I have my UK visa, what now?

Now that you have successfully applied for your visa you might be wondering what you need to do next? Read on to find out what you need to hit the ground running when you arrive.

National Insurance - If you are a registered BritBound customer then we will start the process of applying for your National Insurance Number (NIN) when you arrive, as you cannot apply until you are in the UK.

The process requires us to provide digital evidence (a photo) of your BRP card (you'll only need the BRP if you are on a visa). The NINO application process is now all online so you will not be required to go for any identity interview unless you are arriving here on an Irish passport

Your NI number usually takes around 6-12 weeks to be processed but you can still start work in the UK while you are waiting for the outcome. Please note that the National Insurance application cannot be fast tracked in anyway despite what you may read or hear online!

You will need a secure address for your NI number to be sent to.

You can read more about National Insurance here.

If you want to apply for your number independently then you can do so here.

Bank Account - due to the strict financial regulations surrounding setting up a bank account we recommend waiting until you have your National Insurance number before applying for a physical, 'bricks and mortar' account.

Setting up a UK sterling account before you arrive in the UK

In the interim, we recommend you start with a cloud based bank account such as Revolut as you can apply for this before you arrive in the UK. We are recommending this as an interim solution but we are hearing a lot of very positive feedback about the app. You can actually set up multiple accounts across different countries. Then when you go travelling you simply transfer funds to the bank account in that country and use the digital card attached to the account to make all your purchases whilst in the country.

For a bricks and mortar (High Street bank account), with one of the the big 5 banks (HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds, Metro, TSB)

For a retail bank account you will really need to wait until you have your National Insurance number. So as soon as you pick you your BRP card then let me know so I can assist with your NI number (providing you are a registered BritBound customer. If you do not have an address then you can sign up to our secure UK address package or UK relocation package here: www.britbound.com/pb

UK SIM Card - one of the great things about the BritBound portal is that it will allocate you a phone number. Which means that before you even leave, you can add this to your CV and be instantly contactable by any potential employers when you arrive. There is no contract attached to it, you simply top up each month on a Pay As You Go basis. The different networks all offer you bundle deals to give you a certain amount of data, texts and minutes as part of your payment. To help you choose the best one, you can read about the different bundles once you are logged in. If in the future you decide to go onto a contract or switch to a different network your number is portable, so you can keep the same number if you move to another provider.

You can also apply for a UK SIM card from our website - just go to www.britbound.com/pb and you will see the options in the Relocation Tab.

If you would like us to activate your SIM card so that you do not need to wait to the UK then just ask. Then you will be able to give the number out to employers and they'll think you are in the UK! Might help speed the job search process up!

Arrival Accommodation - arriving here with no accommodation lined up, is he fast-track to a stressful experience. Hostels run at high capacity here and quite often there are no beds at all. If you are thinking about doing Air BnB then just make sure you do your research to make sure you are not in a ‘dodgy’ area and that you are not falling prey to one of the many fake houses listed. We would advise you book at least 2-3 weeks accommodation. One thing I always suggest is to consider staying in different areas when you first arrive here. It is a super way to get to know different areas and will help you decide where you'd ultimately like to base yourself. The great thing about Air BnB is you can do just that!

Another very popular option is to arrange a short-term stay in a house share. this is where you get your own room and then you share the bathroom and kitchen. The price includes all your bills and internet and you can sign up on a month to month basis, i.e. no long term commitment needed! We recommend Crenns who are run by a lovely British couple, Simon and Charlotte. They did used to offer a reduced deposit for BritBound customers, so mention us and find out.

For more info, read our article here for more ideas about short-term house shares.

Employment - whilst it is unlikely that you are going to be able to organise this until you get here (unless you are interested in some of our job placement options), you can start to create a strategy so you can minimise the amount of time it takes. Here at BritBound we have a number of contacts with employers and employment agencies open to recruiting international candidates and those arriving on working visas. In your my.britbound portal there is a CV forwarding option where you can select the industry sector you are interested in and if we have any recruitment partners in your field, your CV will be sent onto them. You will then receive an e-mail telling you where it has been sent. We have also written a few articles to help you get the ball rolling with regards to work.

CV Advice - if you would like any pointers when it comes to your CV then please feel free to e-mail us, telling us a bit more about what area of work you are hoping to get into. If we can put you in contact with anyone in your industry to give you some job pointers we will...so the more info you give us about what you want to do, the better!

Money Transfer - BritBound recommends registering with a service called OFX who offer BritBound members unlimited fee-free transfers. You will need to register with them before you leave, you should hear from them within 72 hours. If not, contact your location toll free national number to finalise your registration.

You will need to upload two documents (photos or scans are fine) in order to register with OFX

  1. Photographic Identification - Document in the form of either a current Drivers Licence or Passport.
  2. Proof of Address Document - Either your drivers licence (as long as you did not use it as your ID) or a recent bank statement or utility bill issued within the last 3 months & addressed to you.

You can also do this very easily by registering with OFX through your BritBound Portal.

Secure UK Address and Mail Holding - if you do not have a secure address to use in the UK you will be able to opt to use ours. A fee is applicable but if we use our address for your NI number then we become the default address for all your HMRC documentation which means you won’t ever lost any important tax correspondence, like a tax refund!

You can add a few months of this on in your My.BritBound portal.

Travel Insurance - We understand that after saving your heart out for your trip, travel insurance may seem like an additional expense you can live without. That said travel insurance could actually save you money in the event of a medical emergency or travel delay or incident. So, whatever you do, don't forget to pack your travel insurance whether it is for your time in the UK or your travels through Europe.We recommend World Nomads, for more information visit them here.

Doctors, Dentists and the NHS

It is highly likely that you will have paid an IHS fee in order to access health services whilst you are in the UK.

The website that supports all the NHS services is NHS.uk and it is worth having a good read to understand how to register with a doctor and everything else you need to know about staying healthy whilst in the UK.

For a more comprehensive guide on registering with a doctor, see our article here - How to register with a GP surgery

Payroll - Here in the UK, there are a number of different ways to be paid, depending on your job. We work closely with Workgroup known previously as Income Made Smart (IMS), who can give you a FREE mentoring session on Tax, Umbrella & Limited Companies. For further information and to find out if you qualify for the tax advantages offered by these alternative structures then you can request further information from them through your my.britbound portal.


Before you arrive here it would be helpful to understand what you need to do to ensure your tax affairs back home are in order.

The good news in the UK is that if you are employed by a company on the PAYE structure there is no requirement for a tax return. To learn more about tax and tax returns we recommend you talk to Paul at Taxback (www.taxback.co.uk). He has written a lot of very helpful articles to help you understand UK tax. Most importantly can help you get a tax refund!