|Photo credit © Yuliya Kogay||
When I arrived in London a year ago, I barely expected to spend almost 6 hours at the police station (Overseas Visitors Records Office). Sounds like a beginning of a detective story but if you are a student from Kazakhstan or Russia or any other country from this list, you will be required to pass the procedure of registration at the police when arriving in the UK
And now the “fun part” starts:
- You are given 7 days, but bear in mind that the police station is most likely to be closed on weekend as, e.g., London Metropolitan Police station. So in reality you have just 5. Sometimes there can be bank holidays or training days, and the station will be closed. So DOUBLE CHECK the opening dates and times before the arrival and plan your visit.
- Only one police station in London registers foreign nationals and usually only one office serves foreign nationals for the bunch of smaller cities. Now, if you are good at math, calculate the size of the queue, assuming the aforementioned. Some people start queuing 3 hours before opening, from 6 a.m.! SO COME EARLY! And prepare to wait… Bring along a book as you might not be allowed to use your phone inside the station.
- Another reason to come early is that even if you get a queuing number and get inside the station, it does not guarantee that you will be served on that day. So you can beg, you can cry, but if you come two hours before closing, your waiting might be useless after all.
- As you will need to present a number of documents, check that you have everything on hand. Also check the payment type as certain offices have specific rules for the fee payments. You will also be asked to register your address in the UK, so I would recommend settling before registering. Otherwise you will have to come back and register your address once again. If you are a student, most likely that your university has booked certain days/hours for its students, so contact them first.
I remember I arrived on Tuesday night and as I didn’t have a confirmed place to live, I spent the next couple of days searching for a flat. I also got flu, so nothing can describe my feelings when I came on Monday to the Overseas Visitors Records Office in London and was given a number 568, whereas the most recent in the line was 89. I’m telling you this lovely story not to spoil your excitement about the life/studies/work in the UK, but to let you know: shit happens. Certainly, it is not a situation one can’t handle, but it is a situation one can avoid. As I guess, you aren’t dreaming to spend a whole day of you first week in the UK at the police station.
Feel free to add your bits of advice on registration at the Overseas Visitors Records Office and share your tips if we missed something.
The next blogpost is a checklist of 10 essential steps a student needs to make in order to settle in the UK fast and efficiently.