Expats FAQ in United Kingdom

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Q: What are the requirements for expats opening a bank account in UK?

A: To open an account, expats will be required to submit the basic requirements like a passport, proof of income and employment, and proof of UK address. Additionally, most banks will ask for a few recent bank statements and a letter from the expat's bank in his home country, testifying on the person's financial track record.

Q: What are regular banking hours in the UK?

A: UK banks open at 9am and close at 5pm, Mondays thru Fridays. Telephone banking services could extend well beyond 6pm.

Q: How are ATM exchange rates in the UK?

A: ATMs actually offer some of the best exchange rates in the UK. and so do banks and post offices. When using ATMs though, take note of fees for international transactions as they can quickly add up.

Q: What are banking options for expats in London?

A: London has all of the world's biggest and best banks, from HSBC to Lloyds TSB to Barclays, etc. However, expats also have other options such as Internet banks, building societies and more. Competition in London's banking industry is rather stiff and banks are known to outdo each other by offering incentives if only to attract clients.

Q: Is it possible to open an account with a London bank before one has arrived in the city?

A: Yes, it is possible for one to open a bank account in London before arriving in the city. The advantage is that money transfers will be much easier. However, the fees would be higher, and London banks usually require that an account be opened in a branch in the expat's home country, with an initial deposit that is usually hefty.

Q: How much do London banks charge as transaction fees?

A: Fortunately, most banks in London do not charge clients for using their services. They actually even offer lots of perks as a way to keep clients or attract new ones.


Q: Is gift-giving part of the UK business culture?

A: Not exactly, but from time to time, people may find an appropriate occasion to give gifts to a business associate or even a boss. Desk accessories are some of the safest business gifts. Lunch or dinner could also be considered a gift.

Q: Are Brits as direct as Americans in terms of business communication style?

A: Like Americans, business people in UK don't like consuming time with unnecessary talk. However, they are a bit subtler than their counterparts in the US. For example, they may be willing to ignore a very minor mistake, instead of pointing it out and offending someone. Generally speaking, their communication style is a cross between direct and modest.

Q: Do UK offices observe religious holidays?

A: Yes. UK offices observe religious holidays, including Christian, Orthodox, Jewish, and Muslim holidays. When the holiday falls on a weekend, it is usually moved to the first weekday that follows.

Q: How and where does one register a business in London?

A: The Companies House is where UK businesses are registered. In London, registration papers are filed at its office at 4 Abbey Orchard Street Westminster. To register, form OS INO1 must be filled out and mailed to the office no later than a month from opening the business. A registration fee of £20 is to be paid either by postal order or cheque.

Q: How does an expat open a business account for a new business in London?

A: To open a bank account for a new business in London, an expat can open a new bank account within London, use an existing business account in the expat's home country, or open a UK sterling account in that country. The more cost-efficient option is usually to open a London account or to a UK sterling account as a way to avoid banking fees. To open a business account in the expat's home country for a London business, a London address is needed.

Q: Where can expats ask for help when considering opening a business in London?

A: They can call the Business Support Helpline in London at 0300 456 3565 any day from Monday thru Friday between 9am and 6pm. Callers get up to 60 minutes of free, specialist advice and can book telephone appointments anytime within business hours.


Q: What type of schools do UK expats usually send their kids to?

A: It depends on their circumstances. Those who live in areas with high-standard state schools will probably send their children there. Those who can't find a good one (the standard of education varies considerably among UK public schools) would usually pick a good private school. Families that don't plan to stay in the UK for a long time might enroll their kids in an international school, and the costs are usually negotiated into the parents' employment package, considering that fees in these schools are normally very expensive.

Q: Are there exciting zoos for kids in UK?

A: Certainly! Zoos have actually been very popular in the country from way back the 1900s. They even have the world's first public aquarium, first children's zoo, first insect house, and first reptile house. There are many exciting zoos scattered across the UK for the enjoyment of kids and adults alike.

Q: Are there exciting zoos for kids in UK?

A: Certainly! Zoos have actually been very popular in the country from way back the 1900s. They even have the world's first public aquarium, first children's zoo, first insect house, and first reptile house. There are many exciting zoos scattered across the UK for the enjoyment of kids and adults alike.

Q: Are there financial programs for disabled children in UK?

A: Yes, there are both public and private organizations that assist families in rearing disabled kids in UK. The rules vary though from one program to the next. There are those that only extend financial help, while others provide assistance in almost all aspects of individual development, up to the a certain age (usually around 25). It's easy to search for these programs using the Internet.

Q: What are the best museums in London for kids?

A: In London, kids are typically brought to the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum. These are the most popular museums in London that display artworks, artefacts and other items that are likely to hold the interest of children.

Q: Does London have a theatre for kids?

A: There are theatre performances held for kids in London, though the theatres themselves also present performances for adults. From time to time, the West End holds classic performances for kids such as Aladdin and The Lion King.

Q: Where can kids go for ice-skating in London?

A: Ice skating is a favorite activity in London when the temperatures go low. For the kids, this activity is done at the Alexandra Palace Ice Rink, outside the National History Museum (South Kensington, in Somerset House) and in London's Winter Wonderland (Hyde Park).

Cost of living

Q: How much is a utility bill in the UK on average?

A: This usually depends on the size of the property, but on average, people pay around GBP 120 monthly for water and electricity. About GBP70 monthly goes to heating, especially if the property is old and has insufficient (or absent) insulation.

Q: Is council tax counted into rent in the UK?

A: No, council tax is paid separate from the rent. While the actual amount depends on the size of the property, most expats pay around GBP 100 monthly.

Q: What's a cheaper alternative to trains when traveling inter-city in UK?

A: Intercity train travels in the UK are known to be expensive, but people can save a good amount of money simply by booking early or using a railcard. Those who are looking for bigger savings can take the bus which is much cheaper. From Birmingham to Manchester, the fare is around GBP15. When booking in advance and with a Coach Card, this can even get as low as GBP 5.

Q: What's the best way to find the best London neighborhood to settle in?

A: The best way to do this is to balance the cost of housing and transport options available in a particular area. That's because in most cases, expats rely on public transportation, so there’s no use trying to get a cheaper apartment when the savings are easily offset by daily transport costs.

Q: How much is a typical initial cash outlay for renting a property in London?

A: Most expats' first big cash outlay would go to the bond and one-month advance rental. This could rack up to more or less £1000, depending on the property involved.

Q: What are some ways for expat students to reduce their living costs while in London?

A: There are many ways for expat students to live on a budget in London. One is using their youth or student travel card which entitles them to lots of discounts everywhere, from cinemas to bars to museums and all. Oyster cards for young people are also great for reduced transport fares.

Q: What are some ways for expat students to reduce their living costs while in London?

A: There are many ways for expat students to live on a budget in London. One is using their youth or student travel card which entitles them to lots of discounts everywhere, from cinemas to bars to museums and all. Oyster cards for young people are also great for reduced transport fares.


Q: How long does it take to get an NHS number in UK?

A: Assuming there are no problems with the documents submitted, the number will usually arrive in the mail within two weeks. As soon as the NHS number has been received, the expat can register with a local GP to start benefitting from UK's public insurance scheme.

Q: Do NHS patients really wait a long time to get treatment at a public hospital?

A: Unfortunately, yes. It is not unusual to call today and get a GP appointment one week later. According to the rules, patients can demand priority (being seen within 48 hours), but in reality, this rarely happens. For emergencies though, NHS patients do get speedy and efficient treatment.

Q: Does NHS cover dental services?

A: Yes, but only for preventive procedures. Like most other health insurance policies, public or private, NHS does not include cosmetic dental treatments. NHS patients get a 25% discount for covered procedures.

Q: What are some of the public or NHS hospitals in London?

A: Public hospitals in London that provide state healthcare benefits include Guy's and St Thomas’ Hospital at Westminster Bridge Road, The Royal London Hospital at Whitechapel Road, Whipps Cross University Hospital at Whipps Cross Road, Leytonstone, and University College London Hospital at 235 Euston Road. Expats are qualified to obtain public healthcare provided they have permanent resident status.

Q: Are London expats entitled to free emergency care in London?

A: Yes, expats in London, regardless of immigration status, are entitled to free emergency care at any of the city's public or NHS hospitals.

Q: Is healthcare part of London employers' remuneration packages?

A: Unfortunately, most employers in London do not offer medical benefits as part of their employment remuneration programs. There are some that do, but in most cases, employees purchase their own private health insurance. London has all of the world's best insurance providers, including Allianz, Axa PPP and BUPA among others. It is also home to some of the best private hospitals in the world such as The London Bridge Hospital, The Portland Hospital, and the BMI City Medical.


Q: What type of housing do expats usually prefer in UK?

A: To save on costs, especially during their first few months or years in UK, expats usually live in large houses shared with other expats. However, there are many other options like single houses, apartments (called flats), maisonettes or those apartments with more than one storey, and studio-type apartments (called bedsits). In urban areas, apartments, maisonettes, and studios are the most popular.

Q: Is it true that there is a housing shortage in UK?

A: Experts don't exactly call it a housing shortage, but there is stiff competition for UK rental properties right now. Expats should ensure that they have enough money before flying in so they can immediately pay a reservation fee when they find something they like. The fee is more aptly called a "holding deposit" and is usually equivalent to a week's rent.

Q: Aside from a deposit, are there are other requirements for renting a property in UK?

A: Yes. These often include a security deposit (up to 6 weeks' worth of rent), a letter of reference from the potential tenant's employer, and reference letters from previous UK landlords if applicable. Note that renters pay for their own utilities and council tax bills.

Q: Are expats allowed to apply under London's Social Housing program?

A: Yes, expats are qualified to apply to the social housing programs of the city of London, but only if they are landed immigrants, meaning, they have acquired permanent resident status. There are also other requirements to be met, such as age (16 years old or older), ability to live independently, and having no family or household member who has an exclusion, departure, or deportation order as per the Immigration Act.

Q: What are the locations covered by London's council housing program?

A: Housing properties under London's council housing program are located around seven burroughs in the city: City of London, Hackney, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets.

Q: What are nice areas in London that expats often consider settling in?

A: It depends on the expat's standard of living and personal preferences. The closer a property is to the city center, the more costly it is, whether to rent or to buy. Popular areas are Chelsea, Knightsbridge and of course, the famous Notting Hill. Those who are looking for a more traditional family life with a home and huge yard will find lots of options further outside the city in areas such as Wandsworth, Richmond and Handstead. All of these offer good schooling opportunities for kids as well as lots of open spaces.


Q: How much do they give as tips in restaurants in UK?

A: Tipping in the UK is nothing out of the ordinary. Around 10-15% of the bill is good enough in hotels, restaurants, and taxis. Check if a service charge hasn't been added though.

Q: Is sports a big thing in UK?

A: People in the UK adore sports. It's part of their lifestyle. Wimbledon hosts the All England Championships; Twickenham is a big venue for international rugby tourneys, Royal Ascot for racing, Silverstone for Formula 1 motor racing and many, many more.

Q: What time do clubs usually close in UK?

A: It really depends on the area. In major cities, most clubs close at 11pm, including those small ones in neighborhoods. However, there have been new laws that allow certain approved places to remain open beyond 11pm. In less urban areas, closing time is earlier.

Q: Around how much do London expats spend for leisure activities?

A: It depends on what kinds of leisure activities are involved. For expats on a budget, movies are good enough once or twice a month, and a ticket costs around £7-£10. Those who like theater can watch some good shows for a minimum of £25 a night. Entrance fees to clubs or pubs range from £5 - 20, and live concerts cost a minimum of £10.

Q: Is it free to visit the historic Tower of London?

A: Typically, no, but visitors can attend the Ceremony of the Keys (happens every night within palace grounds) which is free for all. Those who don't mind paying a fee for a closer look and feel of the palace can do so, but slots have to be reserved at least two months ahead.

Q: Are the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery one and the same?

A: No. The National Gallery is a collection of great European artworks from the 12th to the 19th centuries, including Holbein's the Ambassadors, Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini Marriage and more. It is located at Trafalgar Square in Westminster and is free for all. On the other hand, the National Portrait Gallery, located at St. Martin's place, is a collection of around 10,000 portraits featuring famous people, from writers like JK Rowling to showbiz icons like The Beatles.

Looking for a job

Q: In which parts of the UK do expats get paid the most?

A: London, the capital city, and South East England are where the highest-paying employers of UK are based. Expats who are looking for higher than average salaries should look for a job in these two areas.

Q: How hard is it to get a UK work permit?

A: Recently, the British government imposed tighter restrictions on the issuance of work permits, which means it is significantly harder to get a work permit these days compared to the previous years. With these new restrictions, EU nationals, especially those with specialist skills and advance education, are given the highest priority. An easier way to get a work permit in the UK as a non-EU citizen, is to work in a multinational company that has a UK branch, and request for an intracompany transfer.

Q: Does the British government actually check on local employers who apply to sponsor foreigners for employment?

A: Yes. The British government does check on these employers. Employers must prove that their prospective expat hires are truly fit for the job, and if these people are not from an EU country, employers have to explain why they couldn't consider an EU national first.

Q: What are some of the best career opportunities to pursue in London?

A: Finance is one sector that London has consistently shown strength in, especially in the city center, Canary Wharf, Lambeth, Wouthwark, and Westminster. The city is also great for legal professionals and skilled workers in science and technology, and for those with experience in the tourism and entertainment industries.

Q: How attractive is London right now to the international job market?

A: According to the Boston Consulting Groups, London is the number one city where people seeking international employment want to work, followed by New York and then Paris. The survey questioned a total of 200,000 participants coming from 188 countries. The rest of the cities that made it to the top ten list are Singapore, Barcelona, Sydney, Rome, Berlin, Madrid, and Toronto.

Q: Is it possible to get a job in London before arriving in the city?

A: Yes, it is possible. There are various places online where employers are matched up with potential employees such as LondonJobs.co.uk. and it is also normal for interviews to be conducted over the phone. However, when submitting a CV, it is crucial that the applicant's migration or work permit status is mentioned. Otherwise, the application will likely not be entertained.


Q: When is an expat liable to pay income tax in the UK?

A: An expat who has resided in the UK for not less than 183 days is obliged to pay tax on his total income, including overseas income. This is usually around 20% for a maximum annual gross income of GBP 31,865, 40% for more than GBP 31,865 and 45% for GBP 150,000 above. A tax year in the UK ends every 5th of April.

Q: Do they use the euro in the UK?

A: No. The UK is one of the few member states of the European Union which hasn't adopted the euro as a currency. They still use the British Pound British Pound (£).

Q: How much do UK banks charge in transaction fees?

A: One thing expats like about banking in the UK is that they don't have to pay transaction fees of any sort. In fact, they often even receive incentives when they open an account. The banking industry in the UK is so competitive that banks will try to outdo their competitors by offering very attractive packages to clients as a marketing strategy.

Q: How much is a reasonable tip for restaurants in London?

A: Around 10 to 15% of the bill is a good tip, but it's always good to check if there's a service charge (typically 12-13%) to avoid double tipping. It's not common to tip workers at self-service or takeout food stations.

Q: Where is the best place to change foreign currenciesin London?

A: Voted as the best money changer for five straight years all across the UK is the Post Office itself. In London, it has 360 Bureaux de Change all over the metropolis and some suburban areas, and expats like to use them for changing money because of their competitive rates. The the Post Office London website offers a map that comes in handy for tracking the nearest branch.

Q: What is a "quid?"

A: Londoners like to call the pound sterling, "Quid." Sometimes, this nickname is used interchangeably with another nickname, "nicker."


Q: Which industries in the UK offer the most promising opportunities for those are planning to move to the country?

A: Right now, IT, healthcare, engineering, construction, oil and gas, energy and finance are the most outstanding sectors of the UK economy. Foreigners who want to work in the country should focus on these industries when looking for jobs.

Q: What's the weather like in UK?

A: Summers in UK (between June and August) are generally warm with occasional showers here and there. Expats like it this way, especially in Scotland where daylight can go on for up to eighteen hours in one day. Winters (between December and February) are cold and occasionally snowy, particularly in higher areas of Wales, Northern Ireland and England, and even Scotland.

Q: Where can expats go when they need general assistance as immigrants in UK?

A: Immigration and other related concerns are handled by the Home Office (more information can be found on their website, https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office). If the expat needs assistance as a citizen of his home country, there are a few embassies and consulates located in the capital, London, such as those of the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Irish and New Zealand.

Q: What documents come in handy for anyone moving to London?

A: Newly arrived expats in London should have at least a photo ID, proof of London employment or previous employer reference (for those looking for a job in the city), and proof of London accommodation. These documents will come in handy especially when opening a bank account. London banks, being located in a key world-class city, are very particular about residence issues, especially big international banks which are always on guard against money laundering.

Q: What's a good way for new expats to start getting integrated with Londoners?

A: London is a huge metropolis, and there's always a way to get started socializing, especially with other expats. There are lots of expat groups, in fact, such as the American Women's Club of London. Even Londoners can be friendly, though they are known to be aloof at first. Once the ice is broken, it's easy to build friendships, especially in gyms, parks and the like.

Q: How much cash will an expat likely need upon moving to London?

A: Most veteran expats in the city would advise having at least four weeks' worth of living expenses in cash before moving. This is because banks in the metro, even the biggest, such as HSBC, Barclays, etc., tend to have lengthy application procedures.


Q: What dog breeds are not allowed in UK?

A: Pit Bull Terrier, Dog Argentino, Japanese Tosa, and Fila Brasileiro are the four breeds of dogs that can't be imported into the UK. Note that the government classifies dangerous dogs not just by breed, but also by a court's assessment of their physical characteristics.

Q: How much does it take to import a pet into UK?

A: It depends on the service provider, but from the US, the cost would usually be around $ 1900. Not using a pet removal company would probably set one back around $1,300, but the paperwork and the process can be time-consuming or even complicated. If there are problems, the pet could end up being quarantined for up to 4 months. Expats usually hire pros when moving with pets.

Q: Are all kinds of animals covered by the PETS Animal Travel Scheme?

A: No. Only pet dogs and cats are covered, including service dogs. PETS is also limited to dogs and cats coming from certain countries and territories. There are no restrictions on bringing pet rodents, ornamental fish, birds, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians to the UK from any country, but rodents and rabbits will be quarantined for 4 months, and have to come with a rabies import license.

Q: How much does pet insurance in London cost?

A: It depends on the plan, the provider, and specific inclusions. Generally, insuring against vet fees costs around £30 a month for dogs and around £15 for cats. Some people pay as high as £65 monthly for an executive policy for older dogs.

Q: Do hotels in London accept pets?

A: Not all, but many do accept pets. Usually, a deposit will be required and there will be additional fees for any damage or extra cleaning needed as caused by the pet. Some London hotels that accept pets are Bermondsey Square Hotel at Tower Bridge Road, The Metropolitan at Old Park Lane, and 41 at Buckingham Palace Road, the only hotel in London that has its own pet concierge.

Q: Are pets welcome in London parks and open spaces?

A: There are no city statutes banning dogs and other pets from public parks and green spaces in London. The only condition is that the animals are under control and owners clean up after them.


Q: Does the UK have a unified education system for all territories?

A: The academic year for the entire UK begins in September and ends in July, with the main breaks are in December, March or April and July or August. However, schooling options do vary from one region to the next.

Q: Do all public schools in the UK follow the same standard of education?

A: No. It varies considerably and expats can check the school's Ofsted (Office of Standards in Education) report to know the quality of teaching and facilities, along with the academic performance of its students. Generally speaking, the better public schools are those that are located in more affluent places.

Q: How are expat students selected for admission in UK schools?

A: Admission requirements are different from one school to the next, but most of them have catchment areas. This means that expats must consider schooling options before relocating to the UK with kids. Many schools are known to refuse kids of families that have no plans of staying in the UK for the long term, while grammar schools require student applicants to pass an entrance test called 11+(an exam taken by students in their final year of primary school, as an admission test for secondary school).

Q: What are the admission criteria used by schools in London?

A: These criteria are different from one school to the next. Some require students to reside within certain catchment zones, others require kids to pass an entrance test at least one year before the start of the target school year. In yet other schools, admission will be based on the child's recent academic records. It is best to contact each school to get accurate and confirmed information.

Q: What curriculum do London schools follow?

A: In most cases, the UK British curriculum is followed, but many London schools have introduced the IB or International Baccalaureate program as an option to students when they reach the age of 16.

Q: Do schools in London refuse to admit expat students?

A: Sometimes, schools in London may refuse expat kids for either of two common reasons - the child's stay in London is deemed too short by the school authority, or competition for slots is simply too high.


Q: What grocery stores are the cheapest in UK?

A: There are many, including Lidl, Aldi, and KwikSave, among others. Prices here can be up to 70% cheaper than in other shops, especially of vegetables, alcohol, and even household goods.

Q: What are clothing sizes like in the UK?

A: Asians usually find clothing sizes in UK very big, but not for those who are used to shopping in the US. Just add 2 to get a UK size for dresses and blouses, sweaters and jackets. As for shoes, subtract 2 from a US size to get a UK size.

Q: Is there VAT in UK and how much is it?

A: Yes. VAT in the UK is 17.5%, but expats can get a return when they leave the country. There are refund forms available in stores, but a passport will be required. The form will be presented to airport customs and the refund will be received in cash, through a mailed checque, or as credit to a credit card.

Q: Where are the best antiques sold in London?

A: When it comes to antiques in London, Alfies Antique Market is the best place to go. It's the city's biggest indoor antique arena that also sells vintage clothing, 20th century art pieces and more, with over 600 stalls all over the place. It's located at Church Street Marylebone and is open Tuesdays thru Saturdays from 10am to 6pm.

Q: Where do people buy books in London?

A: London is every bookworm's haven. The city just crawls with specialty shops that sell all sorts of books, from pre-owned fiction to academic literature and every other book imaginable. It even has Europe's biggest, Waterstone's Piccadilly. Blackwell's is here, and so is Foyles, and of course, Hatchards, which is the city's oldest bookstore. Hatchards is still standing right where it was first built in 1797.

Q: Where can one buy unique items and collectibles in London?

A: Tourists like to buy uniquely crafted silk bags at the Museum of London store, while London underground posters can be purchased at the London Transport Museum shop. For kids, there's the Science Museum where parents can get their little ones forensic kits and materials for kid-friendly chemistry experiments. Dinosaur toys are bestsellers at the Natural History Museum shop.


Q: Is calling abroad expensive for expats in the UK?

A: Those who use landlines to call overseas will find the charges expensive. However, there are many alternatives that expats can explore to save on these costs. For example, using a mobile phone is much cheaper, and there's a company that provides an "1899 account" which can be used with a phone line from BT, the national telecom service provider.

Q: What's the fastest option to get Internet connection in the UK?

A: Setting up a broadband connection in the UK is notorious for being a slow and frustrating process. Most expats usually buy a broadband dongle instead (available in most mobile phone shops) or get a single package for their phone, cable, and Internet services.

Q: Do apartments in UK come with cable services?

A: Many of them do, but for those that don't, it is important that the tenant asks for a written permission of the landlord, as installation requires drilling a hole through the wall, or may cause damage to the window frame. Without such permission, the landlord reserves the right to deduct money from the security deposit when the tenant vacates the property.

Q: Where's a good place to buy a local SIM card right after landing in London?

A: Anywhere in the city is good. At the London Heathrow Airport Terminal 3, there are vending machines available but the price is at least £10 more, and there's no calling time included.

Q: What type of broadband services do expats usually subscribe to in London?

A: ADSL broadband is the most popular choice among expats in London, but this requires the use of an existing landline. Without an active phone line, broadband services, whether ADSL or DSL cannot be installed.

Q: Is it necessary to have a phone line installed in order to have cable TV in London?

A: It depends on the cable company. Virgin Media installs a phone line together with broadband and cable. BT is another company that does the same thing, but there are other cable providers in London like Sky which don't install phone lines themselves. They have to tap on Virgin Media or BT facilities in order to do this. Either customers have a phone line installed first, or they pay Sky to coordinate with phone line providers as part of the cable service package.


Q: What is the difference between a "coach" and a bus in UK?

A: A "coach" is just another term - the more popular term - that people in the UK use when referring to a bus. There is no difference in meaning.

Q: Are there discount cards for trains in the UK?

A: There are many types of discount cards for trains in UK. For example, there's the Young Persons Rail Card which is used by commuters below 26, and there's the Senior Rail Card for those above 60. Buying tickets in advance is another common way to save on fares, and so is traveling during off peak hours.

Q: What is the "Megabus" and is it the same as all other bus services in UK?

A: The Megabus, like ordinary buses (termed coaches in the UK), is like any other long-distance bus in the UK, except that it is cheaper and covers less major cities. It is also more popular among students.

Q: What is the "daily congestion charge" that London motorists pay?

A: It's a fee that people pay for driving in a charging zone from 7am to 6pm Mondays thru Fridays. The rate is currently £11.50 per day, and if the motorist fails to pay by midnight, there is an additional charge. The easiest way to pay is by signing up for Congestion Charging Auto Pay where motorists can also enjoy discounts.

Q: Do people in London use bikes for daily transport?

A: Yes. In fact, there's a public bike sharing scheme in London which is available every hour everyday all throughout the year. There are over 10,000 bikes and more than 700 stations available to the public all across the city. The public bikes, fondly nicknamed "Boris bikes" after the city's Mayor Boris Johnson, can be hired using a bank card and a touch-screen machine.

Q: Do Londoners pay cash for public transport?

A: Yes, but not so much anymore. Most people now use a Pay As You Go Oyster Card for taking the bus, the London Underground and the Docklands Light Railway. All buses in London no longer use cash, and instead only accept an Oyster Card or a payment card.


Q: What's the best way to travel around the UK?

A: Trains are very popular among people traveling around the UK. Information about bookings is available on the website of National Rail, the company that operates the railway network within Wales, Scotland and England, and on the website of Northern Ireland Railways, which caters to travelers in Northern Ireland.

Q: Is it too expensive to take the plane when traveling inter-city in UK?

A: Taking a plane to travel across UK travel is more expensive than taking a train, but the cost difference is easily compensated by the main advantage, which is speed. Moreover, there has been a growth of low-cost airlines across Europe recently, making local plane tickets even more affordable. Ryanair and Easy Jet are two of the cheapest and are thus very popular.

Q: Which parts of the UK have major airports that cater to domestic flights within UK?

A: Liverpool, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Newcastle, Iverness, Aberdeen, Manchester and of course, London, all have major airports that serve domestic routes.

Q: What is the "London Pass?"

A: "The London Pass” is a card that resembles a typical credit card with a computer chip on it, and provides free access to more than 55 tourist attractions all over London. A person who uses a London Pass can automatically enter and enjoy the sights and venues covered by the card, and buying the card offers savings compared to paying for each attraction separately.

Q: How much does an average hotel room in London cost?

A: An average room in an average hotel in London costs around £119, but there are some places where the nightly rate can go under £100. The key is to research well ahead of a trip in order to find the best deals. Like most other cities in the world, discounts are given to early bookers.

Q: What time of year is it best to fly to London to avoid tourist overcrowding?

A: London is a city where tourists come and go all throughout the year. However, the largest volumes of visitors are noted between July and August. Expats who want to move to the city with smaller crowds should choose a date outside of these months.


Q: What countries are covered under the Youth Mobility Scheme working holiday visa in the UK?

A: Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, Monaco, and Canada are the six countries covered by the scheme. Expats who come from countries other than these will need a job offer from a licensed UK employer, and apply for a Tier 5 Temporary Worker Visa.

Q: What specific visa is applicable for someone who is moving to the UK through an internal company transfer?

A: The person must apply for a Tier 2 Skilled Worker visa under the Intra-company Transfer category. Note that this visa is processed by the employer in the country of origin and not by the worker himself.

Q: When may expats apply for permanent residency in the UK?

A: Expats can apply for permanent resident status after they have lived and worked full-time in the UK for at least two years. As of the moment, there are no restrictions on dual citizenship.

Q: Is a transit visa required for those who are traveling via the London Heathrow Airport?

A: It depends on a number of issues, like the number of hours of the London layover, confirmation of flights, etc. In most cases, as long as the layover does not exceed 24 hours, departure from London will be by air, and flight booking is confirmed, there is no need for a transit visa.

Q: Where is the Home Office located in London?

A: The Home Office, the government branch responsible for handling UK immigration issues, is centrally located at 2 Marsham Street London, SW1P 4DF. The office can be reached via landline at 020 7035 4848 and fax at 020 7035 4745.

Q: Is it true that there is an ongoing clampdown on expats applying to settle permanently in London?

A: Recently, there has been a surge in the number of immigrants in London, and this has put immense pressure on the city's various sectors, from housing to healthcare. Migration Watch UK is a group that is currently calling for tightened rules on the issuance of visas to London migrant hopefuls, but there has been no official word that such call has been accommodated.