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Gravity's Guide

Gravity Co's Moving to London Guide

Moving to London requires careful planning and organisation. Start by researching the immigration requirements, visa procedures, and any necessary permits specific to the United Kingdom. Make a checklist of all the documents you need to gather, such as passports, identification, and proof of residence. It's crucial to inform your current authorities, banks, and utility providers about your upcoming move and make the necessary arrangements. Familiarise yourself with the UK's National Insurance Number system, as you may need it for work and other official purposes.


1. Visa and Immigration: Ensure you have the appropriate visa and immigration documents required to live and work in London. The specific visa requirements depend on your nationality, purpose of stay, and duration. Research the UK government's official website (Gov UK) or consult an immigration advisor to understand the visa options available to you and the application process. It's crucial to start this process well in advance to avoid any delays or complications. 

2. National Insurance Number (NIN): If you plan to work in London, obtaining a National Insurance Number (NIN) is crucial. The NIN is a unique identification number used for tax and social security purposes. You can apply for an NIN by contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and following their application process (NIN Information). It's advisable to start the application as soon as possible, as it may take some time to receive your NIN.

Understand the Purpose:

  • The NIN is a unique personal identification number used by the UK government to track your tax and national insurance contributions.
  • It is essential for accessing public services such as healthcare, social security benefits, and the state pension.
  • Employers also require your NIN for tax and employment purposes.

1. Arriving in the UK:

  • If you haven't already done so, make sure you have the right to work or study in the UK.
  • As soon as you arrive, you can start the process of applying for a NIN.

2. Contacting the NIN Helpline:

  • Call the NIN helpline on 0800 141 2075 (Monday to Friday, 8 am to 6 pm) to request an application.
  • The helpline will assess your situation and determine if you need to attend an interview or if the application can be completed over the phone.

3. Phone Interview (if applicable):

  • If you are required to attend a phone interview, the helpline will schedule a suitable date and time.
  • During the interview, you will be asked questions about your personal details, work history, and reasons for needing a NIN.
  • Be prepared to provide information such as your full name, date of birth, address, and employment/study details.

4. Document Verification (if applicable):

  • After the phone interview, you may need to provide original documents to verify your identity, such as your passport or identity card.
  • The helpline will inform you of the specific documents required and where to send them for verification.

5. Confirmation Letter:

  • Once your application is processed, you will receive a confirmation letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) containing your NIN.
  • This letter is an official document and should be kept in a safe place. Make copies or take digital scans for future reference.

6. Using Your NIN:

  • Provide your NIN to employers when starting a new job.
  • It will be used to ensure your contributions are correctly recorded and deducted for tax and national insurance purposes.
  • You may also need to provide it when accessing certain benefits or services.

Remember, the process and requirements may vary based on individual circumstances. It's recommended to contact the NIN helpline for specific guidance tailored to your situation.

Register with Local Authorities: Once you have settled in London, it's important to register with the local authorities. If you're staying for more than three months, you may need to register with the local council (often done through their website) and update your address details. This registration ensures you're listed as a resident, entitling you to certain benefits and services.


(Gravity Co, Camden Lock)


Accommodation: Finding suitable accommodation in London can be a challenge, given its diverse neighbourhoods and high demand. Determine your preferred location, budget, and housing type (apartment, house, shared accommodation) to narrow down your search. Online platforms, estate agents, and local property websites can help you explore available options. Consider factors such as proximity to your workplace, public transportation, amenities, and safety when making your decision. If possible, plan a visit to London before your move to view properties in person.

Where to look?

- Openrent
- Zoopla
- Spareroom

Here at Gravity Co, we offer a range of properties from en-suite rooms with shared kitchen, lounges and co-working spaces to one- and two-bedroom self-contained flats. We’re in some great London locations and even run weekly events for our members as a way to help them really get to know each other and their local area well. Check out our properties and if you’re interested in learning more, why not contact our sales team to arrange a viewing?



Banking and Finances: Setting up a bank account in London is essential for managing your finances efficiently. Research reputable banks and their account types, comparing features, fees, and services. You'll typically need proof of address, identification documents, and proof of employment or student status to open an account. Online banking options are also available for convenient money management. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the local currency (British Pound Sterling) and exchange rates to facilitate transactions and budgeting. When relocating to London, it's important to set up your banking services to manage your finances effectively. Here are some key considerations:

  • Choosing a Bank: Research the different banks available in London and compare their services, fees, and accessibility. Popular choices include Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, and NatWest among others. Look for banks with branches and ATMs conveniently located near your residence or workplace.
  • Opening a Bank Account: To open a bank account in London, you'll typically need: 
    - Proof of identity (passport or national ID card)
    - Proof of address (utility bill or tenancy agreement)
    - Proof of employment or student status.

    Schedule an appointment with the bank and bring all the required documents to facilitate the account opening process.
  • Currency Exchange: If you're transferring funds from your home country, compare the exchange rates and fees offered by different currency exchange services. Some banks provide competitive rates, while specialized currency exchange providers like TransferWise or Revolut offer low-cost and convenient options for transferring money internationally.
  • Online Banking: Most banks in London offer online banking services, allowing you to manage your accounts, make payments, and track your transactions conveniently from your computer or mobile device. Familiarize yourself with the online banking platform of your chosen bank to take advantage of its features and functionalities.
  • Contactless Payments: London embraces contactless payments, which allow you to make quick and secure transactions using your debit or credit card. Ensure your card has the contactless payment feature enabled, as it will simplify your daily transactions, including public transportation fares and small purchases. 



Healthcare in London: Your Wellbeing Matters

Taking care of your health is of utmost importance when moving to a new city, and London offers a robust healthcare system to meet your needs. Here's what you need to know:

National Health Service (NHS): The NHS is the public healthcare system in the UK and provides comprehensive medical services to residents. As an expat, you may be eligible for NHS services depending on your visa status. If you're a resident with a work visa or a student visa longer than six months, you're likely eligible for free NHS care. However, it's advisable to check the specific requirements and register with a local GP (General Practitioner) to access NHS services.

  • Finding a GP: Registering with a GP is an essential step to access primary healthcare services in London. GPs are your first point of contact for non-emergency medical issues, referrals to specialists, and ongoing healthcare management. To find a GP near your area, you can search online or ask for recommendations from locals or colleagues.
  • Walk-in Centres and Urgent Care: In case of non-life-threatening emergencies or urgent medical needs outside of your GP's working hours, you can visit walk-in centres or urgent care clinics. These facilities provide immediate medical attention without the need for prior appointments.
  • Private Healthcare: London is renowned for its private healthcare sector, offering premium medical services and shorter waiting times. If you prefer private healthcare, you can choose to purchase private health insurance or pay out-of-pocket for services. Private hospitals and clinics are available throughout the city, providing access to specialist care, elective procedures, and personalized medical services.
  • Pharmacies and Medications: Pharmacies, also known as chemists, are easily found in London, and you can visit them for over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, and healthcare advice. If you have regular prescriptions, ensure you have an adequate supply before moving to London. Once here, you can register with a local GP to continue receiving your prescribed medications.
  • Emergencies and Ambulance Services: In case of emergencies, dial 999 for immediate assistance and 111 for non-emergency help, symptoms or injuries that you want to discuss with a medical professional. London has a reliable ambulance service that provides rapid response and transportation to hospitals when required. The emergency services are available 24/7, ensuring you receive prompt medical attention in critical situations.
  • Health Insurance: While the NHS provides comprehensive healthcare coverage, some expats prefer additional health insurance for added peace of mind. Private health insurance can cover services not included in the NHS, such as dental care, optical services, and certain elective treatments. Consider researching and comparing different health insurance options to find the one that suits your needs.
  • Mental Health Support: London recognizes the importance of mental health and provides various resources for support. The NHS offers mental health services, including counselling and therapy, and there are also private mental health clinics and practitioners available. Additionally, numerous support organizations and helplines cater to specific mental health needs, ensuring you have access to the help you require.

Remember to familiarize yourself with the healthcare system, understand your eligibility for NHS services, and have appropriate arrangements in place to ensure your health and wellbeing during your stay in London. Prioritize regular check-ups, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and seek medical attention when needed to make the most of your time in this vibrant city while staying in good health.



Mobile Phone: Staying Connected in London

Staying connected is essential when moving to a new city, and London offers a wide range of options for mobile phone services. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Service Providers: Research the various mobile network providers available in London. Some popular options include EE, O2, Vodafone, and Three. Each provider offers different plans, coverage areas, and benefits, so compare their offerings to find the one that suits your needs best.
  • SIM Cards: Once you've chosen a mobile network provider, you'll need to get a SIM card. You can purchase SIM cards from dedicated stores, supermarkets, or even online. Make sure your phone is unlocked and compatible with the network you choose. Prepaid SIM cards are a convenient option for newcomers, allowing you to control your expenses and avoid long-term contracts.
  • Data Plans: London is a city that relies heavily on mobile data, as it provides easy access to maps, transportation apps, and communication tools. Consider your data usage and select a plan that offers sufficient data allowance for your needs. Many providers offer flexible data plans that can be tailored to your usage patterns.
  • Wi-Fi Availability: London boasts numerous Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the city, including cafes, restaurants, parks, and public spaces. Take advantage of these hotspots to save on mobile data usage. Additionally, many cafes and establishments offer free Wi-Fi for customers, making it convenient to stay connected while on the go.
  • International Calling: If you need to make international calls frequently, inquire about the international calling rates and packages offered by your mobile network provider. Some providers offer discounted rates or international calling bundles, which can help you stay connected with your loved ones back home without breaking the bank.

Remember to update your contact information with your new mobile number and inform friends, family, and relevant institutions of your updated contact details. Having a reliable mobile phone service will ensure you can navigate the city, stay connected with others, and access important information with ease.


PART 6: 

  • Explore the City: London is a vibrant and culturally rich city with endless attractions to discover. Take the time to explore different neighbourhoods, visit iconic landmarks like Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and immerse yourself in the city's diverse arts, culture, and history. Familiarize yourself with the local customs, etiquette, and traditions to integrate smoothly into the London way of life.
  • Transportation: London boasts a comprehensive public transportation system that includes the famous London Underground (Tube), buses, trains, trams, and taxis. Familiarize yourself with the different transportation options, routes, and fares. Consider obtaining an Oyster card or contactless payment card for seamless travel across the city. If you plan to drive, ensure you have the necessary documentation, such as a valid driving license, insurance, and vehicle registration.
    • London Underground (The Tube): The London Underground, often referred to as "The Tube," is the city's iconic and extensive subway network. With 11 lines covering a vast area, it's a convenient way to travel across London. Each line is color-coded, and stations are well-marked. Purchase an Oyster card or use a contactless payment card to pay for your journeys. Tube services typically operate from early morning until around midnight, with Night Tube services available on select lines during weekends.
    • Buses: London's red double-decker buses are an iconic symbol of the city. They offer an extensive network that covers almost every corner of London, including areas not served by the Underground. Bus stops are marked with clear signage indicating the routes and destinations. You can use your Oyster card, contactless payment card, or purchase a bus pass to pay for your bus journeys. Night buses operate throughout the night, providing transportation during late hours.
    • Overground Trains: London Overground trains provide connections to various neighbourhoods in London and beyond. They are distinct from the Underground network and operate on the surface, offering a scenic way to travel. Overground Oyster cards and contactless payment cards are accepted for fare payment.
    • National Rail: London is well-connected to other cities and towns in the UK through the National Rail network. Major train stations like King's Cross, Paddington, Victoria, and Liverpool Street serve as gateways to different regions. National Rail services are ideal for exploring destinations outside London or commuting to nearby towns. Fares can vary based on distance and time of travel, so it's advisable to book tickets in advance to secure the best fares.
    • Dockless Bicycles: London offers a bike-sharing scheme known as Santander Cycles or "Boris Bikes." These dockless bicycles are available for rent at numerous docking stations throughout the city. Simply register for an account, unlock a bike using the provided code, and enjoy cycling around London. It's a fantastic way to explore the city at your own pace while staying active.
    • Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles: London boasts a renowned black taxi fleet, easily hailed from the streets, or found at designated taxi ranks. Licensed taxis are identified by their iconic "black cab" appearance and are a reliable and regulated form of transportation. Alternatively, you can book private hire vehicles, such as minicabs and rideshares, using mobile apps like Uber, Bolt, or Addison Lee.
    • Rental Cars on Demand: If you drive and have a valid driver’s licence, you can make the most of on demand car renting through companies such as Zip Car or Turo
    • River Bus and Thames Clippers: The River Thames runs through the heart of London, and traveling by boat is a scenic and leisurely option. Thames Clippers operate river bus services along the Thames, with various stops along the riverbank. This mode of transportation is particularly useful for commuting or exploring riverside attractions, offering a unique perspective of the city.

Remember to plan your journeys in advance using online maps, mobile apps such as Citymapper, or Transport for London's (TfL) official website. It's advisable to check for service updates, especially during weekends or holidays when engineering works or closures may occur. London's transportation system is well-integrated, allowing you to seamlessly transfer between different modes of transport using a single payment card.

  • Culture: Embracing the Local Way of Life: London is renowned for its rich cultural diversity and vibrant atmosphere. Embrace the local way of life by immersing yourself in the city's unique culture. Engage with the diverse communities, explore the neighbourhoods, and indulge in the city's thriving arts scene. Attend theatre shows in the famous West End, visit world-class museums like the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, and explore iconic landmarks such as the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace. London is a melting pot of cultures, so take the opportunity to celebrate the city's multiculturalism through its food, festivals, and traditions.
  • Climate: Preparing for Weather Changes: London's climate is characterized by mild winters and cool summers with the odd heat wave here and there but expect moderate rainfall throughout the year. Weather patterns can be unpredictable at times, so it's essential to be prepared. Pack a variety of clothing suitable for different seasons, including a waterproof jacket or umbrella to cope with occasional showers. Take advantage of the city's beautiful parks and green spaces during the warmer months and embrace the charm of London's festive spirit during the winter holiday season.