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Visas, Credit Checks and Health Insurance: Organising your move to the UK

Moving country is a significant undertaking wherever your journey is taking you. There are so many things to organise in order to tie up your affairs in the country that you’re leaving, that it can be easy to miss a crucial task which in your destination. The UK is an attractive place to live, but there are still plenty of things that need to be done in order to make your move as smooth and successful as possible.

First and foremost is the visa application process. You must make sure that you leave enough time for this to be completed. Your starting point should be the British embassy or consulate wherever you live and you can turn to them up to three months before your departure. Make sure that you understand the terms of the visa you are issued with and note that if you are applying for a work visa, then your UK employer will need to make the application on your behalf.

If possible, the next most useful action is to open a UK bank account – It will mean that you can pay bills and organise accommodation with greater ease once you arrive. However, it isn’t always possible to do this before you travel, as many banks require proof of a permanent UK address. However, some banks, especially those with an international presence can arrange for a special account which requires only proof of a non-UK address.

It is also advisable, before opening a bank account, to get your credit checked. This helps ensure that no mistakes have been made regarding your financial record, leaving you in the best position possible to deal with lenders such as banks and to access services including mobile phone companies. You can get a credit check with a 30-day trial period at

If you have the right to work in the UK, then you must register for a National Insurance number. Depending on your income, you will most likely be required to pay regular National Insurance contributions. While dealing with this, it is also a good idea to check that your pension contributions from your country of origin are valid in the UK. Equally, you should also make sure that the tax authorities back home know that you have left the country or else you might find yourself with a tax bill in two countries.

On arrival in the UK, your most pressing task may well be finding accommodation. Make sure that you have photo ID such as a passport and proof of income, such as a pay slip. Recommendations from former employers or landlords are also helpful to show a landlord or agent that you are reliable. Once you have a new home, do not forget to contact the utility companies (water, gas, electricity) to register your name as the occupant and recipient of their bills. It is also important to take out insurance on your home, even though you may not own it, especially to protect your personal possessions.

Although there is most likely many other things on your ‘things to do’ list, another vital initial action point is to register as a patient with the National Health Service, which provides free health care. To do this, visit your local general practitioner with proof of your address. You are then set to enjoy all that the UK has to offer.

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