Moving Back to UK from Abroad: Everything You Need to Know


Are you planning to repatriate back to the UK after living abroad?  Recent government studies suggest that an increasing number of people are doing exactly that, and planning their migration back to the UK after years abroad.

When it comes to upping sticks again, Britannia Fleet can help you to safely pack and transport your belongings back to the UK from all over the globe. As a FIDI member, the largest global alliance of independent quality international removal companies, we can offer a high quality and efficient removal service – handling everything from details of import documents to customs clearance and delivery. So when it comes to ensuring your return to the UK runs as smoothly as possible, make Britannia Fleet your first port of call.

As experts in the removals field, we often get customers asking us what exactly is involved when it comes to moving back to the UK from overseas. To help you make a start on the process of moving back home, we’ve put together a quick guide to help you cut through the noise. So make sure you’ve thought about the following checklist before you put the wheels in motion for your next big move.


Plan way ahead

This one might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at just how much logistic planning a move back to the UK involves – especially with new Brexit legislations now in effect. As many readers will have already experienced, moving house at any point can be a stressful process. Moving abroad is tough at times, but moving home again can also prove to be a difficult process if you don’t plan efficiently for your trip.

If you’re selling your current home abroad, make sure this process is totally finalised before you leave the country you’ve been living in, so that you have no loose ends to tie up at the last minute. Bear in mind that this can often be a long process, with unexpected set-backs – so give yourself at least one year, if not 18 months, to fully get your finances and plans in order, so that you can be totally sure everything is wrapped up with your house sale before you leave.

On returning to the UK, make sure you and your family have finalised your new living arrangements before you return. Before going straight into purchasing a property, you might also want to consider renting first, as buying somewhere without doing your research could prove to be a very expensive mistake. On the flip side though, you may want to take advantage of the current stamp duty holiday rules currently in place in the UK, due to COVID-19. You can read more about this here on another one of our blogs. Don’t forget to check out details of your new local area too, such as crime rates, house prices, schools, as well as any local planning permissions, etc.


Hire a removals company you can trust

When it comes to moving your belongings back to the UK, there’s a lot to think about –including tax and customs responsibilities. There are a lot of rules that you need to be fully compliant with when it comes to the likes of:

  • Banned and restricted goods
  • Food, plants and animals
  • Vehicles and boats
  • Arriving with goods or cash

You must also pay Excise Duty if you’re planning to ship any alcohol or tobacco on your move home. For the full details of these guidelines, make sure you first visit the Government website to familiarise yourself with everything you need to know about moving your possessions home. It’s worth noting too, that rules over moving your personal belongings back to the UK differ when it comes to which country you’re coming from.

 For a truly hassle free move back to the UK, the best option is to contact a trusted and accredited international removals service, such as us at Britannia Fleet. We’re the absolute experts when it comes to helping our customers understand the various complexities surrounding the shipment of goods abroad, and our friendly team of professionals can guide you through every step of the whole process. Most importantly, we can get all of your belongings, no matter how big or small, back to the UK safe and sound. Check out our International Removals page to get in touch with our team and find out more.


Consider your finances

There’s also a lot to think about and resolve when it comes to your financial situation with your move back to the UK. From pension considerations to currency exchange, to income tax and national insurance – these are all things you’ll need to get clued up on before you make the big move home.

The first thing you need to do is ensure that you’re fully set up with HMRC. This means you’ll be able to receive any benefits owed to you, or to continue making payments on anything that has been neglected in your absence, like your national insurance fees. Checking your national insurance details is imperative as soon as you move back home, and should be a definite priority. Failure to address this could mean you’re penalised for receiving any benefits that you may wish to collect in the future, i.e. maternity allowance, child benefits, or your state pension.

Other important things to consider when it comes to your finances are:

  • Setting up your UK bank account – If you don’t still have a UK bank account, it would help to get this sorted upon moving home. Or, you might prefer to have a multi-currency account (available from your UK bank or another provider), so you can easily pay any outstanding bills that arise after you’ve returned.
  • Registering your vehicle – If you’re bringing your car with you from overseas, you’ll need to register this with the DVLA. You’ll also be required to change your motor insurance. Ensure you have written evidence from your insurer that can prove how many years’ no claims bonus you have etc. You can also find out details on how to import a vehicle from abroad
  • Addressing your pension – Don’t forget that if you’ve been paying into a pension while living abroad, you’ll need to contact the Department for Work and Pension to help with the transition of your overseas pension back to the UK.
  • Currency exchange issues – Unless you hold sterling offshore, it’s likely that you’ll encounter a rate of exchange when you move your funds back to Britain and into pounds. If this is something you need to think about, consider exploring your options with a regulated foreign exchange (also called FX) firm, Britannia Fleet can assist you with this.


Getting the right documents

When it comes to moving back to the UK, the devil is often in the detail when it comes to familiarising yourself with the various regulations you’ll need to know, as well as the paperwork you’ll need to provide. Ensuring you have the right documentation is essential. Specifically with entering the UK, the following documents are required to allow you to move back your household goods and personal effects:

  • Legible copy of passport
  • A detailed inventory written in English, dated, and signed by the owner of the goods
  • Transfer of Residence (ToR)
  • Copy of bill of lading (BL) / air waybill (AWB)
  • C426 with cover letter from respective embassy (diplomat)

This can seem very complex, which is why our team of international removals experts at Britannia Fleet are on hand to demystify the documentation procedure for you, and help you to understand exactly what is needed to ensure this part of the process runs smoothly.


Don’t forget about healthcare

If you’re moving back to the UK after living abroad, one of the first things you should address is your healthcare.

Before you leave the country you’ve been living in, make sure to inform your old doctor and dentist of your move and tell them that you’ll no longer require their services. They should also be able to transfer your up to date medical notes to your new surgery back in the UK. But this can only happen when you’ve registered with a doctor, so be sure to prioritise this.


Forward your mail to the UK

Don’t forget to let all relevant parties know of your new address and the fact that you’re moving back to the UK. It’s especially important that you cease all mail to your old address, as this will protect you from possible identity fraud or having your personal details shared with strangers. If you don’t yet have a new fixed address in the UK to direct your mail to, you can rent a PO Box for incoming mail to be sent to. The Royal Mail can redirect mail from most UK addresses to another (if you still are receiving UK mail while abroad). You can also speak to your local post office (in the UK) and ask about redirection services available from them too. 

For more information on who you should be informing of your move, take a look at our blog on the subject and make sure you’ve covered all bases.


What about pets?

We can’t forget about our furry friends! The good news is they can totally come with you, although this will depend on the type of animal. On the whole though, you can enter or return to Great Britain with your pet cat, dog or ferret (yes, ferret) if it:

  • has been microchipped
  • has a pet passport or health certificate
  • has been vaccinated against rabies – it will also need a blood test if you’re travelling from an country that is not ‘listed’

Dogs are also required to have a tapeworm treatment. It’s also important to note that your pet may be put into quarantine for up to four months if you do not follow these rules – or it could even be refused entry if you travelled by sea. You will be responsible for any fees or charges should this happen, so make sure you’ve completed the checks above before you plan on bringing your pet back to the UK.


So there you have it! Our quick checklist for moving back to the UK from abroad. Here at Britannia Fleet, we know there’s a lot of information to take in when it comes to international relocation plans, as well as a lot that could potentially set you back. That’s why our expertise is so invaluable when it comes to your move back to the UK.

With our international removals services, we can help your move back to the UK to go without a hitch. Our team of experts have all of the advice and up to date guidance you need, and we’ll ensure that you’re fully compliant with the various legislations and regulations that the law requires. Whether you’re moving alone or with your entire family, whether it’s a house full of furniture, or just you and your cat – Britannia Fleet has all of the expertise, experience and knowledge to cover all bases of your relocation plans.

Speak to a member of our friendly team today about how we can help you to move back to the UK with our expert international removal services.