The cost of moving from India to the UK (2023)

Zorica Lončar

If you’re planning a move to a new country, one of the most important things to do is organise your finances. You’ll need an idea of the costs involved, so you can plan your budget accurately. And crucially, make sure you can afford the move.

Considering a move to the UK? Read on, as in this guide we’ll cover the cost of moving from India to the UK. This includes visa fees, moving costs and some essential information on the UK living costs, such as for renting your first apartment.

And to help you manage your money before and after your move, check out the Wise multi-currency account. It’s easy to open online, and it lets you manage your money in 50 currencies, including Indian rupees and British pounds.

There’s even a Wise card so you can start spending in GBP from the moment you land.

But more on that later. First, let’s get back to looking at moving costs between India and the UK.

The cost of a UK visa

The first thing to consider before moving to the UK is how much it’ll cost to apply for a visa. There are a handful of different costs involved, starting with the initial visa application fee.

The amount you’ll pay depends on which type of visa you’re applying for, but here’s a quick guide¹:

  • Skilled Worker visa - £247 to £1,235 per person
  • Student visa - £363 per person
  • Startup business visa - £378 per person
  • Innovator business visa - £1,036 per person
  • Family visa - £1,538 per person²
  • Ancestry visa - £531 per person³.

You can find full information about all UK visa types on the UK Government website. This should help you to work out which visa best fits your circumstances.

When applying for a visa, you’ll also need to prove that you have enough money to support yourself when you arrive in the UK.

For example, to apply for the Skilled Worker visa, you must have at least £1,270 in your bank account⁴. For other visa types, you must demonstrate that you have enough money to house yourself and any dependents. Here's how you can apply for the UK skilled worker visa from India.

A stipulation of the family visa is that you must have a combined family income of at least £18,600 a year⁵. This may increase if you have children, and it goes up for every additional child you have.

Healthcare surcharge

The final cost to know about in relation to applying for a UK visa is the healthcare surcharge.

This gives you access to free healthcare treatment from the National Health Service (NHS) during your time in the UK. However, like most UK citizens, you’ll still need to pay for some health-related services such as prescriptions, dental treatment and eye tests.

The healthcare surcharge is £624 per year for the duration of your visa⁶. So, if you’re staying for 5 years, the total to pay will be £3,120.

You’ll need to pay this when making your visa application, and you must pay it even if you already have private healthcare insurance in place.

Moving costs from India to the UK

Now, how much does it actually cost to move yourself and your belongings from India to the UK? Of course, it depends how much you plan to bring over with you. Packing light will always mean cheaper moving and shipping costs.

Here’s a quick look at how much you can expect to pay for shipping from India to the UK, based on the quantity of items to be moved and the shipping method⁷:

Property sizeAverage shipping cost - by airAverage shipping cost - by sea freight
Contents of 1 bedroom apartment£4,212 to £4,654£2,211 to £2,443
Contents of 3 bedroom houseN/A£3,402 to £3,759

Shipping your belongings by air is more expensive, but it does tend to be much quicker. However, it’s not really a suitable option if you have a lot of belongings you need to move, such as the contents of a 3 bedroom house.

Cost of flights from India to the UK

You’ll also need to factor in the price of flights for you and your family, as part of your overall moving costs.

Prices can vary depending on the airline and when you travel. And of course, where in India you’re flying from and your destination in the UK.

But on average, direct one way flights between India and London start from⁸:

  • £617 per person from New Delhi
  • £617 per person from Mumbai
  • £684 per person from Amritsar
  • £735 per person from Ahmedabad
  • £671 per person from Marmagao
  • £653 per person from Kochi
  • £782 per person from Bengaluru
  • £849 per person from Hyderabad
  • £898 per person from Chennai.

Cost of living in the UK

Before moving to the UK, it’s useful to know what to expect in terms of everyday living costs. For example, the cost of renting an apartment, getting around on public transport, eating out at a restaurant or shopping for groceries.

This can help you manage your budget, which could be crucial as you find your feet in those first weeks and months.

In general, you’ll find the cost of living in the UK is considerably higher than in India, especially for things like rent and utilities. Although of course, it depends which region you’re moving from India, and whereabouts you’re moving to in the UK.

To give you an idea of what to expect, here’s a quick comparison of standard living costs between the UK and India⁹:

Everyday living expensesAverage cost in IndiaAverage cost in the UK
Monthly rent - 1 bedroom city centre apartment£149.31£900.75
Monthly public transport pass£8.02£65.22
Basic monthly utilities (gas, electricity, water etc.)£30.49£190.99
Meal for 2 people - mid-range restaurant (3 courses)£10.03£55.00
Loaf of fresh white bread (500g)£0.39£1.02

How much does it cost to rent an apartment in the UK?

Accommodation costs are likely to be one of your biggest expenses as a new arrival in the UK.

If you’ll be renting, at least at first, you can expect to pay around⁹:

  • £900 a month for a 1 bedroom apartment in the city centre
  • £690 a month for a 1 bedroom apartment outside the city centre
  • £1,600 a month for a 3 bedroom apartment in the city centre
  • £1,204 a month for a 3 bedroom apartment outside the city centre.

However, it greatly depends where in the UK you live, as rental costs can vary between cities, and between major cities, quiet villages and more rural regions. Don't forget to check our cost of living in India guide.

How much does it cost to buy a property in the UK?

If you plan to buy a home when you arrive in the UK, it’s useful to know a little about average property prices.

However, you should remember that property prices can vary considerably between regions, and for different property types. You’ll usually pay more for property in a city centre, but it depends on the area.

In November 2022, the average UK house price was £294,910¹⁰. You can expect to find the highest property prices in London.

When buying a property in the UK, you can also expect to pay solicitor’s fees and other costs.

Manage your money between the UK and India with Wise

With all these costs to think about, you’ll need a great way to manage your money between the UK and India. The Wise multi-currency account is the ideal solution, letting you send, spend, convert 50 currencies and receive 10 currencies - including INR and GBP.

With Wise, you can easily and securely send money to the UK ahead of your move. You’ll only pay low fees¹¹, and will always get the fair mid-market exchange rate. This could make it cheaper to cover international moving costs, such as paying the deposit on your rental apartment.

You can also use Wise once you’re here, to receive money from back home. There’s even a Wise debit card, which works in 175 countries including the UK and India. It automatically converts your money to the local currency wherever you are, so you don’t need to change money or carry cash around with you.

Wise can help make international moves easier, at least when it comes to your finances. Open your Wise multi-currency account online for free today - it’s quick and easy.¹²

¹¹ 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

After reading this guide, you should have a better idea of the costs involved with moving from India to the UK.

We’ve covered all the main expenses, from visa application fees through to shipping costs. And of course, how much it costs to rent an apartment and start your life in the UK.

Although these are only average costs in some cases, all of this information should help you to start putting a budget together. Good luck with your move!

Sources used:

  1. - Home Office immigration and nationality fees: 6 April 2022
  2. - Family visa
  3. - Ancestry visa
  4. - Skilled Worker visa - how much it costs
  5. - Family visa - proof of income
  6. - Healthcare immigration application
  7. MoveHub - Shipping times and costs from India to United Kingdom
  8. Skyscanner - cheapest flights from India to London
  9. Numbeo - Cost of Living Comparison - UK and India
  10. Land Registry - UK House Price Index
  11. 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
  12. "Eligibility is subject to verification of customers identity"

Sources last checked on date: 13-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.

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