How to Migrate to the UK

If you want to travel abroad this year, consider migrating to the UK. The UK is one of the top travel destinations for work and study because of its vast economic growth, numerous work opportunities, and social benefits. Moreso, the UK government provides different migration pathways you can use to your advantage.

The question now is, how do you migrate to the UK?

In the article, we will share all you need to know on how to migrate to the UK. Let’s get right into it.

Guidelines on How to Migrate to the UK? 

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If you are planning to move to the UK, follow these step-by-step guidelines.

▪︎Find the correct visa type.

▪︎Fulfil the requirements for the visa.

▪︎Apply for the visa.

▪︎Move to the UK.

▪︎Get an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

1. Find the Correct Visa Type

The first step to migrating to the UK is to choose a suitable migration route and visa. It all depends on your travel goals and objectives. Is it for work, study, or both? 

You can explore any of these visa options to see which fits your profile and goals. 

i. Student Visa

This visa permits you to travel to the UK for educational purposes. It could be for undergraduate or postgraduate study. Your study visa is only valid for the duration of your study.

ii. Skilled Work Visa

If you want to work in the UK, you must apply for a skilled work visa. To qualify, you must receive and accept a job offer from a UK-based employer with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship. 

READ: How to Apply for a Skilled Worker Visa

iii. Innovator Visa or Start-Up Visa

This visa is for individuals who want to set up a business in the UK. Not everyone is going to the UK to work for a firm. Some are going there to become their own boss. You can too!

iv. Sportsperson Visa

As the name implies, this visa is for qualified athletes and athletic coaches.

v. Minister of Religion Visa

Are you surprised? Well, now you know. There is a visa made specifically for religious leaders and workers. 

vi. Investor Visa

To qualify for this visa, you must have at least £2,000,000 that can be invested in the UK.

vii. Spouse Visa

If you want to join your spouse in the UK, you need a spouse visa. To get this visa, you and your partner must be above 18 years and legally married. For your partner to sponsor your visa, s/he must be a resident of the UK. If you and your partner are not married but plan to do it in the UK upon arrival, you can apply for a Fiancé Visa.

viii. Family Visa 

This type of visa is issued to people who want to join their family member in the UK as a dependent. As long as you have a family member in the UK, you can apply. The family member could be your husband or wife, partner, fiancé, fiancée, civil partner, children, parents, or other family members.

ix. UK Ancestry Visa

If one of your older generations was born in the UK, maybe your grandparents, you can apply for this visa. This visa is also available for Commonwealth citizens. 

x. Global Talent Visa

You can apply for this visa if you have outstanding achievements in Science, Medicine, Academia, Research, Arts, Culture, and Digital Technology. You also have to be recognised as a leader in these areas of expertise.

2. Fulfil the Requirements for the Visa

After choosing the right travel route, the next step is to provide adequate documentation that qualifies you to receive the visa. Each visa type has specific eligibility criteria and requirements. If you want to travel for work, you should first secure a job with a UK employer. Your employer may be kind enough to sponsor your visa. If you are travelling to study, then you must secure admission into a UK institution.

3. Apply for the Visa

Once you have everything in order, the next step is to apply for your visa. Prepare all the required documents and submit your visa application. You can apply at the UK embassy in your country. Usually, the visa application process takes a few weeks and even months.

4. Move to the UK

If your visa application is successful, you will receive a confirmatory email from the embassy. You will also receive a passport sticker showing details of your immigration status. This sticker is called a vignette.

Congratulations on achieving your dream! Upon arrival in the UK, you must collect your biometric residence permit (BRP) at the post office. This will serve as your means of identification while in the UK. It also proves your right to live and work in the UK. 

5. Get an Indefinite Leave to Remain 

After living in the UK for five years with your work visa, you can get an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). It’s also called a settlement visa. With this, you live in the UK for as long as you want. You will live freely with no immigration restrictions. 

However, you are not eligible to vote or own a British passport until you become a British citizen. To apply for citizenship, you must have had your Indefinite Leave to Remain for at least 12 months. You will also be required to complete a test and prove your English language proficiency.

Should I Migrate to The UK?

If you’ve read to this point, you’re probably wondering if you should take the chance to migrate to the UK. To make an informed decision, you must understand the pros and cons of moving to the UK. 


One advantage of moving to the UK is having easy access to other European countries. You can travel to other countries in Europe from the UK. 

The UK has a good health insurance system that gives you access to free healthcare services, unlike what may be available in your home country. The country also has good labour laws, providing space to explore different opportunities. 


On the other hand, one thing that scares people away is the high cost of living and tax rates. Agreed, the UK is one of Europe’s most expensive places to live. But before you run away, remember you will earn a much higher rate, making it easy for you to pay taxes. Also, because of Brexit, you can only be in the UK for an extended period if you have a long-term visa. Also, you may have certain restrictions as you are not a British citizen.

How Much Does It Cost to Migrate to the UK?

Don’t let anyone deceive you into thinking that migrating to the UK is cheap. Relocating to the UK can be expensive, depending on your financial capacity. You may be relocating to improve your career prospects and finances, but you will have to spend a lot of money to get there first. 

Some of the expenses you may incur include;

  • Visa Application Fees
  • Medical Tests
  • Healthcare Surcharge 
  • Flight Ticket
  • Proof of Funds
  • Accommodation 
  • Clothing
  • Luggage Shipping

The list goes on, and the prices vary according to your visa type and travel plans. You must have at least £1,270 to cover this cost and support yourself when you first arrive in the UK.

Things You Must Do to Ease Your Migration to the UK 

Before moving to the UK, here are some things you must do to ease your travel and stay in the UK.

1. Improve Your English Language Skills

By now, you should know that the UK’s official language is English. As such, you will be expected to show proof of your English language proficiency when moving to the UK, irrespective of your visa type. You also have to improve your fluency in writing, speaking, reading, and hearing the language so that you can communicate effectively. 

READ: Important Facts About IELTS

2. Create a Budget

Moving to the UK is as exciting as it is cost intensive. The cost includes paying for your visa, health insurance surcharge, flight ticket, accommodation, and other travel expenses. What does that tell you? You will spend a lot of money! So, you must create a detailed budget and save towards your travel plans. This way, you can travel and live in the UK without breaking the bank.

READ: How to Cut Cost and Save Money as an International Student in the UK

3. Find a Suitable Accommodation 

Before you move to the UK, you must secure a place of residence. Don’t wait till you get there so you won’t be stranded. It will also come in handy when opening a bank account in the UK. Yes, you can’t open a bank account in the UK without a home address. 

If you have a family member or friend in the UK, you can stay with them temporarily until you secure suitable accommodation. But if you don’t, you must start searching for affordable UK housing now. 

Rents vary from monthly to weekly payments, depending on the house’s location. Housing in London is usually more expensive. Remember to do your due diligence and compare rents before making a final decision. Also, ensure to read between the lines and understand the terms of the agreement before signing any housing contract.

4. Understand the Healthcare in the UK

As we said earlier, healthcare services in the UK are free, especially emergency medical services. However, the extent of your access to these services depends on your visa type. Most visas require a yearly health insurance payment. Do thorough research to learn how the health insurance system works, which healthcare options are available to your visa type, and how much you will be required to pay for health insurance.

READ: How to Get Health Insurance as an International Students in the UK

5. Make Plans to Open a Bank Account

This is not foreign to you. Like what is applicable in your home country, you will need a bank account and debit cards to make and receive payments in the UK. It will also make it easy for you to pay your taxes. You can ask your family and friends in the UK to guide you and help organise the documents needed to open a UK bank account.

6. Study the Taxation System 

If you travel to the UK for work, you will be required to pay tax. The taxation system in your home country may be lax, but make no mistake, it is more stringent in the UK. So, you must be careful not to default in that area. Make sure you get a National Insurance Number to pay your tax as and when due. With this, you can sustain your employment status and access certain benefits in the UK.


Now that you have all the information you need to migrate to the UK, start planning your trip. Remember, time waits for no one. You can read other articles on this thread if you need more detailed information regarding your visa type. We wish you the best of luck with your travel plans. We are rooting for you. 

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