Couple of things if you are going to the UK in the near future
1) If you live far away from a US immigration office and have not ever had fingerprints done for visa etc then start the visa app process early and schedule your appointment. Its fast but I had to drive 140 miles to the nearest one with an appointment that met my timeline. The app process is a pain but fairly easy. You can start it before you actually have your CAS (confirmed schedule) but if it falls through you will be out a lot ($800+) of money. Normal visas run around $500. Expedited around $850ish. So plan ahead.
1a) Use A Briggs to expedite if needed. I Fedexed Monday afternoon and had my visa in hand Friday morning. That is as tight as you can go so start early.
2) Do not bother to bring a debit card. They wont work even as a credit card (typically). You lack the chip in UK debit cards
3) Bring some currency but DO NOT bring anything bigger than a 20 pound note. Many places wont take 50s due to counterfeiting and if they do they will check EVERY note. Make sure to have some 1 pound coins handy.
4) Do bring your unlocked GSM phone/device. Easy to get paygo sim cards for ANY GSM phone (took me 5 mins). Throw any other spec in your desk back in home. The feeder med school for my hospital just started giving everyone IPads so its a thought. If you want one buy it in the US they are $100+ more at most specs here (thanks VAT).
5) Bring a UK power adapter or perhaps 2. Most electronics with the bigger power boxes will convert but if you have a doubt check (all laptops work fyi).
6) If you are going to Blackburn go through Manchester NOT London. Catch train in the airport. One switch a little wait and a cab ride to the hospital (2 miles) and you are there.
7) Ask your hospital contact what dress code is but the standard at my hospital seems to be business casual no white coat, scrubs provided as needed.
8) Ask your hospital when you need to be there to start. I had to run through Occ Therapy (shots, etc) before starting. Did it Friday afternoon. I suggest you add HIV test to your titers as its NHS standard for anyone doing EPP (ie going to potentially be exposed to blood products through tears in surgery, dialysis, etc).
9) Bring a copy of your CAS when you fly, customs will ask although I skated through even though I had an electronic copy I could not access.
10) In many places mobile broadband will be your most viable internet options. Its not too pricey depending on what you do. If you are a high bandwidth user you better plan to get your own flat with unlimited service. Its cheaper than US but kind of a pain. Mobile is typically up to 7.2Mb/sec with monthly bandwidth limitations (you can buy all you want but its about $6/Gb fyi). See other comments for updates. I still like mobile as a better gaming option (200-275 ping to US gaming servers havent tried Live though no xbox here).
11) Its business casual but dry cleaning is expensive (more than I paid in NYC) and more sparsely located. Might be Blackburn but just a word of warning for the fasionistas out there.
12) If there is a branded product that you HAVE to have then you might want to bring a bit of it. The brand structures are different and many common US products dont exist and some companies make things here that you wouldnt expect to see in the US (interesting actually).
Anyone with questions ask. I just went through the beginnings of all this (landed Friday)...
Last edited by cms; 07-17-2012 at 12:54 AM.
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