Living in the UK

How to settle in smoothly

A new job, a new country, a new chapter in your life – congratulations and welcome to the UK.

Hopefully you’ll have prepared as much as possible to ensure a smooth arrival. But don’t be surprised to find a few final bumps in the road – sorting your bank account, a suitable home, emergency healthcare and a good school for your children.


Here’s our guide to getting settled in.

How to find a new home

Renting for at least 6 months in a target neighbourhood is an ideal way to get a feel for what it’s like to live there.

Even if you’re keen to buy as soon as possible, try renting in a couple of different areas you like before you commit.

But before you start, have your documents ready. Landlords and agents will tend to want to confirm your identity, immigration status, credit history and possibly employment status.
Local estate agents will help you find property available to rent or buy, or you can use online agents which let you tailor your search to precise details such as number of bedrooms and type of property. When buying, Barclays may be able to help you with a number of types of mortgage.

If, as is more likely to start, you rent, you’ll need to put down a deposit before you can move in.

You’ll usually need to sign a tenancy agreement with a landlord which spells out your rights and responsibilities – find out more about the different types of tenancies and what’s involved.

Look after your health

From walk-in centres to doctors’ surgeries and 999 emergency calls to NHS hospitals, there are plenty of options if you’ve health worries. Once you are what’s known as ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK – and by this, it simply means you’re legally settled, working and living here – sign up with a GP (general practitioner) as soon as you can to cover you and your family for everyday medical concerns. You’ll get free care but may have to pay for drug prescriptions like most UK residents.

Search for and compare GP practices before you decide where to register, and you’ll then be sent a letter containing your ‘NHS number’. This will help healthcare staff and hospitals identify you correctly and match your details to your health records so you’re properly looked after.

Once you’re a resident as outlined above, if you need hospital treatment – whether routine or emergency – you’ll also be entitled to free NHS care. However, on your first visit, be prepared to be asked for proof you’re living here permanently.

If you don’t fall under the ‘ordinarily resident’ umbrella – and if you’re unsure, this NHS website includes a detailed description – then you may be charged for some NHS services. In such a situation, perhaps if you’ve been seconded as an employee, the government recommends adequate health insurance.

Got a young family? Find a school

If you’ve arrived from another EU country as an employee, you’re self-employed or on a work posting, your spouse and children may be able to stay here with you without having to meet any other conditions. In most cases, you may need to get a registration certificate for those living with you. Once in place, you’ll want to make sure they get a place in a school and make friends in your new community.

As an EU national (or from outside the EU on a work visa), your children will in most cases be able to attend free state-funded schools in England, between the ages of 5 to 18 (or nurseries if younger).

Check this government list of local state schools near where you live and compare their official performances. Or you can choose to pay to send your children to a private school (also often called independent school) where fees typically range from £1,500 to £4,500 a term, depending on your child’s age and the school.

Put your everyday finances in order

You may want to open a UK current account so you can easily get paid in sterling, transfer money and pay locally without worrying about daily currency conversions.

To see if one suits you, check our bank accounts at Barclays – you can do this online, in our mobile banking app or in a branch. To open one, you’ll need your addresses for the past 3 years (including your current UK address), and income and job details.




Working in the UK

Entry requirements and tips for starting out

As one of the world’s largest economies the UK offers a wealth of commercial opportunities.


Relocating to the UK

Tips for when you move

Enjoy an easier transition to the UK with these tips on what to do before you leave your home country and what to do soon after you arrive.