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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Some Guidance for Tier 1 Visa Holders

There are still quite a number of people on Tier 1 visa who have just moved to the UK. The following might be helpful for them (and other intending to enter the country soon). This is known to be valid as of April 2011.


Making use of your time


A lot of essential things that one has to do in life are tied to each other; specially so in the UK. Many of these are chicken-and-egg problems. For example, in order to rent a house, you need a bank account and a job. Yet, in order to open up a bank account, you need to have an "address."

Still, a few things that you can possibly do while you continue with your job hunts are
  1. Open a bank account
  2. Register for a National Insurance Number
  3. Register with NHS



Opening a Bank Account in the UK


HSBC has a bank account type with the name of "HSBC Passport" which can be opened up without having a permanent address in the UK. In fact, you don't need to have a job either. Your long duration visa (>6 months) and your address proof from the home country are sufficient.

The bank charges £8 per month for this account. You'll need two proofs of your address (in your country); this could, for example, be your passport and your driving license. Unfortunately, credit card and bank statements are considered valid for residents of only a certain countries (excluding my dear home, Pakistan).

Just take these documents to any HSBC branch and talk to any attendant there. They won't charge you anything upfront, and will give you a Visa debit card, a PIN and bank statement on your correspondence address, once your account opens. This is extremely helpful thing to have.


Registering for National Insurance Number


In order to pay one's taxes, one needs an NI number. If you get a permanent job, your employer will definitely ask for this. But you don't need to be on job to get NI number itself. In order to apply, call HM Revenue and Customs, and give your details on phone (such as your name, visa details, etc.) They will post you an application form with some sections filled; fill the remaining and attach a copy of your passport and post back (there are no postage charges).

You'll get your NIN by post in a few days time, and a card after some weeks. Keep this number (and later the card as well) at a safe place. A lot of things are associated with this number.


Registering with NHS


NHS is National Health Service which provides (partially) free-of-cost medical treatment to UK residents. You (and your dependents) are eligible for NHS facilities on a Tier 1 visa. I'll fill in the details later as I have yet to register for this myself. :)




Disclaimer: The above is just a personal experience of someone, and is not to be taken as an expert advice. It's imperative that you verify all the information on your own.