How to Live in 10 Countries

How to Move to London (the UK) with no Job

I was born in the UK, and lived there 18 years before deciding that travel was the answer to all my problems. That all panned out…sort of… but eventually it was time to take the plunge and move back home to England. Wow. I never realised how confusing moving to England could be. So, from the perspective of both an expat and a native, here’s everything you need to know: how to move to London with no job.

Where to live?
Repeat after me: ‘I probably can’t afford to live in central London, unless I want to live in a shed’.

But it’s OK, there are so many other options. I do hate this step because I’m a planner, and most rentals are only advertised around 4 weeks before they need to be filled. So start about 6 weeks before your arrival date and look on Rightmove, SpareRoom and Zoopla. You probably want to look at places in person before you move in, so you can stay with Airbnb while you look- a site with reviews and guarantees to make sure you won’t get any problems. Perhaps the easiest place to find accommodation is Gumtree, but for this one you do want to visit the properties in person and have a good look before you hand over any money.

How much?

Rent is likely to be between 700 and 1200 pounds per month in London, depending on where you live and how many people are sharing with you. Bills may or may not be included.

Tips and tricks for saving money when renting

  • In the UK we pay council tax– it’s a tax paid for each house or flat to support the local community. Students do not have to pay this- so if you are a student it’s best to live with other students, then no one in the house has to pay. Frustratingly, if even 1 person in the house is not a student, they will have to pay the council tax for the entire house.
  • Joint and several tenancy- this is a fancy term you may not understand on your rent contract. Basically, it means that if a group are renting, and 1 person stops living in the house, the group have to pay the extra rent for that person until someone new moves in. This is very common for student houses, so be careful!
  • Renting from a person not an estate agency is cheaper, but not so secure.
  • There’s no need to buy big, low value items such as tables, bedframes and wardrobes- these are all given away for free on Freegle London. Just come and collect! Many friends of mine have furnished their entire flat or house thanks to this site- admittedly the results are not always Instagram-worthy.
  • There’s a free app that let’s you share and track houshold bills, and it’s called Splittable.

Tower Bridge -How to move to London with no Job

Opening a bank account

I couldn’t talk about how to move to London without touching on your job hunt. You can make this painless by opening an international bank account before you even leave home. The main big banks that offer this are HSBC and Lloyds. I think it’s the best option. They didn’t pay me to say that, I really think it’s a good move when planning how to move to London.


Inside London you can use Transport For London to plan every journey. You will definitely need an Oyster card, then you load this with money and spend it each time you travel. You can buy one at the tube station for a small deposit. It costs much more to travel during ‘peak times’ on trains which means before 9am and after 5pm on weekdays, so try to avoid this. If you don’t travel during peak times, you can travel every day for a week on 25 pounds- in the centre of London. It’s all part of learning how to live in London- and remember you’ve been brave enough to migrate to the UK with no job.

If you want to travel outside of London, you can buy a ticket instead of using your Oyster. You can use Traveline to plan these journeys. But, let’s not forget that this guide’s called ‘How to Move to London with no job’.


In the UK, your resume is called a CV, and there’s a particular way to write it. Have your CV looked over by a friend from the UK who has a professional career, to make sure you’re doing it right. The next important step is to get yourself ready to work with a National Insurance Number, bank account (see above) and proof of your right to work in the UK. Jobs in London for foreigners are plentiful, but if I were you I would start with temping agencies (agencies that offer short term work) as the easiest route. One of my favourites is Office Angels.

Infographic: How to move to London with no job -livein10countries

If you like it, then you shoulda put a pin on it! How to live in London

So now that you know how to move to London even if you don’t have work, let me know your date of arrival and any questions you have in the comments below! I hope you enjoy living and working in the UK!

Wondering how the Brexit will affect your plans? Here’s my best guess!

Queen Elizabeth and London image copyright @Gunter Hentschel via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

Feature image copyright @Camilo Rueda Perez via Flickr CC BY-ND


  1. Local Nomads

    October 11, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    How did it feel moving back to UK after all that traveling? Did your perspective change much?

    1. Danni Lawson

      October 13, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      Very surreal! It feels like the end of an era, but I promsie it’s just a temporary break from living abroad. Sure you also felt pretty crazy leaving South Korea 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  2. Ami

    November 17, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Now these are some really practical tips to be able to stay in an expensive city like London. Yes there are a lot of compromises that you have to do but well,…as they say- no pain, no gain!.

  3. Marta

    November 17, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    This is really useful and something I can well relate to as I also lived abroad for a long time and then moved back home to Rome (and then away again LOL). London is a hard city to understand at the start, but it is so amazing it is great to have tips to help live there despite the prices

  4. Sabine

    November 17, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    Interesting tips and tricks for moving to London. Not long ago, my husband and myself were considering a move to London. If one day we will, I’ll come and ask you again and will definitely save this article 😉

  5. Cathy

    November 18, 2016 at 1:03 am

    I’ve never moved abroad, so many things to think about and plan. Great tips!

  6. Jennifer

    November 18, 2016 at 4:26 am

    Wonderful post! Our boys dream of moving to London one day. If only we could get a visa ?

  7. Reika

    December 22, 2016 at 1:32 am

    I was having a headache, trying to pen down tips to acquaintances on & voila, you’ve simplified my life. Shared this a few people & hope it helps! Thanks for the share. 🙂

  8. Melai

    January 5, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Thanks for the tips! Living abroad is liberating in so many levels! 🙂

  9. Zainal

    January 27, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Thanks for the tips and tricks. It does improve our confident level to move to London or even suburb city like Sheffield or Birmingham. Was hoping more people would share their thoughts here. Thank you.

    1. Danni Lawson

      January 30, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      Thanks Zainal, see you in the UK! If you have comments or queestions about the move feel free to comment them or tweet me @live10countries 🙂

  10. Samara

    February 5, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    This is great! Im moving to London in Jul 17 and this is so helpful.

  11. Isha

    May 30, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Hi. I am 28 , an Indian girl with business graduation degree and newly married. Do you think I can move to London with these assets? My husband plans to move later. But basically its on my shoulders.

    1. Danni Lawson

      June 2, 2017 at 5:25 am

      Hi Isha, that sounds like an adventure! Your degree will be very useful. What kind of savings do you have? And career experience? Thanks for commenting.

  12. Connie

    June 3, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Hi Danni,
    This article is very helpful, especially for me, a small town girl from Canada who is moving to London in 2 months with no job yet! Thank you for these tips. Your blog is refreshing and its interesting to read about your experiences in all these different countries. You have such a great perspective on life! Get it girl!! 🙂

    1. Danni Lawson

      June 3, 2017 at 11:54 pm

      Thanks Connie, that’s really sweet! Have an amazing time in London! If you decide to blog about your move to London, tweet me the link and I will check your adventures out 🙂

Leave a Reply