UK Archives – Angry Expat

So you are moving… international freight can be very confusing and intimidating. Take a deep breath… we will get through this together.

Moving to the UK is an exciting experience but all of a sudden you realise you have too much stuff to take? Your airline says you can only take a certain weight and that’s not going to work for you. Come on, you have that amount of shoes alone!

Our advice, think about it first, do you really need to take it with you? It is very expensive. Most of the time when you price it out it is more affordable to purchase your goods new or 2nd hand (more on that later).

We do know that some things can not be replaced and there are some things you just can’t live without.

If it is just one or two boxes of books and things you love but know if something terrible happens the world won’t collapse, consider sending with a freight company. If you need it fast think more like UPS and FedEx but remember it’s going to be pricey. Air freight is always more costly than shipping however, it is also much faster so it really depends on what your budget is like.

If you are over just by a suitcase or two it is generally cheaper to add another few suitcases onto your flight.

International Freight companies

If you do need freight sent from your home to the UK we suggest using a freight company. The reason for this is that they know exactly which paperwork is needed to make sure that your stuff does not get stuck or lost.

Here are a few suggestions. Each of them will provide you with a free quote.

These guys have a top rating on Yelp for international freight companies so you know you have your fellow travellers reviews.

View their consumer affairs report

What to look for when you are selecting a freight company

Make sure that they have the correct accreditation

Make sure that the moving company is part of the following organisations. This basically means that they carry responsibility for getting your stuff to you.


Before you ship there are a few things you should consider

How long shipment will take – sea freight can take several weeks, even months.

Insurance costs and documentation – make sure the company that you ship with has all of the correct information to deal with customs so that your belongings do not get held up.

Customs – does the company you are hiring deal with Australian Cutoms laws and prepare all carne’s and shipping documents

Insurance –  check in on how much the insurance is to protect your belongings during shipping as this can all add up.

Read current reviews – this industry changes quickly so be sure to check for recent reviews and company recommendations


It is important to get quotes. It is difficult for us to give numbers because we don’t know exactly where you are sending your stuff from and how much so our recommendation is to get three quotes and pick the bestsellers.

Make sure that the cost quoted includes delivery to your new property. Some companies will quote you to the UK dock and you are expected to transport your goods from there, don’t get caught in that trap, it will become very expensive very quickly.

What you need before you ship

Pick up address

Delivery address

All information for international shipment

A list of all you are sending

Make sure that all of your electrical goods are compatible with your new home. Take a look at our

Protecting yourself

Make an extensive list of what you are sending. We also recommend taking photos in case your belongings are lost or damaged. This will help in your international freight insurance case if one happens.


We will always recommend insurance when discussing international freight in these cases as a precaution. There are a lot of parties involved in the process and opportunities for problems so make sure that you are covered.


Be aware that you can bring in and what you can’t. Be aware that this can change so make sure you are keeping up to date with the latest information.

This is the list given by FedEx.

Sell it before you leave

If it is furniture that you are thinking of moving it is going to be incredibly expensive. Consider selling your things at home and using the money to buy when you arrive. Consider selling on Craigslist.

Here are a few good places to start if you need something quickly.

2nd hand

London works on a lot of 2nd hand furniture. There are people moving in and out constantly so there are always options on Gumtree. There are also a lot of 2nd hand stores around, google your area for 2nd hand shops when you arrive. I guarantee you will find some!

(Click the link)

(Click the link)

The idea of getting around London before you get there can be a little confronting but it doesn’t have to be we explain what the Oyster Card is and how to use it.

Where to get the Oyster Card?

You can pick it up at any ticket box. Simply use the touch screen to purchase and top up. The automated screen will walk you through the process and if you have any trouble there is always a helpful Transport for London staff member around.

How to use it?

The Oyster card is a smart card so all you have to do is ‘swipe’ or ‘hover’ the card over the top of the yellow card reader and off you go. Make sure that you swipe at either end of your journey to make sure that you pay the correct amount. The transportation system in London runs on Zones and depending on how many Zones you travel through determines the amount you are charged.

How much money will I need on my Oyster Card?

The Oyster works like most smart travel cards and is reliant on a pay as you go system so it really depends on how far you go. Each zone is £1.50 on the tube but this can fluctuate during peak hours.

Busses are generally cheaper than the tube but slower.

Protect your Oyster Card £

The great thing about the Smart Card is that if you lose and you have registered your account online you can jump online, terminate the card and redeem your card.

To top up or protect your card create an account at the TFL website

Top up your £

You can top up your card at any ticket machine or online. It is quick and easy.

Get receipts online

If you need a receipt or a tax invoice for your company to charge back for your trip this can all be found online. Go to the Oyster Card website, put in your card information and pull up your trips. It’s simple and very fast.

I am leaving London

You will need to put a £5.00 deposit on your Oyster Card just go to the ticket box and return it for your £5.00 back.


The Oyster Card system is contactless so you can use Apple Pay or your contactless debit or credit card. I wouldn’t recommend this to travellers unless you have a UK based bank account in case of added international bank fees that may be charged each transaction.

If you liked this and want a little more, take a look at our

If you have had your Visa approved and are moving to the UK you will need to make sure that you collect your BRP within ten days of your arrival. This is often missed by many expats within the throws of applying for your visa so make sure you take note of where to pick it up during your application process.

What is a BRP?

You’ll get a biometric residence permit (BRP) if you:

Think of it as an extension of the visa in your passport. When your visa is granted it will only be for a short amount of time. It comes as a small card, about the size of a credit card and looks like this and will have to be collected when you arrive in the UK.

Note that you do not need a separate application for the BRP as it will come as part of your approved visa process.

What’s on your BRP?

Your BRP will show

How to get  your BRP

You will need to apply for an NI number () but in some cases your NI number will be printed on the back of your BRP card.

Credits: Photo credit Jamie Street –

You have your visa and now you need a place to live. There are a lot of options so select which is best for you.

Let’s start with London. Click on the article that is relevant to you and it will take you to a detailed guide with the best links, websites and location help.

Buying or renting in London can be a complicated process particularly as an expat. There are a few major things that you need to keep an eye out for such as the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ pitfall of running around in circles not having the paperwork you need to get an address.

Credit: Feature photo – Aurelien Dockwiller –

Before leaving to live in the UK it is important to sort out your visa particularly if you intend to work in the UK.

Work visa

We will go into more detail on specific visas and their requirements later, however, for all of your visa questions you are best to take a look at the official .

The .gov website will take you through options and ask you questions to find the visa that is right for you. Note that it is very difficult to apply for a work visa while you are in the UK so if you are intending to travel before you head to the UK, get your visa approved and in your passport before you go.

Before you apply for your visa make sure that you have a valid passport that has a few years left on it along with some spare pages particularly one that is clean on either side so that your visa can be stuck in.

Do give yourself some time to do this. It can take a few months to get it done so do not leave it until the last few weeks or you will stress yourself out.

Tourist visa

If you are only intending to travel to the UK and not work do take a look at the options for each country. Several countries do not need to apply for a visa before traveling and can stay up to six months as a tourist only. To check if you do need a travel visa visit the .

Consulate visit

When you do go to the consulate for your meeting and fingers crossed your approval take all your paperwork with you. You can’t be too over-prepared for these. Also, take along a copy of all documentation as it will have to be sent away and you don’t want to ever send originals in case they get lost.

One thing you need to know is that the visa in your passport is temporary, you will need to pick up your visa card known as the biometric residence permit (BRP). The person assessing your case will ask you for an address if you have a place you know you are living at or working near give this as they will direct the BRP to the closest Post Office and you will have to collect it. You have to do this before your vignette expires within ten days of arriving. That was not made very clear to me and I had to call around to find where it was.

Take note of the address your assessor sends your BRP to. Note, over eighteen to collect your own.

To collect it, make sure that you have your passport with your current visa (vignette sticker) inside.

If for some reason you can’t personally collect your own BRP someone can collect it for you. They will need identification:

Go to the .GOV website here to .

If you are having problems picking your BPR up in time

Once you have applied for your visa and it has been approved (congratulations) take the next steps towards setting up your life in the UK. This means flights, finding a place to live, getting a job, finding friends and avoiding general pitfalls. Don’t get out off. Plenty of people do this every day! See the  about what to do next.

Next step, learn about picking up your BRP to validate your visa when you arrive. You need to know about this before you apply for your visa so that you know where to pick it up from.

Credits: Photo Tom Eversley –

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