Tips on how to start life in London once you have secured a visa.
One of the first items you have to collect is your BRP card, Biometric residence permit. This is effectively your visa, which when you first move to the UK you need to show this once you have secured a job, you need to show your landlord and when you leave the country you should always take it with you.
You will have to pick up the card within 30 days of entering the country from the post shop that you choose, try to pick one close to where you are going to live. If you’re not sure to go somewhere central, that way it is easy to collect on a day out.
This card is super important, DO NOT LOSE THIS!!! Treat it like your passport!
It may seem like a pain but do take it with you every time you leave the country, it can be helpful at airports when departing a country to show you have a right to live in the UK, and lately the e-gates will flag you for a check and you must show it to border control staff.
Opening a bank account has been a traditionally hard task to complete and everyone hates this part. The problem is you don’t have enough evidence to open a bank account. You need addressed mail, which at this stay you most likely don’t have a flat or a job. This gets more difficult when you think about as you need a bank account if you have a job, and most flats want you to have a job! No one can win here. The best way to get evidence is oto change your current home bank to a UK address (use where you are staying currently), print this off (snappy snap will print for you) and fold it as if you have receded it in the post
There are now more banks that don’t require as many checks, check out Monzo or Revolut.
Finding a place to live is a key way to establish yourself in a new city. The following factors are what you will look at, tube zone, walking time to tube, what tube lines you are close to (you want one that goes to work), some places are including bills, others are not (just keep it in mind when it comes to cost).
The further away from central London you go the cheaper it will be, but this will add transport time to work and weekend sightseeing.
The best way to find your area is to try and sublet in an area that you are interested in, as you wait for job interviews, walk around the area and get a feel for it, then also check out areas nearby. You do find this can change your mind. Walking time to the tube is also important, however with working from home becoming more standard, this is less important nowadays.
This is something you may do on day 1, I would recommend Vodafone, they have good coverage and are reasonably priced, with coverage in Europe also included. Three is cheap and heaps of data but the reception isn’t so good.
Oyster Card/public transport
All public transport works with a pay wave card, but when you first move over you won’t have a UK account yet (and see bank, this may take some time), if you grab an Oyster card you can load this up and save on international transaction fees. This is also cheaper than buying one off tickets.
Get this from any tube at the ticket machines, do this once you land and load it with some money.
This is your tax number, call 0800 141 2075 once you arrive (you should do this first thing) https://www.gov.uk/apply-national-insurance-number
You basically tell them you are working and have a right to work here and your personal details, they then send you forms to complete
Register with a Doctor
Do this once you have a flat sorted, but important as it helps with travel insurance after 6 months http://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/GP/LocationSearch/4
If you need to transfer money over from your home country to your new UK account, use Wise, this has the best rates and cheap fees. Use this link for a discount off you first transfer, https://wise.com/invite/ua/rebeccas259
After being here for 12 months your international licence will be invalid as you wont get insurance, if you want to drive after 12 month, then you will need to transfer your licence over by going to a post office and completing the required forms.
Travel insurance for all those trips to Europe!
Travel insurance is really cheap here (well compared to New Zealand). However most places wont touch you until you have been here for at least 6 months and have registered with a doctor.
For before 6 months look into cover more, they have policies for that may cover you, you just have to have a bank account and be registered with a doc. Also note, just buy it for when your away you don’t need it in the UK as you have the NHS
Apps to download, other platforms
Citymapper – is your go to on how to get places, it will tell you the best route and account for traffic issues, closures due to work or strikes.
Facebook – see if there are any groups with people from your country, it can be helpful to have a group of people who understand your issues. Kiwis in London Chat (KIL) is a great platform for all questions and issues with there being people who are always coming over or have been here a while and need help with changing visas or other issues that may come up as well as meet ups and more.