Essential checklist for moving to Edinburgh

Here’s the absolute essential checklist for moving to Edinburgh. These are the first things to consider upon your arrival in Scotland’s capital.

There are a few essential things to do when you move to Edinburgh that shouldn’t be postponed. For your safety or simply because by delaying them you will have to wait even longer for other things.

The Essential Checklist for moving to Edinburgh

Out of all the things mentioned here, you should prioritise these 5 things:

1.Get a SIM card

First of all, if you bring your phone with you from abroad and want to simply change the SIM card to a British one, you must have your phone ‘unlocked’. You can do that with your phone provider before leaving or when you arrive.Find SIM card

You have three main phone contracts:

  • Pay As You Go (PAYG): credit added to your phone.
  • Pay monthly: not bound to any contract. You can cancel at any time.
  • 12/24 month contract: lower monthly rates, but you are bound by a contract.

To compare and decide on your mobile provider.

2.Register for your National Insurance Number (NINo)

To be able to work in the UK, you will need a National Insurance Number. To apply for one, follow the instructions on this website:

3.Register with your local doctor

Register Doctor NHSThe National Health Service (NHS) is available to all visa applicants who paid for the national insurance fee and the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card holders. To receive treatment, however, you NEED to register at your nearest NHS general practitioner (GP). To find the closest practice near you, see:


NB: To register, make sure to bring with you:

  • Proof of your identity (passport or driving licence)
  • Proof of address (copy of your lease or a power bill with your name and address on it should suffice)

4.Register with a dentist

You DON’T NEED to register at the nearest practice to your address. Make sure the practice you find is NHS registered or you will have to pay the full price.  See:

NB: If you can organise a transfer of your dental file from your previous address, you won’t have to make a new general assessment.

5.Register to Vote

As an Expat, you will probably have the opportunity to vote during the next elections. You simply need to register here:


Written by Judith Bellemare, Venture English

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