Your HR department may have a relationship with a major UK Bank but if not, TTA do have some links and would be happy to put you in touch.
Each bank is different with varying requirements and application processes but in general to open a bank account in the UK you will need to submit the original, completed and signed application forms along with a certified copy of your passport.
We strongly recommend that you get the certified copies of your passport prior to your arrival in the UK. This certification can only be made by a Notary Public, Attorney, Consulate or Senior Official from your overseas bank.
You will also need to bring a letter of recommendation or credit form from your bank to open a cheque account or credit card. All applications must be accompanied by a letter of introduction issued by the Company in the UK and signed by an authorised member of your HR Department.
You may use your American or European cards – Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Diners Club – whilst in the UK, but they will be billed back to your overseas account. You are advised to speak with your bank in regards to the charges and interest on current accounts as these may vary.
We would recommend that before leaving for the UK you take lots of copies of your documentation (passport, driving license, bank statements, certificates, references etc.)
When setting up your utilities many providers will ask for several copies and so it will be useful to have copies to hand.
The most popular UK home Internet providers include BT, Virgin, Sky, EE, and Talk Talk. In the UK, most Internet runs through phone lines so you must also pay for and set up a landline to get Internet access- regardless of whether you intend to actually use a landline.
Providers offer landline rental for a fixed monthly fee or as a full service plan as part of bundled packages with Internet (and in some cases, TV). Their deals can be quite confusing so it is worth reviewing packages online. Simplify digital is a good website for this.
Virgin Media offer broadband without the need for a phone line with their fibre optic technology, but this is not available in all areas.
Unfortunately, regardless of the company you decide to use, it can take up to six weeks to set up internet and often requires two visits from engineers. One to set up your landline and one to set up your Internet service.
Visits generally happen between 9am and 5pm and often the engineers can only give a large time slot for their visit so you do have to be patient. Don’t get frustrated – it is just how it is!
To minimise hassle, we suggest that you order your TV and internet as soon as the Tenancy Agreement is signed. We also strongly recommend that you order a pay-as-you-go 3G stick, dongle or mobile wifi device from one of the mobile providers for your first few weeks in town.
When you arrive in a new place you inevitably have lots of questions and need to look places up, so having no internet to research these things can be most frustrating!
Please also be aware that only the person who actually orders the internet can call and get status updates from providers – not even your partner can speak for you! Be sure to put both peoples’ names on the account to minimise frustration later.
Do not forget that if you plan on getting a TV package, you will also need to buy a television license.
The UK has three types of mobile phone service:
- Contract phone (pay monthly)
- SIM only
Contract phones are paid monthly based on a set rate for your plan. In the UK, contracts generally run for 18-24 months. Depending on which provider you use and how you purchase your phone, you may need to provide a proof of address and signature.
SIM only plans allow customers to purchase a SIM card and insert it into an unlocked phone. SIM cards generally come as either rolling monthly, quarterly or annual contracts – a good option for those who want flexibility or already have their own phones!
Pay-as-you-go phones allow customers to purchase a phone and add minutes to a SIM card. When you need more minutes, just top-up. This can be done online, by text or phone, or in many supermarkets and newsagents.
The most common providers in the UK are o2, EE, Three and Vodafone. It is worth checking which have the best coverage in your chosen area.
We are often told by our clients that they wish they had organised their utilities and bank account sooner. With so many more important things which need your immediate attention, utilities are not often a main priority and left to deal with upon arrival in the UK.
However, without limitless internet connection when you first arrive, research becomes that bit more complicated. We strongly recommend spending a little bit of time researching before arriving in order that you can hit the ground running and get the process started sooner rather than later.
The process can quite often be a lengthy one!