Checklist: 10 steps to settle in the UK @Sharehoods #FirstSteps #SettlingEffectively

The previous blog post tells my story about registration at the Overseas Visitors Records Office (Link) during my first week in the UK. Recalling this time as hectic and stressful, I decided to nail down 10 essential steps a student needs to make in order to settle in the UK effectively and hopefully cheerfully.

I do recommend accomplishing the following 5 steps in the given order:

1. As soon as you pass the boarding control, settle down, find your new home. Whether it’s a hotel, a student residence, university accommodation or a shared flat, you need to have at least a temporary address.Write down your new address and remember to note the post code, ask someone if you are not sure how to write the address correctly.
NOTE: I won’t focus on the question of housing now as it deserves as my review of London areas and ways to find a flat is coming soon.

2. Register yourself at the police station; bear in mind all the suggestions made in this post.

3. Visit your university and let them know your new address, register and receive your student card.Ask for the certificate of registration with your new address on it, signed/stamped by the university – you will need it. If possible obtain 3 copies.
4. Find the nearest bank in your neighborhood; open a student bank account. Your debit card is your magic key, which opens all doors around. Among most popular banks are: HSBC, NatWest, Lloyds, and Barclays. You can find plenty of their branches and cash machines around the town.You will need your student certificate with the UK address, a passport, and probably a proof of your overseas address. Check the requirements of the bank before going. Also, the beginning of an academic year is a hectic time so book an appointment to ensure you will be admitted.NOTE: my experience tells that it is always better to book your appointment anywhere you plan to go.
5. Get yourself a sim card with local number; compare rates and contract terms before making the final decision. You will need a bank account to get a contract. Most popular networks are Three, TMobile, O2, Vodafone, GiffGaff. My personal favorite is Three.

The next 5 steps can be completed in any order you find convenient.

6. Register at your local General Practitioner (GP); a Doctor. One can be found through the NHS web-system, where on the basis of your address, you will be given a selection of GPs in the area.Book your appointment, visit the doctor, and receive your medical card with NHS number. You might want to apply for a health insurance as well. Remember your NHS number for emergency situation.
7. Set up your payments by direct debit if you have any (utility bills, rent, memberships). Two advantages are: you usually receive some discount based on this payment method and won’t miss the payment deadline.

8. Apply for the student oyster card on the TFL website and travel with 30% discount.

9. If rent an apartment yourself, ensure that you let the Council Tax office know that you are a student. It means you should apply for the council tax exemption. Check if any other taxes apply.NOTE: in my experience, TV licensing companies will bug you even if you don’t have a TV and don’t plan to have one. So just let them know as soon as you receive a letter. Same for voting, you will need to answer the specific letter and let them know that you are an overseas resident.
10. Make yourself familiar with your neighborhood, avoid council flats/houses and streets where they are located, people there can be aggressive. Ask someone local to name you the streets with such houses.Plan your routes and travels by TFL and Google Maps. Download BusMapper and Train Line – two essential apps to ease your travel around London and the UK. Write down all important numbers, such as emergency, police, and your landlord.

Now, you are settled, connected, and can start your adventure. Good luck!

Useful links and numbers:



  1. […] finding an accommodation becomes the first stage of your big quest “Moving and settling in the UK”, today I will blog about things you need to consider when renting an estate in the UK. Unless […]

  2. […] могу посоветовать – регистрируйтесь у GP в своем районе как можно скорее по прибытию, делайте медстраховки, и […]

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