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Living in the UK

On this page, we have put together information on steps you will need to take once you’ve arrived in the UK, as well as a list of useful resources to support you as you settle into living and working in the UK.


The Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) holds your name, date and place of birth, your fingerprints and a photo of your face, immigration status and entitlements. If you notice an error on your BRP, it is very important that you notify UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) within ten days of its issue date. To find out more about the BRP, please visit the UK government website.

Please note that from 1 January 2025, you will not need a BRP physical card, as an online system will replace these. Please see here for further information on the GOV website.

Employment checks

Before an employer employs an applicant, they must check the applicant’s right to work in the UK. You will need to prove your right to work before you start work in the UK. For information on the six NHS Employment Check Standards, please see here.


Once you have started work, make sure you attend the hospital and departmental inductions; attending inductions are a very important part of settling into UK practice. The RCOG recommends that all IMGs engage with the NHS resource Welcoming and Valuing International Medical Graduates: A Guide to Induction for IMGs.

The GMC Welcome to UK Practice free workshop is also a useful resource for doctors new to the UK.

You can also find out more specific information about inductions for doctors in training and for SAS and Locally Employed Doctors.

Salaries, pension and tax

  • Salaries in the UK are generally paid monthly in arrears; please check with Human Resources in your individual trust or health board regarding salary queries.
  • The NHS Pension scheme is one of the most generous schemes within the UK. You can opt out and this can be done by contacting your employer. For further information on the benefits of the NHS Pension Scheme, watch this short video.
  • The UK Government website is the best source of information regarding income tax, National Insurance (NI), and claiming back when you have paid too much tax.

Setting up a UK bank account

There are many banks and building societies in the UK for you to choose from. Many IMGs prefer to use an international bank, such as HSBC, so they can transfer money overseas.

The below links will provide you with additional advise on setting up a UK bank account.

  • Citizens advice – Getting a bank account: Information on types of bank accounts, how to open a UK bank account and further help.
  • MoneySavingExpert – Bank Accounts: Guide and tools to help you find the best current account.

Setting up utility bills, TV License and Council Tax

There are a number of utility bills you may have to pay once you have moved to the UK. The below links will support you in choosing the right supplier for you. If you are in rental accommodation, please check the terms of your tenancy agreement to determine exactly what you are responsible for paying.

  • Gas and Electricity: You can use a price comparison website to find the best deal for gas and electricity. On the day you move in, you should check the gas and electricity meters and submit these readings to the supplier. See MoneySavingExpert paying your energy bills for a guide to the various ways to pay energy bills.
  • Water: Tap water in the UK is safe to drink. Visit Water UK to find your local water supplier.
  • Landline phone and internet: There are many internet suppliers to choose from. You may wish to have an enhanced TV package, such as Sky and Virgin Media, which will typically include TV, internet and phone services in a combined monthly package. You can use comparison sites, such as compare the market, to find the best deal and compare internet speeds in your area.
  • Council Tax: Most people will have to pay council tax which is a monthly bill to your local authority for the services they provide such as rubbish collection, recycling services, police and fire services. You can find your local council online. Please see the government website for further information on monthly payments, discounts and exemptions. Please note that in Northern Ireland council tax is called ‘rates’.
  • TV license: Legally you must have a TV Licence to watch or record live TV or to watch or stream TV programmes on BBC iPlayer. If you do not watch TV as outlined above, you must complete an online exemption form.
  • Contents Insurance: You may want to get contents insurance to cover your possessions within the property. You can use price comparison websites to find the best deal based on your specific needs.

Mobile phone

There are different options for mobile phone payments: pay-as-you-go, SIM-only and monthly billed contracts. Follow the below links to investigate the best option for you.

Some network providers offer a discount specifically for NHS staff so look into what is offered before committing to a contract.

NHS staff discount schemes

Many businesses and retailers offer a discount for NHS staff. For example, NHS staff are eligible for the Blue Light Card. Check with Human Resources at your trust or health board for further details on what discounts may be available in your area.

Accessing healthcare in the UK

Healthcare through the NHS is provided in two ways: primary and secondary care.

Primary care

  • When you arrive in the UK it is important that you and your family members register with a General Practitioner (GP). It is free to register and attend appointments with a GP. To register with a GP surgery, please follow this NHS link here.
  • You can also register with a dentist as either a private or NHS patient and opticians.

Secondary care

  • Accident and emergency (A&E) departments are for life-threatening and serious emergencies.
  • Calling NHS 111 can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do. You can call 111 or visit, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Call 999 only in genuine medical emergencies. This is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

Education and childcare in the UK

For information on full-time education in the UK, please visit the government website and your local council website.

With regards to other forms of childcare, please enquire directly with Human Resources at your trust or health board regarding local policies for supporting working parents and potential employer-supported childcare schemes.

  • GOV.UK – Childcare: Finding childcare, financial support for childcare and childcare for school-age children.
  • Please see the NSPCC guidance on leaving a child on their own.

Working during pregnancy

The RCOG provides advice surrounding working during pregnancy, parental leave and returning to work for O&G doctors. Here you will also find a number of useful resources from other organisations.

Driving in the UK

Before driving in the UK, check to see if you can drive in the UK on a non-GB license and ensure you are aware of the Highway Code. For more information, please visit the Government website.

Sites and places to visit in the UK

The UK has a diverse range of cities, towns and villages. From historical sites to beautiful green spaces, the UK has lots of popular sites to see and activities to do. Take a look at the below websites to explore and discover what the UK has to offer:

  • Visit Britain: details places to go and things to do across Britain, as well as providing practical information to help you plan your excursions.
  • National Trust: Find Britain’s landscapes, coastlines and historical buildings protected by the National Trust.
  • Museums: See here for a list of the most visited museums in the UK.
  • Expat Arrivals: Discover information on living in the UK as an expat, including information on different UK cities, working life, accommodation, schools and the pros and cons of moving to the UK.

Useful things to know