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Average Cost of Moving from USA to UK

Published on 2022-01-19

If you’re planning on making the big move across the pond, you’re likely wondering how much such as major undertaking is going to cost you. Unfortunately, there really is no one-size-fits-all answer here. More often than not, the cost of moving to the UK is dictated by the belongings that you take with you. It doesn’t matter where you’re headed, the price of moving your stuff overseas will be based on how you choose to ship it. Or, you can choose to only move with what you have in your checked luggage. This is not the most popular choice, but it does help offset many of the pricier aspects of moving from the USA to the UK.

Your UK moving expenses may vary quite a bit compared to the next person, but most can expect costs like visa fees, plane tickets, insurance, and customs duties. With that said, let’s take a deeper look at the expenses involved in moving from the USA to the UK. That way, you can have a greater understanding of how much to budget and save for.

Costs Involved in Moving from USA to UK

If you’re thinking about heading to a completely different country and immersing yourself in a new culture, we don’t blame you. While the endeavor may be new and challenging, it’ll likely be one of the most life-changing moments that you ever experience. However, before you make the jump, there is quite a bit of thinking and planning to do.

Once you know about the 10 main costs involved in moving from USA to UK, you can start budgeting and get the ball rolling on your relocation!

1. Shipping your stuff

Undeniably, moving to a new country always involves bringing some of your stuff with you –

whether it’s just a few boxes, the contents of your entire three-bedroom house, or just what will fit in a suitcase. Of course, the latter option will help you eliminate any costs involved in shipping your belongings, but it’s incredibly rare. That said, here are five key factors that will influence how expensive your shipping costs will be:

  1. The transportation method. Sea freight and air freight are the two options you have to choose from. Sea freight is the most common and also the least expensive, while air freight can sometimes cost almost 18 times more.
  2. How much you bring with you. In other words, the total weight or volume of your goods to be shipped.
  3. The distance. How far does your stuff need to travel from the starting location to your destination? The farther the distance, the more expensive the move.
  4. Your UK destination port. Customs duties will vary based on the specific destination port in the UK.
  5. Time of year. Peak moving season – May to August – is always more expensive due to the increased demand.

Depending on the aforementioned variables, you’re looking at spending between $4,000 and $10,500 to ship your goods from the U.S. to the UK. To know for sure, obtain a personalized quote by using our online request form.

2. Packing and unpacking services

Getting all of your stuff ready for an international shipment is a significant undertaking, one that takes a thorough plan, necessary materials, and some muscle. Fortunately, if you hire a professional international moving company, many of them offer professional packing and unpacking services. With this service, they will also provide all the supplies that you would need, from cardboard boxes to furniture pads.

While doing your own packing and loading will save you money, it will take quite a bit of time and does not ensure safety and protection for your belongings. The costs involved in hiring professional packing and unpacking services as well as loading and unloading start at around $140, but go up depending on how much stuff you have. Though, handling all the packing yourself can easily cut these costs by more than 50%.

3. Medical insurance

Before you arrive in the UK, you’ll likely have to figure out your healthcare situation. Even if your destination country has an excellent public healthcare system, it may not be the ideal choice immediately. For this reason, opting for private medical insurance is absolutely worthwhile (assuming it fits in your budget).

The average cost of private medical coverage in the UK is around $1,200 a year, depending on factors like your general health, age, and the specific country you’re headed to. 

4. Removals insurance

If you consider yourself a risk taker, you may be able to forgo insurance, but we highly advise against it. Reduce your stress and ensure the safety of your possessions by spending some extra money to protect your cargo while in transit. Most professional shipping companies include basic insurance coverage in their services, but it doesn’t cover much. For this reason, we recommend that you pay for additional insurance or take out a separate policy with a third-party insurance company.

The cost of removals insurance for your cargo is based on the monetary value of your goods. Most policies cost from 0.6% to 4% of the total value of your items.

5. Securing housing

Of course, you’re going to need somewhere to live when you arrive in your new country. That said, the costs involved in buying or renting a property are inescapable. The typical cost of renting or buying a house obviously depend on the country you heading to, but the average cost of a home in the UK is approximately £265,700, or $352,273 USD. Whereas, the average rent for a one-bedroom flat in the UK is £758, or around $1,000 USD per month.

6. Paying customs duty

Customs duty is essentially a tax on anything that is brought into a country. Rates vary from country to country and are seldom included in the cost of hiring a shipping company. So, you’ll only need to consider this as an additional expense if you’re thinking about using air freight as your transportation method of choice.

Fortunately, most countries have duty-free policies in place for those that are importing used household items for personal use. However, shipping things like motor vehicles will always involve paying a customs duty. Depending on what the item is and where it’s headed, rates can range from 0% to as much as 100% of the item’s purchased value.

7. Obtaining a visa

In addition to getting all your stuff through customs, you also have to make it through too. Each country has their own unique visa requirements, so make sure that you meet these before you even plan your move abroad. Visas fees can vary significantly based on what type of visa you’re applying for and what country you’re moving to.

Though, for those moving to the UK from the USA on a General Worker Visa, you must pay between $612 and $1,634, depending on how long you’re staying in the country.

8. Booking plane tickets

Moving from the USA to the UK typically involves booking more than one flight. Before moving day, you’ll likely want to visit the country one or two times to get a feel for what it’s going to be like living there. Or, if you need to get an employment visa, you might have to fly to the country for an in-person interview. While multiple international flights can get expensive, it may be necessary depending on your situation.

According to Skyscanner, it’s recommended that you purchase long-haul flight tickets about 18 weeks in advance and seven weeks in advance for shorter flights. With that in mind, a one-way ticket from the U.S. to the UK costs an average of $500.

9. Moving pets

I’ve you decided that you simply cannot move across the world without taking your cat or dog with you, they’ll also need a plane ticket. In addition to the cost of the flight itself, there are a number of other things you’ll have to pay for to transport your pet from the USA to the UK:

  • Up-to-date vaccinations and tests
  • Pet passport
  • Microchip (if they don’t have one already)
  • Quarantine in the new country
  • IATA-approved travel crate

In general, between $680 and $2,000 to move a cat abroad. Whereas, dogs are more expensive, costing from $1,360 to $5,500 in fees.

moving with pets

10. Purchasing new furniture

When it comes to moving abroad, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to bring all of your belongings with you. Even if you wanted to, there are some things that either won’t be allowed or simply won’t work. The costs involved in purchasing furniture will vary widely, depending on what it is you’re buying, where you live, and where you’re buying it from.

Though, if you are going to leave some stuff behind, plan on budgeting for around $1,000 to purchase second hand, and even some new, items when you arrive!

What is the Average Cost of Moving from USA to UK?

With all of these international expenses in mind, the average cost of moving from USA to UK is well over $7,000. Though, depending on a number of factors, you could end up spending more than $20,000 to relocate. Fortunately, there are tons of ways to save money on a move like this, including cutting down on the items you bring with you, booking flights in advance, and packing yourself.

To start gathering quotes for your big USA to UK move, fill out the form at the top of this page and someone from our team will be in touch with our best rates!

Written by Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving.

If you have any questions about moving, our services, or anything else you think he may be able to help with, you can contact Chris by emailing him at Chris@threemovers.com

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