Costs to consider before you come to the UK by Dr Ryizan Nizar

I thought of writing this post as recently a lot of people have wanted to move or have been moving to the UK, but a lot of them have been given or got a false sense of how expensive the UK can be. 

So let me break down some of the costs that you need to take into account before you move to the UK.

  1. Visa costs

This is one of the biggest costs to consider and this will cost thousands of pounds. A lot of people do have a good idea about these as this is the first cost you will encounter.

  • Visa fees for up to 3 years it can cost between 479 to 625 Pounds per person.
  • Visa fees for over 3 years it can cost anywhere between 943 to 1423 Pounds Per Person.

The following websites give a good breakdown.

UK Visa fees

2. Every non-UK citizen now also need to pay for health insurance 

That’s a whopping 624 Pounds per year per person. 

But this will now increase to 1035 GBP from this year 😱(They increased this to pay for the increase in Public sector pay😱!)

You can calculate how much you will end up paying using the following link.

More information can be found in the following link too.

3. Your headline salary vs your actual salary!

This is something a lot of people don’t understand and are taken completely by surprise. The UK is a very high-tax country.

Depending on your salary you can end up paying 20-30% of your salary in taxes. Yeah, you read that right!

Say for example if you earn 28000 GBP per year then your approximate take-home pay would be 23000! This will increase a lot if your salary is over 50000 GBP a year.

Use the following link to work out your take-home pay.

4. And then there is council tax

Yeap, even after paying so much from your salary, you will still have to pay tax to your local city council wherever you live too!

On average depending on the size of your house you will end up paying  between100-200 GBP per month! 

I pay 200 GBP per month!

If you know the address of your house then you can find out about your council tax from the following website.

5. Rent

At the moment this is one of the biggest issues. It’s so difficult to find places to rent and it’s so expensive too!

You are looking at 700-1500 GBP depending on the size of the property. Depending on where you live it can be even higher.

I pay 1140 GBP per month for a 3-bed room house,  but if I am to get a new place it will be more around 1600 GBP per month!

But really the competition is so intense, for most places there will be 20-30 applicants and people sign up even without looking as most places seem to disappear within minutes to hours of advertising!

Following are popular sites to find a place to rent.

6. Electricity/Gas

This again is very expensive. You are looking at about 100-200 GBP a month on average depending on the size of your family. 

My estimate is around 200 GBP a month.

7. Transport

Cars are quite expensive! And Petrol/Diesel is also very expensive. In July 2023 a litre of Petrol costs about 1.41 GBP per litre.

If you buy a car you also have the following expenses.

  • Insurance- First time you will be looking at about 1500 GBP per year. As you accumulate no claim bonus it will come down.
  • I have over 10 years of no claim bonus but still, end up paying about 500 GBP per year for 30000 miles per year. The amount will vary on how much you drive.
  • Car Tax- You need to pay yearly for this. This depends on how big your engine is and how new your car is. I pay 250 Pounds for a 2014 Toyota Verso. You can use the following site to check how much

  • MOT- Every year you need to get a government-approved test to prove the roadworthiness of your car. It costs about 50 GBP. However, if you fail then you won’t be able to drive the car until it’s fixed and you pass the MOT. So as the cars get older this can become really expensive.

8. Food

This would cost about 100 GBP a week for a 5-person family if you eat healthy and cook at home! Eating out is Expensive!

9. Kids School

Government schools are free. I guess this is why you pay Council tax.

10. Waste Collection

Done by your local council and don’t have to pay extra.

11. Water

This would cost about 50 GBP a month for 5 person family. At least that’s what I pay.

12. Phone and Internet

Again you are looking at about 50 GBP a month for both.  I pay 23 GBP a month for a 100Mbps internet connection( which is actually cheap compared to many other countries) 

13. TV

If you watch TV then you have to pay a TV licence which is about 170 GBP per year.  And pay TV will be an additional cost if this is something you want to get.

And finally, 

I don’t want to be an alarmist or scare you off. I just want to give an honest breakdown so you know what you are getting into and you can plan better!

Most people I know have come without having the full picture and suffered a lot!  Some people I know do 2-3 Jobs just to stay afloat.

Especially if you come as a Student then you pay about 20000 GBP a year in Tuition fees and legally you can only work 20 hours a week!

I recently met someone who moved from India as a nurse who had taken huge loans to come to the UK but now was struggling so much.

Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of benefits too but until you get Permanent Residency and nationality it can be really challenging.

I hope this will help you plan better and at least you will know what you are getting into.

If I have missed something please do comment below. Also add your own experiences moving to the UK which might help others.