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Your checklist for moving to London from the US

A shared language, a “Special Relationship” and strong historical ties: the bond between the US and the UK is an enduring one. Those of us that are willing to put the odd spelling and pronunciation dispute aside – is it aluminum and aluminium? – would jump at the chance of hopping across the Atlantic to live in London.

But before you can follow in footsteps of some famous American’s – Madonna, Taylor Swift and Gwyneth Paltrow to name a few – and have royal palaces, iconic bridges and historic towers on your doorstep, there’s a long list of things to organise.

So, get your pen at the ready and tick off everything on our moving to London from America checklist.

1. Apply for a work permit

Before the relocation process can begin in earnest and you can start dreaming of taking afternoon tea, you’ll need to obtain the legal right to live and work in the UK. US citizens seeking to work in the UK typically need to apply for a UK Work Permit, once they have received an offer of employment from a UK employer that holds a sponsor licence issued by the UK Border Agency (

To qualify, you must pass a stringent points-based assessment, which considers your qualifications, age and previous earning – so you can prove that you can support yourself without access to public funds.

2 Choose a London neighbourhood that suits you

From the salubrious west and edgy east to the bustling north and leafy south, London has something for everyone. With so many different neighbourhoods to choose from, deciding where you want to settle will leave you spoilt for choice.

So, focus your search and give yourself the best chance of laying down roots somewhere that’s right for you, by answering the following questions:

  • What’s your budget?
  • If you have kids, what type of school do you want them to attend?
  • How far do you want to travel for work?
  • How far do you want to be from the centre of town?
  • What amenities do you want on your doorstep?
  • What are your interests?

3. Find a place to rent

So, you know where you want to live in London; now it’s time to find your ideal home. The London rental market is vast and varied, and the rental process is littered with technicalities that might leave you scratching your head. To navigate both successfully, you must understand the following elements:

  • Property types – moving to London as an American requires some property market jargon-busting – for example, in the UK an apartment is typically called a flat.
  • Your budget – don’t waste time dreaming about properties that are out of your price range. Review your finances before you start your property search to establish a realistic budget and stick to it – don’t forget to factor in the deposit as well.
  • Deposit protection – make sure the landlord fulfils their legal requirement by paying your deposit into one of the three government-approved Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes (
  • Inventory of household contents – request a comprehensive inventory of household contents that contains everything from the boiler to the blinds and describes the condition of everything listed.
  • Tenancy agreement – known as the rental agreement in the US, this requires careful attention because its contents will impact your liability. Consider the length of the notice period you are required to give, the length of advanced notice the landlord must give you and your rights when leaving the property.

4. Select an international removal company

Moving is one of life’s most stressful events. Doing it across international borders, and a little thing called the Atlantic, heightens these stress levels as you arrange for your worldly possessions to be relocated with you. Ease the strain of moving from the US to London by selecting a reputable international removal company – get this right and you will avoid an early onset of grey hair.

A little bit of research will go a long way to selecting a company you can trust:

  • Investigate their accreditations.
  • Request and compare quotes.
  • Check they have insurance.
  • Read reviews and testimonials.

5. Get help from the experts (optional)

At Simply London, we pride ourselves on providing a comprehensive relocation service that covers everything on our checklist – immigration, area search, home search, removals – as well as the school search and settling in process.


Note – This article does not constitute legal or immigration advice and you should always consult a qualified professional before undertaking any applications. The information in this article is based solely on our understanding as at the date of the article. Government legislation can change at any time.

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