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How much does it really cost to immigrate to the UK?

By February 15, 2021January 12th, 2023FinGlobal

How much does it really cost to immigrate to the UK?

February 15, 2021


Relocation to the UK

Right now, thousands of South Africans are considering emigration from South Africa. In fact, it’s a big all-consuming thought on many people’s minds. On the top of the list of viable destinations for Saffas is none other than the UK, but what does immigrating to the UK mean in terms of costs? When weighing up the pros and cons of moving to the UK from South Africa, the costs are undoubtedly a major concern.

What you might have thought would cost a few thousand rand, could end up costing hundreds of thousands of rand. You have probably heard more than your fair share of emigration horror stories. The only way to ensure that your story doesn’t become a horror story too is to ensure that you do your research, consult with the professionals in the field, and ensure that you are fully prepared before you take the next step. With that being said, let’s delve a little deeper into the cost of immigrating to the UK. Below you will learn more about the costs associated with the move.


The visa costs when immigrating to the UK from South Africa

To be allowed to live and work in the UK without a British passport, you will need to pay visa costs. The cost of this will depend on what type of visa you get. Also, if you are relocating with your spouse and children, each of their visas will also carry a cost. It is always advisable to speak to a consultant about the right type of visa route for you, but the options include the following (please note that these prices could change from the date of publishing).

  • Innovator: £1021
  • Start-up business: £363
  • Exceptional talent (Tier 1): £456 in first stage and £152 in second stage
  • General (Tier 2): £464 to £1220
  • Intra-company transfer (Tier 2): £482 to £1220
  • Student (Tier 4): £348
  • Short-term study: £97 for 6 months and £186 for 11 months
  • Family: £1523
  • Ancestry: £516
  • Returning residency: £516


Accommodation in the UK

When it comes to the accommodation costs in the UK, it will depend on whether you are traveling alone or with your partner and children. Having an understanding of the rentals market is helpful. Always remember to check if the rental amount offered includes utilities and internet, as they are often extra (along with council taxes for rubbish collection which costs around £40 to £170 per month). Here’s what to expect in terms of rental costs:

  • 1 bed/studio apartment (or granny flat): £700 to £1300
  • Room to rent (house share): £400 to £600
  • 4 bed house: £1500 to £2500

Of course, the area you choose to live in will also have an impact on the costs.


Health surcharges

Many people completely overlook the cost of the health surcharge that has to be paid with the initial visa application when immigrating to the UK. When it comes to pros and cons of moving to the UK from South Africa, many see this is as a major con, because of the massive outlay. For South Africans, this is quite a hefty amount because the surcharges, which come to £624 per year, must be paid in full (for the entire 5 year period) upfront. That’s £3120. This is a compulsory fee to be paid – there is no way around it.


Proof of living finances

Before you arrive in the UK and before your visa can be granted, you need to prove that you can support yourself for the first few months, without the need for aid from the government. Most consultants will tell you that you need to have around R35, 000 in your bank account as proof of being able to support yourself on arrival. Add this amount to the total you need to gather for your emigration.


The cost of getting there

You need to actually get to the UK when you emigrate from South Africa…and that’s going to cost you. A single ticket to the United Kingdom from Johannesburg, for example, costs around R9, 000, if you are willing to buy the cheaper tickets and be in transit for longer. The more comfortable you are on your trip and the fewer hours you spend in the air, the costlier your ticket will be.


Overlooked expenses

When immigrating to the UK from South Africa, your head will be busy with ideas, plans, strategizing, and organizing. It’s natural to overlook a few things. Typical things that people overlook when it comes to their emigration are things like cost of furnishing and decorating a home, opening a bank account, buying a UK SIM card and connecting to a mobile service, paying for utilities, buying food, getting around (either buying a car or using public transport), entertainment costs, and so on. It’s a good idea to draw up a ‘how much does it cost to immigrate to the UK from South Africa’ list of costs pertaining to your emigration from South Africa.


FinGlobal: additional areas that need your attention when immigrating to the UK from South Africa

Of course, the costs are not the only thing that needs to get your attention. If you’re leaving South Africa for a new life in the UK, you also need to consider your tax emigration and financial emigration from the country. Most soon-to-expats don’t even know where to start with that.

At FinGlobal, we provide premier advice and guidance regarding financial and tax emigration from South Africa to thousands of SA expats across the globe. Whether you need advice or professional assistance in processing the financial side of your emigration, FinGlobal can assist. Simply get in touch with us and one of our friendly and knowledgeable consultants will advise you further.





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