If you want to settle in the UK, it may not be as straightforward as you think! Moving to a different country is a challenge. Never assume that any official procedures will be the same as in the country that you are from. The more research that you can do on how to settle in the UK, the better.
The cost of living is high in the UK, and it is a good idea to have enough money to last for at least 6 months. This amount will vary depending on where in the UK you want to live. The cost of living in some of the bigger cities such as London can be double, even triple the cost of living elsewhere in the UK. Everyone tends to think of London when they decide to settle in the UK. But cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool can be cheaper and may have just as many opportunities.
How to Settle in the UK: Accommodation
Accommodation can be expensive in the UK and you will need to be aware of the requirements for renting properties. If you can, come to the UK with photocopies of your ID and a written reference from a previous landlord. Also, expect to pay at least one month’s rent upfront and a deposit. For example, if the cost of the house or flat that you want to rent is £600.00 a month, landlords and agents in the UK would expect you to have £1200.00 upfront to secure that property. Having the correct paperwork and money upfront will help you to settle in the UK.
A great place to research UK properties online is www.rightmove.co.uk. You can find out properties available according to your search criteria such as location and price range. If you have a limited budget and want to have a house or flat share, you can search for these on www.gumtree.com.
How to Settle in the UK: Travel
Long distance train and coach journeys in the UK are often cheaper if booked in advance. If possible, arrange your journey from the airport around 4 weeks before you are due to travel. This will cut the cost significantly. You can book train journeys on The Trainline.
If you intend to hire a car, you need to make sure that you have the right driving licence. Even if you hold a driving licence in another country, it may not be valid in the UK. So you need to check with the DVLA and apply for a UK driving licence.
How to Settle in the UK: Banking
You will need to have a UK address and proof of that address to set up a UK bank account. It is not as easy as simply walking into a bank with your ID and walking out with an account! Banks often ask for utility bills and tax documents, which all need to be in your name.
Shop around for the best bank account for you. Some have monthly charges. Some banks allow you to withdraw money abroad. Some of the most popular banks for people coming from abroad are Barclays and HSBC.
Applying for your National Insurance Number
As soon as you can, apply for your National Insurance number. The number on this card will be what you need to give to employers for tax reasons. And also to claim certain state benefits. First of all, you will need to check your eligibility for the National Insurance card. This will depend on your Nationality and any visa that you need.
If you are eligible to apply for a National Insurance Card, you need to make an appointment at your local Job Centre Plus. They will arrange an ‘Evidence of Identity’ interview for you or send you a postal application. At the interview, you will be asked about your identity, background and reasons for needing the card. You are allowed to have an interpreter if you need one. Make sure that you take original documents to the interview, because copies may not be accepted. Take as many forms of ID as you have including ID card, passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate and driving licence.
Job Hunting in the UK
Job hunting in the UK can be very difficult. Before you come to the UK, it is a good idea to take the IELTS exam to prove your level of English. Also, come to the UK with job references and examination certificates translated into English.
How to settle in the UK: Further Information
If you are moving to the UK, we would like to wish you all the best. There is further information on how to settle in the UK on www.ukresident.com.
Remember, if you need to call friends and family back home, you can make international calls with Pocketdial UK from just 1p a minute.