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Expat guide to moving to the UK, from healthcare to expat clubs & local news

Expat guide to moving to the UK, from healthcare to expat clubs & local news

Living in the United Kingdom

The UK is full of contrasts; wherever you live or visit, or whichever direction you travel, you will find a whole variety of landscapes and diverse cultures to explore. All four constituent countries, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, have helped to build a fascinating and rich history for the UK.

If you are (or plan to be) an expat living in the United Kingdom, please find below a list of expat clubs, schools, general links for women living in the United Kingdom, country information and more...

UK Tower Bridge

Features about the UK

 How British Expats Can Vote in the Upcoming General Election How British Expats Can Vote in the Upcoming General Election

With the upcoming general election in the UK, many British expats might want to know if and how they can vote while living abroad. Here’s everything you need to know about how to vote as a British citizen living overseas.

Find out more >>

How Brexit Will Affect British Expats in EuropeHow Brexit Will Affect British Expats in Europe

It's a big question and a popular concern for Britons heading for the polls this month to determine whether or not Britain will leave the EU. How will expats and people who own property in EU countries be affected? Will they be? How?

Find out more >>

How Brexit Will Affect British Expats in the UAEHow Brexit Will Affect British Expats in the UAE

A hugely impressive milestone in the United Kingdom's history was achieved  in September 2015, as the country's HM Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning monarch in British history... Hat's off to The Queen, at 89 years old she's now been on the throne longer than Queen Vic!

Find out more >>

Queen Elizabeth II10 Things You Didn't Know About Elizabeth II

A hugely impressive milestone in the United Kingdom's history was achieved  in September 2015, as the country's HM Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning monarch in British history... Hat's off to The Queen, at 89 years old she's now been on the throne longer than Queen Vic!

Find out more >>

Liverpool, England, United KingdomTop UK Cities to Live In

Whether you’re already an expatriate in the UK and looking to move, or you’re considering making the leap to the place… We’ve got a roundup of the best cities to live in in the United Kingdom for you, spanning the entire of the United Kingdom. From Leeds to London, we're sure you'll love each one!


Scottish FlagAll About St. Andrew's Day

While St. Andrew's Day is more commonly associated with Scotland, Saint Andrew himself is the patron saint of a number of countries, including Greece, Romania, Russia, Poland and Ukraine, plus more! Find out why he's celebrated and some interesting facts about Saint Andrew himself!


Expat Clubs

Albanian Women’s Network
The aim of the AWN is to connect professional Albanian women living and working in the UK.
American Women’s Club of Central Scotland
One of the things that AWCCS can be most proud of is the variety of club activities it has to meet the diverse interests of its club members. A fine example of this is the many Special Interest Groups they have to offer.
American Women’s Club of London
Founded in 1899 as the ‘Society of American Women’, the American Women’s Club of London has for over 100 years provided a welcoming atmosphere to expatriates living in London. The purpose of the American Women’s Club of London is to provide social, cultural, educational and philanthropic activities for their members living in London.
American Women of Aberdeen
A rich and diverse group of primarily American and Canadian expatriates, but also expatriates from other countries, including Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and even as far as Singapore. They welcome women from all walks of life, united in their interest to foster and develop a fun, welcoming environment for newcomers and expatriates to Scotland.
Australian Women's Club
Provides opportunities for Australian women resident in London to meet in a friendly, informal atmosphere designed to encourage friendships. The club also provides support and advice for those who have recently arrived.
American Women of Berkshire and Surrey (AWBS)
AWBS offers social, cultural, and philanthropic activities for the enjoyment and enrichment of its members. A not-for-profit international club, our current membership is made up of citizens of more than 20 nations.
Canadian Women's Club of London
Founded in 1932, the Canadian Women's Club of London hosts a wide variety of social activities including special events, outings and lectures.
Chilterns American Women's Club
The Chilterns American Women's Club (CAWC) is a group of approximately 200 North American and International women with an extensive network of support and information. Our primary objective is to welcome and assist newcomers and their families in England.
Expats Plaza
Expats Plaza is a website dedicated to expatriates living in the UK. This expatriate guide contains a large amount of information on practical aspects of living in the UK. Information is free to access and no registration is required.
International Women's Club, Edinburgh
The mission statement of the IWCE is to expand upon the rich tapestry of nationalities and cultures of its members and in doing so promote cultural awareness, social networking, philanthropic endeavours, women's issues, and to assist newcomers in their knowledge and understanding of Scotland.
Humberside International Women's Club (HIWC)
The Humberside International Women's Club (HIWC) was established in 1995 due to the increasing number of women from other countries moving into the area. It was founded to offer friendship and support to International ladies settling into the Humberside Region, as well as English ladies returning to the area after an extended stay abroad.
Ionian Club - Making Newcomers Welcome
If you are new to the London area, meet women who are, or have been, in the same situation by joining the Ionian Club, devoted to friendship and support. Members are from both UK and overseas. We look forward to hearing from you.
Londres Accueil
French families arriving in London will find this organization helpful in introducing them to the English way of life. Enjoy lectures, outings, activities will assist newcomers in settling in the UK.
Kent International Club
Sevenoaks-based social group Kent International Club is a haven for like-minded women who have to come to Britain as non-British citizens or British citizens who have lived abroad.
Newcomers Club
An English-speaking group which is designed to give you the opportunity to meet and develop friendships that others who live in the same area.
Northwood Area Women's Club (NAWC)
A club open to international women living in North West London (Northwood, Rickmansworth, Pinner, Ruislip). They have a general meeting once a month and various special interest groups meet monthly too. (Formerly the North American Woman's Club).
New Zealand Women's Association
The associations' membership consists of women born in New Zealand, married to a New Zealander, or women with close business or other ties. The Association has 20 Committee Members who organize monthly meetings at New Zealand House with speakers who are usually successful New Zealanders living in the UK.
Perwakilan London (The Malaysian Ladies Association)
Its primary purpose is to provide members with opportunities to meet each other, to exchange information and to help other settle down and adjust to their new environment. The other aims are to provide members with information on etiquette, customs and traditions of Malaysia and of the host country and to establish and develop contacts as well as to cooperate with other women's voluntary associations and individuals for the advancement of the objectives of the association.
Petroleum Women's Club of Scotland
Originally founded in 1972 by a group of five oil-related wives, the Petroleum Women's Club, based in Aberdeen, has grown in membership to around 300. This is an international club which sets out to promote friendship and understanding among all women connected with the petroleum industry. Members and their families are warmly welcomed during their time in the North East of Scotland. They currently have 40 nationalities in their membership.
St John's Wood Women's Club
The St. John's Wood Women's Club (SJWWC) is a social and civic non-profit organization that promotes friendship and fellowship through its many activities and groups. We welcome citizens of all nationalities and backgrounds and are dedicated to enhancing the "London experience" for all our members and their families.
The American Expats of North West England
The American Expats is a club offering support and friendship to American and Canadian expatriates, and others with ties to North America, living in North West England. Our non-profit organization assists newcomers in adapting to life in the United Kingdom.
The American Women's Club of Surrey
The objectives of this club of over 400 members are to welcome and assist newcomers and their families; to promote friendship and cooperation among members; to further members' knowledge and understanding of England; and to give financial and material support to philanthropic projects.
The Kensington and Chelsea Women's Club
The Kensington Chelsea Women's Club (KCWC) is a non-profit, volunteer organization formed to foster friendship and interaction among women of all ages and nationalities living in London. Founded over twenty years ago, we provide opportunities for members to make new friends and experience together so much that London offers.
The London Ladies Club
Offers a vibrant and friendly atmosphere where ladies of all ages and from all walks of life can meet in a centrally-located clubhouse. Ladies can also join them for outside excursions and events.
The North American Connection
A non-profit organization and social club that helps the North American expatriate in the U.K. to adjust to English culture and customs.
Turkish Women's Philanthropic Association (TWPA)
As a non-profit registered charity, TWPA aims to provide medical supplies and financial help to those in need. Social events provide the funding and also provide opportunities for Turkish women to meet. Regular health projects and seminars are organized.
Welcome to London International
Founded for the promotion of international understanding and friendship by way of monthly meetings and excursions, at which the cultures and customs of other nationalities are presented.

International Schools 

For families moving to the UK with children, the choice of school is paramount to the success of the relocation. The school search should therefore be informed by the place of work and precede the home search in terms of priority. It is important to be informed about all education options at the start in order to decide on the best type of schooling for your child.
There are plentiful international schools to choose from across the UK, and while each of the countries of the United Kingdom have their own separate systems under separate governments, you can expect educational facilities of high quality.
Schools in the UK have five stages of education; early years, primary, secondary, Further Education and Higher Education. Education is compulsory for all children between the ages of 5 and 16. Both FE and HE after the age of 16 are non-compulsory, and is entirely up to the student’s personal preferences whether to continue their academic education.
There are a range of different types of schools that you may want to enroll your children into, and as mentioned, are of a high quality, well maintained and academically sound. However, if you would prefer an international school, start your search here:
The American School in London
London thrives, and our students take full advantage of this wonderful city as a classroom, participating actively in its vibrant historical, artistic, and cultural venues. At the threshold of continental Europe, we introduce our students to the background and experiences that will create the international citizens of tomorrow.
Curriculum: American
Address: The American School in London, One Waverley Place, London, NW8 0NP
Tel: +44 020 7449 1200
Website: www.asl.org
ACS International Schools
Founded in London, England, in 1967 to serve the needs of global and local families, ACS International Schools now educate 3,700 students aged 2 - 18 from more than 70 countries. The schools – 3 in Greater London and 1 in Doha, Qatar – are non-sectarian and co-educational.
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate and American
Address: ACS International Schools, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 1BL
Tel: 01932 869 755
Email: pressoffice@acs-schools.com
Website: www.acs-schools.com
ISBI Schools
Use ISBI schools to help you in your school search: Include schools in the British Isles, independent schools, special schools, boarding schools, fee-paying schools, state boarding schools, international schools, schools worldwide, summer schools, English language schools.
Website: www.isbi.com
Southbank International School
An independent international day school representing 73 nationalities for students 3-18 years, teaching all three IB Programmes throughout the school. There are three central London campuses in Kensington, Hampstead and Westminster.
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Address: Southbank Hampstead, 16 Netherhall Gardens, London, NW3 5TH
Tel: 020 7431 1200
Email: communications@southbank.org
Website: www.southbank.org
International School of Aberdeen
SA provides students with a comprehensive university preparatory education utilising best practices in education. Our school is a partnership of excellent staff, committed parents, and dedicated students. Our students are challenged to reach their maximum potential through academic growth, becoming socially responsible and active global citizens. 
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Address: Pitfodels House, North Deeside Road, Pitfodels, Cults, Aberdeen, AB15 9PN, Scotland
Tel: 01224 730 300
Email: admin@isa.aberdeen.sch.uk
Website: www.isa.aberdeen.sch.uk
UWC Atlantic College
UWC Atlantic College is not a place for the faint-hearted, nor should it be; it provides a very special kind of educational experience. Approximately 350 young people from over 90 different nations and from a wide spectrum of socio-economic backgrounds, cultures and creeds, congregate each year at the college.
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Address: United World College of Atlantic, St. Donats Castle, St. Donat’s, Llantwit Major, South Glamorgan, CF61 1WF
Tel: 01446 799 000
Email: principal@atlanticcollege.org
Website: www.atlanticcollege.org
Ballyclare High School
Ballyclare High School places great emphasis on developing international contacts. We were the first school in Northern Ireland to be awarded the prestigious International School Award and have gone on to win the accolade on five consecutive occasions.
Address: 31 Rashee Road, Ballyclare, Co Antrim, BT39 9HJ
Tel: 028 9332 2244
Email: info@ballyclarehigh.co.uk
Website: www.ballyclarehigh.co.uk

Local News in English

Country Information 

Full Name: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Location: Europe
Population: cc. 64 million +
Capital Cities: London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast
Other Important Cities: Glasgow, Aberdeen, Londonderry, Swansea, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle
Currency: 1 Pound Sterling = 100 pence
Language(s): English, Welsh, Gaelic, Scottish
Religion(s): Christianity
Calling Code: +44
Internet TLD: .uk
Electricity: 230V 50Hz     
Time Zone: GMT +0
Emergency Numbers: 999

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a country and sovereign state. The United Kingdom is a political union made up of four constituent countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
All four constituents play huge roles in the creation of the UK’s history and modern stance. From the late medieval, to The Tudors and Stuarts, to the great Victorians right through to modern day, post-war UK, all four have played huge parts in constructing the UK today.
With its rich history, the UK’s monarch is the oldest institution of government and Queen Elizabeth II is directly descended from King Egbert, who united England in 829. The Queen is Head of State, and an important symbol of national unity. She is also the Head of the Commonwealth States.
Part of the UK’s history is that of the British Empire, which stretched over one-fourth of the earth’s surface. It became the dominant industrial and maritime power of the 19th century, and played a huge role in developing parliamentary democracy and advancing literature and science.
It’s no doubt that the UK has produced some of the world’s greatest writers, artists, scientists and landscapes and architecture. From Shakespeare to Darwin, from Charles Dickens to Liam Neeson, from the Pennines to Loch Ness and Ben Nevis, from London’s Shard to Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.
And while the UK is somewhat small in stature compared to other continental countries, it is large in spirit, pride and history. 

Time in the UK

Holidays and Important Dates

England and Wales

1st January: New Year's Day
1st March: St. David's Day (Wales)
25th March: Good Friday
28th March: Easter Monday
23rd April: St George's Day (England)
2nd May: Early May bank holiday
30th May: Spring bank holiday
29th August: Summer bank holiday
25th December: Christmas Day (Substitute day: 27th December)
26th December: Boxing Day

1st January: New Year's Day (Substitute date: 2nd January)
1st March: St. David's Day (Wales)
14th April: Good Friday
17th April: Easter Monday
1st May: Early May bank holiday
29th May: Spring bank holiday
28th August: Summer bank holiday
25th December: Christmas Day
26th December: Boxing Day


1st January: New Year's Day (also, 4th January as substitute for 2nd)
25th March: Good Friday
28th March: Easter Monday
23rd April: St George's Day (England)
2nd May: Early May bank holiday
30th May: Spring bank holiday
29th August: Summer bank holiday
20th November: St Andrew's Day
25th December: Christmas Day (Substitute day: 27th December)
26th December: Boxing Day

1st January: New Year's Day (Substitute day: 2nd January)
14th April: Good Friday
17th April: Easter Monday
1st May: Early May bank holiday
29th May: Spring bank holiday
28th August: Summer bank holiday
20th November: St Andrew's Day
25th December: Christmas Day
26th December: Boxing Day

Northern Ireland

1st January: New Year's day
17th March: St Patrick's Day
25th March: Good Friday
28th March: Easter Monday
2nd May: Early May bank holiday
30th May: Spring bank holiday
12th July: Battle of the Boyne (Orangemen's Day)
29th August: Summer bank holiday
25th December: Christmas Day (Substitute day: 27th December)
26th December: Boxing Day

1st January: New Year's Day (Substitute day: 2nd January)
17th March: St Patrick's Day
14th April: Good Friday
17th April: Easter Monday
1st May: Early May bank holiday
12th July: Battle of the Boyne (Orangemen's Day)
29th May: Spring bank holiday
28th August: Summer bank holiday
25th December: Christmas Day
26th December: Boxing Day

Other Important Dates:

25th January: Burns' Night (Scotland)
This date commemorates the life of the bard (poet) Robert Burns, who's birthday is January 25th, 1759. It celebrates his contribution to Scottish culture. His best known work is "Auld Lang Syne".

14th February: Valentine's Day
A day when it is traditional to send a card, often anonymously, to a person one is romantically involved with or attracted to.

17th February: Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day
The day before Ash Wednesday. It marks the feasting and celebration, often with pancakes, which traditionally preceded the observance of the Lenten fast.

19th February: Chinese New Year
The Chinese festival marking the start of the new year.

1st April: April Fools' Day
Practices include sending someone on a "fool's errand", lokoing or things that don't exist; playing pranks, trying to get people to believe silly things.

31st October: Halloween
Often celebrated by children dressing up in frightening masks and costumes.

5th November: Bonfire Night
Bonfires and fireworks are lit in memory of the Gunpowder Plot, traditionally including the burning of an effigy of Guy Fawkes.

2nd Sunday of November: Remembrance Day
It is the Sunday nearest to 11th November, when those who were killed in the First and Second World Wars and later conflicts are commemorated.

SEE ALSO: The top UK cities to live in

Expat Voting Rights

Great Britain

As a British expat, wherever you are in the world, you'll still be entitled to vote in elections that occur. Provided you have been included on an electoral register within the past 15 years, you will still be entitled to cast your vote. 

However, if you remain away from the UK for any more than the 15 years, you will automatically lose your right to vote in British elections. 

The Electoral Commission in Britain has made information readily available for UK expats, and insists that there is no lack of clarity for expatriates surrounding how to vote, when to register and so on. 

Please note: With regards to European elections, it is important to remember that you will only be permitted to vote in one country. If the member state where you now live has granted you the right to vote in these elections, you will not be entitled to cast a second vote in the UK. 

How to Vote

As expats, of course you won't be able to vote in person at your local polling station back home. Instead, expats vote by something called a proxy, which basically means that someone is voting on your behalf. 

Voting by proxy is understandably very convenient if you are unable to get to the polling station - even if you're not an expat! Basically, you'll appoint someone you trust to vote on your behalf. The person you appoint must be 18 years old or over. 

Prior to voting, you must apply to vote by proxy. Meaning, you'll have to check if you're correctly registered and contact your local authority of the address you are registered. The person you are selecting as proxy must also be registered individually on the electoral roll. Once you are registered individually, you'll then have to fill in a proxy voe application form for which there is a set deadline prior to each election. 

More information may be found on The Electorial Commission's website, here. 

Northern Ireland

If you're an expat from Northern Ireland, the procedure for voting via proxy is relatively similar to what British expats must do. You can appoint someone - your proxy - to vote on your behalf at your polling station. That person must be sent a proxy poll card. 

Good news though - if you happen to arrive home prior to the vote before your proxy, you can still cast your own vote in person. 

In order to apply for voting by proxy you must: 
  • Download the application form (find here)
  • Fill in, and if necessary, have the form attested
  • Return the application form to your Area Electoral Office
Please note: You are in fact able to apply for a permanent proxy vote at any time of the year; to be eligible, you must provide a reason why you cannot reasonably be expected to go to your polling station on a long-term or permanent basis.

More information may be found on The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland's website, here. 

Residents Visa and Work Permit information

The UK has flourished both due to its native residents and foreign nationals. For years, many different nationalities, cultures and races have found home on UK shores. Of course, the accumulation of varying laws, immigration laws and many, many years of open borders has resulted in the UK having a large number of different types of visas today. The requirements for each vary from person to person, and visa to visa, so ensure you’re fully clued up before tackling your application to stay in the UK.
You can find all of the relevant information here.


It’s common knowledge that the affordability of housing in the UK isn’t the most pleasant of things to be confronted with. There has been significant rises in the prices of housing over the past few decades, which often leaves potential home owners deflated – both emotionally and financially.

The silver lining to all of this is that mortgages are available to those who qualify, and there is a large amount of property that can be rented across the country. The Government of the United Kingdom also provide programs such as the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme that assists first time buyers in the UK to purchase residential property.

The types of housing in the UK vary from urban to rural areas. Here there are a large number of flats and apartments available to buy or rent. In more suburban areas, a large majority of properties are built from stone or brick sourced from local producers. You can find terraced houses, detached and semi-detached houses which all make for comfortable family homes or house shares with friends. You might even fancy yourself a bungalow!

Nonetheless, UK homes are among Europe’s most expensive, so expats should ensure they are financially sound before investing in property in the UK. 

Driving License

The UK drive on the left hand side, and has one of the best road safety records in the world. Wearing seat belts is mandatory, and drivers are limited to only one alcoholic unit prior to sitting behind the wheel. If you drive without the relevant insurance, up to date tax or MOT, you can get into trouble and have to pay a hefty fine.
To drive legally in the UK, you must be at least 17 years old and have a valid license of a category appropriate to the vehicle being driven.
Exchange your license
To exchange your foreign license to a UK driver’s license if you’re from a country included in the European Union is relatively easy for a small fee. You will need to:
  • Check entitlement for license exchange
  • Order a D1 pack from the DVLA
  • Have original passport, travel document or national identity card
  • Have a passport sixed photo
  • Have the fee paid by cheque or postal order, made payable to the DVLA
  • Have a current driving license, which will be returned to the issuing licensing authority
EU-issued Licenses
Holders of an EU-issued license do not have to apply for the UK equivalent until five years after becoming a resident. After this period you must exchange your existing license for a UK one.
Designated Countries
Licenses issued in any of the countries with which the UK has a reciprocal licensing agreement may be used for up to a year, and then must be exchanged for a UK license. These countries include: 

Australia, Barbados, British Virgin islands, Canada, Falkland Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Zimbabwe, Faroe Islands and Republic of Korea.
Other Countries
A license issued by any other country is valid for use for one year. To continue driving, a full driving theory and practical test must be taken to be issued a UK license. 


Healthcare in the UK is a devolved matter, split between the four constituent countries; England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Each have their own systems of publicly funded healthcare. These systems of national health services are free to all UK permanent residents, and is paid for from general taxation. As well as this, each country has its own private healthcare which is considerably smaller compared to its public equivalent.
Insurance Companies  
Leeds General Infirmary
Address: Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3EX
Tel: 0113 243 2799
Website: www.leedsth.nhs.uk/patients-visitors/our-hospitals/leeds-general-infirmary
Princess Royal Hospital
Address: Lewes Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 4EX
Tel: 01444 441 881
Website: www.bsuh.nhs.uk/hospitals/our-hospitals/princess-royal-hospital
Royal Shrewsbury Hospital
Address: Mytton Oak Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 8XQ
Tel: 01743 261 000
Website: www.sath.nhs.uk
Royal Liverpool University Hospital
Address: Prescot Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L7 8XP
Tel: 0151 706 2000
Website: www.rlbuht.nhs.uk
St Mary’s Hospital
Address: Praed Street, Paddington, London, W2 1NY
Tel: 020 3313 6666
Website: www.imperial.nhs.uk/stmarys
Royal London Hospital
Address: Whitechapel Road, London, E1 1BB
Tel: 020 7377 7000
Website: www.bartshealth.nhs.uk/our-hospitals/the-royal-london-hospital
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
Address: 51 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh, EH16 4SA
Tel: 0131 536 1000
Website: http://www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk/GoingToHospital/Locations/RIE/Pages/default.aspx
University Hospital of Wales
Address: Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XW
Tel: 029 2074 7747
Website: www.wales.nhs.uk
Royal Victoria Hospital
Address: 274 Grosvenor Road, Belfast, BT12 6BA
Tel: 028 9024 0503
Website: www.belfasttrust.hscni.net/hospitals/RVHIntro.htm

Rehab 4 Addiction
This is a free and confidential helpline for people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction in London. 
Tel: 0800 140 4690
Website: www.rehab4addiction.co.uk 
Find GP services: www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/GP/LocationSearch/4

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