If you’re new to the UK, this page will provide you with key information on a number of important practical issues. For detailed advice and guidance, we recommend that you also consult the UK Government website, a link to which may be found near the bottom of this page.
The weather in the UK is famously unpredictable – that’s why we like to talk about it so much! There are four distinct seasons and each has its benefits and drawbacks. You will most probably arrive in September or October when average temperatures will be around 10 degrees Celsius (50 F). In the winter this is likely to fall to close to 0 degrees C (32 F) and then rise again through the spring and summer. June, July and August have average temperatures in the mid 20s Celsius and frequently higher (70 to 80 F).
In general the UK benefits from a climate which is comfortable – not too cold in the winter and not too hot in the summer. Nevertheless, rain is fairly common at all times of the year so a waterproof jacket is always useful.
Whilst employed in the UK, you and your immediate family are entitled to full benefits of the National Health Service (NHS) in the same way as a UK citizen.
When you arrive you will need to register with a local doctor (known as a General Practitioner, or GP). You can search the NHS website for a GP near you. UK citizens pay for medicines from the doctor and for dental treatment, though children are exempt.
The NHS does subsidise dental treatment but charges remain payable. Many dentists do not undertake NHS work, and those who do may not have space to take on additional patients, so it can be hard to find a NHS dentist. You can also search for local dentists on the NHS website and this will also tell you if dentists are taking on new patients and whether they provide services for NHS patients. Alternatively you can register with a private dentist. If you do this you need to be prepared to pay the full cost of dental treatment.
Eye tests are carried out by ophthalmic opticians who operate from shop premises. Spectacles and contact lenses vary considerably in price, so it may be worth shopping around. You can also search for NHS opticians on the NHS website.
Please visit our accommodation page for information on buying or renting property.
To search on the internet for properties to buy or rent, type the University's postcode (LA1 4YW) into the search functionality of any property website.
Council tax is a tax on domestic property paid to the local government to maintain services such as schools, social care, fire brigades and police. How much you pay depends upon the value of your house. All homeowners and usually all tenants must pay council tax. The level of council tax is determined by the value of your property. An average property will attract council tax of approximately £1,500 per annum.
It is vital that you obtain the necessary immigration documentation before travelling to the UK. As a general guideline you will need the following documents ready to present to the UK immigration official on arrival:
A current and valid passport
The relevant visa required by the UK Border Agency
A Certificate of Sponsorship from the University
UK coins come in the following denominations: 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 (100p), £2 (200p). Banknotes come in denominations of £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100.
Normal banking hours are from 09.30 to 16.30 Monday to Friday. Some banks are open on Saturday mornings. Shops and services in the UK will usually accept payment in UK currency only. Credit and debit cards are also widely accepted. You may be able to withdraw money from cashpoint (often called ATM) machines using a debit/credit card if you have a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for that card.
There are followers of many diverse religious beliefs in the UK and you are free to practice recognised religions providing you act within the law. On campus, there is a Multi-faith Chaplaincy Centre (with facilities for the Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islam and Jewish faiths) and a Muslim Prayer Room. Other places of worship are available in the City of Lancaster and surrounding region.
For information about Government services, UK bank holidays, history, culture and symbols. www.gov.uk
Your salary is subject to two compulsory taxes: income tax and national insurance contributions.
Further information can be found on the Her Majesty's Revenues and Customs website at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/migrantworkers/uk-tax.htm