Moving to the UK is a daily occurrence for our company, and cross-Channel ferries and Eurotunnel see substantial traffic. The UK is a favourite place to move to, with its rich history, robust economy and political stability attracting visitors from all over the world. Often referred to as Great Britain + NI, the UK is a top location in the world for short-term and long-term immigrants, but there are loads to organise before you make your move. Here are some snippets about “Blighty” that will help you on your way.
Moving to the UK: About the UK
The United Kingdom is a small nation in western Europe. It is an island, separated from mainland Europe by the English Channel. The UK comprises four separate countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and they have their own cultural identity.
London is the capital city. There are however many large cities throughout the country, such as Cardiff, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Belfast.
The climate in the UK is temperate with cloudy, wet winters and mild, warm summers. In the south, you are more likely to enjoy hotter summer months while in the north and on high ground, winters will be harsher.
Despite being part of the EU, the UK continues to use its currency, the pound sterling. It is the only valid currency in the UK. You can purchase some quickly in most banks across the world before arrival.
Financial services are a significant industry in the UK, with London being the first financial hub in the world. It offers many opportunities for professionals coming to the UK, with top roles in leading financial companies available.
Moving to the UK: Visa Requirements
To check the visa requirements, you will need to provide information about where you are moving from and the purpose of your visit. If you’re an EU or EEA national, you won’t need a visa to work or live in the UK. This facility applies for an unlimited time with no requirement to register or apply for a permit. This situation will change after Brexit and the transition period (31 December 2020) if a deal is signed before 29 March 2019 and will have implications on the number of people moving to the UK. People arriving from outside the EU/EEA, Canada, Australia or the US require a visa to enter and work in the UK. They should apply at the UK embassy before travelling.
If you are working in the UK, you will need to register and pay taxes with HMRC. Your employer should do this for you, but it is essential to check that you are registered. It allows you to pay tax and National Insurance. National Insurance contributions entitle you to state benefits like the coveted NHS, historically the first health service “free at the point of delivery” in the world. Before you move, you may also want to look at opening a British bank account to make it easier to make and receive payments in your new country.
Moving to the UK: Bringing Pets to the UK
Britain is renowned for being a nation of pet lovers. Being an island though, it used to have a systematic quarantine procedure to prevent diseases like rabies from spreading. There is now a Pet Travel Scheme which means that animals from specific countries are welcomed, providing they are micro-chipped, have a pet passport and the relevant vaccinations. Moving to the UK with pets who don’t meet the stringent requirements will mean they are only be approved for entry after six months spent in quarantine.
If you have a rare breed pet, you may require a conservation licence before bringing it into the country. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) can provide more information. It will also have accurate information is the consequences of Brexit have repercussions on the Pet Travel Scheme.
Removals to the UK: Where to Live
Like many countries, the UK offers a diverse landscape, and it’s possible to enjoy very different lifestyles depending on where you settle.
London is the most expensive place to live in the UK. It offers the fast-paced thrill of modern city life, with all its amenities close at hand. There are many other large cities such as Manchester, Cardiff and Edinburgh which offer the same style of living and convenient access.
However, you may want to discover the “green and pleasant land” that poets have written about. You’ll then need to move away from the main cities and explore rural areas. It is difficult to find anywhere more tranquil than Welsh valleys, while the south-west of England offers spectacular beaches with a more tourist-focused atmosphere.
There are many areas of cultural significance around the country such as Oxford, Bath and Liverpool, to name just a few.
Removals to the UK: Languages
English is the de facto official language of the UK. Although Welsh shares the official language status, its use is limited to Wales; and even there, people will also speak English. People from Scotland, Wales, Ireland, as well as Liverpool (Liverpudlian), Newcastle (Geordie), Manchester (Mancunian) to name just those few, have very distinct accents. It may take you some time to be able to understand some of them. A fast speaking Scottish person can be quite challenging to understand, and if you have never heard a Geordie speak before, you are in for a real treat.
The country has a rich tapestry of ethnic inclusion. Many other cultures and countries are well provided for within supermarkets or on the high street.
Moving to the UK: Transport
If moving to the UK, you will find an extensive but not always well-maintained road network. You will have easy access to even the more remote areas by car. However, cities are congested, and, in some cases, additional tolls apply. Also, driving in the UK means driving on the left-hand side of the road.
As an alternative, there is a comprehensive public transport system that operates both cross-country and within cities. The underground train system operates within main cities, but buses and overground trains complement the services on offer. For longer journeys between cities, there are coaches and trains. Public transport in the UK is practical, but it can be crowded, particularly at peak times. Trains are expensive compared to other European countries.
“Park and ride” are a popular concept in the UK. It is a good solution if you’re travelling some distance but want to avoid driving through the city centre. “Park and ride” provide a drop-off point to park your car and public transport into the centre of the city.
Moving to the UK: Removals to the UK
Moving to the UK is easy thanks to excellent accessibility. Despite the inconvenience of the Channel, European moving firms typically still carry freight via road. They use either a ferry or the Channel Tunnel as it offers the best combination of efficiency and value for money.
Whether you choose our Load & Go or our EasyMoves solution, European Moving can help you with your removal. We shall be able to help you with the full list of restrictions that apply to removals to the United Kingdom and also provide advice on a whole range of removal issues you may not have encountered before.