Frequently asked Questions

What do I have to mind when entering UK?

Upon your arrival in the United Kingdom, you will have to pass through customs. In most cases your passport will be stamped by a customs official. Those who are travelling with a European Union (EU) passport are usually allowed to enter directly.
May I have any problems if I am no citizen of the EU?
Before allowing you entering UK a customs official will usually ask you some questions (depending on your visa type) about your intentions for entering. Likely questions to be prepared for are: How much money are you carrying? Who are you staying with, or who is your contact here? How long do you plan on staying in UK?
How can I react to those questions?
Bring as much evidence as possible concerning your financial situation, your contacts and plans like bank statements, credit cards, traveller’s cheques or student ID. It is also useful to have some contact person in the UK who can verify your intentions. So take along the address or phone number of this person. If you do not have any contact person simply take along the name and address of your hotel. If you already have booked a return flight show it to the officials so that they know you will not stay in the UK illegally.
Are there some specifics when travelling with a Commonwealth passport?
If you are under the age of 27 and travelling on a Commonwealth passport (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, etc.) you usually have a working holiday visa for two years. This visa (which must be obtained before you arrive in the UK) specifies that the work you seek in the UK is of a temporary and non-professional nature.
Where do I stay best when I am in the UK?
Youth hostels may meet your needs for the first few days in London but usually not longer. Later flat share or house share might be an appropriate solution. If you are planning to stay in London for six months or more, it will be worth moving into rented/leased long-term accommodation. A typical situation is a group of friends that split renting costs, and may place an ad in the paper looking for one or more persons to share additional rooms in the house. Sharing is one of the best ways to meet people from all over the world.
What’s about costs and contract of a flat share or house share?
Whatever accommodation you eventually decide upon, you will have to pay cash up front - a month's rent in advance plus a similar amount as a returnable deposit, and you may be asked to sign a six or twelve month contract!
As anywhere else, read the contract before you sign. Find out about whether you will be liable for Council Tax, a rather high tax that most landlords invariably pass on to the tenants. It is illegal for landlords to charge you more than one sixth (or two months) of the annual rent as deposit, but some may try. Check all amenities and everything your rent covers, i.e. use of washing machine, TV, video, and what bills are included. Contact the local Citizens Advice Bureau or a law centre if you have any problems or hesitations, before you have dispute!
Are there some premises for renting a long-term room?
Most landlords will want to see references, like bank details, employment or references of hostels you lived in. Also keep in mind that you need a TV licence, its approximately £90 a year, and you can get fined if you get caught without one.
To whom can I appeal when searching a flat?
There are many flat finding agencies in London. Many are free to tenants but most charge a large fee (minimum one week's rent) to find, or even show you a flat. So, think twice before you hand over the fee, sometimes what they show you is no more than a dump. You can also ask the real estate agents in your area whether anything is available. Make sure you know what price you are prepared to pay, and have an idea of your length of stay. Most agents prefer long term tenants (6 months to a year). Rents obviously are higher in central London Zone 1. When flats or rooms are advertised for rent, the postcode is often used to indicate the location. There are many roads with the same name, so it is imperative you know in which areas your place is located. Then you can look up the road in the London A to Z, the bible of London!
Are there some further advices about what I have to keep in mind?
Wherever you stay make sure you have a smoke alarm in your room and corridor and a heat detector in the kitchen, over 200 people die every year in bedsits due to deficiency of adequate fire precautions. Don't be one of them, demand to have smoke alarms installed and maintained, check them yourself if you have to! It is against the law to let bedsits and rooms without smoke alarms.


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