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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone,

In just a few days I will be moving to the UK (Scotland) but am having a good deal of trouble figuring out a few things...

-How do newly-arrived people to the UK manage to get mobile phones, a BT landline to get internet, etc. when all of the order forms for these seem to require a credit check and your address from the past three years. Obviously I do not have either of these--not in the UK anyway!

-I have a lease for a flat and that I will be moving into as I arrive, so that is very nice. I cannot for the life of me though figure out how to apply for a council tax account number?

-How long does it normally take to get a NI number, and just how important is this? It seems to take a while; from what I read it is not needed to apply for jobs but that it can sometimes be a problem if you don't have one when applying? Obviously I would like to start applying as soon as I arrive.

-Bank accounts seem to be really hard to get from what I read, but hopefully this will go quickly. I have my (EU) passport, lease, and am asking for "recommendation letters" from my bank here in order to facilitate this. If all goes well how long can I aspect for it to take me to open an account? Obviously I need one for plenty of things, like a mobile phone direct debit and all (not to mention general banking services!). Will be trying for the Royal Bank of Scotland. Is there anything else I can do to make getting an acct easier/faster?

-And finally, speaking of banks and credit. What are the easiest ways to start getting credit in the UK after a new arrival?

Any other general tips etc regarding what to do when I first arrive are quite welcome.

Thanks!! :)
 

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The first thing you need to do is to open a bank account. Although a letter from your former bank will be useful, I think it will be far more important to have a letter from your employer stating your salary and as much detail about your job as possible (salary, if your relocation is short term or long term, etc.).

When we first arrived here Citibank was very sympathetic and gave us a bank account straight away. HSBC is constantly advertising itself as your local global bank, so it may help to go to your local branch to see if they live up to their own hype.

The second thing you can do is register with your local council. If your landlord has not advised the council, then simply give them a call, explain your situation, and they should arrange everything for you.

Something else that applies in England (and I suppose in Scotland, but alas, they are different countries really, so beware) is the need to register in the electoral roll, which is checked as part of granting you any credit, try this website for this: Directgov: Apply to register on the electoral roll

As you may know, EU citizens can vote in local elections, so you can actually register in spite of being foreigner (we, non EU citizens have this eternal problem of not existing in the electoral roll...).

As for mobile phone, you can get a SIM card (they dish them like confetti) and an unlocked phone, then you can buy airtime as needed, but I suppose once you are settled, registered in the electoral roll and with a new bank account, you should be able to get a regular contract.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks!

Unfortunately I do not have work yet in Scotland--I am moving to be with a Scot and so will be searching for work upon arrival--so hopefully it will work out anyway with the bank account... argh.

The sim/pay as you go option I guess is indeed my only option for now when it comes to phones, but what about BT and internet, since both require credit/address history? Argh!

The Directgov link is only for England but I found the form I need to use mail in to get myself on the electoral roll. Annoying though--the next update is only in December meaning the earliest I will show up on it is in January! that seems ridiculous.

Any idea about the NI number?

Must admit all this seems quite frustrating at this point, but I am sure it will all fall into place... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok and another quick question, though this one is not nearly as important:
To qualify for citizenship down the line I have to prove when I arrived in the UK to qualify for the length of residency requirement. But other than my rental contract with the start date being the same as my arrival date, I won't have anything (no entry stamp or anything of course). Any tips for what I could do to get some kind of proof of arrival when I get there?
 

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Hi Daniel,

I can offer a little advice about the NI number. I'm not sure exactly how long it takes to get (I just applied for one in preparation for job searching). However, I can give you a couple of tips. First, you have to submit the application in a short time window (less than 4 weeks after they mail you the form (not when you get it)). This is easy, until you get to the bit on the form that says they want a certified copy of your passport. This would require you to get a notary or judge or someone to stamp your copy, it can take forever, as I found out. Because it took sooooo long I had to reapply! When I called them and told them why I needed a new form they told me that it is an error on the form. They do not need anything certified, just a regular photocopy is fine. So avoid that hassle!

Second, you can seek and take work before you have it. Some employers might want it, but my guess is they won't really care. You do need one, since it's how they can deduct NI payments, but I was assured by the NI people that it was in no way an offense to seek or even start work before it was issued. My guess is, if it's in process you will not be at any risk of committing a violation.

Also, I was able to get a mobile contract once I had my bank account set up (I got help from my university getting an account, so I have no idea how those who are just allowed to move to the UK manage it, sorry). Once I had the debit card that came with the account I was able to get the contract. I wasn't able to get one of the really large plans, but they did give me one, with a rather cheap phone. You might be better buying an unlocked phone and signing up for a sim-only plan. Those plans tend to be very good value for money as far as the number of minutes, texts and data, and since they are a rolling monthly contract and you can cancel any time, my guess is they are less strict about the credit check. (One last bit of mobile advice, I would stay away from the company called 3, I had terrible problems with them, but when I arrived I didn't know to stay clear of them. There's a reason they are much cheaper than anyone else; their customers run away!)

Best wishes,
Elizabeth
 

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As for getting a BT line, they are usually quite willing to install one (for around £125 fee) with a basic monthly rental of around £12. They may require you to put down a deposit of several hundred pounds until you've shown you can use responsibly.
Many people nowadays do away with a landline until they have set down roots (i.e. know they are going to stay in a property for some time). You can get a USB modem for mobile internet from all mobile operators from under £20, with a monthly charge of around £10 for 1GB download limit, with no contract.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah I was looking into mobile internet but the max I found was ones allowing 15GB a month and that is very little for me I am afraid, so I would indeed need BT so I could get unlimited home broadband. I really dread the thought of giving everyone a large deposit just to get contracts!
 

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I'm in the process of moving from the UK to France, and it's interesting to see this from the reverse perspective: how difficult it can be to get established here when the everything seems to be linked in a circle. A utility bill will prove your address, but you can't get a bill until you've got here and you can't get here till you've got a bank account, which needs a proved address.

My approach in France is to get a linked bank account, using a bank which has branches in both countries. They'll take a reference from my home bank to give me an account, linked to my present home address. But as soon as I have an address in France, I can give them that as a correspondence address, which is probably enough to start getting everything else in place: statements from a bank to a valid address. The key here being the bridge: the bank can accept my new address because they have proof and history on my existing address.

Penny x
 

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Thanks!

Unfortunately I do not have work yet in Scotland--I am moving to be with a Scot and so will be searching for work upon arrival--so hopefully it will work out anyway with the bank account... argh.

The sim/pay as you go option I guess is indeed my only option for now when it comes to phones, but what about BT and internet, since both require credit/address history? Argh!

The Directgov link is only for England but I found the form I need to use mail in to get myself on the electoral roll. Annoying though--the next update is only in December meaning the earliest I will show up on it is in January! that seems ridiculous.

Any idea about the NI number?

Must admit all this seems quite frustrating at this point, but I am sure it will all fall into place... :)
Then the Scot person will have a bank account. If he/she is your partner you could have a joint account, the only thing needed is to advice the bank.
 

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Thanks for asking all of these questions because that's exactly what I am trying to research now and finding a little frustrating - you can't get one service without having all of the others all 'set up' - doesn't make sense...

Looking forward to more replies though to make my/our lives easier :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just an update!

I was able to open a full bank account with debit card (no overdraft or CC though) the very next day after my arrival, so that part worked out just fine. No bank accepted a letter from my previous bank, they said it was pointless. Bank of Scotland was willing to give me a bank account with electron card which I did not want, Royal Bank of Scotland didn't have any appts any time soon so I didn't bother with them. Lloyds was originally a bit hesitant but then after I sat down and discussed everything with a manager or someone like that, she opened a full account for me that same day. :) So I can definitely recommend trying Lloyds, so far everything has been good with them! (Harsh fees for purchasing things abroad, though.)

I was also able to get an NI number with no problems (just needed my passport and proof of residence here), and the council tax/electoral list things went just fine too. The only thing I didn't try was a mobile phone, as I got my Scottish boyfriend to just open one more account under his name. BT had no problems opening an acct under my name as long as I paid 25 pounds in advance since I had no British credit.
 

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....My approach in France is to get a linked bank account, using a bank which has branches in both countries.....
This is what we did when we went to New Zealand. We opened the NZ account before we left the UK, so it was there ready and waiting for us when we got there. We just had to call into the branch we'd nominated to pick up cheque books, bankers cards, etc, and confirm where we were staying.

We used HSBC, but I'm loathe to recommend them as they went on to treat all except their richest NZ customers very shoddily at a later date.
 

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Yeah I was looking into mobile internet but the max I found was ones allowing 15GB a month and that is very little for me I am afraid, so I would indeed need BT so I could get unlimited home broadband. I really dread the thought of giving everyone a large deposit just to get contracts!

Be wary of mobile internet as Scotland doesn't have great coverage. You may be fine in a city but out in the countryside you will struggle. In my home village I can only use my mobile if I go to a certain area of the garden!!
 

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Just an update!

I was able to open a full bank account with debit card (no overdraft or CC though) the very next day after my arrival, so that part worked out just fine. No bank accepted a letter from my previous bank, they said it was pointless. Bank of Scotland was willing to give me a bank account with electron card which I did not want, Royal Bank of Scotland didn't have any appts any time soon so I didn't bother with them. Lloyds was originally a bit hesitant but then after I sat down and discussed everything with a manager or someone like that, she opened a full account for me that same day. :) So I can definitely recommend trying Lloyds, so far everything has been good with them! (Harsh fees for purchasing things abroad, though.)

I was also able to get an NI number with no problems (just needed my passport and proof of residence here), and the council tax/electoral list things went just fine too. The only thing I didn't try was a mobile phone, as I got my Scottish boyfriend to just open one more account under his name. BT had no problems opening an acct under my name as long as I paid 25 pounds in advance since I had no British credit.

I am puzzled about the electoral role... Have things changed since I lived in the UK I thought you had to be a British Citizen/National to vote? I never went anywhere to register to vote the paperwork always came through the door.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
EU citizens can vote in local, Scottish (if in Scotland of course), and EU elections in the UK (not Westminster).
 

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EU citizens can vote in local, Scottish (if in Scotland of course), and EU elections in the UK (not Westminster).
Plus Commonwealth and Irish citizens can vote in all elections, including Parliamentary.
 

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RE: letter of reference from US bank

Does anyone know what wording needs to be in the letter of reference from my bank here in the US?

Thanks :)
 

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RE: letter of reference from US bank

Does anyone know what wording needs to be in the letter of reference from my bank here in the US?

Thanks :)
I'm sure your US bank would know what wording would be necessary. Altho I think a UK bank would be more interested in you personal details in the UK, Your address, postcode, utility bills and pay slips????

Jo xxx
 
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