Home Living in the UK Cultural Integration Settling into life in the UK: your first week
Last update on August 02, 2021

Upon arrival in the UK, there will be several things you’ll need to arrange including opening a bank account, getting a national insurance number, finding work, and ultimately settling in the UK.

Welcome to the United Kingdom. You’ve just arrived and might be daunted by the number of things you need to arrange, including finding work, arranging childcare in the UK, and finding your local British hospital.

This guide will help you find your feet during your first week.

Open a UK bank account

Once you have arrived in England, you will likely need to open a UK bank account to handle certain payments, such as your salary or rent.

There are many banks to choose from, and some of the largest UK banks include:

One positive aspect about opening a bank account in the UK is that you will never be charged a fee for opening or closing your account.

Getting a National Insurance Number

Moving to England

If you are going to work in the UK, you will need a National Insurance numberApplying for an NI number is fairly easy. All you need to do is book an appointment at your local jobcentre and they will arrange it for you.

Get a UK SIM card

It will cost you a lot less to get a local phone number rather than using an international one. There are plenty of mobile phone providers in the UK to choose from and competitive packages and prices. Some main phone providers include:

Many larger phone companies have international packages to call home for a set amount each month. To get information, you can visit a store, browse online, or call the customer services team to advise you on the best package.

Get an Oyster card or research your travel options

There are many transport options in the UK for getting around. If you are going to be based in London, you might consider an Oyster card or a Railcard, particularly if you’re between 16 and 25 or 60+ years. This travel card gives you the ability to use public transport in London without purchasing a daily ticket, and the Railcard can save you up to a third off train travel. When you see how busy the underground is you will be thankful not to line up each trip.

Oyster card

Although traveling around is not quite as stressful in other UK cities, researching your travel options and ticket prices is best done before you leave home. Download the National Rail UK and Trainline apps to help with your journeys by rail.

Visit a recruitment agency in person

If you did not manage to secure a job before moving, don’t panic. There are many resources available in the UK to help you find a UK job. In the UK, rather than conducting your search from behind the keyboard, sometimes the best thing is to visit a recruitment agency in person. Many companies with temporary and permanent job vacancies sign up with recruitment agencies, and registering with several agencies can lead to more fruitful results than going it alone. You will be able to ask questions and agency recruiters have a better idea of what jobs are best suited to you and your skills, increasing your chances of landing a job.

Depending on your situation, you may also need to do the following:

  • Register with the local police
  • Find a local GP and dentist
  • Register to vote
  • Find a school in the UK

Although it can seem like a complicated process if you follow the steps above you’ll have all the basics covered to make your move to the UK less stressful.

Join an online forum

You can always join an online forum to connect with people in the same position as you. You can get some great inside knowledge and you can ask any questions you may have. If you are feeling a bit worried or down, you can often find the support you need. Plus, it is also a good way to meet new friends.

Arrange childcare

Kids in the UK

Once you’ve found work, if you’re a parent or carer, you’re likely to need to arrange childcare for your kids. There are plenty of options for childcare in the UK including village playgroups, the Early Years class at the local primary school, or private childcare. Prices will vary depending on which option you choose.

Mark the local hospital on your map

Almost every city in the UK will have a hospital open to the public. Healthcare is run by the NHS (National Health Service) and treatment options vary at hospitals in the UK.