Joining from overseas

If you are joining the UK Armed Forces from overseas you will have to cope with a lot of change for yourself as well as expectations from your family back home.

A job in the Armed Forces is a good way to provide a financially secure future for you and your family, BUT ONLY IF you make good decisions with your money.

So get MoneyFit with MoneyForce – it’s your site to help you manage your money better.

A new job

Starting a new job is daunting enough, but starting in a new country brings more challenges. Here are some things to be aware of:

Managing your money

  • Your family may expect you to send most of your income home. If you do this you will not have enough to live on in the UK. It is better to send a smaller regular amount home every month than to get into debt trying to send too much. Find out What you can expect to earn and then see what options you have when Sending money home.
  • You may feel pressure to buy phones, gadgets and other luxury goods not readily available in your own country. Try and resist the temptation to buy these things straight away. Start a savings account and buy them when you have saved up enough money - see Goal setting.

Borrowing money

  • You will have easier access to loans and credit in the UK. Make sure you only borrow what you can afford to repay. Find out about your options in Borrow.
  • You may be tempted to borrow cash from Payday loan companies who advertise widely. This is a very expensive way to borrow and should only be used if you can afford to repay the whole amount out of next month’s wages without having to borrow again.

Cost of living in the UK

If you think you might want to settle in the UK after five years' Service, you should start saving for this. The cost of an application for one person is over £800. If you want your family to come and join you, you will have to pay the same for each member of your family, see the Home Office immigration fees page on It is better to start your new life in the UK with a clean sheet, rather than a large debt. You will also need to show that you can support yourself - having savings will help prove this so see Cash savings for your options. 

If you decide to bring your family over to the UK you need to think about the extra living costs:

  • If you live off base you will need to pay rent and Council Tax and for your water, electricity and gas - see Renting a property or Buying a property.
  • The winters can be very cold and heating bills can be very high – see Save money on your energy bills.
  • You may need to buy school uniforms for your children and pay for school outings – see Children for other things to consider.
  • Things that you buy at home for example food and drink, may be more expensive here.  
  • Transport costs are high – whether you use public transport or have your own car, but you may be able to get an Armed Forces discount – see Smart shopping.
  • Your partner may not be able to find work.

Claiming state benefits

If you bring your family over to the UK you may be able to claim certain benefits, for instance:

For more information see the Managing money section.

Last reviewed: 19/09/2017