Relocate to United Kingdom (UK) – What you must know about moving to UK during COVID-19 (updated 2021)
(This article was updated on 8 June 2021)
Are you thinking about relocating to the UK during COVID-19 but is uncertain about how the moving process during the pandemic works? The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our daily lives and put a halt to our usual routines. Yet, moves are not something that can always wait.
Rest assured as we provide you with all the information you need to know about before and after moving to one of the greatest cities in the world – the United Kingdom during the pandemic!
Before You Relocate to The UK During COVID-19
To ensure that your moving process to the UK goes smoothly, you should carry out the following task prior to the move:
- Obtain a valid UK visa
- Hire a reliable international mover
- Secure a place to stay
- Take the necessary COVID-19 measures before entering the UK
First, you should check and apply for a valid UK visa online depending on your situation. The UK offers various types of visa from work visas, business visas, study visas, visitor visas, family visas to settlement visas. The 5-tier visa system was introduced by the UK Government in 2010 for those who are seeking to work and live in the UK. For more information regarding the foreigners work permit application process, you can check out our UK country guide here. Furthermore, we have also compiled a list of our favourite immigration services for your move to the UK.
After obtaining your work visa, the next step is to plan the logistics of your move. We highly recommend that you find a reliable international mover and book your packing early to avoid delays in your relocation process due to COVID-19 regulations and health measurements. Here are some benefits of engaging professionals in your relocation journey. Additionally, we have also compiled a list of the most important things you should carry along with you here.
Next, you should start to look for a place to stay in the UK to make sure that you have a roof over your head upon arrival. You can either choose to engage in real estate agents or use online sites to find your perfect home. Several websites that provide listings for UK property on sale and rent include RightMove, Zoopla, Onthemarket and Tepilo. For more information on UK property, you can check out our UK country guide and our article on the best short-term accommodation in the UK.
If you are looking to relocate to the UK only for a few years, renting a house would be more cost-effective than purchasing a property. If you choose to rent as a tenant, you should abide by the UK government COVID-19 restrictions guidelines for tenants and landlords.
Lastly, there are several COVID-19 measures you will need to take note of before you leave for the UK to ensure a successful entry.
You need to:
- Schedule for at least one COVID-19 test for after arrival in the UK (the number of COVID-19 tests you need to book dependant on the country you have been in 10 days before arrival)
- Fill in the Passenger Locator Form
- Present a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before departure to the UK
It is important to note that you will not be allowed to travel to the UK if your country of departure in the previous ten days falls under the UK Traffic Light System red list. Except for you being:
- A British national
- An Irish national
- Anyone who have residence rights in the UK
Arrival In The UK
Upon arriving in the UK, you have to present the Passenger Locator Form and a valid negative COVID-19 test that is taken 3 days before your departure. Failure to do so is regarded as a criminal offence in the UK, and you may be penalised with a fine of £500 (fail to provide a valid negative COVID-19 test) and up to £10,000 or face imprisonment for ten years (fail to provide false information on the Passenger Locator Form).
Quarantining in the UK after arrival differs for each individual as it is dependent on the countries they were in 10 days before departure. To determine which quarantine method you should adopt, read the table below to check out the UK Traffic Light System (countries are segmented as green, amber and red, depending on their rates of COVID-19).
(countries that poses the lowest COVID-19 risks)
Amber List Red List
(countries that poses the highest COVID-19 risks)
Need to take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 of arrival (except for children aged four or under). Quarantine for 10 days at home or in the place you are staying. Quarantine for 10 full days in a managed hote (the day you arrive is counted as day 0).
Quarantine is not required unless the COVID-19 test returns positive. Need to take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantining. (except for children aged four or under).
Need to take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantining.
Quarantine is required if NHS test & trace informs you that you have travelled with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19. To end the quarantine earlier, you can pay for a private COVID-19 test under the Test to Release scheme. Follow the UK national restrictions.
To find out which coloured list – green, amber, or red does your country of departure fall within, please click here.
Want to get the latest global mobility news concerning the pandemic? Check out our COVID-19 Global Mobility updates.