Can I move to the UK without a job from India?

Zorica Lončar

Thinking of moving to the UK? If you’re an Indian citizen, you’re likely to be exploring all your different options.

One of the most popular routes is to apply for a Skilled Worker visa, once you’ve had a job offer from an eligible UK employer. But if you don’t have a job, can you still move to the UK? It all depends on your circumstances, but we’ll run through all routes to the UK here in this handy guide.

We’ll even throw in a tip for managing your money while in the UK, and when back home in India too. Open a Wise multi-currency account and you can send, spend, convert 50 currencies and receive 10.

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

But for now, let’s focus on your UK visa options.

UK visas for Indian citizens - your options

If you don’t have a UK job offer, you won’t be able to apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa. You can’t move to the UK and then find a job. You’ll need to have an offer from an eligible employer already in place.

But the good news is that there are lots of other routes you can try, depending on your circumstances. We’ll run through some of the other visa categories here.

Family visa

If you want to move to the UK to be with your partner, children or family for more than 6 months, you may be able to apply for a UK Family visa.

To be eligible, your partner will need to be a British citizen and have ‘indefinite leave to remain’ in the UK¹.

The fees for this visa are quite high, starting from £1,538 if applying from outside the UK².

Study visa

If you’ll be coming to the UK to study, you can apply for a study visa. There are a few different categories, including³:

  • Short-term Study visa - for studying on an English language course for up to 11 months
  • Student visa - for further or higher education courses
  • Child Student visa - for children aged 4-17 studying at an independent school.

You may also want to look at the list of UK student scholarships for Indian students.

Start-up or Innovator visa

Don’t have a UK job offer but are interested in starting a new business in the UK? You may be eligible for either a Startup visa or an Innovator visa. Here are some details for each⁴:

  • Startup visa - for people wanting to start a business for the first time, who have an innovative and unique business idea. The initial visa length is up to 2 years.

  • Innovator visa - for experienced business owners, who have a unique business idea (assessed by an endorsing body) and at least £50,000 to invest. The initial visa length is up to 3 years, and after this time you can apply for permanent settled status.

Global Talent visa

You can apply for the UK Global Talent visa if you can demonstrate that you’re a leader (or potential leader) in the following fields⁵:

  • Research or academia
  • Arts and culture
  • Digital technology.

This visa lets you live and work in the UK for up to 5 years at a time.

UK Ancestry visa

Lastly, there’s the UK Ancestry visa. This is designed for citizens of Commonwealth countries⁶, which includes India.

You can apply if you can prove that one of your grandparents was born in the UK, and you meet the other eligibility requirements. If successful, you can stay for up to 5 years at a time⁶.

After reading this, you should have an answer to the question ‘Can I move to the UK without a job from India?’. In short, yes - but your circumstances will need to fit with one of the above UK visa categories. Don't forget to check our comprehensive guide on moving to the UK from India for additional information.

Bear in mind though that you’ll need to provide paperwork, pay fees and wait patiently for your application to be processed.

While you’re waiting for a decision, why not open a Wise multi-currency account? This is the perfect option for people living, working and moving between countries.

Sources used:

  1. - Check if you need a UK visa - Marriage
  2. - Family visa
  3. - Check if you need a UK visa - Study
  4. - Check if you need a UK Visa - Business
  5. - Global Talent visa
  6. - Ancestry visa

Sources last checked on date: 08-Feb-2023

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Money for here, there and everywhere

Find out more

Tips, news and updates for your location