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Tips for your move to the UK

Here are our insider tips on things to do before you move, things to do as soon as you arrive and what to bring to the UK.

Before you move

Renew your passport
The process of having your passport issued in your own country is usually quicker, easier and less expensive than at a consulate. When visiting other countries, it is often required to have a passport valid for at least 6 months and with a few empty pages. Furthermore, your UK VISA (if you need one) will be on the passport you use to first enter the UK. 

Transfer money and avoid taxes
Using a foreign currency exchange specialist will help you get a better rate and save money on the transaction. It is also a good idea to consult an specialist tax advisor to assist you make the best options on how to move your money from one country to another and minimise the taxes incurred.
More on currencies and on tax advisors

Ask for a "no claims" letter from your insurance company
It is recommended to get a proof from your insurance company that you did not have any claims on your previous policies as this will reduce the price of your new insurances. More on insurances

Renew your driving licence
Members of the European Community and other designated countries are allowed to drive in the UK with their own driving licences for the first three years after they become residents in the UK. Other nationals may drive in the UK with their original licences for 12 months.  Some Boroughs may require an UK driving licence to issue a residents parking permit. More on driving licence

Check your electrical appliances will work in the UK

The voltage in the UK is 220V and the frequency is 50Hz. The TV colour system is PAL and the DVD/Games region is 2.
More on electrical appliances

Open your bank account before you move
Opening a bank account in the UK can be more challenging than you would expect. You can make the process easier by opening it before you move or even just making sure you bring all your bank account documents with you on your move.
More on banking

Visit you optician and doctor
It is not unusual to break or lose glasses and medicaments. Making sure you get copy of your prescriptions for corrective lenses and for any medicaments you take, may save you a lot of time and trouble. Ask for the generic names of your medicaments as they may have different name in the UK. More on healthcare

Be prepared for your shipping to arrive later than expected
It is not unusual for shipments (air or sea) arrive much later than expected. So, be sure to include all you need for the first few months of your stay in the UK.

As you arrive in the UK

Couples: make sure both names are on the rental agreements and utilities bills
This is the first step to start a credit history in the UK. Not having a credit history may be a problem when trying to get credit cards, mobile phones and bank accounts. 

Have your name included in the electoral register
If you are a British, Irish, Commonwealth or European Union citizen you can register to vote in the UK. This will also enhance your credit history.

Consider buying a SIM card and mobile internet as soon as you arrive
Setting up a mobile phone and internet account may take longer than you expect. The easy and quickest solution is to buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card for your mobile phone and mobile internet. More information

What to bring

In general, spacious accommodation, especially in central London, comes at a premium. Some houses and flats are rented furnished or semi-furnished and you should bear that in mind when deciding what furniture and house wares to bring. Also consider the size of the space and the entrance through windows and doors for large pieces of furniture.

Electrical Appliances
The voltage in the UK is 220V and the frequency is 50Hz.
If you come from a country where the voltage is 110 volts (this includes North America), you will need to use a transformer. In many cases it is best to leave most electrical appliances at home and purchase new ones in the UK.
Some appliances have dual voltage, so check the product’s information before you decide whether to leave it behind. More information

If you use a prescribed medication, pack enough to last a few months. If possible, bring the prescriptions and ask your doctor for the active ingredients or generic name as many medicines have different brand names.
Dermatological creams and favourite cosmetics are also a good idea to have in supply.
Don’t forget your favourite over-the-counter medicines, as it will take you some time before you find new favourites in the UK.

Bed sizes and pillows in the UK may be different from your home country. If bringing your own bed, don’t forget the sheets. If renting a furnished flat, you should plan on buying bedding in the UK.

Sporting Equipment
Even if a sport is practised in the UK, the equipment may differ a bit or have a higher cost.

If English is not your first language, it is a good idea to bring books about London and the UK in your own language. And don’t forget your favourite cookbooks since the selection in the UK will most certainly be different. Remember that all the measurements in UK cookbooks are different from non-metric countries.

If your favourite music is not widely available from iTunes or the internet, it is a good idea to bring a selection. If you play an instrument (and the UK is the perfect place for it!), bring sheet music of your favourites from your home country.

When packing your clothes, remember that your shipment may arrive in a different season! Bring layers as even in the summer, the UK can be cool.

Favourite Pots and Pans
Many traditional dishes require special pots and pans that may take you some time to find. In the UK, there are a variety of cook tops available: electric, gas, ceramic, halogen, induction or solid hotplate, and not all materials are compatible.

Holiday Decorations
Your home country holidays may not be celebrated in the UK, so be sure to bring the items you need to continue your family’s favourite traditions.

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