Moving to Bristol
Moving to Bristol in the United Kingdom?
Let us help you plan your relocation and discover everything Bristol has to offer. Crown are an international relocations company, specialising in international removals, storage, overseas moving, movers insurance, relocation services and lots more. We will even relocate your vehicle and pets!
Bristol became established around the time of the Iron Age and the Roman occupation of Britain, and made its name and fortune when it was as a base for voyages of exploration to the New World and as a port for trade between Britain and the rest of the world.
In modern times, Bristol has become a centre for the creative-media, electronics and aerospace industries. In 2005, Bristol was named one of England’s six science cities and those city-centre docks which brought such prosperity, have been redeveloped as centres of heritage and culture. It was named England’s first cycling city in 2008, and the city underwent a multi-million pound development project to make the city as cyclist friendly as possible. As part of this, and other environmental work, Bristol won the European Green Capital Award in 2015.
Bristol is home to some 437,500 people, making it the sixth-biggest city in the United Kingdom (UK). To be found enveloped in the hills of South-West England, bordered by the counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire, with the historic cities of Bath and Gloucester nearby, as well as the Welsh border just a short drive away, reached by the (River) Severn Bridge.
While Bristol is a major city, it’s compact enough to get around on foot, yet large enough to boast a thriving social and economic base. It is believed to be birthplace of the mysterious graffiti artist, Banksy, who was apparently born and raised in Bristol, and there are several examples of his work to be seen around the city.
The city has two universities and a wide variety of artistic and sporting organisations and venues. It has excellent transport links, both road and rail, as well as an international airport, and is an established tourist centre, with many things to do and see, a good place to start is the official tourist website at www.visitbristol.co.uk.
If you are a member of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), then you do not need a UK-specific work permit or visa. If you are not a member then you must apply for the relevant work permit or visa before you arrive in the UK — this can be done through your local UK embassy.
New Zealand passport holders may generally enter the UK for six months without a visa on a visa waiver if they are here for a holiday. However, they will still need to satisfy a Border Force officer (UK Customs) when they arrive that they meet the requirements of a visitor category, and aren’t in the UK for any other purpose.
While New Zealanders generally do not need a visa before entering the UK on holiday, there are circumstances when you may need to obtain one before you travel. To live, study and work in the UK you must obtain the necessary visa before you arrive in the country. These visas can only be applied for from your country of residence; this will likely be New Zealand for most New Zealanders. For details of visa and general immigration enquiries, visit the UK Home Office Visas and Immigration page.
The local currency of the UK is the Pound Sterling. Shops and service providers, as a rule, only take sterling. Coins come in denominations of 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, £1 and £2 while notes come in £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100, although some of the larger shops will take Euros (the official currency of the European Union).
Many migrants have found it helpful to set up a UK bank account before arriving in the country. This makes it easy for converted money to be transferred straight in to your account, as well as minimising the need to carry cash while travelling. There are many banks in Bristol who offer an easy, online sign-up service.
The best way to convert large sums of money is through online transferral companies, who provide a much cheaper rate.
Crown has entered into a partnership with OFX to provide an easy, reliable and cost effective solution for clients who are moving their funds internationally. The deals offered by OFX are at super competitive exchange rates and in most cases there’s no fee. The cost structure is so good that the saving you make may even pay for the entire cost of your relocation. Visit the OFX website for more information.
Bristol has an excellent public transport system, with regular bus services throughout the city and the city is at hub of the national rail network in the West of England, with services to cities throughout mainland Britain.
When driving in the UK, a seatbelt must be worn at all times, and operating a mobile phone while driving is illegal.
Members of the EU and those from Commonwealth countries are eligible to drive in the UK for up to twelve months, assuming that they hold an up-to-date license. This includes those from; Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Falkland Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and Zimbabwe.
An overseas license can then be exchanged any time within five years for a GB (Great Britain) version.
Bristol has two universities, and in terms of the local schooling system, there are both private and state education services available for children in Bristol. Most expatriates choose to enrol their children in private or independent schools (called ‘public schools’ in the UK) this is because state schools are solely based on ‘catchment areas’.
The school year begins in September and ends in July, typical school days run Monday-Friday from 9am to 4pm. Children typically travel to school by car with their parents or take the bus.
Crown can arrange an appointment with a Specialist Education consultant who can provide an in-depth explanation of local education systems, the curricula available and arranging interviews, as well as assist with enrolment requirements. Please contact us for information and rates.
Bristol, like the wider UK, has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. The National Healthcare System (NHS) is the main public healthcare system.
Eligibility for NHS services is dependent on resident status in the UK. Expatriates registering for NHS treatments need photo identification and proof of address.
If you are paying tax or National Insurance in the UK, then you will need to apply for a National Insurance Number — this is something that will allow assistance with NHS services.
Excellent public healthcare is available all throughout Bristol, however some expatriates may choose to take out private healthcare, and this is available through companies such as BUPA or PPP.
If the insurance company you were with in New Zealand is a member of the International Federation of Health Funds, you may be able to transfer your policy to the UK without penalty – at a similar level of cover. Check with your insurance provider for details.
When choosing where to live in Bristol, the deciding factor for expats is normally how close you need to be to your place of employment and school. The cost of accommodation and commuting to work are also significant considerations.
Rather than purchasing a home, most expatriates choose to rent, at least at first. This is because house prices in Bristol, and the rest of the UK, are more expensive compared to their equivalents in New Zealand.
Looking for a home in Bristol can quite often be a daunting task, Crown Bristol provides accommodation information for rental or purchase properties and can also arrange for temporary accommodation.
Bristol’s diverse, multi-cultural population means that you are bound to meet people from all different walks of life.
Expatriates most commonly assimilate in to the community through pursuing sports and hobbies they are interested in. There are a number of established expatriate communities that new migrants can join.
A renowned pub/night-life culture provides opportunities to meet new people, and establish friendships with people in the area. Social media and activities such as volunteer work, sports teams, and foreign language classes are all great ways to get to know like-minded people in your area.
Crown Relocations has 50 years of experience moving individuals and families to Bristol and throughout the UK, contact us today for more information about our services. Read our blog Expert Tips on Moving to the UK for move information.