Managed to find your flat? We really hope so. (if you’re reading us from an internet cafe is fine too, been there, done that…).
Now, there are some things that you might want to know as soon as possible.
First of all, you might want to find out if bills are going to be in your name. This seems to be a minor issue, and indeed in itself it is, but you’ll see why I put this first on the list.
Your Bills and your Bank account
Before moving in, ask the agent or the landlord if bills are included in the rent. It usually are if you deal straight with the agent, they are not if you contact an agent to deal with. ‘Bills included’, as many private ads say, surely have their advantages: you don’t need to remember when they are due, you don’t need to make different payments for the different utilities, and you know exactly how much you are going to spend per week and per month.
Bills are very useful pieces of paper, though. They basically guarantee you can open a UK bank account. they prove you live at the stated address, and you will need two separate documents to prove your identity and your address. Especially if you’re not working, and therefore have no employer ‘guaranteeing’ where you live in a presentation letter, utility bills will be god friends of yours. If you moved to London to study, your college or university should be able to act in the same way, allowing you to apply for a bank account.
Bear in mind that your previous bank history, if this took place abroad, will be worth nothing. I have had an Italian credit card for years, which I regularly paid and never had any issue with, but when presenting my Italian account statements I was told that they appreciate the information but could not open an account for me based on those.
The National Insurance Number
I talked about your employer. Chances are you’ll be working in London, and they will be pretty high. To work in the UK you need a National Insurance Number (NIN). You need to apply for one, and this is quite easy. You need to set an appointment for a meeting at your closest JobCentre, where you will be asked why you are applying, who’s your employer (if any), and this sort of questions. You can also apply if you don’t have a job yet.
Make sure you bring with you as much documentation as possible (ID, proof of address, presentation letter from your employer) as you don’t want to waste your time being told to come another time just because you forgot a document. You will be told your NIN in a coupe of weeks (but you can work in the meanwhile), and will physically receive it within 6 weeks or so. The whole thing is completely free.
Find your closest GP
You don’t want to be sick two days after you moved, but it could happen. You want to find your local GP (General Practitioner) and be told to stay in bed and warm and all that. Also, if you really need one, you don’t want to find out you forgot to register with one. You can simply register with a GP, who will visit you within a couple of weeks and whom you will refer to for your needs. It’s free, and stupid not to register. Also, while you’re there, ind out where the closest hospital is.
We sincerely suggest you put these point on top of your list for your very first days in your new house.
Do you have any other tips you want to share with us? We’d like to hear them!