I have written quite a massive amount of blog posts about UK spouse visa application, details, documents, etc. I did it because when I was looking for any relevant information, I could hardly find any: hysteria and idiocy are all over those forums. I have put all my experience together and created those posts. I was doing that still before my visa decision, full on nerves and worry.
I got my visa, booked a flight for the next day, came home legally and for good and discovered that I had no idea what to do next. And even hysterical women on those forums didn’t know. There’s so much attention about getting the bloody visa and then there’s zero information on what are you actually supposed to do next in your new country of residency. I was in a similar situation before, when I moved to Germany, and it was the same lost and confused state of mind. And now I was there again. And nobody is shouting online about anything. Nobody is giving you a brochure on your arrival: here’s how we do things in the UK. No, you just realise that now you are legally in the country and you don’t know where to start. Let me help you and bring some clarity:)
When you get your visa, you are also given an A4 paper with congratulations and further instructions of your residence permit. You should bring this paper with you to the airport (and fill the immigration form again, yes: even with a permanent residency you will have to fill in those forms every time you travel from abroad; my advice is to grab a few and have them at home).
This paper also tells you when and where you can pick up your BRP once in Britain.
That was very new to me: the only way to confirm your address in Britain is to receive a Council Tax letter. To get it you have to call them (breathe in and prepare to be on hold for a while). Andrew dealt with that since he was already registered here. I have no idea what to do if you don’t move in with somebody, sorry. It took us three weeks to get the letter (first time they made a mistake in my surname and forgot to send it anyway, then Andrew made a mistake in my first name, and eventually from the third try we got it right). Keep this letter safe because this is your proof of address which you will need pretty much everywhere.
Here’s when BRP and Council tax letter come together:) And your passport. Those are the only three documents you need to open a bank account. Walk in into any bank your prefer and set up an appointment. Your cards and passwords will arrive to you by post. This one is quite easy once you got the first two right!
Registering with a GP
This one took me about four months since arrival. Why? Laziness, I guess. And the fact that the GPs next to us wouldn’t take any new patients. So we decided to register at Andrew’s practice. He had to get there, pick up the paperwork, then to realise that there’s extra something for non-EU passport holders, walked there again and picked up that. I filled it in, we walked together (when he had an appointment) and signed myself in. NHS is very funny in the UK, appointments seem to be very hard to get and waiting lists are longer than this post. Oh well, don’t get me started, I haven’t seen a single country with organised health care.
National insurance number
I didn’t know about this one. I discovered that when I was trying to register myself with the HMRC as a self-employed. To finish the registration I needed to have a NI number. How? I called their line (55 min on hold, get ready to wait). They asked basic questions, who what and why I needed one, and then I got an appointment at JobcentrePlus for the next morning (really early, 8:35, on Saturday.. oh). I had to bring my passport, BRP, Council tax letter, answer questions about myself and my husband, tell them why I wanted the NI and been told to wait (up to six weeks). So far waiting.
To be continued :)