Welcome to the UK!

At ID Medical, we help healthcare professionals from all over the world find their perfect job, right here in the UK. We also understand that moving to a new country and finding work can be a daunting prospect, which is why we have a dedicated International Medical Recruitment Division to support you and cover every base for a smoother journey.

Everything you need to know about living in the UK!

The United Kingdom is an island nation in north-western Europe, formed of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The UK is made up of Great Britain (the formerly separate realms of England and Scotland, and the principality of Wales), Northern Ireland and numerous smaller islands including the Isle of Wight, Anglesey, and the Scilly, Orkney, Shetland, and Hebridean archipelagos. The UK is a sovereign state, but the nations that make it up are also countries in their own right.

For further information on the landscape, choice of living and the weather, download our full guide!

Living in the UK

UK Weather

The UK has a temperate climate with very few instances of extreme weather. People of the UK are known for talking about the weather – this is because it’s changeable and relatively unpredictable. Instances of snow and heatwaves are uncommon, and as such preparations are minimal which usually leads to disruption – especially in snow and icy conditions. The seasons are loosely defined but rain and cloud are expected throughout the year. The UK is known for ‘April showers’, being a month of higher than usual rainfall.
The north of England and Scotland are slightly colder than the south, and tends to have colder winters whereas the south tends to be milder. Equally, during the summer months the south tends to be warmer, reaching temperatures of 25-30 °C.
Many websites offer daily, even hourly, weather forecasts, and the Met Office and the BBC website are good places to start.

Be prepared!

To make your time in the UK more enjoyable – and to ensure you’re well prepared – we recommend that you buy the following items in preparation for your time off work:

• Winter coat, hat, scarf and gloves for use from late November to March
• Shorts, t-shirts, sunhat, flip-flops and sunscreen for those hot summer days
• Suitable shoes for walking through the British countryside.
• Rainwear

Most hospitals will have heating and air-conditioning so the weather shouldn’t impact you while you are at work.

Money. money, money!

From opening a UK bank account to currency and how to pack for tax purposes, we’ve got you covered!

Opening a bank account in the UK is relatively straightforward. You will need proof of address, so you will only be able to open the account after you have moved, unless you have documentation proving your UK address prior to your move. Alternatively, many UK banks have international account options for non-residents, meaning you don’t have to wait until you’re in the UK to open the account. However, these often require initial large deposits, minimum monthly transactions and could incur administration fees.

Some of the largest bank networks in the UK to choose from are: Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays, Royal bank of Scotland and Santander. Other banks are also available. Research the most suitable for you. Ask your current bank whether it has a ‘sister bank’ you can use while in the UK.

To open a bank account once you have moved to the UK, you will need proof of ID and proof of address. Exactly what documents are accepted differs with each bank, but they are usually a little more flexible on proof of address for new arrivals to the country.

For more information on the documents you’ll need to open a bank account and information on currency, please refer to our downloadable guide:

Welcome to the UK: Money Matters


By now you should have had a conversation with your recruitment consultant about where you will live in the UK. You may have access to hospital accommodation for a few months or you may be moving straight into rented accommodation. Make sure you pack the address in your hand luggage in case of any problems, and speak to your recruitment consultant about travelling there from the airport.

If you need to arrange your own accommodation in the UK, the internet is a good resource. Rightmove and Zoopla are sites that advertise a variety of rental properties. Hospital staff noticeboards and local estate agents are also good places to look. Remember to research the area and how long it will take you to travel to work. If possible, we recommend viewing the property in person before you commit.

Find your new home!

Transportation in the UK

From getting your UK driving licence to travelling publicly via trains and buses, we share everything you need to know about travelling in the UK.

A Guide to Driving in the UK

Domestic Services

You’ll find a range of Domestic Services to consider as part of living in the UK, including applying for your National Insurance Number, applying for a TV licence, arranging insurance and registering with a GP.

Everyone who works in the UK needs to have a National Insurance (NI) Number, which is a unique personal reference number for all your tax/employment affairs. You will need to apply for it once you are in the UK. If you are from outside the EU, you will receive a National Insurance number with your visa application. You will also be required to pay National Insurance Contributions. This is a form of tax which everyone who works in the UK is required to pay if they earn over a certain amount. It is automatically deducted from your pay.

Please note: You will not be charged for an NI number – it is completely free. Please do not use any website that charges a fee for this service. If you are from the EU you will need to apply for a NI number. You will need to contact the National Insurance Number application line on 0300 200 3500 (open Monday – Friday 8.00am – 6.00pm). If you are calling from outside the UK, call +44 191 203 7010.

Have your passport/visa with you when you call, and a pen and paper to note down the reference number you will be given. You may be invited for an interview or asked to complete a postal application.

For more information on applying for a National Insurance Number, please visit the UK Government website.

For more information on domestic services in the UK, including TV licence, insurance, mobile phone and internet services, please download our guide:

Domestic Services in the UK

Finding Schools

If you’re coming over to the UK with your school-aged children, you will need to find a school, close to where you live, that they can attend.

The UK has a two-tier education system. There are private schools which are funded through tuition fees (paid for by parents), and state schools. Generally, the standards are higher in private schools and there is the choice of normal school hours or boarding schools. State run schools are most popular in the UK. They are funded through the taxation system and are free for pupils to attend. In most cases, children arriving from overseas have the right to attend state-funded schools in England, including dependent children accompanying parents entering the UK on a work visa.

You can apply for a school place for your children once you are living in the UK. You will need to check which schools have places available and what their admission criteria is, which you can do by contacting your local council for details. Your Recruitment Consultant can advise you which one applies to you. When an admission authority for a school deals with an application for a child, whether or not they are a UK national, it must comply with the school admissions code and the Equality Act 2010. It cannot refuse a school place simply because of doubts about the child’s immigration status.

Private schools have their own admissions procedures. You will need to apply directly if you want to send your child to a private school.

For more  information on our UK schooling system and how to apply, please download our guide!

Schools in the UK

Registering with a GP

You’ll need to register with a GP when you arrive, but you’ll need a National Insurance Number to do so. You will also need to register any family members who come over with you.

You have the legal right to choose a GP practice that best suits your needs. Try comparing GP practices according to facilities, services, access and performance before you decide. Ask colleagues and others you trust for their thoughts and recommendations.

The GP practice must accept you, unless there are reasonable grounds to refuse you. These must not relate to race, gender, social class, age, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, disability or a medical condition. It must also give you reasons for its decision in writing.

A GP practice may refuse to register you if it doesn’t have the capacity to take on new patients or if you do not live within its practice boundary.

Since January 2015, all GP practices in England are free to register new patients who live outside their practice boundary area, but it is for a practice to decide, at the point of registration, whether it is clinically appropriate and practical to register individual patients in that way.

You can read more about your legal rights to choice in the NHS on the gov.uk website.


Local Government Services

We recommend that you make yourself familiar with local government services available to you on your arrival to the UK by visiting www.gov.uk.

There is a considerable amount of information that you may need during your time in the UK, what facilities are available to you and advice on where to get help should you need it.

Food in the UK

Traditional British/UK food and English ‘modern’ cuisine is becoming more popular these days. While most British people eat a lot of pasta, pizza and dishes influenced by Indian and Chinese cultures, such as curries and stir-fries, some of the old favourites are still on the menu, even if they’re not eaten every day. Here are a few examples:

The Sunday roast

It was a tradition for most families in the UK to sit down together for a big roast lunch every Sunday. This happens less now, but the Sunday (or any other day of the week) roast is still a very popular meal. Beef, chicken, lamb, pork or, especially at Christmas, turkey is roasted in the oven. It’s served with a selection of vegetables like roast potatoes, carrots, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, peas, as well as tiny sausages wrapped in bacon called ‘pigs in blankets’ and gravy made from the meat juices.

Fish and chips

British people have been eating fish and chips since the 19th century. This is street food, best eaten with the fingers, which used to be served wrapped in a piece of white paper or newspaper. The fish, usually cod, haddock or plaice, is dipped in batter and deep-fried; the chips are cut thicker than French fries and deep fried twice: once to cook the potato; second to crisp up the outside. Eat sprinkled liberally with salt and malt vinegar.


There is a huge variety of different pies around the UK: cottage pie (minced beef with a mashed potato topping), shepherd’s pie (using lamb instead of beef), steak and kidney pie made with a suet-based (beef or mutton fat) pastry case, pork pies (famously made in Melton Mowbray: Pork pie which is eaten cold, and Cornish pasties.

Useful Links

British Medical Journal – A global healthcare knowledge provider

ExpaticaAn expatriate guide on the UK

Gov.UK – Official UK Government website for information on taxation, visas and government departments.

NHS – Information about the NHS

National Rail Maps and routes of the UK rail network

OfstedFind out about schools and their ratings

Right MoveProperties for sale and rent in the UK

The British Medical AssociationThe professional association and registered trade union for doctors in the United Kingdom

Awards u0026 Accolades

Frameworks u0026 Accreditation