The UK is a great place to live, and thousands of people move here to study or work every year. Do you want to live in a multicultural place with plenty of exciting jobs, world-class services, and a vast number of cultural, historical, and natural sights? The United Kingdom will not disappoint you. However, as a foreigner looking to adapt to a new country and way of life, you may face some challenges. It’s critical to do a lot of research before you start packing.
Here is a short guide that will help you in the moving process.
Check the Visa Requirements
Arranging visas and permits are always a hassle due to the paperwork involved. Moving to the UK is easy if you and your family meet all the immigration requirements. Depending on your nationality and passport, you may be able to enter and reside in the UK visa-free or stay visa-free for six to 12 months. Since the UK is no longer a member of the European Union, EU/EFTA nationals need a visa to enter the country.
The UK’s official government sites provide updated, comprehensive information about visa requirements and work permits. Do a bit of research to see which rules apply to you specifically.
Organize Your Finances
How long do you plan to stay in the United Kingdom? If you plan a long-term stay, you may need to transfer all your money and assets and close all your bank accounts in your home country. Thus, it’s crucial to consider your short-term financial needs and your long-term financial goals.
Look at the cost of living and housing prices, then set a minimum monthly budget for your spending needs. This will help ensure you won’t feel financially stranded until you get your life back on track. It may take a while to find a home and get a job, so you need savings to stay afloat in the meantime.
Before you arrive in the UK, research your banking options. If you have investments or receive a pension, consult with a tax advisor or financial planner to see if your finances will be affected by moving to the UK. You may also need to do a bit of research about the best and cheapest ways to transfer money internationally.
Get Health Insurance
Sorting out your health insurance is another critical thing to do before moving to the UK. There’s nothing worse than needing medical assistance and realizing that your policy doesn’t cover your immediate needs. Paying out of pocket is not ideal. British citizens and residents can access the publicly-owned health service known as NHS (National Health Service), which provides some free services. However, many foreigners prefer to rely on private medical cover for faster service and access to a higher number of facilities.
As an immigrant or ex-pat in the United Kingdom, you need UK health insurance for foreigners. Compare plans and prices to find the best option for your and your family. Sorting out your insurance before or as soon as you arrive is essential.
Research Your Transport Options
If you come from a car-centric country or city, you may be surprised to discover that not everyone owns a car in the UK. Public transport in the UK is highly efficient and reliable. Many people in big cities rely on buses, trains, and underground metro services for their daily needs. However, in cities like London or Manchester, public transport is packed during peak hours, so delays are a common occurrence. You can use dedicated apps to plan your daily trips. For traveling outside big cities, you can rely on trains and buses. The National Rail covers a large portion of the country. However, fares for long train journeys can be expensive. Several bus companies operate throughout the country as well.
The UK is well-connected, so there’s no incentive to own a car. It all comes down to personal preferences. Have a look at the map to get an idea about the distances you may need to cover daily or weekly. This will help you learn more about your transport options.
What About Taxes?
Another critical step is to get informed about what taxes you need to pay and when. As soon as you arrive in the UK, you’ll need to apply for a National Insurance (NI) number, a personal account number used for all administrative and tax purposes. You’ll need NI to sort out your residency status and pay tax. However, if you plan to work for a company, your employer must pay taxes in your name. Your only duty is to ensure your employer has your NI number.
Do you plan to start a business or become self-employed in the United Kingdom? If so, you must register with the HMRC and pay tax on your annual earnings yourself according to the criteria relevant to your case. The good news is that the paperwork is simple.
Are you moving to the United Kingdom and feeling overwhelmed? Follow our tips for a smooth transition.