Monday, July 26, 2010

Child Immunizations

If you are moving to the UK with children, be sure they are up to date on their shots; and bring a record of their immunizations with you.  We found out the immunization schedule is very very different between the two countries.

Friday, July 16, 2010

More Bank Info

So, when we set up our utilities and satellite, etc. I put everything in my husband's name since he was the one making the money to pay the bills.  Bad idea.  Now, I can't get added to his bank account.  Some (possibly all) banks require you to show some sort of official mail with your name on it in order to prove your residence.  Mail from friends won't work.  Even though my husband already has the account, and all we wanted to do was add me to it, I still have to have something official with my name on it.

My tip of the day is: Set up at least one bill in any name that you'd want to setup a bank account for.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bank Account Success

I obviously can't guarantee this will get you a bank account, but it worked for us. 

First, have your employer call the bank they bank with and make an appointment for you.  Them vouching for you goes a long way.  Expect that getting this appointment may take some time and expect it to get rescheduled possibly more than once.  

Be patient.  Be polite.  Bring what they tell you to.  Don't expect to be able to use your account right away.  It took 3 business days for us to be able to use our account after opening it.  Also, be prepared to have to make another appointment.  The first one they may just tell you what you need and then you'll need another appointment where you bring those things in and actually set up the account.

You might want to try to get your first paycheck in cash, if possible.  You'll have bills that might be waiting for you when you arrive that need to be paid.

What to Bring With You, Part 2

I wrote about this before, but now that I'm here, I'd like to add a few more things. 

From the date our belongings were shipped, we were in another state for 4 weeks before coming to England.  So we were that long without the need of those things.  Once we got here, we found out it would be another 4 weeks before our stuff arrived. 

I had thought of a lot of things we would need, and expected to get them all when we got here.  Other things I forgot about.  Luckily we had wonderful arrangements on this end and ended up quite comfortable until our things get here.  Also, we move directly into our permanent residence.  We didn't stay in a furnished place first or a hotel.  So I'm going to list items that you would need to have to live someplace in the hopes that it helps you plan better for your move.  If any of these items can be brought with you, as air freight or in luggage, that is probably best.  If not, you could try to make arrangements for it to be here when you arrive.  The last thing you'll want to do (unless you can sleep soundly on a plane) when you arrive is go shopping.  Note: this is all additional to the obvious clothing and shoes etc.

-A place to eat - whether it be on your couch or at a table or counter; you'll need chairs, possibly a table.  If you have children, do you need highchairs?  I thought my son would be fine without one as he's almost 2, but he quickly proved me wrong.

-A bed.  We currently have a king inflatable mattress.  This is smaller than an american king bed, so my husband is currently sleeping on the couch.

-Couch or chairs.  If you aren't going to be home much, you could possibly make do with just kitchen table and chairs, but if your spouse stays at home or if you want to enjoy some tv, you'll want something in the living room as well.

-Towels.  Yup, you need to shower.  I had remembered to pack towels for my husband and I, but forgot our son.

-Soap/Shampoo.  You can easily buy this once you get here, but if you want to be able to get in and settle without running out to buy essentials, you'll need to have some at your place already.

-Linens.  You could make do with just a blanket for your bed, but that depends on how long you will be without your things and what you can tolerate.

-Pillow.  If you have a special pillow (special-medical, not special-sentimental), you might want to bring it with you.  I get migraines if I sleep wrong so I knew my pillow had to come with me.

-TV.  Obviously can't be brought with you as air freight, but if you can arrange to have it in your place when you arrive, it helps keep you from going crazy.  You might want something to play movies on as well, if that suits you.

-Dishes/Silverware.  You need to eat.  You can't live on take-away forever.  Grocery stores have excellent chilled meals, and it's just nicer to eat with real silverware.  Makes you feel less like you're on vacation.  Don't forget some type of serving ware as well.  Even if it's just one big spoon, you'll be glad you had it.

-Can Opener.  Pretty obvious why.  A lot of cans are tabbed, but not all.

-Medications.  Make sure you have at least a month supply with you.  That will give you time to get settled, get registered with NHS and find a local surgery, which can take a while if you aren't accepted at the first.

-Coffee and Coffee Maker/Kettle.  Again, can be purchased when you arrive if you feel like going out.

-Baby/Child Needs.  Someplace to sleep, toys, bottles/sip cups, diapers/training potty, lovie, food for a day or two until you can get out to shop, monitor.  Our poor boy has been sleeping in a playpen now for 6 weeks.

-Cleaning Supplies.  dish soap, dishwasher tablets, laundry detgt, a dishrag and/or sponge.  Those are the most immediately needed.

-Books.  If you read, bring a few.  You might find you have a lot of free time on your hands until your things arrive.  I suddenly have time to sit and do nothing.  Once our stuff comes I'll be unpacking, then rearranging, then cleaning and crafting and suddenly wishing I had time to just sit again. 

-Food.  Some basic sustenance until you can get out.

-Paper Products.  Toilet tissue, paper towel, tissues.

-Phone.  You'll want to stay connected with home.  Unless you can arrange for your home phone to be turned on when you arrive, you'll need a mobile phone that can make international calls.  You can usually have this feature turned on your existing phone before you leave the US.

-Computer/Internet.  Internet can take some time to get setup.  You could get a pay-as-you-go USB stick until your high speed can be installed.  We're on week 3 and we still have no high speed internet.  And that's not because we slacked in trying to get anything setup.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

visa service

My suggestion to anyone who ever needs a visa: use a service.  There are services you can hire who apply for your visa for you.  They make sure you have all the info you need, and can give you status updates, where you can't get them if you apply on your own.  With all we've gone through with ours, it would have been WELL worth the money to have saved our sanity.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More visa info

Wow.  Well, our visa applications have been submitted, mailed overnight last night and should arrive at 10:30 this morning.  However...  

When you fill out your application online (which is how you do it if you live in the US), be sure to READ everything on the screen as you're filling it out.  My husband applied for a Tier 2 visa, and on the very first page of the application, it gave us some really important information about things that needed to be included as supporting documents. 

DO NOT trust the list of required documents that comes in the email once you've completed the application.  That makes it look like you hardly need to send anything at all.  If I had gone by that, we'd be sorely wounded when we got rejected or severely delayed.  I encourage you to go to the following website.  It was the most thorough about listing all required information.  All other places I looked only gave pieces of info.  How To Apply For A UK Visa  Select the visa you are applying for and it will give you the info you need.  Keep in mind that this is specific to the UK, since that's where we're going, but I'm sure there is a page similar for your destination.

The worst part, I found, about submitting our application was the lack of guidance.  The website mentioned above is the best one I found, but unfortunately I didn't find it until we had already sent our applications.  Once I know whether we've been granted visas, I'll post a list of tips; things I included with our applications.

Either way, the process is not easy.  A lot of what you do is repetitive, but necessary.  And it was very hard to part with all original documents to send in the applications, including our passports.  But yes, you MUST send original documents. 

Stay tuned for an update on our application status.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Visa update

I was wrong about something with the visas.  Actually, my husband was wrong.  He thought we couldn't complete our visa applications until we had an NI number.  This is incorrect.  During the application process, you are asked if you have an NI number. If you say Yes, it will obviously ask you for it.  Since we don't yet have one, I said No and was able to complete the application process easy-peasy.

The best part of all is that we don't have to travel to the consulate in NYC like we thought we might have to.  We can go to a local support center for fingerprinting and photographs, and then we mail our applications to NYC for processing. 

If you're way behind schedule, like we are, you can also purchase priority processing which allows your application to be processed in 48 hours.  The cost for that is $150 per visa.  Ouch.  But if you're in a bind, it might be worth it.