Moving to the UK - how to get a visa, costs of living

The United Kingdom is the island country located in the northwestern Europe. It is often associated only with England, however, it consists of: England, Scotland, Wales (Great Britain) and Northern Ireland. It also includes many smaller islands. Northern Ireland has the only terrestrial border - with the Republic of Ireland. Other than that, the UK is rimmed by the Atlantic Ocean. It is connected with the rest of Europe by the underwater Channel Tunnel built under the English Channel. The UK is associated with pubs, fish and chips, afternoon tea and rainy weather. So do not forget to take your umbrella!

Official Name: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Form Of Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Capital: London

Population: 67,545,757

Official Language: English

Currency: Pound sterling

Area: 242,495 Square Kilometers (93,628 Square Miles)

5 reasons to move to the UK

1. Language and culture

English is now most often used language in the world. Children start to learn it in a primary school and it sticks around on a various grounds of life during the adulthood. And since it is a national language in the UK, finding oneself in the new country gets a little easier. Be prepared for the accents, though.

Culture and lifestyle there are one of most popular in the world. Drinking tea at five o’clock, then drinking beer or cider in the pub in the evening, snacking best local food. And all while watching football match and supporting your favourite team. 

Also, some say, in London the hardest thing is to meet a true-born British. This country is a big melting pot so surely anyone can find their own place there.

2. The Royal Family

The British love their Queen and love monarchy. They actually celebrate her birthday twice a year. Firstly, on its real date - 21st of April, and then once again in June. The second one are official and on this day British nation celebrate ‘Trooping the colour’. There is a parade, musicians and of course the Queen arrives in the carriage. 

Also, the Royal Family appears on lots of events, for example the Olympic Games in 2012. And when someone in the Royal Family is getting married or having a baby, that is always a national event. 

3. Top-class universities

Undeniably, universities in the UK are top-notch. So if one want to educate oneself between the elites, on the world-class level, that is the place. the UK has seven universities mentioned in a ‘top 50 universities in the world’ ranking. It includes for example two academies in London, one in Edinburgh and two most famous, which are the University of Cambridge and the leader between universities in the world - the University of Oxford. 

4. Free healthcare

All residents of the UK are covered by the National Health service and a free healthcare. This is a convenience that not many countries around the world provide. But there, you will not have to worry about it - all you need to improve your health is free and it also includes emergencies.

Furthermore, the UK has one of the best doctors, scientists and medical facilities in the world. They constantly conduct new research and try experimental trials that continuously enlarge chances of infirm to survive and fully recover.

5. Holidays and events

For the full-time employees, by law, there are 28 paid days off per year to use. Moreover, they have nine unpaid bank holidays. Also, they still respect the tradition of closed shops from Christmas to the New Year’s Eve. Sounds like a lot of time to rest, be with the family or to go sightseeing. Because do not forget about all the British museums and monuments worth seeing. 

Also, there are lots of amazing events taking place there. For example one of the biggest music festivals - the Glastonbury festival. Also, as a citizen of the UK you may want to visit stadiums from time to time, because if if you are not a football fan just yet, you will probably become one.

How to get a visa to the UK?

Firstly, find out if you even need a visa. You can enter the UK visa-free if you are:

  • an EEA citizen
  • a Swiss citizen
  • a Commonwealth citizen

If it turns out that you need a visa, most important thing is to choose the type. If you are planning to move there for a longer time, do not consider Tourist Visa or Transit Visa. First one is short-term and the second only allows you to cross the UK border in order to travel to another country. 

Long-term Visa types:

  • UK Study Visa - and here are two types - if your studies are short then you need to apply for a UK short-term study visa and if you plan to study long-term, apply for
    Tier 4 Visa. The second one may also be eligible for those who already have a job offer in the UK with no competition from the UK workforce.
  • UK Work Visa - for those who are planning to find an employment there.
  • UK Family Visa - for those who have a spouse, parent, children or aged relative and are willing to join them. You can also get it ‘on the basis of private life’ if you want to start a stable family there.
  • UK Business Visa - for the businesspersons and investors.

Required documents:

  • completed UK visa application form
  • two photographs
  • valid passport
  • hotel reservation or other proof of accommodation
  • bank statements from 6 months showing financial mfunds covering costs of living during whole stay
  • travel plan
  • tuberculosis test results
  • biometric information, for example fingerprints (if you plan to stay longer than 6 months)
  • letter of invitation
  • confirmation of paid visa fees (£93-£3,250, depending on the visa type)

Then one just need to schedule an appointment and participate in person in the interview at the UK visa application center. All done!

Costs of living

Single person living in London will need approximately £9,072 per year. But note that London is probably the most expensive city in the UK so the costs of living in smaller cities will be significantly lower.

Example of prices

Meal in the average restaurant £12.00
Loaf of bread £1.01
Monthly pass ticket £65.00
One-bedroom apartment, per month, in the city center  £744.43

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