flag United Kingdom United Kingdom: Living

In this page: Communities of Expatriates | Ranking of Cities | Renting an Apartment | School System | Health System | Tourism and Culture | Individual and Civic Freedoms | Religion

The information in this section is subject to change and regular updating during the UK's post-Brexit transition period. We will publish the updated information as soon as it becomes available.

Communities of Expatriates

The Number of Expatriates
In 2019 there were approximately 6.2 million people with non-British nationality living in the UK (9% of the total population) and 9.5 million people who were born abroad.
As of December 2019, 3.7 million EU nationals were living in the UK. (Migration Statistics, UK Parliament)
Blogs For Expats
List of expatriate websites
Allo’Expat England
Expat Exchange
For Further Information
Visit Britain
Immigration Authority
The Home Office
The Home Office's Border and Immigration Agency
Living in the UK after 31 December 2020 (information for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens)
Transportation Companies For Moving/Removals
Really Moving Directory
List of removal companies
Contact the Embassy
Contact the Embassy of the United Kingdom in the United Arab Emirates.
Contact Your Embassy
Contact the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in the United Kingdom.

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Ranking of Cities

Cost of Living
London is the 12th most expensive city in the world according to the Mercer Index 2016.
Quality of Life
Mercer's 2017 Quality of Living Survey ranks London 40th out of 231.
Sanitary Conditions
Sanitary conditions are generally good. However, MRSA (drug-resistant) infections during hospital stays have increased in recent years. Cattle have been affected by serious diseases (mad cow disease, foot and mouth disease) which have led to drastic corrective actions and the culling of thousands of animals. 
Visit the World Health Organization website.
For Further Information
Quality of Living Worldwide City Rankings –Survey - Mercer
Cost of Living Worldwide City Rankings –Survey - Mercer

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Renting an Apartment

Description of apartments
Houses and apartments to rent can be found throughout the UK, with a particularly large rental market in London although it is very expensive. You can find both furnished and unfurnished rented accommodation. Apartments and houses are ranked by the number of bedrooms (i.e. 1-bed, 2-bed etc.).
Agencies or Private Rentals
Private letting agencies are found in most cities and major towns or online. Properties available for rent are also advertised directly by landlords in local newspapers and specialist property magazines, and your local council may hold a list of accredited landlords in the area.
Rental Agency Websites
National Approved Letting Scheme
Private Rentals Announcements Online
Free property classified ads
Craigslist London
Other Possibilities For Accommodation
Because of the high cost of housing, sharing a flat or house with several others is common. More information on SpareRoom
For Further Information
National Approved Letting Scheme

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School System

School Level
Education is compulsory in the UK between 5 and 16. Many children attend nursery classes from earlier ages. Around 65% of pupils currently remain voluntarily in education beyond age 16. Pupils transfer from primary to secondary school at 11. Only around 6% of children attend private (independent) schools. Universities in the UK are self-governing and have academic independence.
International Schools
For International Schools see Schoolsearch.
For Further Information
The Department for Children, Schools and Families.
Schools search engine

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Health System

Quality of Healthcare
The availability of public and private hospital care, together with modern medical infrastructure, means healthcare standards in Europe are generally very high. While good medical services are widely available, free care under the National Health System is only for UK residents and certain EU nationals (subject to change following the UK's withdrawal from the EU).
International Hospitals
For information for non-British citizens regarding the UK medical system, and for a list of hospitals, consult the National Health System web pages for visiting England. For health insurance information consult Expat-medical-insurance.
Health Insurance
The National Health Service provides free healthcare but over 12% of people have a private health insurance policy. See Healthcare in the United Kingdom
Accessibility of the Health Insurance Network to Foreigners
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives access to state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes free. It is strongly recommended that you have an International Medical Insurance policy before you arrive in the UK (subject to change following the UK's withdrawal from the EU).
Health System Insurance Body
Health Ministry
Department of Health

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Tourism and Culture

Different Forms of Tourism

Roman remains, castles, palaces, stately homes, museums of maritime heritage or the Industrial Revolution. The UK has a wealth of historic places to visit.
Painting, literature, theatre and music. Prestigious and leading-edge museums, galleries and centres for arts and crafts.
49 designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 40 National Scenic Areas, 14 National Parks and an amazing 27 World Heritage Sites, five of which have World Heritage status due to their outstanding natural features. The landscape is very varied. Scotland and Wales are mountainous with Ben Nevis (Scotland) the highest peak in the UK and Snowdon the highest peak in Wales.
Many thousands of beautiful churches, abbeys and cathedrals spanning 13 centuries of history. They are found in every city, town and village, and most are open for visitors to enter and explore freely. Canterbury Cathedral is one of the UK 's top destinations.
Consult these websites:
Northern Ireland
There are several spa towns in Britain, Bath Spa being a very popular destination because of its historic past (Roman remains).
Best areas are the South-East, the South-West, Wales, Norfolk, Northumberland and Scotland. Visit Goodbeachguide.
Winter Sports
The natural snow resorts are in Scotland and all have invested heavily in recent years.
Outdoor Activities
For a list of activities for all tastes, from walking, cycling, riding, golfing to sailing, visit Visitbritain.co.uk.
Britain is a great place for specialty shopping, whether for souvenirs or luxury treats.
Tourism Organisations
British Tourist Authority
Cultural Organizations
Department for Culture, Media and sport

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Individual and Civic Freedoms

Political Freedom
Civil Liberty
World Ranking of Freedom of the Press According to "Reporters sans Frontières", 2021 report : 33/180
Free Access to the Internet
Rule of Law
Widespread. The law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, but critics charge that some procedures introduced to combat terrorism constitute preventive detention.
Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights
Respected. However, there have been allegations of abuse of detainees and deportees. Prisons are overcrowded.
Women's Condition
Women receive equal treatment under the law but are underrepresented in politics and top levels of business.
For Further Information
Freedom House

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Degree of Freedom
The law provides for freedom of religion. The Queen is the Head of the Church of England and religious education must be provided in publicly maintained schools.
Anglicans 46.3%
Catholics 21.5%
Muslims - Sunni 10.8%
Sikhs 4.2%
Protestants 2.6%
Hindus 1.4%
Jewish 1.3%
Others 11.9%.
Role of Religion in Society
Religion pays an important role in contemporary social life and is practiced freely through ceremonies taking place in churches, temples and mosques to punctuate life events.

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Latest Update: June 2023