UK is where You’ve decided that you are moving? What an exciting adventure you have ahead but there are a couple of things to organise before moving to the UK to make it happen!
The months before you leave you’ll have a huge number of things to do and organise. The sooner that you can get these things sorted and that checklist completed, the more you can enjoy those last couple of weeks with family and friends.
5 Months Before Moving to the UK
Prepare for Your UK Visa
The first step on things to organise before you move to the UK is to check if you need a visa. If you’re not a UK or EU citizen, then make sure you get your visa sorted before.
Generally, you can only apply 3 months before the date you depart for the UK but you should start preparing for your UK visa requirements early.
As each UK visa requirements are different it’s good to double-check what you need to prepare. As a minimum you will need:
- Your passport
- Be able to meet UK visa financial requirements (in your bank account for ideally 3 months)
- Visa fee plus the healthcare surcharge
Check Your Passport is Valid
It’s important that your passport is still valid and has more than one-year validity from your arrival date in the UK. If it doesn’t then ensure that you get a new passport before you apply for your visa.
Most countries have an embassy in the UK which will have the facility for you to renew your passport. I have had to renew my passport in London and it was an easy process with the Australian embassy here.
Purchase Your Flights! (Optional)
The most exciting part is booking your one-way ticket! The most popular airports to fly into in the UK are Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Stansted, Luton, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Glasgow, Bristol, Belfast International, Newcastle, Liverpool, London City, Leeds Bradford, Aberdeen and Cardiff.
If you are arriving in London from countries like Australia, Canada, America and South Africa then you will be flying into Heathrow or Gatwick.
Waiting for your visa to be approved before buying flights is also an option. Depending on the time of year last minute flights can be expensive especially around Christmas, Easter and Summertime (July to August). Buying a flight is all down to personal choice and when you feel most comfortable purchasing flights.
Just to note the new system requires you to pick up your Biometric Residency Card (BRP) in the UK within the first month of issue date so you must do this before travelling elsewhere in the UK.
4 Months Before Moving to the UK
Organise Your Belongings
While 4 months may seem like a long time away it can take a while to organise your belongings especially when you need to sell a car or decided what to do with your furniture so it’s good to start having a plan on what you are doing with your belongings.
Then make a list of what you are taking with you, keeping (storage, at your parents etc), selling, donating and throwing away.
I was lucky enough to store my belongings at my parents’ house and I just ended up donating the rest as I left it so last minute to sell anything.
Check If You Require Any Qualifications or Permits to Work in the UK
Check if you have restrictions, permits or qualifications required for your job in the UK, the lead time, supporting information and process.
As I am sure you are aware each country will have its own standards for each industry. Some professions will require you to be certified in the UK or have restrictions/permits around certain jobs. For example, health professionals can check what license you require on the Health & Care Professional Council, here.
Not all international qualifications can be transferred and be able to do the same job. My friend couldn’t work as a pharmacist on her New Zealand qualification, so she’s had to work as pharmacist’s assistant.
If you are unclear of what qualifications or permits are required I suggest speaking to a UK recruiter in your field. They should be able to recommend what companies are looking for in terms of qualifications or permits.
Sometimes permits are referred to as a UK Visa which is unhelpful when you are trying to find job-specific permits so make sure you are specific when explaining.
3 Months Before Moving to the UK
Apply for Your UK Visa
Now that you are finally at the 3-month mark the most important thing is for you to apply for your visa. Start filling out the application once you’ve collected all the supporting documentation.
Do Some Tentative Job Hunting
Probably one of the more stressful things about moving overseas is finding a new job. Keep in mind that each different country has a different jobs market so you should do some research so you know what to expect. Whilst researching check what salary you should be expecting from a job in the UK.
When you are looking at the adverts are there keywords and phrases that are commonly mentioned? Does your resume cover these? If not make sure that you are noting these down as you should be looking to incorporate the style of words being used in the advertisements.
Just to note: recruiters prefer you to be in the UK before they start looking for jobs for you. This was a common occurrence when my mum moved over briefly this year and happened to me whilst I was travelling around a while back.
Update Your Resume
Whilst you have jobs on the mind start updating your resume (psst… you also need this for some visa applications) consider adding the keywords and phrases you found during your tentative job hunting in your resume.
Update your LinkedIn profile with your latest resume information and new profile picture in preparation.
Advertise Car for Sale (If Applicable)
As it takes a little longer to sell high-value assets it is a good idea to start thinking about selling your car if you have one.
2 Months Before Moving to the UK
Organise Medical Check-ups and Medication
Ensure you get all your check-ups with the doctors, specialists and dentist before you leave. If you have any medical issues or medication you need to make sure that you and your family get medical records and take a copy of the results. Each country has different rules for medication so it is good to have a letter from your doctor to support the medication you need.
It takes time to get registered in the medical system in the UK. Until you get your NHS number you will only be able to use emergency services and you can’t get an NHS number until you get to the UK. So, it’s a good idea to ensure you have enough medication to cover your first two months whilst you establish yourself.
Purchase Travel Insurance
Arrange your travel insurance to cover you for your first couple of months in the UK. It’s never great to think of the worst that can happen but for whatever reason, if the airline loses your bag, you get sick, the flight gets cancelled etc you will be covered.
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