Moving to Scotland: taking the first step

article cover Moving to Scotland Frenchie Weegie

Moving to Scotland soon? Here’s what you need to do to prepare your new life in Scotland. From healthcare to finding a place to live, here the important information you need:

Before moving to Scotland: order your European Health Insurance card

Prior to your relocation in Scotland, we advise ordering your European Health Insurance Card (or EHIC). The EHIC is issued free of charge and allows anyone who is insured by or covered by a statutory social security scheme of the EEA countries to receive medical treatment in another member state for free or at a reduced cost.

The term of validity of the card varies according to the issuing country. The conditions and process to obtain your card depends on where you are currently insured.

Finding a home in Scotland

Finding a place to live in Glasgow

Glasgow is a student city, therefore the period between July and October will be the most difficult time to find accommodation. We suggest you visit the city before your official arrival, to look at flats and maybe book one if you find what you need.

However, it will be easier for you to find accommodation around April or May, when the academic year comes to an end and the students are leaving their accommodations.

Here are 3 ways you can look for accommodation:


Gumtree : Gumtree is a classified ads website where you can find somewhere to live but also a bit of furniture or even a job!

Spareroom: Spareroom is a flatshare website. You can also find the majority of ads on ZOOPLA.

Facebook groups:

Facebook groups are really useful resources when it comes to finding private accommodation or a flatshare. Here’s a list of the biggest ones in Glasgow.


There are a lot of agencies in Glasgow. They will require you to provide all sorts of documents and references.


Most agencies in Scotland will ask you to provide guarantors and only a few will accept non-UK guarantors. If it’s the first time you are moving to the UK and you don’t have a job or a guarantor yet, agencies can ask you to pay 6 to 12 months of rent upfront.  If you can’t afford it, organisations like Housing Hand can act as your guarantor for a fee.

Deposit in Scotland: the secure deposit scheme

The security deposit for your flat is not kept by the agency or your landlord. It is put to safety by a Government approved deposit protection scheme like My Deposit Scotland who will keep it until the end of your contract.

The deposit usually equals the amount of one month to one and a half months of rent.

Landlord registration number

If your landlord is a private landlord, you can check their registration number on the official register of landlords of private rental properties in Scotland.

Finding a home in Scotland:

Here are some pieces of advice to help you choose your accommodation :

  • The windows: double-glaze is a rare thing and the windows are often old and in a bad condition which can impact the energy you will consume to heat the flat.
  • Ceiling height: Glasgow’s tenements houses have their own charm but big flats with high ceilings are also very costly to heat.
  • Gas payment system: monthly bills or top-up.


If you need somewhere to stay while looking for your accommodation, here are the hostels we personally tried:

Glasgow Metro Youth Hostel ,

89 Buccleuch Street, Glasgow G3 6QT Scotland

Open June-August

3min from Sauchiehall street

Opening a bank account in Scotland

Opening a bank account might not be the easiest part of your arrival in Scotland. Banks will ask you to provide several documents like a proof of address, payslips, NIN (National Insurance Number)…

However, some banks like Bank of Scotland or Royal Bank of Scotland might open an account for you with your passport only.

Check out the article below for more details:

Opening a bank account in Scotland: a short guide.

Opening a phone line in Scotland

With the European roaming law, getting a UK number as soon as you reach Scotland might not be as necessary as it used to be. But be aware that the majority of employers or agencies will refuse to call you on a non-UK number.

The easiest way to get a UK number would be to order it for free on Giffgaff who will deliver it to you in a few days.

Finding a job in Scotland

Every worker in the UK belongs to the British social protection scheme. As soon as you move to Scotland, you’ll need to register to :

National Insurance Number (NIN)

National Health Service (NHS)

NIN ( National Insurance number)

Your National Insurance Number will allow you to study, work and pay some taxes. If you are an employee, your employer will need it to pay some taxes to the government.

How to apply for the National Insurance Number?

You first need to call the National Insurance number application line
Telephone: 0800 141 2075
Textphone: 0800 141 2438
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

You’ll be asked to attend a National Insurance number interview in the nearest Jobcentre where you’ll be asked about your circumstances and why you need a National Insurance number.

You will need to bring documents to prove your identity, such as passport or identity card, residence permit, driving licence…

Finally you’ll receive your NIN by post after a few days.

NB : You can only apply for it once you’re in the UK. You must have the right to work or study in the UK to get a National Insurance number.

Please read our article How to find a job in Scotland to find out more.

Healthcare in Scotland

The National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly funded healthcare system in Scotland. It provides a comprehensive range of health services, free at the point of use for people ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom.

If you are planning to reside more than 6 months in Scotland, you will be able to benefit from NHS cover.

If you planning to reside less than 6 months in Scotland, and you are a European citizen, you’ll only need your European Health Insurance card.

NB : You will need your NIN to register to the NHS.

Registering with a doctor in Scotland

To benefit from NHS services, you will need to register with a GP Practice.

To find the nearest GP practice, check on the NHS website by entering your postcode. You will find a list of local doctors that you will need to contact yourself.

To register with a GP practice, you will need to provide a proof of identity and a proof of address.

Once registered in the practice, the GP will give you your NHS number.

Check out the article below for more details:

How to register and book an appointment with the GP in Scotland

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