Dr Subodh Dave, Consultant at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust shares provides a short checklist on Living in the UK.
Once you make the decision to move, it is helpful to try and organise a few things even before you land.
Get a provisional driving license
Apply for a provisional driving license (your employer can help you with the address to use) – this will help not only with the process of applying for a full British license but will also help you have a proof of identity/address document which will be needed for a range of acts – from applying for a bank account to renting your first home (https://www.gov.uk/apply-first-provisional-driving-licence ). Of course, You can legally drive in the UK with a valid international licence for up to one year while you prepare for and pass your UK driving test- just make sure that the license is in English or carry an international driving permit. This test consist of two stages: a theory test (checking your familiarity with road signs and the Highway Code), which you must pass first, and a practical test. It is useful to get acquainted with the Highway code even if you are not planning to drive to understand the rules and norms around driving/traffic.
Open a bank account
Again, this is something that can be done even before you arrive, if you have access to an international bank that allows this. Do shop around and use one that meets your needs e.g. costs of transferring money abroad if you plan to send money abroad regularly. Keep copies of forms of identification – such as Passport, visa, driving license, proof of address (both in the UK and abroad – for the past three years), bank statements for the past six months and copies of photographs handy as these will be needed when opening a new account or renting accommodation.
Search for accommodation
This is something you can start before you arrive in the UK. Consider commuting distances, availability of good schools (in the UK access to publicly-funded schools is determined by the location of your home) and access to local transport. Agencies such as rightmove, zoopla etc. can provide the above details and you can also speak to the rental agencies through them to get more local information. Again, if possible, get advice and support the Human Resources Department of your employer. The local Council website will also list local amenities such as parks, leisure centres etc that may help you make your decision about your accommodation. Be aware that renting usually requires an upfront deposit of 1-3 months’ rent and there may be other fees to be paid.
Transition to a different country can be quite an isolating and overwhelming experience. Having good social supports is vital in acculturating to your new country. While social media will now enable you to remain in touch with your family/friends back home, it is helpful to start taking steps to assimilate in and adapt to the new home that you have adopted. UK is a diverse multicultural country and you should be able to find something that appeals to you and your tastes. Explore the local council or local tourist information website including the What’s On or TimeOut guides to find local events and activities. Local meetup groups are another great way to connect with local people. UK is a very green and outdoor-friendly country and most places have walking groups, nature trails and park runs that encourage new participants. If you are religious or even if you are not, local places of worship often offer support to new entrants and may be a good place to connect with the local community. The weather can be a bit intimidating – cold, grey weather is not everyone’s cup of tea but it does make for good conversation so do talk about the weather. Also remember, there is no such thing as bad weather – so get the right clothing (waterproofs, thermal wear, proper shoes) and you should still be able to enjoy the outdoors irrespective of the weather.