Plan any regular payments you need to make internationally with a currency specialist, to protect your payments and get the best possible rate. An experienced currency expert can help you plan your payments in advance and ensure you make the most of each money transfer you need to make. They can even protect the rate on regular payments for you, through a specialist regular currency trade plan.
Moving your belongings to the UK
Arranging for removal firms to visit your home and offer you quotes for shipping your belongings should not be left to the last minute. By taking this step early on, you can be sure of a competitive deal and ensure you select the firm that you feel most confident entrusting your treasured belongings to. When making your selection, it is important to check your preferred removal company holds the international movers’ quality standards marque – FAIM (FIDI Accredited International Mover).
The UK has certain rules on what you can and can’t take with you (or what will incur hefty customs costs). A good removal company will be able to advise you on what’s worth shipping and what isn’t.
Moving your pets
If you want to take your furry, feathered, or scaly family members with you, then you will need to find out the rules regarding the transportation of pets. These rules will differ slightly depending on where you are travelling from and the type of animal you wish to bring. Unsurprisingly, bringing animals that are native to the UK is more straightforward than bringing those that aren’t. Pets will usually need to be microchipped before they are allowed to enter the UK, possess a pet passport or third-country official veterinary certificate, and have been vaccinated against rabies. However, it’s always worth checking with a pet transportation specialist first, as they will be able to advise you of all the rules and regulations.
When you arrive to live in the UK, you will need to apply for a National Insurance (NI) Card, or number, at your local Jobcentre Plus. For this, you will need to arrange to attend a one-to-one interview (unless, for example, you need an interpreter) and bring with you a number of forms of identification – including passport and residence permit. Once you have done this you will then be assigned a National Health Service (NHS) number through the post.
Once your NHS number is received, you can apply to a local doctor’s surgery for a doctor, or General Practitioner (GP) – however, you will only be accepted by a GP if they have space available, so you may find that you’ll need to look around to find a doctor nearby who is willing to take you on as a patient. All GP consultations, hospital stays, treatments and use of emergency services are free for UK permanent residents.
If you are not resident in the UK – or don’t have a residence permit – then you may still be covered for treatment, depending on where you are from: the UK currently has reciprocal health agreements with a number of countries, including EU Member States, Australia and New Zealand. If you are not from one of these countries, you are strongly advised to take out some form of private healthcare insurance (although you will still be covered for hospital care)
There are many different types of schools that your child may attend in the UK. However, the majority of parents choose to send their children to state schools, which are free for all permanent residents of the UK. The school your child will be able to attend will be based on your locality and you will probably need to apply to a number of schools, listing an order of preference for the ones you’d most like them to attend. Depending on where you live, you may be able to send your child to a grammar school – which is a more academically-orientated type of secondary school (although these do not exist throughout all areas of the UK).
Like state schools, Grammar schools are free to attend, but in almost all instances, your child will need to pass an entrance exam (at the age of 11) to be accepted.
Private schools are also popular (but expensive), while faith-based schools and home-schooling are other options available to you. In the UK, children commonly start school when they are four or five years old. However, children are not legally obliged to be in school until the term following their fifth birthday. After that, school is compulsory until they reach 16 years of age.
The qualification your child will be studying for will depend on the province you live in. For example, in Ontario the high school diploma is known as the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) while in Alberta it is called the Alberta General High School Diploma. All high school diplomas work on a credit system whereby a child receives a certain number of credits for each course they complete during secondary education (from the age of 14 or 15 until they leave school). The number of credits, and subjects they will need to study, will differ by province.
Your last-minute checklist
In addition to the big things you need to do when moving to another country, such as booking flights, there will be much you need to think about. The two major areas you need to remember in all the madness are Paperwork and People.
Paperwork forms an important part of your last minute checks and one that it easy to forget. This includes things like making sure your passport is up to date, keeping all correspondence with immigration departments safe and closing down any bank accounts that you will no longer be using (particularly cancelling any direct debits). We recommend keeping any documentation that you think you may need in a safe place, easy to access when you need it.
This may also seem like an obvious point if you’re planning a permanent move to the UK, but it’s often overlooked with all the organisation needed when moving to another country. Don’t forget to take the time to say goodbye to your friends and family!
Make sure you have contact details for everyone important to you – keeping in regular contact with friends, family and loved ones is a key element of settling in to a new life overseas and you want to make sure you can stay in touch. You also need to ensure you have contact details for your financial, legal and property advisors, anyone you are bringing in to manage your property if you are planning to rent it out or use as a holiday home, and any other key professionals you have consulted with throughout the property buying and emigration process, such as visa specialists or your currency consultant.
If you’re moving back to the UK from abroad, the same applies – make sure you say your goodbyes and have contact details for any friends and professionals that you need to stay in touch with.