How do I move my personal goods to the UK?
Moving to the UK with OSS World Wide Movers brings over 40 years of international moving experience between Australia and the UK. This experience ensures a safe and efficient moving process for your personal effects, which are shipped to the UK in professionally packed and secured shipping containers.
At OSS World Wide Movers our network of FIDI / FAIM accredited partners cover the whole of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
Our partners in the UK are well versed in all aspects of the requirements for importation of personal and household goods.
As OSS World Wide Movers is an independent company we are fortunate to be able to choose the best and most suitable company to handle the clearance and delivery of your effects for your situation.
This guarantees you a seamless, tailor made move to the UK, right through to your new home not only your personal effects and vehicles, but also for your much loved pets as well.
Moving to the UK with ‘Owner Packed Personal Effects’
If you are sending items to the UK which have been packed by yourself “owner packed” then they will attract more stringent inspection by UK Customs on arrival.
Providing a detailed carton by carton moving inventory will assist UK Customs in inspecting your effects and may avoid unnecessary delays.
It is advisable to have your goods packed by your moving company if you are looking at sending larger consignments to ensure the clearance process can be conducted with a minimum of fuss.
Moving a boat to the UK
Moving a boat to the UK has similar requirements to moving a car to the UK when it comes to registration requirements and process.
Customs and Quarantine in the UK will have a special interest in the boat due to its exposure to marine life, however as Australia has a fairly clean marine environment your boat or jet ski etc should pass customs and quarantine with very little fuss.
Moving a car to the UK
Moving motor vehicles and motor bikes to the UK is possible provided Customs criteria are met.
This service is usually depot to depot meaning the motor vehicle will be collected from our partners depot in the UK following customs clearance.
Customs may require evidence that the owner of the vehicle/boat has lived abroad for 12 months or longer, e.g., copy of passport with date stamp showing arrival in overseas country, or copy of lease/rental agreement on overseas residence.
Clearance Requirements and Timeframes for moving to the UK
Clearance of your move into the UK takes approximately 5 to 7 working days for an FCL (Full Container Load e.g. not a shared container), and 7 to 10 working days for a GRP (Groupage or shared container load) once the shipping container has been unloaded from the vessel.
Marine Transit Insurance when moving to the UK
Although your shipment will be packed to export standards designed to withstand the the longest journey, the small cost of insurance gives you complete peace of mind with regard to the exposure and rigours inherent in moving from one side of the world to the other.
The following information and links will inform you about UK Government services in Australia.
British High Commision, Canberra, Australia
Contact the British High Commission by visiting Commonwealth Avenue, Yarramumla, Canberra ACT 2600, Australia. Phone +612 6270 6666 Fax +612 6273 3236 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
There are consulates-general in Sydney and Melbourne and consulates in Brisbane and Perth. With over one million Britons living in Australia and over 590,000 visiting every year, the consulates support British nationals if they need assistance: https://www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations/british-high-commission-canberra
UK Visa Information
General visa information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration
UK Passport Information
General passport information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/overseas-passports
UK Immigration Information
General immigration information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration
UK Citizenship Information
A guide to citizenship: https://www.gov.uk/browse/citizenship/citizenship
Social Media Links
UK Trade & Investment
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy.
We also help overseas companies bring their high-quality investment to the UK’s dynamic economy: https://www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations/uk-trade-investment-australia
British Council, Australia
Connects people with learning opportunities and creative ideas from the UK. Whether you want to learn or teach English, take an exam, study in the UK or find out about our forthcoming events, this is the place to start: http://www.britishcouncil.org.au/
Visit Britain, Australia
Places to visit, things to do, travel advice and accommodation throughout Britain: http://www.visitbritain.com/en/AU/
UK Destination Guide
The UK is a giant jigsaw puzzle. And it is made not from just the four pieces of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but thousands and thousands of tiny fragments, from the shimmering White Cliffs of Dover to the wild splendour of the Scottish Highlands, and from the jagged shards of Snowdonia National Park to the stone forest that is the Giant’s Causeway.
The UK is a beautiful country, both in nature and personality, and how well you understand it will depend on how many of its pieces you slot together: the longer you stay, the clearer the bigger picture will become.
UK capital cities are bursting with life and activity, from the vibrant riverside paths of the London South Bank to the relaxed atmosphere of Cardiff Bay, and from the jolly crowds at the Edinburgh Festival to the rambunctious, Guinness swilling locals in the pubs of Belfast. But, there’s far more to discover outside the big cities.
Explore the glorious UK countryside and its landmarks with a brisk walk in the Brecon Beacons, a jaunt along the Fife Coastal Path, a journey to the Giant’s Causeway or a day trip to Stone Henge. Delve into history in Derry, admire the gardens at Powis Castle, follow the Speyside Malt Whisky Trail or take a Roman bath in Bath.
Bask in the splendour of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion, hit the waves on Cornwall’s beaches, relax in the afternoon sun in Tenby or hit the shops in the centre of Glasgow. And, if you feel peckish after all that exploring, there’s plenty to choose from; from Michelin stars to fish and chips, cream teas to Welsh rarebit, Irish stew to haggis, neeps and tatties. Dig into a hearty plate of bangers and mash, help yourself to a Glamorgan sausage, take a bite of some Scottish shortbread or sit down for a traditional Sunday roast, with all the trimmings.
The total area of the UK is approximately 243,610 square kilometres (94,060 sq mi). The country occupies the major part of the British Isles archipelago and includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern one-sixth of the island of Ireland and some smaller surrounding islands.
It lies between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea with the south-east coast coming within 22 miles (35 km) of the coast of northern France, from which it is separated by the English Channel. In 1993 10% of the UK was forested, 46% used for pastures and 25% cultivated for agriculture.
The Royal Greenwich Observatory in London is the defining point of the Prime Meridian.
The UK lies between latitudes 49° to 61° N, and longitudes 9° W to 2° E. Northern Ireland shares a 224-mile (360 km) land boundary with the Republic of Ireland. The coastline of Great Britain is 11,073 miles (17,820 km) long.
It is connected to continental Europe by the Channel Tunnel, which at 31 miles (50 km) (24 miles (38 km) underwater) is the longest underwater tunnel in the world.
England accounts for just over half of the total area of the UK, covering 130,395 square kilometres (50,350 sq. mi). Most of the country consists of lowland terrain, with mountainous terrain north-west of the Tees-Exe line; including the Cumbrian Mountains of the Lake District, the Pennines and limestone hills of the Peak District, Exmoor and Dartmoor. The main rivers and estuaries are the Thames, Severn and the Humber. England’s highest mountain is Scafell Pike (978 metres (3,209 ft)) in the Lake District. Its principal rivers are the Severn, Thames, Humber, Tees, Tyne, Tweed, Avon, Exe and Mersey.
Scotland accounts for just under a third of the total area of the UK, covering 78,772 square kilometres (30,410 sq mi) and including nearly eight hundred islands, predominantly west and north of the mainland; notably the Hebrides, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands. The topography of Scotland is distinguished by the Highland Boundary Fault – a geological rock fracture – which traverses Scotland from Arran in the west to Stonehaven in the east. The fault line separates two distinctively different regions; namely the Highlands to the north and west and the lowlands to the south and east.
The more rugged Highland region contains the majority of Scotland’s mountainous land, including Ben Nevis which at 1,343 metres (4,406 ft) is the highest point in the British Isles. Lowland areas – especially the narrow waist of land between the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Forth known as the Central Belt – are flatter and home to most of the population including Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, and Edinburgh, its capital and political centre.
Wales accounts for less than a tenth of the total area of the UK, covering 20,779 square kilometres (8,020 sq. mi). Wales is mostly mountainous, though South Wales is less mountainous than North and mid Wales. The main population and industrial areas are in South Wales, consisting of the coastal cities of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport, and the South Wales Valleys to their north.
The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia and include Snowdon (Welsh: Yr Wyddfa) which, at 1,085 metres (3,560 ft), is the highest peak in Wales. The 14, or possibly 15, Welsh mountains over 3,000 feet (914 m) high are known collectively as the Welsh 3000s. Wales has over 2,704 kilometres (1,680 miles) of coastline. Several islands lie off the Welsh mainland, the largest of which is Anglesey (Ynys Môn) in the northwest.
Northern Ireland, separated from Great Britain by the Irish Sea and North Channel, accounts for just 14,160 square kilometres (5,470 sq. mi) and is mostly hilly. It includes Lough Neagh which, at 388 square kilometres (150 sq. mi), is the largest lake in the British Isles by area.
The highest peak in Northern Ireland is Slieve Donard in the Mourne Mountains at 852 metres (2,795 ft).
The UK has a temperate climate, with plentiful rainfall all year round. The temperature varies with the seasons seldom dropping below −11 °C (12 °F) or rising above 35 °C (95 °F). The prevailing wind is from the south-west and bears frequent spells of mild and wet weather from the Atlantic Ocean, although the eastern parts are mostly sheltered from this wind since the majority of the rain falls over the western regions the eastern parts are therefore the driest. Atlantic currents, warmed by the Gulf Stream, bring mild winters; especially in the west where winters are wet and even more so over high ground. Summers are warmest in the south-east of England, being closest to the European mainland, and coolest in the north. Heavy snowfall can occur in winter and early spring on high ground, and occasionally settles to great depth away from the hills.
UK Full Country Name: United Kingdom
Abbreviated Country Name: UK
UK Area: 243,610 sq. km
UK Population: 64,100,000
People in the UK: 87.1% White 7.0% Asian 3.0% Black 2.0% Mixed 0.9% Other
Languages of the UK: English, Scots, Ulster-Scots, Welsh, Cornish, Irish, Scottish Gaelic
Religion in the UK: Christian, Islam, Hindu, Sikhism, Judaism and Buddhism
UK Government: Parliamentary constitutional monarchy
UK Monarch: Elizabeth II
UK Prime Minister: Theresa May
UK Major industries: Automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical, agriculture and finance
UK Major trading partners: US, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, Tokyo
UK Health risks: None
UK Time: GMT (UTC), BST (UTC+1)
UK Electricity: 240 Volts
UK Phone Country Code: +44
UK Mobile Phone network: GSM 900, GSM 1800, 3G
UK Weights & measures: Metric with local variations
United Kingdom Culture
The culture of the United Kingdom has been influenced by many factors including: the nation’s island status; its history as a western liberal democracy and a major power; as well as being a political union of four countries with each preserving elements of distinctive traditions, customs and symbolism. As a result of the British Empire, British influence can be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies including Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. The substantial cultural influence of the United Kingdom has led it to be described as a “cultural superpower.
The United Kingdom is comprised of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It is important not only to be aware of these geographical distinctions, but also the strong sense of identity and nationalism felt by the populations of these four nations.
The terms ‘English’ and ‘British’ do not mean the same thing. ‘British’ denotes someone who is from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. ‘English’ refers to people from England.
People from Scotland are ‘Scots’, from Wales ‘Welsh’ and from Northern Ireland ‘Irish’. Be sure not to call someone Welsh, Scots, or Northern Irish ‘English
Although in the past few decades, people from varied backgrounds have had greater access to higher education, wealth distribution is changing and more upward/downward mobility is occurring, the British class system is still very much intact although in a more subconscious way. The playing field is levelling but the British still seem to pigeon-hole people according to class.
Class is no longer simply about wealth or where one lives; the British are able to suss out someone’s class through a number of complex variables including demeanour, accent, manners and comportment.
Formerly a very homogenous society, since World War II, Britain has become increasingly diverse as it has accommodated large immigrant populations, particularly from its former colonies such as India, Pakistan and the West Indies. The mixture of ethnic groups and cultures make it difficult to define “Britishness” nowadays and a debate rages within the nation as to what now really constitutes being a Briton.
The British are very reserved and private people. Privacy is extremely important. The British will not necessarily give you a tour of their home and, in fact, may keep most doors closed. They expect others to respect their privacy. This extends to not asking personal questions. The question, “Where are you from?” may be viewed as an attempt to “place” the person on the social or class scale. Even close friends do not ask pointedly personal questions, particularly pertaining to one’s financial situation or relationships.
There is a proper way to act in most situations and the British are sticklers for adherence to protocol. The British are a bit more contained in their body language and hand gestures while speaking. They are generally more distant and reserved than North and South Americans and Southern Europeans, and may not initially appear to be as open or friendly. Friendships take longer to build; however, once established they tend to be deep and may last over time and distance.
Religion in the UK
Forms of Christianity have dominated religious life in what is now the United Kingdom for over 1,400 years. Although a majority of citizens still identify with Christianity in many surveys, regular church attendance has fallen dramatically since the middle of the 20th century, while immigration and demographic change have contributed to the growth of other faiths, most notably Islam. This has led some commentators to variously describe the UK as a multi-faith, secularised, or post-Christian society.
In the 2001 census 71.6% of all respondents indicated that they were Christians, with the next largest faiths (by number of adherents) being Islam (2.8%), Hinduism (1.0%), Sikhism (0.6%), Judaism (0.5%), Buddhism (0.3%) and all other religions (0.3%). 15% of respondents stated that they had no religion, with a further 7% not stating a religious preference. A Tear fund survey in 2007 showed only one in ten Britons actually attend church weekly. Between the 2001 and 2011 census there was a decrease in the amount of people who identified as Christian by 12%, whilst the percentage of those reporting no religious affiliation doubled. This contrasted with growth in the other main religious group categories, with the number of Muslims increasing by the most substantial margin to a total of about 5%.
The Church of England is the established church in England. It retains a representation in the UK Parliament and the British monarch is its Supreme Governor. In Scotland the Presbyterian Church of Scotland is recognised as the national church. It is not subject to state control, and the British monarch is an ordinary member, required to swear an oath to “maintain and preserve the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Government” upon his or her accession. The (Anglican) Church in Wales was disestablished in 1920 and, as the (Anglican) Church of Ireland was disestablished in 1870 before the partition of Ireland, there is no established church in Northern Ireland.
Although there are no UK-wide data in the 2001 census on adherence to individual Christian denominations, it has been estimated that 62% of Christians are Anglican, 13.5% Catholic, 6% Presbyterian, 3.4% Methodist with small numbers of other Protestant denominations such as Open Brethren, and Orthodox churches
Language in the United Kingdom
The UK official language is English. It is estimated that 95% of the UK’s population are monolingual English speakers. 5.5% of the population are estimated to speak languages brought to the UK as a result of relatively recent immigration. South Asian languages, including Bengali, Tamil, Punjabi, Hindi and Gujarati, are the largest grouping and are spoken by 2.7% of the UK population. According to the 2011 census, Polish has become the second largest language spoken in England and has 546,000 speakers.
Four Celtic languages are spoken in the UK: Welsh; Irish; Scottish Gaelic; and Cornish. All are recognised as regional or minority languages, subject to specific measures of protection and promotion under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. In the 2001 Census over a fifth (21%) of the population of Wales said they could speak Welsh, an increase from the 1991 Census (18%). In addition it is estimated that about 200,000 Welsh speakers live in England.
In the same census in Northern Ireland 167,487 people (10.4%) stated that they had “some knowledge of Irish” (see Irish language in Northern Ireland), almost exclusively in the nationalist (mainly Catholic) population. Over 92,000 people in Scotland (just under 2% of the population) had some Gaelic language ability, including 72% of those living in the Outer Hebrides. The number of schoolchildren being taught through Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish is increasing. Among emigrant-descended populations some Scottish Gaelic is still spoken in Canada (principally Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island), and Welsh in Patagonia, Argentina.
Scots, a language descended from early northern Middle English, has limited recognition alongside its regional variant, Ulster Scots in Northern Ireland, without specific commitments to protection and promotion.
It is compulsory for pupils to study a second language up to the age of 14 in England, and up to age 16 in Scotland. French and German are the two most commonly taught second languages in England and Scotland. All pupils in Wales are taught Welsh as a second language up to age 16, or are taught in Welsh.
General UK Information
Basic UK Etiquette
Escalators: Walk on the left, stand on the right.
Peace signs: Palms facing outwards, please.
IPods/MP3: Keep the volume down on public transport.
Alcohol: Being a disruptive drunk in public is an offence.
Photo ID: Carry it on you always.
Littering in the UK: Doing it in public will get you fined.
Smoking: Doing it in public places is illegal in London and the rest of the UK.
Queue-jumpers: Don’t push in, stand at the back if a queue has formed.
Buskers: They sing and/or play instruments on the Underground. Feel free to drop them a few pennies; they might be professionals in disguise.
Standing up: If an elderly, pregnant, or disabled person boards a train or bus, offer them your seat.
Tipping in the UK: How much you tip depends on where you are. Allow to us to highlight some of the common places where you’re expected to tip, and how much: Restaurants – Check to see if there is a service charge already included on the bill. If the charge is included, you don´t need to tip but you still can tip more. The normal tip is usually about 10-15% but can range above or below that depending on the service.
Pubs – There is no expectation to leave a tip in a pub. You may leave a tip but it is sometimes customary to buy the bartender a drink.
Taxis – The fare is usually rounded up to the nearest £1. For example, if your fare is £8.32, you will leave £9
Hotels – Bell boys and luggage carriers should be tipped £1
When to go to the UK and what to pack
London is usually busy during the entire year but it is more so in the summer months. Check out our full weather page for expected temperatures, rainfall and sunshine averages.
Summer in the UK
Summer does not mean that the weather will be perfect in London but it is the best season. Be sure to bring a variety of clothes to prepare for all types of weather (cooler temperatures and rain). Bring a light jacket that also doubles as a rain jacket. If you plan on using the tube, be prepared for sweltering temperatures. The tube is often much warmer than the outside air.
Winter in the UK
Even though it is rare that the temperature fall below freezing in the winter, that doesn´t mean that you shouldn´t bundle help and get ready for the rain. You will definitely want to have a coat while travelling. It is a good idea to dress in layers. Also, don´t forget your umbrella because you may arrive when the constant drizzle never seems to end.
Typical Cost of living in the UK
Food: Fast food meal: about £3.50 Restaurant meal: £7 Fine Restaurant: £50+
Drinks: Water (500ml): £0.55 Water (2L): £1.50 Soft drink can: £0.50 Lager (pint): £3.00 – £3.50 Glass of wine: £3.00 – £3.50
Entertainment: (Some) Museums: free Theatres: £25+ Nightclubs: average £5 London Eye: £18.60
UK Accommodation: Hostel (shared room): £20+ Hostel (private room): £40+ Hotel: £120
Supermarkets – Open seven days a week from about 7am to around 10pm (closing times do vary from place to place). On Sundays they shut closer to 8pm. Some bigger supermarkets are open 24 hours.
Shopping centres – Location varies but, generally, expect an opening time of 9am and a closing time of 6pm. These times are expanded on Friday/Saturday nights and reduced on Sundays.
Pubs – Weekdays see 11am and 11pm as the norm for opening and closing times, with 11am – 1:00am on weekends and 12pm – 10pm on Sundays.
Nightclubs – Closed during the daytime, opening at around 7pm – 2:00am. Some stay open even longer.
Restaurants – Depends if they specialise in lunch or dinner, but an average opening time 12:pm – 2:00pm for lunch, and 7pm – 10pm for dinner.
Museums – Typically, 9am – 5pm. Check for special exhibitions, some of them are available for viewing after the standard closing time.
Post Offices – Several of them around the city, all open every day except Sundays. Opening times are typically 9am – 5:30/6:00pm. Some may close earlier on Saturdays, or even for an hour during lunch/early afternoon. Some post offices offer 24 hour ATM access (or, as we call them, “holes in the wall”). To find the nearest branch to you in London, check out the Post Office’s official branch-finding page.
Phones and the Internet in the UK
The area code for London is 020 and the international dialling code is (+44) – remember that if you’re calling from outside the UK. Phone boxes are easily accessible all over the city, and some ATMs allow you to top up your mobile on the move.
There are hundreds of internet cafes around London and most establishments, such as pubs, offer Wi-Fi access. There may be a charge for this and there will almost certainly be a password. Ask at the bar for the password (there may be a small chalkboard inviting you to do so anyway). Internet access is also available in most hotels, but the charge for this could be a lot steeper. An alternative solution would be to find Wi-Fi hotspots around the city, which there also plenty of.
Water & Electricity in the UK
Water is perfectly drinkable in London – except straight from the Thames. Bottles of it are served everywhere; supermarkets, corner shops, and cafes. In pubs and restaurants, it’s sometimes complimentary and extra glasses are free. The standard UK AC power plug is the tri-pin BS 1363 and is 230v at 50 Hz. It can be adapted to accommodate EU and international variants. These adaptor plugs can be purchased at all London airports, supermarkets, and chemists.