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Topic: What do you wish you did when first arrived in the UK?  (Read 1136 times)

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What do you wish you did when first arrived in the UK?
« on: March 03, 2018, 02:10:54 AM »
I'm waiting on my spouse visa to come through and trying to prepare as much as I can! Any advice on things like getting a NI number or establishing credit to get a mortgage or how to start collecting information for the NEXT (oy) visa?

Thanks!
Visa Timeline

Submitted Non- Priority Spouse Visa Online: 4 Feb 2018
Biometrics Appointment: 15 Feb 2018
Documents Received in Sheffield: 20 Feb 2018
Decision Made Email: 9 May 2018 (54 Business Days)
Decision: Accepted! 10 May 2018
Moving to UK: 5 July 2018


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Re: What do you wish you did when first arrived in the UK?
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2018, 06:48:12 AM »
Things to do after you arrive in the UK:
- pick up your BRP card
- get your name added to bills etc.
- register with an NHS GP (usually you need proof of UK address, such as a bill in your name)
- apply for NI number if you plan to work
- start collecting all your mail as you will need mail in both your names (either jointly addressed or separately addressed) for the next visa

In terms of establishing credit, it’s likely to take you a year or two to get enough credit to be able to get things like a phone contract etc. A lot of mortgage companies won’t lend to you unless you have ILR (while will be after 5 years in the UK), but a few forum members have managed it while still on a spousal visa.


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Re: What do you wish you did when first arrived in the UK?
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2018, 11:17:07 AM »
I would have contacted HMRC and set up an account, and paid estimated taxes into it so that I could have had a foreign tax credit on my first year's USA taxes filed in the UK.


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Re: What do you wish you did when first arrived in the UK?
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2018, 02:47:55 PM »
Getting added to bills is a real pain. AON told me that they could not add my wife for legal reasons, and my water company doesn't have the option.

So get yourself on the council tax. It's likely too late now as council tax bills have gone out now but I was able to do it with my local council. They just wanted a scanned copy of the marriage license. They gave my wife a title of Ms but I can live with that.


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Re: What do you wish you did when first arrived in the UK?
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2018, 03:24:03 PM »
Getting added to bills is a real pain. AON told me that they could not add my wife for legal reasons, and my water company doesn't have the option.

So get yourself on the council tax. It's likely too late now as council tax bills have gone out now but I was able to do it with my local council. They just wanted a scanned copy of the marriage license. They gave my wife a title of Ms but I can live with that.

If they won't do joint names on your utilities, consider putting one in her name alone so that the mail is more evenly spread between the two of you.
You can also have her US bank statements sent to your UK address and open an account here too.

Don't give up, you will need that mail!  :)


March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.


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Re: What do you wish you did when first arrived in the UK?
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2018, 08:19:11 AM »
I would add: don't stress about the bank and to do that one last once you have all the other bills. It should be straightforward but its not!


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Re: What do you wish you did when first arrived in the UK?
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2018, 10:27:24 AM »
I too would second getting added to bills ASAP (even just council tax or water bill or something).

RE establishing credit, it might be difficult to do right away so I wouldn't worry about that too much. DO look at sorting out your NIN. It just gets it out of the way and is one less thing to think about.

DEFINITELY save pieces of your mail/joint mail that qualify for usage on your next visa. I wish I had known that as it just made it that much more daunting when we went to renew vs if we had looked ahead and stayed organised from the start (start a folder you can keep filed away).

On a slightly different theme to the above, I honestly wished that I had put myself out there more and established a positive routine. The first month I was here, before I got a job but my husband was working, I would literally sit around the house and unpack and watch TV. I would go out to grab a coffee and walk around the shops and come back to make dinner. It was a bit lonely and isolating but it was totally within my power to change as I was in a big city with lots going on. I had somewhat of a routine but I wish I had done more to try to make my own friends as opposed to relying on my husband's friends. I wish I had joined classes or even a gym to get in the habit of getting out and doing something healthy/active for even just an hour. I should have attended meetups and done all that as it just got harder to put myself out there the more settled and comfortable I got with my new surroundings.

Also, if you have the opportunity, I would maybe practise driving if you have a US license and access to a car in the UK as you can use that for the first year before needing to get a new provisional license. I should have got all the practise I could get in during that first year but where I was living and the one car that we had being above my experience level, I just wasn't interested and I put it off.
My, how time flies....


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Re: What do you wish you did when first arrived in the UK?
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2018, 10:50:16 AM »
I think Kiss of Death's advice is spot on! 

I got a couple of concertina folders from W H Smiths and put labels on for each month and started to save everything with our names on from day one.

Having a routine keeps you sane.  If you have a job you take it seriously, have a routine and do it to the best of your ability.  Settling in to the UK is a job, so is making contacts and friends.  Make a plan, join everything you can, go to everything you can, talk to everyone you can.  The goal is to meet someone you can go and have coffee with. 

What an adventure!


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Re: What do you wish you did when first arrived in the UK?
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2018, 10:55:18 AM »
I've only, after my FLRM, learned that I should keep a folder (and now it's late in the game). It's definitely something I wish I had just done from the start! Would have made the process slightly less stressful for sure!

My, how time flies....


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Re: What do you wish you did when first arrived in the UK?
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2018, 10:57:26 AM »

I got a couple of concertina folders from W H Smiths and put labels on for each month and started to save everything with our names on from day one.


And keep up with the folders if you can! I started out really organised so FLR was quite easy but for the next couple of years I literally tossed everything in a box which would get upended every now and again if I needed a particular piece of mail so it was just a mess at the end there!  ;D
March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.


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Re: What do you wish you did when first arrived in the UK?
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2018, 11:10:10 AM »
We got here last June and got the concertina file.  I carefully put the labels on for each month. We got a couple of folders (I admit they were on sale) and covered a couple of years.  I carefully put things in the folder as and when they arrived.  I felt very smug.

And then I didn't!  And they all ended up in a pile.

This week I sorted them out and put them in the folder.  I have now brought the folder down from upstairs into the living room.  I can see the folder as I type!  No excuse now.



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Re: What do you wish you did when first arrived in the UK?
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2018, 11:13:45 AM »
We got here last June and got the concertina file.  I carefully put the labels on for each month. We got a couple of folders (I admit they were on sale) and covered a couple of years.  I carefully put things in the folder as and when they arrived.  I felt very smug.

And then I didn't!  And they all ended up in a pile.

This week I sorted them out and put them in the folder.  I have now brought the folder down from upstairs into the living room.  I can see the folder as I type!  No excuse now.

hahahaha one step at a time for me...I got the file set up in time for ILR as the next step. Don't also expect me to group my individual months!  ::) ;D  I just toss them all roughly into the file (sometimes on top if I can't be bothered) and leave it until later.

Don't be like me guys. Practise what I preach, not what I do. haha
My, how time flies....


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Re: What do you wish you did when first arrived in the UK?
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2018, 04:20:08 PM »
Hi @ksand24

BRP & registering with a GP only apply once someone is on a spouse visa (not fiancée visa), correct?

Things to do after you arrive in the UK:
- pick up your BRP card
- get your name added to bills etc.
- register with an NHS GP (usually you need proof of UK address, such as a bill in your name)
- apply for NI number if you plan to work
- start collecting all your mail as you will need mail in both your names (either jointly addressed or separately addressed) for the next visa

In terms of establishing credit, it’s likely to take you a year or two to get enough credit to be able to get things like a phone contract etc. A lot of mortgage companies won’t lend to you unless you have ILR (while will be after 5 years in the UK), but a few forum members have managed it while still on a spousal visa.


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Biometrics: Fri., Feb. 02, 2018
Documents Rcvd email: Wed., Feb. 07, 2018
Decision Made email: Fri., Mar. 16
Business Days: 28
Documents Received: Mon., Mar. 19
Decision: Approved!


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Re: What do you wish you did when first arrived in the UK?
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2018, 04:27:50 PM »
Hi @ksand24

BRP & registering with a GP only apply once someone is on a spouse visa (not fiancée visa), correct?

You won't get a BRP with the fiancé visa, correct. You won't be able to use the NHS without paying but there is nothing to stop you registering with the GP.
March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.


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