After moving to London almost two months ago I can finally say I’m settled between National Insurance numbers, bank accounts and wifi its not easy getting set up over here. When I moved here I was lucky that I had family to stay with before moving over I didn’t realise just how lucky I was that I had a place to stay and had people to point me in the right direction. I wanted to write a post that will hopefully help anyone that is considering moving to London because getting set up feels like a vicious circle at times.
National Insurance Number:
When you move to the UK this is the first thing you need to do, you have to be in the UK to apply for this which is a bit annoying. The process for this is you need to call to set up an interview to apply for a national insurance number. Mine took 2/3 days which isn’t long so I was lucky. You need proof of address and passport. This is where it gets tricky because I had a job sorted when I came to London I had a letter addressed to my cousins from my employer and I was able to use this as my proof of address. My boyfriend however did not have a job yet so he could not apply for the National Insurance Number until he had proof of address. I will explain what you can do if you are in the same situation as my boyfriend below in the 1st Contact section. The interview can take about an hour between waiting and the interview itself. Once the interview is complete the wait time for the National Insurance Number to be sent out to you can be between 1-4 weeks. Mine came exactly two weeks after my interview took place. Getting this number makes things like opening a bank account and renting a whole lot easier as I found out the hard way. Find more info here
Opening a Bank Account:
It took me three attempts to open a bank account. I was told that I only needed my letter of employment or proof of address and passport to open account in Metro Bank and you get your card on the day. After trying Metro Bank and every other bank around I was told I either needed my National Insurance letter as proof of address and passport, a utility bill and passport or a specific letter from my employer and passport. So as I did not have my National Insurance Number or Utility Bill I used my letter from my employer so back I went to Metro Bank but the letter was not correct. Your employer has to address the bank in the letter, include my address, salary have a date and hand written signature on it. Third time I finally got it sorted and I received my card on the day.along with internet banking.
As mentioned above I was lucky enough to have a job sorted when I arrived in London so I had proof of address and I had an address from staying with my family. If you do not have proof of address (like my boyfriend) or an address you can use 1st contact. 1st contact offer different packages depending on what you are looking for as my boyfriend need a National Insurance number and a bank account he purchased the Classic Kickstart package for £35. As I had been through the process for the National Insurance Number there was no need for him to get Classic Kickstart package + NINO for £55 as we knew what to do. You can view the packages here. I had done research on this before coming to London and a lot of people said it was a waste of money that you can do everything yourself but for someone in a similar situation to my boyfriend this was perfect. 1st contact sent out a starter package the same week with a letter for his chosen bank, sim card, discount codes and helpful guides. You choose what bank you want to go with and 1st contact have an agreement with certain branches that their letter will allow you to open an account without all the other documentation I needed. You then have to show your National Insurance number etc within 30 days of opening the account. So after as few days his bank was set up and he had an appointment for the National Insurance Number all thanks to 1st contact.
I started looking for accommodation before I moved to London but as I did not know any areas I didn’t really know what I was looking for. I think if you have a place to stay when you move over first you are better off to wait and look while you are in London. I was looking on Spare Room as I wanted to live central enough so we needed to share with people to be able to afford this. I thought this was going to take ages to find somewhere in a good location, that was nice and a good price but we actually ended up finding something super fast. On Spare Room you can see what other couples are looking to share and what places they have shown interest in I saw one couple that were the same age and looking at the same apartment as us so I messaged them and they were happy to go for a viewing. The apartment we were looking at had just gone up so if you were a free member on Spare Room you could not message yet I decided to upgrade and messaged the agents straight away I think this is why we got this apartment. We went for a viewing and it felt too good to be true that this place was still available and not snapped up straight away but it all worked out in the end. I’m still shocked that we got the first place we wanted. So my advice is to browse Spare Room and other websites before you come to London to get an idea of what places are available and prices so when you find a great place in a great location and is amazing inside you will know to reach out immediately.
When I first moved over I bought a lovely big suitcase ready to fill it up to the brim with all my stuff forgetting that the limit was 20KG my suitcase wasn’t even half full and was a bit over the 20kg mark. Luckily it was Summer when I moved so I could squash in a load of my light Summer clothes but when I moved into my own place I really wanted to get my stuff over to make it nice and homely. My friend mentioned that she has used UniBaggage before to move over her stuff so I looked it up. You can send over suitcases or boxes of stuff 25KG or 30KG for like £25.00. This is way cheaper than checking in suitcases that you can only half fill and the best thing is that they collected it from my house back in Ireland and delivered it straight to my house over here in two days it was an amazing services. Check them out here
I really hope I didn’t forget anything if you have any questions please just contact me 🙂