Posted 19 Jan 2024

Moving To The UK: A Guide For Overseas Tenants

apartment / moving / tenancy

Living overseas but thinking about moving to the UK? Here's what you need to know - including how to rent a great property!

Planning on moving to the UK from overseas? Exciting times!

Naturally, there’s plenty to think about, so I’m here to help you learn all about how to make it happen.

No matter where you’re moving from, this guide will bring you up to speed on the tenancy process and key things to bear in mind.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start with the moving process. I have vast experience helping overseas citizens find their dream home in the UK and I know you probably have lots of questions!

This article covers everything from visa requirements to what it’s actually like to live in the UK. Let’s get started.

Check the visa requirements

First things first, before thinking about moving to the UK, check if you need a visa and whether you’re likely to be approved for one.

  • Want to study in the UK? If an education institution has offered you a place on one of their courses, you can apply for a Student visa (formerly called a Tier 4 visa).
  • Looking for work in the UK? Apply for the Skilled Worker visa (a Tier 2 visa).
  • Joining a family member in the UK? Apply for a Family visa.

As of Spring 2024, the minimum salary requirement for Skilled Worker visas is set to rise from £26,200 to £38,700 a year – a net migration measure confirmed by the Home Office.

There are several other UK work visas such as the Health and Care Worker visa. Also, there are visas for working in the UK via an overseas employer, temporary or seasonal work visas and also some visas you can apply for without a job offer.

The rules and regulations for European citizens looking to study or work in the UK have changed since 31 January 2020 and Brexit. There is no longer an automatic right to work, so a visa is required.

There are a wide range of nuances to UK entry requirements in terms of the type of visa you need and your right to work.

For example, if you live overseas but have a British passport, then you automatically have the right to work in the UK. Commonwealth and British overseas citizens can apply for a UK Ancestry visa.

As of 31 January 2021 there is a new visa available to Hong Kong British National Overseas citizens and close family members. For those moving to the UK from the USA, there is a dedicated government guide to applying for a visa from the US.

Find somewhere great to live!

Now for something more enjoyable… It’s time to start thinking about the place you’ll call home in the UK!

From cosy one-bed flats to beautiful houses, the accommodation of your dreams is out there somewhere and ready to be a base for your UK adventure.

Start getting excited and check out the properties available to rent in London right now!

But before you start your enquiries, get prepared for the tenant checks. There’s a right to rent check as well as some solvency, credit and reference checks.

For more information, take a look at my guide on the right to rent check and the other processes that tenants need to know about.

Make a plan to transport your belongings

If you’re travelling light, the easiest way to move to the UK is with a couple of suitcases in the hold on the plane.

But if you’re bringing over furniture, you’ll need to look into a sea or air freight option, or an international moving service. 

In terms of bringing pets to the UK, here is the entry criteria for your beloved dog, cat, or ferret! Among other requirements, your pet must be:

  • Microchipped
  • Vaccinated against rabies
  • Allocated a pet passport or health certificate

There is plenty of information from the government about bringing personal goods including a banned list of items and when to declare items to UK customs.

Get a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

Use a BRP to prove your identity in the UK and right to work or study. After successfully applying for a visa, you should automatically receive one.

But when applying for a visa outside the UK, you need to collect the BRP after arriving here within 10 days. Your visa decision letter will tell you where to go.

Keep the BRP with you when travelling as you’ll need it at the UK border.

Get a National Insurance (NI) number

To track your tax payments, receive the state pension and access the public health service, you need a NI number.

Depending on your individual situation, for the application you may need documents such as:

  • Your work or study visa
  • Passport or identity card
  • Proof of address
  • BRP

You can apply online for your NI number.

Register with the National Health Service (NHS)

One of the most popular benefits of living in the UK is access to the world famous, publicly funded NHS.

To register you will need similar documents as before i.e. your proof of identity and residence in the UK, as well as a visa.

Find the nearest general practice (GP) on the NHS website and register there. Advantages of the NHS include many free services and emergency treatment, although you will need to pay for some things and the waiting lists can be very long.

Open a UK bank account

Keep hold of those same documents – you’ll also need them to open a bank account. Some accounts may also require proof of employment.

For the face-to-face approach, walk into any high street bank account and tell the staff you’d like to open an account. Alternatively, browse the options online which will include modern fintech banks such as Monzo and Revolut.

It doesn’t take long to open a UK bank account and when you get one, sit back and enjoy watching your salary or student loan come in!

Long-term settlement in the UK

Want to live in the UK long-term? After a certain amount of time has passed, you could become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Return (ILR), also known as UK settlement.

To obtain ILR in the UK, you need to live here for a continuous period of five years, under an eligible visa category. You must also meet certain language and life in the UK test requirements.

Applicants submit the ILR application to the Home Office, providing supporting documents and evidence of continuous residence. Biometric information may be collected during the process.

Then the Home Office reviews the application and if successful, you receive UK settled status, allowing you to leave the UK and return without losing residency rights.

Living in the UK

Enough about all the administrative requirements. What’s it like to live in the UK?

In short, there’s something for everyone. Opportunities, history, culture, entertainment, nature, nightlife…

Everyone has their own reasons why they love the UK and whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it here.

One thing’s for certain though – the cost of living isn’t low in the UK. However, the median salary according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is nearly £35,000.

London is the go-to destination for many prospective tenants moving to the UK from overseas.

The capital is well known for its fast pace, museums, West End, huge parks, Oxford Street shopping and wide range of transport options.

Here is my guide to living in London as well as what to know before moving there.

Final thoughts: Renting in the UK as a tenant from overseas

If you’re currently living abroad, but thinking about moving to the UK and renting a flat or house, I know that there’s plenty to think about. The process can seem daunting at first.

Just break down the whole process into small steps and tick off the milestones when you achieve them. Once your visa is sorted, start getting excited about living in the UK and everything the country has to offer!

Other information you may find useful from our blog includes guides to break clause tenancy considerations and our moving house checklist.

Over the past 20 years I have rented out many properties to tenants from overseas, so I can help you learn about all the different steps.

Fine Living has some of the most unique and beautiful homes available to let and my team are experts at matching tenants with their perfect properties.

Take a look at our portfolio and for help finding your ideal UK home, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Simon has been a great guide and support throughout our tenancy. He was always available, helpful and he managed the communication with our landlord perfectly.

Paul Biard


We noticed a significant difference when our landlord change from our previous management company to Fine Living. We received information and response to our inquiries very quickly and when needed, we were able to communicate more effectively with the landlord. We felt that Simon cared not only about the landlord but also us, the tenants.

Alejandra Cordero


Simon is absolutely fantastic to work with. He is authentic, honest and trustworthy. As first time renters in London, Simon explained everything to us and remained accessible throughout the entire process. Definitely the best agent experience we have had.

Jackson Smith


It's been a great experience renting a flat through Simon, he is always very kind and helpful

Tijana Markovic


Seriously knowledgeable, very reassuring and the friendliest chap you could hope to meet. Goes well beyond "just" an estate agent. More like a high end property consultant that can talk about investment decisions, interior design and everything in between. Highly recommended!

Dipta Malik


Very professional and offers excellent service. You will be well looked after. Impressed with the technology and quality of virtual viewings. Thank you Simon!

Arta Alfere


Simon is one of the best estate agents I have ever worked with. He really cares about looking after his clients and properties and makes the whole process easy and stress free. Would highly recommend

Manal Shaker


The service received from Simon was excellent. From ensuring all maintenance jobs were attended to, all legal requirements were adhered to and actually finding the tenant. A very seamless process. Would highly recommend.

Jennifer Nursiah


Can’t thank Simon enough for helping us secure our first flat here in London. He was super helpful during the whole process and was always available for any questions. We are really happy!

Abby Wilson


The whole process was a breeze, and everything happened in a blur. I moved from a foreign country and Fine Living was able to get everything done within a week, from answering my first message to handing over the keys. I absolutely recommend!

Merwane Drai


I had a very smooth collaboration with Simon who was reactive, a good adviser and kind. Thank you for the great service!

margot chollet


I recently purchased a flat through Fine Living and I couldn't be happier with the service I received. From the very beginning, the communication was outstanding. They kept me informed every step of the way, promptly answered all my questions, and were always available to address any concerns I had. The entire process was smooth and stress-free. Simon and Steve were professional, efficient, and made buying a flat a positive experience. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to buy or sell a property.



Simon manages a rental flat for us and we very much enjoy working with him. His service is exceptional. He takes care of everything for us and we feel totally reassured that our property is in great hands. Any little issues our tenants might have, such as small repairs etc are dealt with right away in an efficient and professional manner. We recently had a change of tenants and Simon did a fantastic job of marketing the property and finding us excellent new tenants. He is proactive, communication is excellent and he is a lovely guy to work with too! Highly recommend.

Sarah Faulds


Simon was very accomodating and helpful throughout the rental application process

Brett Felsenthal


Simon’s service was top notch. Professional, quick to respond and a great mediator between me and the landlord. Definitely a good experience overall. 🙌

Isauro López


I've known Simon for quite a while now and his expertise and effort to attend to clients/tenants queries and problems are second to none. Simon is efficient, which comes from his years of experience and therefore things get sorted quickly. In a time where things are so fast paced, it's nice to know there is someone competent in charge dealing with the situation.



Positive experience working with Simon & team, from the start with the viewing, they were very responsive and timely in getting all the my questions answered and documents sent during the letting process. Would 100% recommend their services!

Joseph Chung


I would highly recommend Simon and Fine Living to anyone looking for a professional, attentive and transparent real estate agent to work with. Simon went above and beyond what I expected in order to successfully complete the sale and always did so with a helpful and respectful manner.

Alan Casey


Simon is the most reliable trustworthy letting agent you can find! Paying attention to all details and doing fantastic job!I know him for 5 years, did few flats with him and all went smoothly. Try yourself and see.

Yael Epstein


Renting our first London apartment through Simon was an incredible experience! Handling everything from abroad was made effortless by Simon's exceptional assistance. He accommodated our requests promptly, addressing all queries without delay. Our experience was flawless, and we're immensely grateful to Simon. We highly recommend his services to anyone seeking to rent in London, especially from overseas.

Zvika Weksler


We've been working with Simon for a number of years now and he has always been efficient and pragmatic on each letting, doing his best for both the landlord and tenant. He has also overseen works for us and is thorough in his inspections. Overall, he has been an absolute pleasure to work with.



An absolute pleasure to interact with Simon. A true professional with a mastery of the London property market. Very knowledgeable on all his properties, with high quality virtual viewings tailored to the current climate. Highly recommended.

Alfie Ashton


Simon is truly a special estate agent. He's knowledgable and cares about the relationship with customers going the extra miles to inform properly and not to rush in his viewing. He makes you feel extremely taken care of and guided alongside the process.

Davide Cavagnino


I had a very smooth collaboration with Simon who was reactive, a good adviser and kind. Thank you for the great service!

margot ch


Really smooth move in process, Probably the best I’ve experienced so far living in the city! It’s been really nice having Simon/fine living as our estate agent - you can really tell they look after the tenants which can be quite unheard of nowadays.



I engaged Simon and Fine Living for the legal work on letting my home, his knowledge of the lettings market and the legal aspects made me feel very comfortable using him. We’ve got a great tenant and Simon is available should I need him for any assistance.

Kirk Smith


Simon has been great throughout all the process. He is extremely professional and reliable, I would definitely recommend him.

Luca Baldini


This is truly a unicorn of an organization! Simon is approachable, thoughtful, and extremely knowledgeable about his property. He made the entire process completely painless from the viewing through to signing the lease. He’s incredibly communicative and ensured that our rental was finished to the highest standard of cleanliness and repairs. We are now the proud tenants of the most wonderful home and are so grateful that we found Simon. 10/10 service, no notes!

Michaela Zamloot


Simon is great to work with, super friendly and responsive. I would highly recommend house hunting with him!

Kelly Lenihan


5 stars at least! Moving abroad with a property in London and a busy life I wanted someone to deal with my property. Simon has been amazing as he is personally taking care of everything. He is quick, he explains what I do not know and he is very professional. He takes on the responsibility and take actions. 100% recommended

Erika Felici


I recently had the pleasure of working with Simon, and I must say, he exceeded all expectations. Simon's professionalism was evident from the get-go, and his friendly demeanor made the leasing process an absolute breeze. What truly impressed me was his lightning-fast response time to all of my inquiries. No question was too small, and he always made me feel like a top priority. If you're in need of leasing assistance, look no further than Simon. He's the epitome of excellent customer service and professionalism.

Laura Giersdorf


Simon was fantastic as both a lettings and sales agent. Very communicative and flexible in his approach.

Chloe Nankivell


Excellent service, would highly recommend.

Kirk Pereira


Easy, quick and smooth experience overall.

Ana Maa


Simon is professional, pragmatic and efficient. He gives us great confidence that our properties are being managed well.



Simon was extremely professional and a pleasure to work with in securing a flat in London. Would certainly recommend to all

Tommy Griffin


Simon is fully hands on and on top of everything. Has made my life so easy while being an overseas landlord.

Roxanne Cohen


I was really impressed by the service I received here, in particular from Jack. He was 'on it' from the start and took his time in understanding what kind of property we were after and our other requirements. He was knowledgeable, professional and gave us an all-round easy experience and personal service. To be honest, I'm still pinching myself that he managed to find us such a great place to rent. Would highly recommend.

India Semper-Hughes


Excellent service from Fine Living the second time around. Always kept updated & the process was thorough & seamless. Would highly recommend!

Jennifer Nursiah


Simon was a great agent. Understood what we were looking for, excellent communication and a very nice guy to work. Would highly recommend.

Luke Russo


Simon has been an excellent professional. He was very helpful and trustworthy since the first time I visited the flat. He went out of his way to make sure my needs and the landlord's were met and the lease signed as quickly as possible. In the uncertain environment of the London property market, having Simon's help was invaluable.

Nicola Speranza


Jack and Simon done an incredible job working around the current restrictions with the pandemic and managed to secure a sale on our property within months. They took on all the strain and pressure of securing a sale within a tight timeframe and made us feel at ease. They took every precaution to ensure we were safe during viewings and ensured everyone followed strict rules to ensure our safety and the safety of others. Both were great at communicating and offered constructive advice throughout that helped secure our sale. Thank you both for everything

Amal Jaber


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