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Moving to the UK

Organising your relocation is going to be one of the major tasks while moving to the UK.  

You will need to carefully consider which of your belongings you should take with you. It goes without saying that, once you have moved to the UK, having your belongings around you will make your new house in the UK feel more like being at home. However, packing-up all your belongings, loading them onto a truck, unloading and unpacking them once you arrive at your destination in the UK will be one of the most intense activities relating to your move as an expatriate.

Generally speaking, it makes sense to move to the UK your furniture if you are relocating from within Europe. However if you are relocating from outside Europe, it is sensible to ensure that the cost of moving your belongings is not higher than the cost of actually buying new furniture once you arrive in the UK or to rent it.

For electrical appliances, make sure that these will work in the UK. Throughout Europe the most commonly used electrical system is one based on 220-240 volts. Expatriates moving to the UK may, therefore, need transformers or adaptors. Once again, it makes sense to evaluate whether it will work out cheaper to sell these appliances in your home country rather than paying the cost to transport them to the UK and re-adapt them if needed.

In any case, you will need to find an international mover that will be able to transport your belongings from your home country to the UK. Luckily there are several such companies that operate internationally (i.e. they have offices in both your home country and in the UK) and offer tailor made services for expatriates moving to the UK. The levels of service provided vary according to prices. International movers can take care of simply transporting your belongings (you have to do all the packing and unpacking) or they can give you a “turn the key” service whereby they come to your current house, box-up every item you need to move, transport your belongings to the UK, unpack them and put back together the pieces of furniture. This service is obviously more expensive but, if you can afford it, it will take away from your hands a lot of work and stress, thus making the beginning of your expatriate experience a bit easier. Moreover, you should consider that it is likely that the boxing-up job carried out by a professional will be of a greater quality than the one you will do yourself, thus avoiding unpleasant surprises once you open your boxes at your destination.

Make sure you shop around for prices of international movers. The experience of some expatriates contributing to this website is that prices can vary significantly between movers. You should also make sure the movers who are quoting are well aware of the situation relevant to both the point of collection and delivery (is it an apartment, a house, is there an elevator, on which floor, etc.) and are experienced in providing services for expatriates moving to the UK. This is in order to avoid requests of extra costs afterwards.

It is also wise to verify if prices vary according to the date you wish to move to the UK. Summer prices tend to be higher than the other months of the year because there is normally a higher expatriates' relocation activity. If you are flexible on the dates it is worth it to ask. This may also be the case for your travelling arrangements to the UK. Combining an off-peak timing for both your belongings and your personal transportation might save you a considerable amount of money.

You will be able to insure your items against risks linked to moving these to the UK. An international mover will normally be able to offer this service to expatriates. The cost normally varies between 1 and 3 % of the estimated value of your belongings.


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All the information on Expats Plaza is free to view. If after having reviewed the information on Expats Plaza you believe this has been useful to you, please visit the Support Us page.
This page was last updated on 25/09/2010
Expats Plaza is the website for the Expatriates living in the UK