Moving from California to London

by | Mar 9, 2019 | ABOUT LIVING IN LONDON

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Updated 23 May 2024

Moving from the golden state of California to London’s historic streets is quite the leap, but it’s one that comes with a whole host of new adventures and opportunities. Here’s a breezy guide to help you navigate the big move, ensuring you land on your feet in this bustling city. Let’s dive into some essentials like weather contrasts, cost of living, healthcare, and what makes London an exciting new home base.

The Weather Shift

Wave goodbye to California’s endless summer and brace yourself for London’s four distinct seasons. While California shines with temperatures between 18 to 25°C, London offers a cooler range from 7 to 22°C and a fair bit more rain. However, trading in the earthquake scares for London’s milder weather surprises could be a refreshing change.

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Living Costs: London vs. California

Living in either London or LA is a premium choice, but how do they stack up cost-wise? From rent to meals out and transport, London and LA have their own pricey tags. Though some costs like healthcare swing heavily in London’s favor thanks to the NHS, making it a critical factor to consider beyond just the price of a cup of coffee or a monthly transport pass.

In the bustling heart of London, a one-bedroom flat in the city center might set you back about $2,664 monthly, a leap from LA’s more modest $2,152 for a similar setup. Venture a little out of the city center, and the numbers draw closer, with London’s outskirts asking around $1,604 and LA’s slightly edging up to $1,632. This peek into the rental markets shows that while your wallet might feel the pinch more in London’s core, the price of laying your head in a cozy neighborhood isn’t worlds apart between these two vibrant cities. 

Taxes: Not Much Change

If you’re moving from California, you’re probably used to parting with a chunk of your income for taxes. The good news? The transition to the UK’s tax system might not feel too drastic, with the main difference being the absence of State Tax in some US states. For Californians who are used to slightly higher taxes, it’s business as usual.

Healthcare: A Breath of Fresh Air

Swapping the US healthcare model for the UK’s NHS can feel like stepping into a whole new world. Most UK visas that permit a stay of more than six months provide eligibility to use the NHS. Upon arrival and payment of the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which is part of the visa application process, you gain access to a wide range of NHS services. This means you can enjoy comprehensive healthcare coverage similar to that of a UK resident, from routine check-ups to emergency services, by simply showing your biometric residence permit (BRP) as proof of your visa status. It’s an essential aspect of the UK immigration process that underscores the country’s commitment to health and wellbeing for all its residents, ensuring you’re well cared for during your stay in the UK.

Food: Freshness on a New Level

Prepare your taste buds for an upgrade with the UK’s stringent food freshness laws. Whether you’re grocery shopping or dining out, the focus on fresh, quality ingredients is a game-changer. Even fast-food experiences might surprise you with their commitment to freshness.

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The Pace of Life: A Quick Comparison

California’s laid-back vibe gets a run for its money in London’s fast-paced lifestyle. The constant hustle, especially during the workweek, and Londoners’ determination might take some getting used to. But it’s all part of the city’s charm, where every day feels like a dynamic rush.

Why London’s Glow is Worth the Move

Despite the adjustments, London’s appeal is undeniable. With its lower unemployment rates, public healthcare system, and educational opportunities, it’s a city that promises growth and security. Not to mention, London’s cultural scene, from museums to stadiums and heritage sites, offers endless exploration. And if you’re impressed by the presence of billionaires or the city’s status as a travel and financial hub, London won’t disappoint.

Embarking on this journey from California to London is more than just a change of scenery. It’s a step into a richly historical yet vibrantly modern life. If you’re looking for some expert guidance to smooth your path to becoming a Londoner, our team at londonrelocation.com is here to help, drawing on 15 years of experience to ensure your move is as thrilling as it should be. Ready to start your London adventure? Reach out and let’s make it happen.

FAQ: Moving to London from the USA

Is it hard to move to London from the USA?

Moving to London from the USA involves several steps. These include securing a visa, finding accommodation, and understanding the cost of living. While it requires planning and organization. The process can be straightforward with the right preparation and resources. Ensuring you meet all legal and financial requirements will make the transition smoother.

How much money do I need to relocate to London?

The amount needed to relocate to London varies based on your lifestyle, housing choices, and moving logistics. As a general guide, it’s wise to budget for initial expenses such as visa fees, flight costs, accommodation (including deposits), and living expenses for the first few months. A ballpark figure would be between $5,000 to $10,000, but this can significantly increase depending on your preferences for housing and lifestyle.

How to move from California to London?

Moving from California to London requires a few key steps:

  1. Visa Application: Determine which visa you’re eligible for and complete the application process.
  2. Financial Planning: Assess your financial situation to ensure you have enough funds for the move and initial living expenses.
  3. Housing Search: Look for accommodation in London. You can start online to identify potential neighborhoods and rental costs.
  4. Healthcare: Register for the NHS if your visa grants access to healthcare services.
  5. Logistics: Decide whether you’ll ship belongings or start anew. Research moving companies or shipping services.
  6. Farewell California: Prepare for your departure by wrapping up any loose ends in California. This includes notifying landlords, managing subscriptions, and saying goodbye to friends and family.

By breaking down the process into manageable tasks, moving from California to London can be an exciting journey towards a new chapter in your life.

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