Immigrating to the UK

Heathrow AirportVisas
Moving Companies
Household Goods

Before immigrating to the UK, there are many things to take into account. The sooner you start your planning process, the better. Getting your paperwork in order and shipping your belongings take time. Well begun is half done!

UK Visa Requirements

If you are from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you do not need a visa to live and work in the UK. However, Croatian citizens make an exception to this rule. As Croatian, to work in the UK, you might need to apply for a work authorisation document. Also, non-EEA or non-Swiss family members might need an EEA family permit to enter.

Nationals from other countries will need to apply for Visa to live and work in the UK. To be granted a Visa you usually need an employer who sponsors you, sufficient English skills and some savings. Your family members can apply Visa as individuals, or they can apply as your dependants. Applications must be done within three months from the date the Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned. UK Border Agency aims to process Visa applications within 12 weeks.

Investors, entrepreneurs and exceptionally talented people can apply for a visa without work offer. However, they need to have sufficient funds and/or English language skills. Also, Commonwealth citizens with UK ancestry and sufficient funds don’t need a job offer as long as they intend to work in Great Britain.

If you need help with your visa application, use an immigration agent, who is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

NOTE: This is an overview of UK’s Visa regulations and does not cover all specific cases. Do check the following links and contact British Overseas Mission in your country for detailed information.

International Moving Companies

For the least hassle free move, choose an international moving company that offers full service. It will do all the packing and unpacking for you and take care of the necessary paperwork for customs. Furthermore, most insurance companies won’t insure fragile items if they are not packed by professionals.

Choose a moving company that is a member of the International Federation of Furniture Removers (FIDI) or the Overseas Moving Network International (OMNI). This will guarantee that the moving company follows FIDI Accredited International Mover (FAIM) quality programme. Take quotes from at least three different companies and see that the services provided are comparable.

Insure your belongings for the move. Full service moving companies offer you this service or you can take the insurance separately. In case of damaged or missing items, contact your insurer immediately. Insurance companies have a time limit for claims.

Make a detailed inventory of your belongings. Determine their values and take photos of the most valuable items, like artwork. When valuing an item, think how much its replacement would cost in London, not how much you paid for it. After the move, keep updating the inventory. It is a good base for your home contents insurance and makes your next move easier.

Accidents and robberies can happen even when using a good moving company. Carry with you all the valuables and things you cannot replace, like jewellery, backup discs for computers, medical reports, school certificates and work references.

It can take anything from few days to two months to have your belongings delivered. Do organise temporary accommodation for that waiting period.

For the moving-in day, ask your local council to reserve parking in front of your house. Check also that the moving truck can get access to your house. If your new home is on a narrow road, the contents of a large truck might need to be unloaded to a smaller van. Contact your moving company if you have any doubts.

Moving Household Goods to the UK

Before moving to London, consider how your furniture will fit in your new home. Depending on your current residence, you might find English homes smaller than what you are used to. Many English houses have narrow corridors and staircases that make moving large items difficult. You can read more about property types in England at the Property section of Family to London.

Also consider what electrical items are worth bringing over. The voltage used in England is 220-240 volts, the frequency 50 Hz and the outlets take Type G British 3-pin plugs. It is a nuisance to use adapters and voltage converters on many electrical items.

As you are surely aware, UK has left side traffic. Therefore, bringing a car with right-hand steering wheel might not be practical. However, if you decide to bring your car, it needs to be registered and to comply with the UK regulations.

You do not need to pay tax and duty on your household, car and personal belongings if you are moving to the UK from the European Union. However, you do need to pay excise duty on alcoholic drinks and tobacco products that don’t travel in with you and qualify for the duty-free allowances.

The above rules apply to you also if you are moving from outside the EC to take residency in the UK, as long as you

• are moving your normal home,
• have possessed and used them for at least 6 months outside the EC before they are imported,
• have owned the items for at least 6 months,
• haven’t gotten them under a duty/tax-free scheme and
• are keeping them for your personal use for at least 12 months after the importation.

This is an overview of HM Revenue & Customs regulations and does not cover all specific cases. Do check the following links for detailed information.

Moving Pets to the UK

All dogs, cats and ferrets can enter the UK without quarantine if they meet the requirements of the Pet Travel Scheme. The rules for pets arriving from EU-countries or certain listed countries and territories are that the pet

• is microchipped,
• is vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before the day of travel,
• in case of a dog has had a tapeworm treatment between 2 to 5 days before entry,
• travels with required documents (EU pet passport or a veterinary certificate)
• travels with a declaration confirming that it is not going to be sold and
• travels within 5 days of you with an approved transport company on an authorised route.

Additionally, if you are moving from an unlisted non-EU country, a blood test needs to be taken of your pet at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination. After this, there is a 3 month waiting period before your pet can be brought to the UK. Hence, start the necessary arrangements early enough!

If you plan to rent a flat or house make also sure that your rental agreement allows pets to move in, too.