Congratulations on your acceptance to King’s, we can’t wait to welcome you to London! Thousands of students move to London to study at King’s every year, so if you ever feel overwhelmed by a daunting to-do list remember that you’re not alone and there are lots of people you can ask for advice if you run into any problems. We’ve compiled a list of some top tips to make your move as simple as possible.
1. Open a UK bank account
Having a UK bank account is important—while you can certainly get by in the short term without one, it’ll make your life much easier if you open one soon after arriving. Rent is generally paid out of UK bank accounts, and if you will be working your employer will usually want to pay your income into one. Also, it makes transferring money much simpler and helps you avoid unnecessary fees. To get set up, you’ll most likely need to bring proof of a UK address and a letter confirming your student status to a physical bank branch. You can get a confirmation of study letter specifically for opening a bank account on Student Records.
2. Get a British SIM card
While it might be possible to continue using your old phone number, it may be easier down the line to get set up with a UK SIM. There are lots of cheap student-friendly phone plans like VOXI and giffgaff, and you can find plans without a contract so you can switch or pause your plan when you travel home without any hassle.
3. Apply for a National Insurance Number
National Insurance numbers are used to calculate and pay taxes. While you might not need this immediately, if you want to work in the UK it’ll come in handy and applications can take a while to process so it’s best to get an early start on it. Applying for one is fairly straightforward—you can find out more on the UK Government website.
4. Get a Railcard
There’s a good chance you’ll be taking the tube regularly, especially if you’ll be commuting to campus. A Railcard for people aged 16 to 25 costs £30 per year and will save you on average £159 per year on train fares in the UK, but you can also use it to get cheaper travel on the London Underground. You can get an Oyster card at stations and ask station staff to link it to your Railcard, which allows you to spend less on off-peak travel. It’s also a great way to save money if you want to travel around the UK, and will basically pay for itself if you travel regularly. Find out more about discounts on the Transport for London network here.
5. Don’t bring too many electronics (and don’t pack too much!)
While you can use adapter plugs, outlets in the UK are different and things from home like kettles and curling irons might not work properly here. It’ll also save you from packing too many bulky corded items! On that note, remember that you’ll be able to get things like cookware and bedding when you get to London. Don’t feel like you need to bring it all with you—it’ll make moving in much easier as well if you’re not weighed down with loads of bags.
6. Make sure your visa is in order
Visas can be confusing, so make sure you familiarise yourself with the terms of your visa before you arrive and have all the necessary documents ready to go to avoid any surprises at the border. You can read more about student visas on the UK Government website here.