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Insight & Opinion

Moving to London? What non UK citizens should know

Author: Luke

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Moving from another country to London can be both daunting and very exciting. With extremely diverse cultures, foods, galleries museums, parks, tours and festivals you will never get bored in London.

Ensure that you have all the correct paper work and documentation in place before you move and that you have been issued with the correct visas or work permits. Your passport should also have more than 6 months remaining for non EU citizens and don’t forget if you are bringing a pet they will also need a passport.

With so much going on it is essential that you know the law and abide by it, as certain situations that may be acceptable in your home country may be an arrestable offence in London. Therefore, it is necessary to get to know the laws regarding driving. There is a congestion charge whilst travelling through London during certain hours for instance. By knowing your rights regarding other issues such as housing, taxes and everything else that may affect your lifestyle, it will benefit you.

London is one of the most expensive cities in the world so before moving to Mayfair or other London area it is recommended you have significant funds to cover your housing and living costs, if possible try and secure a job before you move so you are financially stable to live in the city. Consider the different housing options beforehand that suit you financially. If on a budget it may be a good decision to rent a room or a flat share until your financial situation improves and you possess the necessary monetary funds to live independently. There are 33 boroughs in London; all of which vary in terms of rental costs, so research the area of London before you move so to see what suits your housing needs and budget.

London is renowned for its education system, so if you are coming to study in the capital you will be spoilt for choice. With 43 universities and numerous world renowned institutions and specialist schools the education opportunities are endless. However each institution will come with their own fees which can run high for international students, so shop around to find out which educational facility suits your requirements.

You will also need to open a UK bank account or if you bank with the larger world known banks, it may be beneficial for you to ask them to open a UK bank account on your behalf, providing you have a UK address. If you do not, go into any bank on the high street with valid ID and proof of address to open a bank account. Without one, you could hinder your chances of getting employment and also a place to live.

London also has one of the world’s best transport links, so it may benefit you to familiarise yourself with the tube maps or if planning to travel by bus, the bus routes and links to make travelling around London easier. Such information can be found on the transport for London website and you can also download apps onto your smartphone to ease your travel around the city whilst on the move.

Always try and be vigilant whilst travelling around London. Never use an unlicensed taxi cab and make sure to always look for a Hackney licenced taxi or the famous black cabs. Always shield your pin number at the cash points and keep your purse or wallet close to your body and if you need the emergency service, dial 999.

Most of all, try to engage with the London life by exploring the diverse and abstract city and gain experiences which you can only get from living in London.

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