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7 questions to ask before moving to the UK

Moving to another country is a serious business that requires a proper and thorough preparation.

It might seem almost impossible at a first glance to take care of everything at the same time. And a risk of forgetting something vital is much higher when you start rushing around. In this article we focus on 7 questions you need to ask yourself to make sure your start in the UK is smooth and easy.

1. What’s the main purpose of moving to the UK?

It can be either education for your children or higher living standards, political or economic factors. The UK is a popular destination among businessmen with established business planning to use all the tax benefits the UK can offer. By becoming tax residents they minimise their income tax almost to nil, depending on the source of income.

2. Which immigration route to choose?

A Tier 1 (Investor) visa is the easiest way to come to the UK; however, it requires the biggest amount of money. It can be granted to individuals that want to invest at least £2,000,000 in the local economy, e.g. government bonds, for up to 5 years. You don’t have to prove your knowledge of English. You will only need it when you are applying to settle in 2-5-year time, based on the investment sum. It means you will have enough time to improve your English.

If you have at least an intermediary level of English and want to develop your own business in the UK, you can apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa that requires an investment of at least £200,000 into a running or new business.

3. How to prepare finances?

Immigration and tax statuses are not linked in the UK. It doesn’t matter which visa route you have chosen, you will have to identify your tax status anyway, the sooner the better. Your tax obligations may start either on the date you move to the UK or on 6 April, when a tax year starts, or any other day, depending on your personal circumstances. It’s important to know when you become a UK tax resident because from that date you will be obliged to report all your income received after that date in the UK, irrespective of its source.

Please bear in mind that all income received before that date is clean capital, which means you can bring it into the UK tax-free without declaring it. This rule applies only to money; if you intend to sell any asset, it’s recommended to do so before moving to the UK.

4. How to structure finances after moving to the UK?

It goes without saying, it’s fantastic to live off the tax-free income brought into the UK. However, it’s a rare practice. You might need to bring in money earned abroad much earlier than you thought. To minimise losses, you can try and revise your business structure, if it’s the one generating that income, and reschedule dividend payments to bigger intervals, instead of annually. Besides, if you hold your clean capital outside the UK, you shall arrange for it to come to a separate bank account so that it’s not mixed with new income.

5. What to do when acquiring property?

Normally, moving to the UK goes hand in hand with buying a real estate, e.g. a flat in central London, a house outside London, or a few properties if needed. Investors often prefer buy-to-let property in order to get stable income. There are several payments you must remember about, including one-off payments such as stamp duty and potential tax payments. The latter include Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and Inheritance Tax (IHT). If planned correctly and beforehand, certain taxes can be significantly reduced or nearly eliminated.

6. How and when to arrange education for children?

It’s a very important decision that must be made long time before you move to the UK. Enrolment into UK schools is a long and complex process. First, you should narrow down your choice to a couple of options that suit your child. Then you should go and personally visit every establishment. When final choice is made, a child might be required to pass enrolment tests, exams and/or interview, based on the child’s age and a type of school. If your child is successful, they might be offered places in several schools at the same time. Your choice may influence how your family lives in the next few years, e.g. what type of family visa parents will choose and when they will move to the UK, and where they will live all those years.

7. Last but not the least, how to move all your belongings?

When all the decisions are made and moving is planned, you start thinking what to take with you. There are always some things you are very much attached to, e.g. personal things, valuables, antics, art objects, cars, motorbikes, etc. Apart from transportation itself, there will be a lot of paperwork involved that must be taken care of. For instance, to bring in your car tax-free, you must own it for at least a year after arrival. Anyway, to use your car in the UK, don’t miss the deadlines when paperwork has to be submitted and what’s the best way to do it.

You don’t always have someone to ask all these questions; if you manage to find advisors they normally specialise in one area only, so you have to combine all the information afterwards yourself.  How can such important questions like immigration and taxation, real estate and tax optimisation, be interlinked and added up to create one picture? Our experts at Imperial & Legal will be happy to offer a comprehensive approach to immigration, taxation, tax optimisation, etc. They will help you plan your immigration process and make sure your moving to the UK is smooth and worry-free.

Tired of getting general advice?

We will work with you to find a customised solution for your immigration, second citizenship, business, tax and other needs.