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View Full Version : Couple of things if you are going to the UK in the near future



cms
07-08-2012, 07:58 AM
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)...

RfisherMD
07-11-2012, 01:11 PM
As an add-on:

Bank of America cards work through Barclays and they only charge the 3% conversion fee; HSBC does a passport account for 8/month; Lloyds bank is free with Student Letter from your hospital.

The Cellphone/internet company 3 (three.co.uk) will bargain to keep your service on mobile broadband. sign up for 5GB/month rolling contract for 15/month then a month later, simply tell them you want to cancel and they will try to keep you by offering 15GB/month the same 15/month you are already paying on a rolling contract. This is the cheapest non-wired internet available.

cms
07-11-2012, 04:23 PM
As an add-on:

Bank of America cards work through Barclays and they only charge the 3% conversion fee; HSBC does a passport account for 8/month; Lloyds bank is free with Student Letter from your hospital.

The Cellphone/internet company 3 (three.co.uk) will bargain to keep your service on mobile broadband. sign up for 5GB/month rolling contract for 15/month then a month later, simply tell them you want to cancel and they will try to keep you by offering 15GB/month the same 15/month you are already paying on a rolling contract. This is the cheapest non-wired internet available.
Ryan they must like you better because they wouldnt let me do a contract unless I had lived here 3 years.

Barclays is free to set up an account here and took me a little over an hr (no appointment so I had to sit a bit). Havent moved money as I deposited currency I already had but will mention cost if anyone cares later.

RfisherMD
07-11-2012, 05:38 PM
Ryan they must like you better because they wouldnt let me do a contract unless I had lived here 3 years.

Barclays is free to set up an account here and took me a little over an hr (no appointment so I had to sit a bit). Havent moved money as I deposited currency I already had but will mention cost if anyone cares later.

You dont tell them up front. You tell them you want to cancel and they give you this deal to keep your business. Or at least they did for me.

I tried Barclays, but they had high account balance limits and charged a fee.

I think companies make up policies on the spot depending on how they like you and if they can be bothered to do work.

cms
07-14-2012, 03:30 PM
Okay so middle ground after trying yet another store (actual 3 store) was rolling 10GB/month for 15.99. I still keep my dongle SIM so I can top up (you cant go above the 10gb every month without huge charges where the paygo you can do unlimited data if you want to pay).

Barclays isnt charging me anything so I think you are right, make it up as they go.....

andrewjsl
07-14-2012, 04:47 PM
Or you could just get 3 Mobile's 15 pay-as-you-go plan, which includes 300 minutes, 3000 texts and all-you-can-use data and lasts a month. And just either WiFi hotspot or USB connect to your laptop to get unlimited data! That's what I did, for over four months, and it worked perfectly.

cms
07-15-2012, 02:54 PM
Not a bad idea but no way to do an Ipad too is there? Maybe I missed some way to do that. Why I chose what I did (MiFi). Did you get 3G speed/network or full HSPA+?

andrewjsl
07-15-2012, 03:15 PM
Not a bad idea but no way to do an Ipad too is there? Maybe I missed some way to do that. Why I chose what I did (MiFi). Did you get 3G speed/network or full HSPA+?

You can use your phone as a WiFi hotspot and give the unlimited data to both your laptop and iPad! Great deal :)

cms
07-15-2012, 04:17 PM
What kind of ping/throughput were you getting? I hooked mine up and was 180ms/0.65mb down/up (which isnt what I am looking for) but then I went Virgin not 3. Guess I can use my 1gb on Virgin now though :)

tsirard
07-30-2012, 05:08 PM
what kind of visa are we applying for while in the UK?

cms
07-31-2012, 01:18 PM
Type 4, Student

tsirard
08-03-2012, 10:49 AM
Just wanted to see what timeline it took people for getting a visa without an expeditor? From Start to finish I know its much cheaper but about how long does the process take?

cms
08-04-2012, 02:04 AM
Just wanted to see what timeline it took people for getting a visa without an expeditor? From Start to finish I know its much cheaper but about how long does the process take?

The key holdups in the process are the school settling your schedule, fingerprinting, and the piece where you actually send it and wait. From application to mailing needs to be less than 2 weeks or they get mad. Turnaround time can be up to a month from what they said on their website. But its probably a little faster. So the answer is it depends on what starting point you are referring to. Less than a month from when the school gives you a CAS (support document) is probably a little tight but should be doable. Problem is once you start the process you cant guarantee the end result without an expeditior. It would save you around $325-350 though.







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