For me personally, this was the easiest one on the list to get. In my case I was applying for a 24 month Tier 5 visa, which is available to 18-30 year old citizens of these countries. You just need to pay the fees and attend an appointment at an application centre. Hand in your passport with a blank page on both sides and four passport photos. Provided you don’t have any criminal convictions, your passport with the visa attached will be sent via registered post after about three weeks.
They’ll also scan your fingerprints for the application. This gets turned into a photo ID card that displays you have the right to work in the UK. The permit can only be collected at a nominated UK post office within 10 days of entering the country. This can be tricky, as you may not know where you’ll be when the time comes around to pick up this bad boy. The best bet is to pick up in the city you are flying into, but just remember that UK post offices are closed on weekends.
Being from far-flung Australia, it is damn expensive to get anywhere. Depending on the time of year, one-way flights from the east coast of Aus to the UK average out around $800. Save money by avoiding flying during the busy European summer and the December holiday period. Saying that, flights on major holidays such as New Year’s Eve can be a lot cheaper. I swear by booking sites Skyscanner and I Know The Pilot for cheap deals, but definitely shop around.
NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER
This will act like a tax file/ social security number. You’ll need a fixed address for this one, and your hostel or hotel can provide this. However the NIN has notoriously long wait times, and processing can take upwards of seven weeks. The smart idea is to apply before you leave, but you’ll need to ring a UK phone number to do so.
You’ll need some photo ID and a proof of address in the U.K., which may be hard if you haven’t settled in yet. Some banks will accept letters from employers or evidence that you have applied for an NIN to set up an account. Alternatively, British banks have many banking partners overseas and your home bank may be able to set you up with an account with one of these.
Further reading- this guide is even more comprehensive in detail about moving to the U.K., covering everything from working rights, rental prices, the cost of living and the healthcare system.