you’re a domestic mover. We’ve got you covered too, thanks to a bunch of Movebubble resources (and this guide, of course) that will see you moving to the capital like you’re a seasoned pro. 

What you need to move to London from abroad

Moving from within the EU

Brexit has changed many things for those wanting to move from the EU to London. From December 31st 2020, it hasn't been quite as simple as hopping on a plane (or boat or train) and setting up roots, and you'll now need to be granted immigration status if you're planning on living in the UK. More details can be found on the Government website

Moving from outside the EU

If you’re moving from outside the EU, it’s pretty much business as usual. You’ll need a Tier 2 visa if you already have a skilled job in the UK, which lasts for up to five years. There’s also the Short Stay Visa option if you’re planning on staying for less than six months.

Moving as a student

Students get a slightly different deal from those moving for work purposes. If you’re a student, you can get visas for short-term study and a general student visa. This is for anyone over the age of 16 who plans on studying in the UK for the long term.

Check out the student’s guide to renting

Learn more about moving to London from Overseas

What you need to move to London from another town or city

Anyone coming to live in London from another part of the UK won’t need visas and the like. In fact, moving into capital is the same as moving from town to town or between other cities - though you might be in for a bit of a culture shock if you’re coming from a rural area or commuter town.

You will, however, need to provide a few details whether you’re coming from abroad or somewhere else in the UK. These are basic elements needed to rent a home and include things like Right to Rent checks and tenant referencing.

What you need to move to London, no matter where you’re coming from


Once you have all the details needed to move to London, you’re going to want to find somewhere to live. Using Movebubble to discover your next humble abode means you can search, find and rent a place without even leaving your current residence - great if you need to travel far for physical viewing.

Our Home Walkthroughs give you an unfiltered look at what it’s like to live somewhere, from the apartment to on-site amenities that might be included. And if you love the place, you can secure it with the Instant Booking feature without the need to visit the property.

Referencing, contracts and the security deposit

Once you’ve had an offer accepted, you need to go through tenant referencing and credit checks to see if you’re suitable for the property. They usually take a few days to come through and are at no extra cost to yourself.

After successful referencing, you will need to sign the tenancy agreement. This usually comes in the form of an assured shorthold tenancy, which typically lasts for 12 months and may have a six-month break clause.

Lastly, it's time to pay the security deposit, which landlords often require before you move in. It amounts to five week's worth of rent and is kept throughout the duration of your tenancy, only to be released once you move out - as long as you haven’t caused any damage to the property.

Some landlords and Build-to-Rent communities use the zero deposit scheme instead of a traditional security deposit. Zero deposit renting means you only pay one week’s worth of rent (as opposed to five), which is non-refundable. However, you don’t need to worry about finding a large security deposit before moving in.

Find out everything you need to know about the process of renting an apartment.

Discover the best areas to live in London

Prepare for the move

The t’s are crossed, and I’s are dotted. Now all that’s left to do is move home. If you’re coming from another country or city, you may want a fresh start and decide to rent a furnished apartment or buy your own furniture after you’ve moved in.

If you do wish to bring your stuff with you, however, you’ll need to prepare for the move by contacting relevant removals companies. Once that’s all set up, you can enjoy your shiny new apartment and your brand-spanking-new life in London.

London’s calling

With our tips, moving to London should be a breeze, whether you’re coming from Cardiff or Timbuktu. Pack your bags, hop on a plane, train or automobile, and get ready for a life in one of the world’s most sought-after cities, where you can enjoy 24/7 entertainment, cultural hotspots and city living.

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