Moving to London



My husband needed to fly to London, UK, for a year to pursue his masters and we decided, why not fly together? I have always wanted to try something new. London would be a good place to start. It was also a great chance to just get out and explore overseas with my 3-year-old. Plus my husband gets to spend time with our little one. Imagine not seeing her for one whole year!

And we quickly started planning for our trip to London!

There were so many things to plan and prepare. I had to also send in a request to go on a year-long sabbatical at my workplace. Everything was happening so fast. Continue reading for more information if you’re planning to do the same.

Visa requirement and application process for London (UK)

Coming to London for an extended period will require you to apply for visa for entry to obtain a biometric residence permit. You can refer to for more details.

My husband applied for a student visa and we applied for dependent visas. The application form was quite lengthy and sometimes quite repetitive. I would advise that you start and complete the application when you have the time and are not distracted by anything else.

Based on my understanding, you might have to re-do your application if the application was rejected which would mean that you must pay for the application again. You will also be required to make payment for the Health Immigration Surcharge (this is dependent on the length of stay needed). You can refer to for more details. There is also a calculator for you to calculate how much you will have to pay.

Looking for a suitable accommodation in London

The process of finding a rental apartment was challenging for us! We explored various online platforms such as Zoopla, Rightmove and OnTheMarket for studio or 1-bedroom apartments. Most of the studio units were exclusively seeking single occupants, while others didn’t accommodate toddlers. And we also resorted to making international phone calls directly to the agents because emailing took some time – which added to the phone bills!

We did not apply for student family accommodation because the confirmation will only be given about 2 weeks before our flight. Sounded like a risk to take! We would not want to risk the chance of not having an apartment to move into. But of course, there is always hotels and short stay apartments to fall back on for the start.

Thankfully, we managed to secure rental for a ground floor, 2 bedroom apartment at £1750 (excluding utilities). It takes about 30 minutes for us to travel into central London via underground.

For students, rental would likely require you to make an upfront payment in instalments of 6 months or 12 months.

We also decided to go ahead with the rental without physically viewing the place because we felt it would be easier for us travelling with a toddler. And since the landlord was a family friend, we were not worried about scams.

I would suggest to look up on reviews of the apartment and agency. If you have friends or family staying in London, it might be a good idea for them to check out the unit on your behalf! Otherwise, viewing over zoom etc. might also be a good idea.


– Check for visa and health insurance online:

– Find your accommodation and get a rental agreement

– Apply for visa and health insurance online, follow the steps and make an appointment to head down to your local VFS global centre (approval of visa can take up to 3 weeks depending on type of visa)

– At the same time (or you can do it later), get your flight tickets! Our flight tickets were more expensive because we got them fairly last minute

– Finally, start packing!

Ideally, you would want to have your visa approved before paying for rental. However, you will need to present a document for proof of address in the UK e.g. rental agreement or contract which includes information such as the name of the landlord, his or her contact details, address of the rented place and the period of rental. Refer to and for more information.

Upfront cost

For the health immigration surcharge and visa application, payment will be calculated automatically in the currency where you are applying from. For us, we made the payment in SGD.

ItemCost in SGD
Health Immigration Surcharge (each)1235.23 x 3
Visa application (student)636
Visa application (dependent, adult)629
Visa application (dependent, child)629
Accommodation £1750 x 12 months25894.6 (based on bank rates)
Air tickets (one-way, adult)2192.9 x 2
Air tickets (one-way, toddler)1821.9
Travel Insurance (one year)1521 x 3
Total upfront (2 adults and 1 child)42264.99
Costs reflected are based on my experience

Whether you are planning to study or work in London, with or without family, the above should serve as a guide for you. I would advise for you to do your research as well. I will be sharing more about the cost of living in London in my subsequent posts.

Do leave a comment or you can also leave a message under Contact me if you have any queries!

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