Before You Go
A simple checklist to follow the weeks before you travel to London and the UK.
12+ weeks until arrival
- Research where you want to live in the UK and how much it costs to live there.
- Start researching what kind of job you want in the UK and what kind of opportunities exist.
- If you need to sell your house, put it on the market as soon as you can.
7-12 weeks until arrival
- Book your flights and travel insurance.
- Apply for your UK visa. See our work visa pages for info on different UK visa types.
- Check you have a valid passport for your travel dates.
- If you want to move furniture or have one or two excess bags, you may want to get a quote from a shipping company. Many companies are flexible and will do big moves as well as shipping individual boxes and suitcases. Some companies to consider are Seven Seas, Doree Bonner, Anglo Pacific and Kiwi Movers.
4-6 Weeks until arrival
- Make sure you have booked some accommodation for your travels and your final destination. See our short-term accommodation guide for options.
- Make sure that all of your finances are up to date, complete a tax form & ensure that any loans or debts you have are paid off, or payments are set up to cover it whilst you are away.
- It may be a good idea for you to also get a police check done before you arrive. This will assist you should you need to do any temporary work whilst you are in the UK.
- If you are travelling from South Africa, it may be a good idea to get a chest x-rays done before you leave & also a letter from your doctor stating that you do not have TB. This will save the possibility of having an x-ray when you arrive at the airport.
- Bring three months current bank statements from your bank with you. Or better still, change your address with your bank to a UK address so you can print bank statements from there when you arrive. This will help you open a bank account in the UK.
- Notify your local council/government that you are leaving to go travelling, and will be unable to vote. This may save you paying a fine when you return home.
- If applicable, notify your student loan company that you are moving overseas. Failure to keep up repayments will result in extra interest and fines. Governments are increasingly sophisticated at sharing data and tracking people’s movements so you could get into trouble if you fail to keep them updated with your contact details.
- Cancel subscriptions and club memberships.
- Start sorting through your belongings and arrange storage or get rid of anything you don’t want to take with you.
2-3 Weeks until arrival
- Get written references to bring with you. Make sure it is on the company’s letter headed paper, and that whoever has written it has signed it and included their job title.
- Photocopy important documents such as visas, passport, vaccination certificates, CV and qualification certificates and leave with someone at home, just incase you lose one of them when you arrive here.
- Organise an international bank account or currency card and transfer enough funds to keep you going until you get settled.
- Pay any outstanding bills.
- If you have a UK forwarding address, notify relevant people and companies.
- Visit your dentist and doctor for a final checkup and obtain your dentistry and medical records.
1 Week until arrival
- Start to pack. Be prepared for cool weather no matter what the time of year. Fortunately, the UK has great shopping opportunities and clothes are often cheaper than in other countries such as Australia and New Zealand, so don’t worry too much if you can’t fit everything in your suitcase. Don’t forget you will more than certainly end up going home with more than you came with.