Surinder Singh

country-specific guide

Updated February 2016

Contents
Introduction ............................................................................................................................................. 7
Country mentors...................................................................................................................................... 8
Contributors ............................................................................................................................................ 9
Related reading ..................................................................................................................................... 10
Quick tips .............................................................................................................................................. 11
Belgium ................................................................................................................................................. 12
Applying for Belgian Residence Card .......................................................................................... 12
Applying for a UK Family Permit ................................................................................................ 13
Taxes and National Insurance ....................................................................................................... 13
Travelling to Belgium from the UK .............................................................................................. 13
Transport in Belgium .................................................................................................................... 13
Shopping ....................................................................................................................................... 14
Eating out/social activities ............................................................................................................ 15
Popular towns and cities ............................................................................................................... 15
Czech Republic ..................................................................................................................................... 16
Navigating the System .................................................................................................................. 16
Entry to the Czech Republic ......................................................................................................... 16
Registration ................................................................................................................................... 16
Applying for Czech Residence Card ............................................................................................. 17
Applying for a UK Family Permit ................................................................................................ 18
Banks............................................................................................................................................. 18
Czech Language ............................................................................................................................ 18
Accommodation ............................................................................................................................ 19
Working ........................................................................................................................................ 20
Getting Around Prague ................................................................................................................. 21
Mobile Phones .............................................................................................................................. 21
Shopping ....................................................................................................................................... 22
Useful links ................................................................................................................................... 23
Denmark................................................................................................................................................ 24
Travel to Denmark ........................................................................................................................ 24
Registration ................................................................................................................................... 24
Banks............................................................................................................................................. 24

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Transport ....................................................................................................................................... 25
Telephone...................................................................................................................................... 25
Shopping ....................................................................................................................................... 26
Eating out ...................................................................................................................................... 26
Language ....................................................................................................................................... 26
News in English ............................................................................................................................ 26
Medical services............................................................................................................................ 26
Attitude towards foreigners........................................................................................................... 26
Germany................................................................................................................................................ 27
Before Arriving in Germany ......................................................................................................... 27
Entering the country ...................................................................................................................... 27
Registering your presence ............................................................................................................. 27
Applying for a German Residence Card ....................................................................................... 27
Applying for a UK Family Permit ................................................................................................ 28
Temporary accommodation .......................................................................................................... 28
Longer-term accommodation ........................................................................................................ 28
Jobs ............................................................................................................................................... 29
Paying taxes .................................................................................................................................. 29
Internet .......................................................................................................................................... 30
Bank .............................................................................................................................................. 30
Language ....................................................................................................................................... 30
Mobile phone ................................................................................................................................ 31
Health insurance............................................................................................................................ 31
Registering with doctors and dentists ........................................................................................... 31
Children and schools ..................................................................................................................... 32
Shopping ....................................................................................................................................... 32
Getting involved in the community .............................................................................................. 32
Travel to and within Germany ...................................................................................................... 32
Public Transport ............................................................................................................................ 33
Peculiar to Germany ..................................................................................................................... 33
About Germany ............................................................................................................................. 33
City: Dusseldorf ............................................................................................................................ 34
Greece ................................................................................................................................................... 35
Applying for a Greek Family permit............................................................................................. 35

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Applying for a Greek Residence Card .......................................................................................... 35
Applying for a UK Family permit................................................................................................. 35
Tax ................................................................................................................................................ 35
Rentals........................................................................................................................................... 36
Jobs ............................................................................................................................................... 36
Bank account ................................................................................................................................. 37
Mobile phones ............................................................................................................................... 37
International calls, photocopying and TV ..................................................................................... 37
Groceries ....................................................................................................................................... 37
Newspapers ................................................................................................................................... 38
Schools .......................................................................................................................................... 38
Transport ....................................................................................................................................... 38
Hospitals and medicines................................................................................................................ 38
Religion ......................................................................................................................................... 38
Word of caution ............................................................................................................................. 39
Useful contacts as recommended by members ............................................................................. 39
Summary ....................................................................................................................................... 39
Reviews ......................................................................................................................................... 39
Hungary ................................................................................................................................................ 40
Ireland ................................................................................................................................................... 41
Applying for an Irish Family Permit ............................................................................................. 41
Applying for an Irish Residence Card........................................................................................... 41
Applying for a UK Family Permit ................................................................................................ 42
Travel between UK and Ireland .................................................................................................... 42
Citizen’s Advice Bureau ............................................................................................................... 42
PPS number ................................................................................................................................... 42
Jobs ............................................................................................................................................... 42
Banks............................................................................................................................................. 43
Travel ............................................................................................................................................ 43
Accommodation ............................................................................................................................ 43
Utilities.......................................................................................................................................... 44
Mobile phone ................................................................................................................................ 44
Library........................................................................................................................................... 44
Religion ......................................................................................................................................... 44

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Supermarkets................................................................................................................................. 45
Doctors .......................................................................................................................................... 45
Summary ....................................................................................................................................... 45
Reviews ......................................................................................................................................... 45
Malta ..................................................................................................................................................... 47
Applying for a Maltese Family Permit.......................................................................................... 47
Applying for a Maltese Residence Card ....................................................................................... 47
Applying for a UK Family Permit ................................................................................................ 47
Social Security Number ................................................................................................................ 48
Language ....................................................................................................................................... 48
Rentals........................................................................................................................................... 49
Areas ............................................................................................................................................. 49
Jobs ............................................................................................................................................... 49
Salaries .......................................................................................................................................... 50
Banks............................................................................................................................................. 50
Credit cards ................................................................................................................................... 50
Phones and internet ....................................................................................................................... 50
Supermarkets................................................................................................................................. 51
Library........................................................................................................................................... 51
Bus Fares....................................................................................................................................... 51
Healthcare ..................................................................................................................................... 51
Support groups .............................................................................................................................. 51
Cost of living................................................................................................................................. 52
Reviews ......................................................................................................................................... 52
Netherlands ........................................................................................................................................... 53
Registration at Gemeente (Town Hall) ......................................................................................... 53
Applying for a Dutch Residence Card .......................................................................................... 53
Applying for a BSN/SOFi number (Citizen Service Number) ..................................................... 54
Health insurance............................................................................................................................ 54
Housing ......................................................................................................................................... 54
Banks............................................................................................................................................. 54
Public transport ............................................................................................................................. 55
Bikes ............................................................................................................................................. 55
Mobile phones ............................................................................................................................... 55

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Shopping ....................................................................................................................................... 55
Library........................................................................................................................................... 56
Internet cafes, printing, copying, scanning ................................................................................... 56
Useful links ................................................................................................................................... 56
Summary ....................................................................................................................................... 56
Poland ................................................................................................................................................... 57
Applying for a Polish Residence Card .......................................................................................... 57
Rent ............................................................................................................................................... 57
Mobile phones ............................................................................................................................... 57
Transport ....................................................................................................................................... 57
Supermarkets................................................................................................................................. 57
Cost of living................................................................................................................................. 58
Summary ....................................................................................................................................... 58
Spain – Barcelona ................................................................................................................................. 59
About the city................................................................................................................................ 59
Getting to and from the airport ..................................................................................................... 59
Apply for a Residence Card for the EU citizen............................................................................. 59
Apply for a Residence Card for the non-EU family member ....................................................... 60
Applying for a Social Security number......................................................................................... 61
Finding a place to live ................................................................................................................... 61
Registering your tenancy - Empadronamiento.............................................................................. 62
Getting around Barcelona ............................................................................................................. 62
Opening a bank account ................................................................................................................ 62
Jobs ............................................................................................................................................... 63
Language ....................................................................................................................................... 63

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Introduction
Free movement rights afforded by European regulations are a saviour for British citizens with non-EEA family
members who find Home Office’s interference grossly disruptive. Surinder Singh is an extension of these rights
whereby Brits move to another Member State with their non-EEA family, to then live together in the UK, under
EEA regulations rather than UK immigration rules.
If followed in accordance with regulations and Home Office interpretation of the regulations, the Surinder Singh
route can be favourable, incurring negligible visa and legal fees, no language tests to pass, nil financial
requirements, and no intrusive five year probationary period. Non-EEA family members also have recourse to
public funds. This is in stark contrast to those falling under UK immigration rules.
Despite the obvious advantages, exercise of free movement rights, even where the intention may be to return to
the UK, is not a decision made lightly. Relocating is expensive and inconvenient, especially when there are kids,
elderly or disabled involved. Where someone has a secure job in the UK, albeit one paying less than £18,600,
the decision is even more difficult and uncertain for the family’s financial security, with added concern over
obtaining work in another country, finding housing, managing school admissions and going through all that
again on return to the UK. Surinder Singh is also not an option for residents and refugees, nor does it help
citizens unable to leave the UK because of financial or family obligations.
So while it provides hope for some families, Surinder Singh is by no means a permanent solution for divisive
domestic family immigration rules.
BritCits will therefore continue to campaign for fair family immigration rules in the UK. However, alongside
the campaigning our aim is to help at least some families who whilst being unfortunate to be impacted by UK’s
immigration rules, are lucky enough to be able to use Surinder Singh.
Some who started the process with the intention to use Surinder Singh to return to the UK fell in love with their
adopted home and now have no intention to return. While most of you will be itching to start your life in the UK
as a family, I urge you to treat living in another country as a fun adventure – make the most of the new culture,
language, environment you find yourself in, even if it is just a means to an end. Leave your adopted home with
fond memories.
I hope this guide providing practical tips and an overview of the process, makes exercising free movement rights
smoother by allowing readers to benefit from the experience of others who have already made the journey, and
the sharing of things they wish someone had told them.
Beware that limited resources mean we are unable to assess the veracity of all points in this guide, particularly
as it spans several countries. The bulk stems from member experience and research, so make the most of someone
else’s time, efforts and lessons but don’t let it limit you and certainly don’t rely on it blindly where the
repercussions could be serious for you. Onus is on readers to undertake checks; no two people’s experience is
identical; a favourable experience for one may not be so for another. When in doubt, listen to your gut feeling.
This guide may touch on a some people’s experience of the regulations – however immigration law is dynamic
and every family’s situation and understanding of the law is different. If legal advice is needed, I recommend
seeking this from an immigration specialist who is an expert in free movement. There are very few lawyers
familiar with the nuances of Surinder Singh and Home Office operation, so choose advisors wisely.
Finally, my sincere thanks to our members for selflessly sharing their knowledge and experience in this guide,
thus better enabling us to teach the world to Singh.
Sonel
Founding Trustee, BritCits

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Country mentors
If you have specific questions about how things work in a country, please contact the
appropriate country mentor as below.
country

name

contact details

notes

Czech Republic

Lori

lori.wale@gmail.com

Prague

Germany

Dani

dani.radford@gmail.com

Greece

Alla

alilek@hotmail.com

Hungary

Ying

yw0821@gmail.com

Budapest

Ireland

Alice

alicekendallsingh@gmail.com

For help with flat and job hunting,
and general help getting settled in

Ireland - Limerick

Cimberley

cimberley@hotmail.co.uk

Residing now in UK.

Ireland – Dublin

Iain

iain.martel@gmail.com

Ireland - Dublin

Shariff

stbealeh@gmail.com

Ireland

Sean

seanwilson19@live.co.uk

Ireland – Waterford

Jessica

jessmoore_855@hotmail.com

Malta

David

david.w.hook@gmail.com

Malta

Dee

dee.taft@gmail.com

Poland

Jonathan &

JonathanAndAlesia@cantab.net

Happy to help by email or show
around people in Krakow.

margaret.buck46@yahoo.co.uk

Particularly for Costa Blanca region.

In Dublin from Nov 2014.

Waterford and Wexford areas.

Alesia
Spain

Maggie

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Contributors
This guide is based on the experiences and research of:
Alla
Angie DW
Benjamin B
Carolina
Dani R
Dee TH
George
Javiera
Jonathan W
Kim PN
Lindsey
Lori W
Natalie G
Sarah W
Sonel
Sonia S
Steven H
Tracey R

Graphics & Design by David Bloor
http://www.imaginationink.co.uk

Compiled and Edited by Sonel

This is a live document which will be updated as more members share their experience.
If you have any suggestions, comments or contributions, please do send them to us for inclusions
in future versions of the guide.

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Related reading
A guide to your rights as an EU citizen
http://ec.europa.eu/justice/policies/citizenship/docs/guide_free_movement_low.pdf
Surinder Singh guide for Newbies – by David Bloor
http://www.scribd.com/doc/238175497/Surinder-Singh-for-Newbies-Exte-David-B
BritCits FAQ – covering UK immigration rules and EU route
http://www.scribd.com/doc/231038768/BritCits-FAQ
Local meetup groups, including those organised by in-country mentors.
www.meetup.com/BritCits

Lawyer’s perspective
Surinder Singh immigration route – by Colin Yeo
http://www.freemovement.org.uk/surinder-singh-immigration-route/
EU investigates Home Office interpretation of Surinder Singh – by Colin Yeo
http://www.freemovement.org.uk/eu-to-investigate-uk-interpretation-of-surinder-singh/
Surinder Singh e-book (£) – by Colin Yeo
http://www.freemovement.org.uk/new-surinder-singh-ebook/

Facebook Support Groups
EEA visa, EU Free Movement

https://www.facebook.com/groups/650212281695959/
EU FREE MOVEMENT DIRECTIVE/2004/38/C
https://www.facebook.com/groups/477537505627291/
Surinder Singh Route, EU Free Movement
https://www.facebook.com/groups/alison48amanda48/
SS Ireland Starting Up Help Group – Facebook support group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/253332494839477/
After Surinder Singh – what next?
https://www.facebook.com/groups/194997047373035/

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Quick tips
Before you leave the UK
• Check what the required documents are for a Residence Card application in the country you will
first be exercising free movement rights in. There may be some things you need to take with you
from the UK e.g. a police report. Also check requirements regarding translating,
notarising/apostilling of documents.
• Apply for a UK EHIC for yourself and your non-EEA family member. See this from NHSBA
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/nhs_bsa_ehic_regulation_140871#incoming-560830

• Make a conservative estimate of the funds you will need, allowing for the time taken to find a job,
deposit, rent, food, travel etc.
• Check your UK mobile network’s roaming charges – turn off roaming if necessary.
General tips
• Eat and shop where locals do for products which are likely fresher and cheaper.
• McDonalds generally has free Wi-Fi, as do many cafes and libraries. Use this rather than
3G/roaming.
• Do your research and choose where to exercise free movement rights to suit your skills and
preferences.
• Try and learn at least the basics of the language beforehand.

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Belgium
Belgium is a small country sandwiched between France and Netherlands. The two main languages
spoken are Dutch and French and the majority of Belgians also speak English, particularly in the main
towns and cities. Not being able to speak Dutch or French is not a reason to avoid exercising treaty
rights in Belgium. There are many jobs available where speaking only English is sufficient.
Contrary to popular belief it is far from “boring”. It’s a beautiful country, full of character - and waffles,
chocolate and beer! Oh and Waffles - hot from the street vendors drizzled in chocolate and cream - so
good. Another fine delicacy is frites covered in samurai sauce - very addictive.

Immigration process
Both the British and non-EEA citizen must register with the authorities. Both can register together or
individually, however if the EU family member is in Belgium first then they must register themselves
if the intention is to reside in Belgium.
Below is the process as if all family members are registering together. The process will need to
otherwise be adapted.

Applying for Belgian Residence Card
All towns and cities in Belgium have Administration Offices with a Migration Counter which is the
first port of call. Many, such as Gent, have a few of these in the town centre and also in the suburbs.
Once a local office has been located, the applicants will need to go there to register and mention wanting
a non-EEA family member to reside with you. Required documents:



Passports for sponsor and applicant
Evidence of relationship
Proof of address e.g. tenancy agreement
Employment contract if available.

Staff take a copy of the documents but may ask for some documents to be translated and
apostilled/certified. It may be a good idea to have this done before you setting off to Belgium.
Local police check all addresses. Don’t be alarmed - this happens to everyone, including Belgian
citizens. The police will establish who is living in the property, and that it is suitable for your family.
The visit should only take 10 minutes or so, and the police tend to be friendly and informal. Once the
police are satisfied, they will write to the local Commune to say so.
The next step is receipt of a letter from the Commune inviting you to return to complete the registration.
The EU Citizen will be expected to pay for an ID card which is compulsory, and they will also receive
a Registration Certificate once they have satisfied the authorities they are exercising treaty rights.
The non-EEA family member will be asked to provide 4 passport photographs.
A temporary Residence Card, known as ‘Orange Card’ is then issued proving right to work. The nonEEA citizen is then asked to return a few months later to collect their five year year Article 10 Residence
Card, which is conditional on the EU family member exercising treaty rights.
The above is based on personal experience. However, each Commune may have their own way of
doing things e.g. some may run on an appointment-only system.

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Applying for a UK Family Permit
As with any EU country your first port of call for this application is https://www.gov.uk/family-permit
Once the online application is submitted, on the appointment date, applicants will need to go to the
office in Brussels for submission of documents and biometrics.
The address for this is:
UK Visa Application Centre
Regus Brussels South Station
5th Floor South Centre Titanium
Place Marcel Broodthaers 8/Box 5
1060 Brussels
It should not be too difficult to find - it is close to the Gare de Midi Zuidstation (Metro Station)

Taxes and National Insurance
Employers may sort this out for you. However for further information, check out:
http://www.justlanded.com/english/Belgium/Belgium-Guide/Money/Income-tax-liability
https://www.gov.uk/living-in-belgium

Travelling to Belgium from the UK
By Air: Antwerp, Brussels and Charleroi - also consider flying to Holland if flights are a lot cheaper
and then using train or Euroline bus to travel to Belgium.
By Train: Eurostar - there is a terminal in Brussels - and from here the rest of Belgium is very accessible
- Belgium has a very good and inexpensive train network.
By Ferry: Both Ostend and Zeebrugge are ferry ports and are both served from the UK
By Coach: Eurolines run services to Belgium daily - this is a cheap way to get here and the coaches
stop in most major towns and cities in Belgium.
By Road: With its close proximity to Calais - driving to Belgium is pretty straightforward using either
ferry or Eurotunnel.

Transport in Belgium
Public transport in Belgium is second to none and very reasonable. The train system is very good and
affordable. Very easy to not only travel between major towns and cities in Belgium itself but also
Holland and France are easy to travel to on the train.
If you like cycling then Belgium is most definitely for you - so easy to get around with cycle lanes
everywhere. Police can and do fine for jaywalking though so be careful and beware of tram lines – look
both ways as it is not unknown for people to get run over!

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Bank Accounts
The main Belgian banks are ING, BNP Paribas Fortis and KBC. All the major banks offer their
services in French, Dutch and English.
Opening a Bank Account
To open a current or checking account (compte à vue/zichtrekening), you need either a passport or a
Belgian ID Card as proof of identity, together with proof of residence. Once the account is opened
the bank will end a Bancontact/Mister Cash debit card with the PIN arriving separately. It may be
possible to ask for picking up of these at the bank for more secure delivery.
Belfius: www.belfius.be
BNP Paribas Fortis: www.bnpparibasfortis.be
ING: www.ing.be
KBC Bank: www.kbc.be
For more info, see
http://www.expatica.com/be/finance_business/banking/guide-to-belgian-banking-1462_8291.html

Shopping
Groceries
As well as Aldi and Lidl, there are several supermarkets in Belgium, other than Carrefour and Match:
COLRUYT: Think Bookers or Costco but open to the general public as well as Traders. Few branches
but quality products.
MAKRO: Similar to Costco but open to traders / those with their own companies e.g. self-employed.
DELHAIZE: Think Sainsburys, Tesco.
You should find all your familiar grocery items in any of these supermarkets as well as some unfamiliar
ones. Beer and wine are good value.
As well as supermarkets Belgium also has Day and Night Shops. Similar to corner shops in the UK –
and handy for emergency purchases (but like corner shops, pricier). These also sell alcohol and tobacco
products.
As denoted by the name, Day Shops open from early morning to early evening and when they shut the
Night Shops open, usually until around 4am. Day shops are not allowed to open in the evening and
Night Shops cannot open during daytime hours.
Sunday markets are also a great source of local produce, like cheese and meat products as well as fruit
and vegetables.
High Street
There are many familiar names on the High Street - H&M, New Look, C and A to name a few. Prices
are similar to the UK. Also look out for Antique Markets and Flower Markets - usually found in the
town or city’s main square.

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Eating out/social activities
Belgium, the same as most of Europe, has all the usual suspects, McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Pizza
Hut etc. Prices in these places are on a par with the UK. Belgium also has many bars and restaurants
and prices vary depending on your particular tastes and the quality you are after.
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Bars on the other hand offer much more than those in the UK – after all, Belgium is famous for beer !
Whilst not always cheap, it is always cheerful.
Most towns and cities have a main square (or a few in some) which have cafes/bars – great spots to
people watch from.

Popular towns and cities
Brussels
Capital City and headquarters of the European Union.
Brussels is not a huge city and it is pretty easy to get around - with
buses, trams and the metro. As with most EU countries - more
expensive than other places but not overly so.
Mainly French speaking.
Gent
Again, not a huge city and very easy to navigate - with its trams
and buses. Also has two train stations - which offer easy access to
other parts of Belgium - for those days out. Bruges for example, is
very easy to travel to from here - both on bus and train.
As well as good public transport Gent has very good cycle lanes
and bikes everywhere.
Gent boasts many restaurants and has a famous bar down by the
canal in the city centre that sells hundreds of beers; a great place to while away a few hours. Mainly
Dutch speaking.

Brugges
A small and truly beautiful town. Easy to get around on foot or
bicycle - it is also served by a large Train Station - and so easy
to travel to other Belgium towns and cities from here. It is full
of good restaurants and this is the place is you love chocolate.

Ostend
Coastal town with nice beaches, shops and restaurants. Again
pretty small town so all local landmarks are walkable.
Like all major cities/towns in Belgium, it has a main train
station.

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Czech Republic
Navigating the System
Very few government offices in Czech Republic have English-speaking personnel. This includes the
Foreign Police! Top tip: There are numerous services and freelancers (google “Expat services
Czech Republic”) who deal extensively with this issue for expats, arranging everything. While
there will be a charge for this, it is completely worth it as they arrange all the paperwork,
submission of documents, translations (if necessary) and will go with you to act as translator where
necessary. Using this service can save a lot of stress for Surinder Singhers, and even for those on a
tight budget, this may prove to be money well-spent.
If expat services are used, ensure you undertake cost comparisons and go by recommendations if
possible.
An excellent Facebook group for all things Czech Republic is CrowdSauce CZ, a group of highly
experienced and knowledgeable migrants in Czech Republic. This is also a great place to find
referrals for freelancers to help you, who are likely less expensive than businesses set up for the same
purpose. https://www.facebook.com/groups/crowdsauce

Entry to the Czech Republic
Check if you are from a country which requires a visa/permit before entry into Czech Republic, here:
http://www.mzv.cz/jnp/en/information_for_aliens/short_stay_visa/list_of_states_whose_citizens_are_exempt/index.html

A non-visa national doesn’t need a visa to enter Czech Republic and could purchase a one-way ticket
if travelling with or joining your EU family member (but beware airlines may be stricter).
It may be worth having evidence of relationship in case immigration officers are the border stop you
(and ensure all important documents are in your hand-carry, not check-in baggage.)
If you are from a country which requires you to have a visa, the non-EEA family member will need to
apply for a Schengen visa/ family permit at the Czech embassy in their home country before
travelling. You may enter on a one-way ticket if you are travelling with or joining your EU spouse.

Registration
Non-EEA family members are required to register their presence in Czech Republic with the Foreign
Police within 3 days of arrival. If the 3 days deadline is missed don’t panic – one member who
missed this deadline registered in the first three months and was fined 500Kc. However best follow
the rules to minimise hassle! http://www.mvcr.cz/mvcren/article/third-country-nationals-entering-the-czechrepublic.aspx However, Residence Card application must be within 90 days for which registration with
Foreign Police is essential.
If you’re staying at a hotel, they should do this for you – but check. If you have arranged to stay in
private housing on arrival, you will need to do it yourself.
The Foreign Police must be notified of your address changes, as well. So for example, if you find a
flat after staying in a hotel for a while, you must let them know within 10 days. Same goes if you
change flats or any other circumstances when you change your address.

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Applying for Czech Residence Card
Ministry of Interior’s website gives information relevant to family members of EU citizens.
http://www.mvcr.cz/mvcren/article/eu-citizens-and-their-family-members.aspx

Required documents:
• Passport
• Marriage certificate for spouse applications (Apostilled and translated into Czech).
• Document showing employment –employment contract or Zivnostensky Listek registration
• Photo (non-EEA citizen)
• Proof of accommodation (Czech version of lease agreement).
• Proof of health insurance - EHIC card for the EU citizen; the non-EEA should purchase a
foreigner’s health policy for at least 6 months. There are several providers (google “Foreigner’s
health insurance Czech Republic.”) Expat services managing documentation can help arrange this.
Applicants will then need to go to Ministry of Interior office with jurisdiction over residence district.
http://www.mvcr.cz/mvcren/article/contacts.aspx

There are normally two entrances at these offices. Always use the EU door. You can phone ahead
and make an appointment (have a Czech speaker help you). Or show up, take a number and wait
(longest reported wait is 90 minutes).
There’s a long form for the sponsor and applicant to fill out. If all the
documentation is in order, a paper booklet for temporary residency will be
issued on the spot to the EU citizen, which looks like the picture on the left.
The non-EEA citizen’s residency card process takes longer. S/he is initially
issued with a Certificate of Application, which should be retained with the
passport and kept on you at all times.
As part of the residence card issuing process, Foreign Police will visit the
applicant. Ensure you are living at the address on your application and be
prepared to answer some questions. The police tend to be polite and stay for
no more than 10 minutes. However, do not be surprised if they show up at 6am – this is not unusual!
If there are any red flags putting under question, say, genuineness of relationship, you may be
required to attend an interview. Sponsor and applicant are interviewed separately with the interviews
lasting a total of about three hours. Note: if you don’t speak Czech,
you will need to provide a translator at your own expense!
The Residence Card should be issued within about 60 days of the police
visit/interview. Application status can be checked online by searching
for the number on the Certificate of Application in the Excel database at
the website below. If the number is located, it suggests approval.
http://www.mvcr.cz/mvcren/article/immigration.aspx

This is communicated via a registered letter, with instructions on next
steps. The applicant will need to take this letter, passport and proof of
health insurance to Ministry of Interior, who will then issue the
Residence Card, resembling a mini-passport, as per the picture on the right.
The authorities will also stamp the applicant’s passport indicating “Family Member of EU Citizen”,
state a Residence Card has been issued, and fill in the issue and expiry dates.

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Applying for a UK Family Permit
Applications for a Family permit need to be submitted online via the Visa4UK website.
https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk

Once the application is submitted online, applicant should register with the local Teleperformance
office (the link to Teleperformance is provided at the end of the application process) which collects
the documents in Prague, for submission to the UKVI office in Warsaw.
The Teleperformance Office in Prague is open once a week on Wednesdays during “high season” and
once every two weeks on Wednesday otherwise. It is located at: Regus – Prague City Centre
Praha City Center. Klimentska 46 100 02
The layout of the building is a bit confusing. There is a lobby entrance around the side, which at first
glance, looks like a post office annex. There are elevators to the left, behind the turnstiles.
Attendees are issued with a visitor’s pass following check in at the reception desk (to the left as you
enter) on providing the appointment confirmation letter, which then gives them access to the lift to the
Teleperformance office on the second floor.
Be prepared to wait for hours beyond the appointment time as Teleperformance is notorious for
delays. When you are eventually seen by an English-speaking staff member, applicants will be
required to provide biometrics.
There is known tracking information via the Czech Teleperformance site. However applicants may
receive an email from DHL once their documents are dispatched from Warsaw.

Banks
Opening an account is an easy process for EU citizens; only required document is a passport. NonEEA family members will need two forms of ID. Foreign driving licenses may be accepted as well as
the passport.
However, due to FATCA (new IRS regulations requiring banks to report any income earned to the
IRS), American citizens may find it difficult being added as a fully joint member on an account. To
minimise hassle, ‘user’ may be a preferred status rather than a joint account holder.
Users receive a debit card in their name and can use the account as normal, but are not listed as
account holders although they do receive a contract of issuance for evidential purposes.

Czech Language
It is useful and respectful to learn some Czech to facilitate functioning day-to-day. There is no
shortage of Czech language schools (see CrowdSauce CZ on Facebook for recommendations.)
Private tutors are also available at a reasonable price and will come to a place of your convenience.
Knowing simple Czech for things like greetings, numbers, and basic verbs will make the Czech
experience more favourable, although don’t be too hard on yourself if you find it difficult as Czech is
not an easy language to learn. However even if you bumble through with incorrect grammar, the
effort alone is much appreciated by the locals.

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Accommodation
There are two ways to go about looking for a flat: private landlords or through a real estate agency.
Private landlords
Private landlords are abundant. A great place to find rentals is on Expats.cz (informative expats
website, covering all aspects of living in Czech Republic). The classifieds section is a great place to
find rentals and other useful things. http://www.expats.cz/prague/czech-classified-server/property/flats-to-rent/
Flats in the Czech Republic are described a bit differently than you may be used to.
• A studio with a kitchenette is listed as 1+kk (1 room with a kitchen corner)
• A 1-br with a kitchenette is listed as 2+kk (2 rooms with a kitchen corner)
• A 1-br with a separate kitchen is listed as 2 + 1 (2 rooms + kitchen)….
Renting from a private landlord will save on the real estate commission fee, generally one month’s
rent. Downside is if you get a dodgy landlord, your experience could be very unpleasant.
Generally, up-front costs to get into a flat include a deposit of 1 month’s rent (do not pay more than
one month’s deposit); the first month’s rent paid in advance; and a deposit toward utilities (this varies,
but is usually 3000-5000 Kc). There is no application or credit check process. You find a place you
like, sign the lease, and hand over the money. Very simple!
Rental prices in Prague are fairly reasonable. For a large studio or small 1 bedroom, expect to pay at
least 12,500Kc/month (including utilities). Very nice 2 bedrooms can be 17,500 – 22,000Kc. The
further out you are from the central districts, the cheaper it will be; but be sure to consider public
transport options and convenience of shopping.
Most apartment rental costs in Prague include utilities – electricity, gas, water, garbage, Internet (and
frequently, TV). Top tip: Ensure rental agreement sets out which utilities are included, and the
amount per month going toward them. Since it’s unlikely you will have separate utility bills in your
own names, this is important when considering center of life points.
Generally, at the end of the lease, what you have been paying for utilities
is adjusted for actual usage. You may have to pay an overage (if your
actual use has gone over the estimated use), and you are legally entitled to
a refund if your usage suggests a lower amount than what you have
already paid.

“Ensure sponsor and
applicant are listed on
tenancy to satisfy
Ministry of Interior
that all are living at
same address. “

However refunds can be difficult to obtain, especially from a dodgy landlord.
Security deposits are also notoriously not paid back without much fuss.
Two lease agreements will be provided–in Czech and English. Some collate the two in the same
agreement. However only the Czech version is signed as that is legally binding.
Real estate agencies
There are several real estate agencies in Prague, catering especially to expats, with English-speaking
agents. Some recommended ones:
http://www.homesweethome.cz/
http://www.ores.com/

http://www.homeforyou.cz/
http://www.happyhouserentals.com/en/

Many real estate agencies have “add-on” services to help expats navigate the residency process,
paperwork, governmental offices, etc. Check their fees. Remember, if you use a real estate agency,
you will likely pay a standard one month rent as commission for their services.

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Working
Employed by an Employer
If you are employed by an employer, they should give you a contract or letter of engagement.
Unfortunately, if you don’t speak Czech, traditional employment opportunities are limited. ESL is the
most popular option for English speakers, with plenty of schools to choose from.
For those with experience in the IT or financial sectors, there may be opportunities as well.
Top tip: British citizen should undertake a “fact-finding” mission in Czech Republic beforehand,
for a week or so, to scope things out in person. Just showing up and “winging it” if you are
looking for a job could be difficult. Check out: http://www.prague.fm/3569/find-prague-job-internet/
Employers should also provide details of health insurance.
Self-Employment
Before leaving the UK:
• Obtain a UK Police Certificate to indicate you are of good character. These are available through
ACRO Criminal Records Office and take about 10 working days to be issued.
http://www.acro.police.uk/police_certificates.asp

• Have the Police Certificate legalised (apostilled). This is done by post and takes about 7-10 days.
https://www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised

Once in Czech Republic:
• Register for a trade license (Zivnostensky listek) for which you will need the UK Police
Certificate. This is done at the Zivno office local to your residential district. A great explanation
of the Zivno process is available at: http://www.expats.cz/prague/article/prague-business/doing-businessthrough-trade-licence/

Register with the Financial Office1 in your residential district, where you will be assigned a Tax ID
number for filing of income tax at the end of the year. Note: Czech Republic uses the calendar
year as their tax year and taxes are due the following March. The flat tax rate for self-employed
individuals is 15%.

Financial Office will sign you up for monthly health & social contributions, dependent on income.
It is up to individuals how they pay these contributions, although a standing order auto-payment, set
up through the Czech bank account’s Internet banking may be the most hassle-free.
A week or so after registering, you will also receive a Czech-issued EHIC health card, which allows
access to health care under the social system. The Czech public health insurer is VZP. Note, UK
EHIC is valid for use if needed before you receive the Czech issued card.
If you don’t have one already, make sure to get one before leaving the UK.
http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/Pages/about-the-ehic.aspx

1

Before registering for tax you will need a Czech bank account.

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Getting Around Prague
When you first arrive, pick up a metro and tram map from a tourist information office (there is one in
Prague airport). These are very useful until you become familiar with the city.
http://www.praguewelcome.cz/en/visit/tourist-services/tourist-information-centres/

The website for the Department of Transportation (in English) is very useful, especially the journey
planner. http://www.dpp.cz/en/
Public transport in Prague is excellent. It is completely connected via metro, tram and buses and one
transport ticket covers everything.
You can buy single tickets (a 30-min validity ticket is 24Kc) from the yellow vending machines at
metro entrances or ticket booths. The ticket will need to be validated at the yellow box with an arrow
on it (unmissable) upon entry, and the 30-minute journey starts from then.
Alternatively, a monthly pass may be more convenient. This is a paper pass available from a selection
of offices. http://www.dpp.cz/en/list-of-info-centres/
Ensure you have a valid ticket or pass at all times. Checks are undertaken frequently and penalties for
fare-dodging are high.

Mobile Phones
“I bought a Pay-asyou-Go phone and
service from Vodafone
CZ, which has proved
to be perfectly
adequate and very
reasonably priced.”

All major European mobile phone providers are present in Czech
Republic. Their stores in the center and all have English-speaking staff.
Whichever provider you choose, it is important to get a local number as
soon as possible as this will be useful for phoning/texting landlords.
Paying for the phone using the top-up service through a local bank
account (rather than paying cash) may also provide useful documentary
evidence for COL purposes which could be useful for those who wish to
evidence COL, especially in the absence of utility bills.

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Shopping
Prague is a modern, metropolitan European city, so there is no shortage of shopping opportunities.
The main shopping district is in the centre, along Wenceslas Square (accessible by metro at both
Museum and Mustek stations). Major brand stores such as IKEA, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, are
dotted throughout the city, as well as large shopping centres usually in locations accessible by public
transport. The biggest ones are Novy Smichov at Andel, Flora in Zizkov, Palladium at Namesti
Republiky, Metropole Zlicin, Eden located in Prague 10, and Arkady Pankrac.
Grocery stores
There are two major chain grocery stores here: British-owned Tesco and Czech-owned Albert. Albert
is a smaller, neighborhood store, easily accessible by public transport and on foot.
Other than the multi-storey Tesco downtown at Narodni Trida, most large Tescos are in outlying
districts more convenient for those who are driving.
Lidl and Kaufland have a presence in outer residential areas, whilst Potravinys in central residential
areas has a selection of all sorts of basics from milk and bread, to alcohol and high-quality produce.
Depending on the neighborhood, there may be other medium-sized grocery stores for purchase of dayto-day necessities, although larger stores will provide a wider variety.
Additionally, there are several large shopping centers scattered around Prague. All of them have a
grocery store in them, and some of the larger metro stations also have one. Essentially, there is likely
to be a grocery store, small or large, within 10 minutes walk of your home. Top tip: Take your own
shopping bag with you as generally stores do not provide a bag, or will charge you for one even if
they do.
British & American foods
You will occasionally find some British foods in Tesco, especially at holiday time. The Candy Store
(formerly known as Robertson’s) is a British deli with a several branches around Prague, stocking dry
goods imported from UK and USA as well as fresh meats – English bacon, sausages, black pudding,
etc. Great for those feeling a bit homesick! http://www.candy-store.cz/
Electronics
There are two major specialist electronics stores in Prague: Datart (physical stores throughout Prague)
and Alza.cz (online store). Alza is generally less expensive and have an English version of their
website as well. They provide same-day (if ordered early enough) or next-day delivery to your home
via their website ordering.
Food Delivery
Dame Jidlo (translated as “Give Me Food”) is a food home delivery service which via their website
(in English) connects users to around 200 restaurants around Prague. https://www.damejidlo.cz/en/ Menus
are listed for each restaurant and delivery is within 60 minutes of the order placement. It’s no longer
a choice between only pizza and Chinese!
Most delivery drivers speak English, so transaction is painless and stress-free. There’s never a
shortage of places to go if you want to go out to eat, but when you don’t want to cook or go out, this is
brilliant.
Tesco also has supermarket delivery, again with an English website. http://nakup.itesco.cz/en-GB/

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Useful links
Below is a list of additional websites Surinder Singhers in Czech Republic may find useful.
http://www.soudpreklad.cz/index-en.html
https://www.facebook.com/HairTales

Irena Novakova – certified translator. Recommended by Lori.

Recommended English-speaking hairdresser (men & women).

https://www.facebook.com/groups/167875120075514/

Prague Pets, if interested in adopting a pet.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/105535079555187/

Group for knitters, cross-stitchers, crocheters.

Learning Czech in Prague - meetups for
conversation exchange, as well as classes and private tutors
https://www.facebook.com/groups/learningczechinprague/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/EWinP/ Expat

Women in Prague – group for women only

https://www.facebook.com/groups/303819423017426/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/211696932270702/

Prague Buy/Sell/Trade – very active group
Buying and Selling in Prague – very active group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/prague.language.cafe/ Prague

Language Café – for learning Czech

Prague Student Accommodation – don’t let the name fool you.
Plenty of “regular” flats listed here, too.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/PragueSA/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/EventsInPrague/

Events in Prague – lots of fun events.

Fryday Prague – professional networkers group –
great for self-employed people to network with other professionals.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/FRYDAY.PRAGUE/

http://www.expats.cz/articles/
http://thriftshop.cz/

Expats.cz article directory. Loads of useful information!!

Prague Thrift Store – good second-hand shop with several branches.

http://www.textilehouse.net/o-nas/?lang=en
http://www.radio.cz/en

Textile House – EXCELLENT second-hand clothing store.

Radio Prague – for Czech-specific news in English

http://www.en.domavcr.cz/

General advice for living in Czech Republic

http://www.ceskaposta.cz/index Czech

Post

http://www.young.co.cz/welcome.html

English-speaking doctors who accept VZP public insurance.

American Dentist in Prague – private dental care. Recommended but does
not accept VZP insurance. If you have a difficult dental issue, it may be worth the cost for you.
http://www.americandentist.cz/

Check CrowdSauce CZ Facebook group for recommendations on other doctors/dentists.

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Denmark
Travel to Denmark
By air:
From London Stansted, London City and Manchester Airports you can go to Billund Airport (BLL) in
Western Denmark. Flight time is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
From London Heathrow, London Stansted, London Gatwick, Aberdeen, Birmingham and Manchester
Airports, you can go to Copenhagen Kastrup Airport (CPH). Flight time is approximately 2 hours.
By ferry:
There used to be a ferry line from Harwich to Esbjerg, but the service ceased on 1 August 2014. There
are currently no non-stop ferry lines between the two countries.
By car:
The only option by car will be to take the Eurotunnel and then navigate the motorways through
France, Benelux and Germany to the Danish border.

Registration
Everyone who wishes to settle in Denmark needs a “personnummer” (social security number). This
can be obtained by going to the “Rådhus” (town hall) in the local “kommune” (municipal).
Registration is in the “Borgerservice” (citizen’s service) department.
If you bring your car from the UK, this will need to be registered within 14 days of arrival, where the
British registration plates will be replaced with Danish ones. You do get to decide whether you wish
the registration plates to be with or without the EU flag. If registration is not completed within 14
days, there is a fine of 2500 kroner (£264) payable in cash to the police if they stop you.
Denmark is divided into 5 political regions. Each region has a “Statsforvaltning” (State
Administration Office). In Statsforvaltningen, the EU citizen must ask for a “registreringsbevis”
(registration certificate) and the non-EEA citizen applies for a “opholdskort” (Residence Card) using
application form OD1.
Processing time is approximately 14 days from the day the application is submitted.

Banks
The biggest banks in Denmark are Danske Bank, Nordea, Sydbank, Arbejdernes Landsbank, Nykredit
Bank and Alm Brand Bank.
They are all usually open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm (Thursdays usually open to 530pm).
Service is usually based on a queue system so you would need to take a number as soon as you enter.

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Transport
The roads system is quite good in Denmark.
There are motorways in all parts of the country with good roads connecting main cities to each other.
Generally speed limits are 50 km/h in built-up areas, 80 km/h in the country and 110 to 130 km/h on
motorways.
The public transport is also very good in most places. In areas with a low population, the
infrastructure is poor. In the main cities though, the bus and train systems are very good.
In Copenhagen, the services are brilliant. A-buses cross the city on specific routes every 3-4 minutes.
Other buses run according to a timetable.
S-train is every 20 minutes on each route (each route has its own colour and alphabetic letter) and is
comparable to London’s tube system.
The Copenhagen Metro system is partially underground, running from Copenhagen City to Western
Amager Island and Copenhagen Kastrup Airport. It is quite frequent, at 4-6 minutes. One is able to
travel on the same ticket on a connected trip and combine train, bus and Metros within the validity
hours of the ticket.
All main cities have buses which run at least every 15-20 minutes. Out-of-town buses are usually a
different colour than the local ones with an hourly frequency.
In Jutland (western part of the country) you can also find X-buses, which travel longer distances and
connect various cities together with very few stops in between. The bus is blue, with a huge X on the
side, and the route number always has three digits beginning with 9, e.g. 918X. e.g. express
All public transport can be planned using the app “Rejseplanen” (or www.rejseplanen.dk). Tickets
are available for purchase using the app or from the machines at train stations.

Telephone
Four major companies run the telephone network: TDC, Telia, Telenor and “3”. A large number of
other companies use their networks.
It is possible to buy pre-paid calling cards (taletidskort), but it might be more expensive than a
contract (subscription). Rates depends on the “package” purchased and network used.
Prices in the main four do not differ much because of the high level of competition. For instance a
package of 5 hours local calls, 2 GB data, unlimited text, unlimited MMS and unlimited Facebook is
149 kroner per month (approximately £16). Smartphones can be included as part of the contract in
the same way as they are in the UK.
Beware though that sometimes it is cheaper to buy a phone and sim card separately than as a package.
So do your research!
Pre-paid calling cards specifically for calling abroad are available at post offices and of ethnic shops.
Or you can – of course – use all the free/cheap services online.

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Shopping
Most cities and larger towns have a supermarket within walking distance. The most common grocery
stores are Bilka, føtex and Kvickly selling food, flowers, bicycles, textiles, toys and a lot more.
In other supermarkets like MENY, fakta, Netto, Lidl, Aldi, Min Købmand the main focus is on food.
All prices include VAT at 25%

Eating out
There are a broad variety of restaurants across the country, with a lot of pizza bars. Whilst few
restaurants cater British culinary delights there are lots of Scottish bars!

Language
Most people in Denmark speak English. So it is possible to shop, bank and liaise with public
authorities in English. If the person you are engaged with does not speak English, he/she will quickly
find someone who can.
However, even though most people do speak English, you may need to go to a language school. If it
is a requirement, you do not need to pay a fee to the school. If learning the language is optional, then
it will be fee-paying with costs dependent on the nature of the lessons.

News in English
In hotels, there is cable TV in every room with BBC News and CNN. The Copenhagen Post reports
in local news in English in their online newspaper.

Medical services
Most supermarkets and drugstores sell common over-the-counter medicines for which neither a
prescription nor ID is required.
If you have a Danish personnummer, all visits and treatments with doctors and hospitals is free
(funded by taxes). If you do not have a Danish personnummer, health insurance is required.
Emergency phone number is 112, for the police, ambulance or fire department. If it is not an
emergency but you need the police, the number to dial is 114.

Attitude towards foreigners
The immigration debate is raging quite loudly in Denmark, and generally has a negative tone to it. A
survey shortly before the European Parliament election in May 2014 showed around 70% of Danes
are against or partly against immigration to Denmark, mainly because they believe foreigners are
“stealing” local jobs and ruining the welfare system.
This view is proven incorrect when figures are analysed; Denmark benefits from free movement and
jobs worked by migrants are often those which Danes don’t want to undertake themselves e.g.
cleaners, maids etc.

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Germany
Before Arriving in Germany
British citizens do not need a visa to enter Germany. Requirements for non-EEA family depends on
their nationality. http://www.london.diplo.de/Vertretung/london/en/07/03__Visa/011__Need__Visa.html
Visa nationals may apply for a Schengen visa in their home country before travelling. Exercise
caution when buying one-way tickets though as although evidence of onward travel is not required
under EEA law, some airlines don’t allow boarding without a return ticket.

Entering the country
Carry evidence of your relationship in your hand luggage and be prepared to show this to immigration
officials, if requested. It is likely that non-visa nationals will be ushered through, no questions asked.

Registering your presence
German law requires all arrivals (including British citizens) to register at the local
Einwohnermeldeamt (sometimes called Burgerburo or Burgeramt). This should be done within 7
days of entering the country, even if the applicants are only in temporary accommodation.
Hotels usually do this for you, but if you have made private arrangements, you will need to handle
this yourself. Once permanent accommodation is found, this address will need to be
registered. http://www.toytowngermany.com/wiki/Residence_registration.
Local branch can be found by entering the postcode here http://www.meldebox.de/Einwohnermeldeamt/ or
do a google search on ‘Einwohnermeldeamt’ and your city.
Registration is quick and relatively straightforward, but the earlier in the day you go, the shorter the
waiting time is likely to be.
Ask the receptionist (likely will speak English) where you need to go once you are in the building.
Bring your rental contract with you and register your whole family as living at your new address.
During registration you will be asked for your religion. If you give one, you will be registered to pay
church tax which will automatically be deducted from your salary. You are entitled to give no
religion, meaning you will not be eligible for paying church tax. However, not paying church tax
means you are not allowed to use the services of your local church for events such as weddings,
christenings, funerals and technically also for weekly services.
You should check the requirements for other religions

Applying for a German Residence Card
After registering the family’s presence at the Einwohnermeldeamt go to the EU Citizen’s Service, part
of the Auslanderamt (in the same building) with the non-EEA family members and take:
• Passports for sponsor and applicants
• Evidence of relationship – the basis for which treaty rights are being exercised
• Birth certificates (for any children)

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Employment contract
Payslip (if available)
Registration certificate (as issued by the Einwohnermeldeamt)
Passport photo of all non-EEA individuals.
Amount for the Residence Card, €28.80 at time of writing this.

There is queue system; take a ticket from the automatic machine and wait your turn. (The longest
reported wait is 20 minutes).
If there is someone from the residence card service available, they may deal with your application on
the spot. If not, then they will give you an appointment to come back at a future date along with a
letter telling you which items you need to bring (essentially those listed above).
There seems to be no problem with providing your documents in English. You may need to get these
translated if they are in another language however.
The appointment with the registration service itself should only take about 15 or 20 minutes. NonEEA family members will have their fingerprints taken and the staff member will take copies of all
the documents. After 2 to 3 weeks applicants should receive a letter indicating the card is ready for
collection, subject to making an appointment and bringing in the relevant passports.
The issuing official will double-check the data on the card and passport and providing there are no
discrepancies will issue you with the card.
A German-issued Residence Card is currently one of the few which the UK accepts for visa nationals,
in place of a UK Family Permit.

Applying for a UK Family Permit
Non-EEA individuals who don’t possess a German Residence Card at the time they wish to enter the
UK (for a visit or longer-term), will need to apply for a Family Permit from the UK embassy if they
are visa nationals. German documents will need to be translated into English in order to satisfy UK
requirements so these costs should be factored in.

Temporary accommodation
You will probably need temporary accommodation in Germany while you are searching for
somewhere more permanent to live. For cheaper alternatives to hotels see http://www.bed-andbreakfast.de/index_en.asp and https://www.airbnb.com/s/Germany. If things are really tight you could also
try the Couchsurfing community. Many of its members go out of their way to help others in need
https://www.couchsurfing.org/.

Longer-term accommodation
Most Germans rent unfurnished apartments. Furnished apartments are limited, but they are also not in
high demand, so it is possible to secure one. It may be possible to buy a previous tenant’s furniture,
which could then potentially be sold on to the next tenant.
Tip: look for housing
which is commission
free: Provisionsfrei

If intending on staying in Germany for months rather than years, it is
probably not worth going through a letting agency as they tend to charge a
commission for finding and securing an apartment, equivalent to around
two to three months rent.

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Deposits (“Kaution”) tend to be quite high, at three or four months rent, but are refundable and
possible to negotiate this down to a lower amount.
Rental contracts usually include some (sometimes all) utilities and service charges, with the exception
of gas and electricity. Listings for apartments show two prices: kalt and warm. Warm is the actual
price paid each month including the extra charges. Prices vary significantly from city to city.
The following provide useful further information, and a good glossary of German rental terms.
http://www.toytowngermany.com/wiki/Apartment_rental
http://www.howtogermany.com/pages/housing.html
http://blog.mygermanexpert.com/2013/02/Apartment-listing-for-Germany.html

All tenants will need to be named on the rental contract as evidence of residency and co-habitation.
Rental property websites (all in German)
http://www.null-provision.de/
http://www.kalaydo.de/immobilien/mietwohnungen/?COMMISSION_FREE=1
http://www.wohnungsboerse.net/
http://www.immowelt.de/provisionsfrei/wohnungen.aspx
http://www.immonet.de/wohnung-provisionsfrei-mieten.html
http://kleinanzeigen.ebay.de/anzeigen/s-wohnung-mieten/wohnung-provisionsfrei/k0c203

An alternative is flat-sharing (“ein WG”). Increasing numbers are living in WGs due to high rents.
http://www.wg-gesucht.de/wohnung_mieten_ohne_provision.html

Gas and electricity
Gas and electricity need to be registered for. http://germany.angloinfo.com/housing/setting-up-home/gaselectricity/.

Jobs
Germany has one of the largest and strongest economies in the EU. It is worth searching for a job in
Germany before arrival, but jobs can also be found once here. EU citizens are entitled to use the
services of the local job centre (Arbeitsagentur).
http://jobboerse.arbeitsagentur.de/vamJB/startseite.html?m=1&aa=1 - change the language to English at

the top of the page (Sprache andern)
http://www.arbeitsagentur.de/web/content/EN/index.htm
https://ec.europa.eu/eures/page/homepage?lang=en
http://www.toytowngermany.com/jobs/
www.tefl.com - English teaching jobs for those with a CELTA qualification.

Paying taxes
Married couples share tax allowance; default tax code is 4-4. If only the British citizen is working the
tax code should be changed to be 3 for them and 5 for the non-EU partner, thereby adding the
partner’s tax allowance to the British citizens, dramatically decreasing the income tax paid.
Tax codes are changed by downloading a form and taking it to the local (not necessarily nearest) tax
office. http://www.howtogermany.com/pages/germantaxes.html
Income tax in Germany is higher than the UK. Those earning over around €450 a month must pay
Sozialenkosten (similar to national insurance) in addition to income tax.

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Internet
It initially seems impossible to get short-term internet in Germany as contracts are routinely for 24
months. However, some providers allow terminating a contract early for those moving outside their
service area.
Top tip: Get this assurance from them in writing before singing any contracts. In NRW and Hessen
you can use Unity Media, though their customer service reputation isn’t that good. Alternatively,
some may prefer using a dongle or standard data plan via one of the mobile phone providers.

Bank
Opening a bank account in Germany is easier and quicker than in UK. However, research is needed
in choosing an account and bank suited to individual circumstances.
There are three types of banks in Germany: private, cooperative and public.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banking_in_Germany

Some banks require a minimum deposit each month to avoid monthly fees. For example,
Commerzbank requires €1200 each month for the fee-free option.
Other banks (e.g. Volksbank) charge for individual services such as standing orders/direct debit,
money transfer etc. The upside is that these banks are not run for corporate profit and are run in the
interests of their members. Banks frequently charge up to €5 Euros for withdrawals using a debit card
(EC/Maestro) issued by a different bank.
Some banks have networks (e.g. Deutschebank, Commerzbank and Postbank) for fee-free withdrawal.
Once you have made your decision go along to the local branch and make an appointment to open a
Girokonto. Joint accounts are recommended between sponsor and applicant as further evidence of
dependency and residency.
Documents needed include passports, registration certificate (from Einwohnermeldeamt) and a
residence card if this has been issued.
http://www.expatica.com/de/finance_business/banking/Opening-bank-account-in-Germany_10000.html
http://www.toytowngermany.com/wiki/Banking_in_Germany

Language
Whilst speaking the local language helps, it’s not essential for day-to-day living, as most Germans
(particularly younger ones) speak English at least to a conversational level. Additionally, most shops,
doctor’s practices, and offices will tend to have someone who is only too glad to practice their English
with you.
Many public officials speak English, but it might be worth taking along a German-speaking friend to
help if possible. Certain jobs, such as English teaching positions generally do not require German
language ability. However, most jobs will require speaking some German.
Please note that many of the websites listed in this section are only available in German. The English
version has been listed where possible, but in other cases you may need to use Google Translate.

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There are many free German online resources that may help the integration and make for a smoother
time in Germany:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/german/ BBC Learn German
http://www.dw.de/deutsch-lernen/kursfinder/s-13211 - Find a free Deutsche Welle course.
https://www.duolingo.com/ - Very popular game-style learning
http://www.memrise.com/ - Up and coming game-style learning
An intensive course at one of the big language schools help with a quicker pick up of the language
however these tend to be quite expensive. The cheapest courses are usually run by the local
Volkshochschule http://www.vhs.de/. A course providing a certificate may be beneficial in evidencing
the integration requirement.
Another option is using a private tutor for one-to-one lessons, often for a lower price than a language
school.
There are regular language exchange meetings (Sprachenabend) in many cities with Germans eager to
practise their English and willing to speak to you in German. You can search for these on Facebook
or http://www.meetup.com/.
There is also the possibility of finding a language exchange partner (Tandem
Partner). http://www.erstenachhilfe.de/ is a popular site for finding language exchange partners. Be
aware that you have to pay a monthly fee to send messages the site although profile set up and
receiving messages is free.
Experience shows English speakers are in high demand as tandem partners.
Another way to improve language skills is to watch German TV and read German books. Public
service brochures and language books often have information in German and English, so reading that
is also a good way to test your language skills.

Mobile phone
Most mobile phone contracts are for 24 months in Germany, so pay-as-you-go may be preferred with
the option of booking monthly options for a certain level of texts/minutes and data. Prices vary so
shop around.
The three main network providers are T-mobile, Vodafone and E-plus/02 (in the process of merging).
Aldi’s sim card offers a bookable option costing €7.99 a month, which includes a combination of 300
texts/minutes and 300 MB of data. Other companies such as Ortel offer cheap rates for overseas calls.

Health insurance
For those who are employed, the employer should help register their employee, and partner and
children for health insurance. The biggest public provider is AOK, although there is a choice of
several. Once working, non-EEA partner and children are covered by this health insurance.

Registering with doctors and dentists
Registration is with a local GP/dentist. Allgemeinefacharzt or Hausarzt for doctors, or Zahnarzt for
dentist. Ratings and reviews are at http://www.jameda.de/ with 1 (good) and 6 (bad). Ensure the
doctor/dentist accept public health insurance (Kassenpatienten) http://www.med-kolleg.de/index_e.html
offers a searchable database of doctors in English.
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To make an appointment, (“ein Termin”) the assistant will need the patient’s name and preferred
appointment time. Ensure the health insurance card is presented at the appointment – and if
necessary, obtain a temporary paper card from the health insurer while waiting for a permanent card
to arrive.
In Germany, it is sometimes possible to get an appointment directly with a specialist without getting a
referral from the GP first though do check that you don’t end up having to foot the bill for the
consultation, or being refused after arrival.
More information
http://www.howtogermany.com/pages/doctors.html - includes some helpful German phrases
http://www.expatica.com/de/health_fitness/healthcare/Your-guide-to-navigating-the-German-health-caresystem_14841.html
http://germany.usembassy.gov/acs/lists/ - English-speaking doctors (Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich only).

Children and schools
You must send any children (aged 6-18) to school in Germany. This is mandated by law as
homeschooling is not a legal option.

Shopping
Food in Germany ranges from the cheap (Aldi, Lidl, Netto) to regular supermarkets (Rewe, Edeka,
Kaisers, Real) all the way to the more expensive organic ones. Many areas have regular local farmers
markets.
Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free food is readily available in the cities. Two of the large drugstore
chains (Rossman and DM) sell a range of fairly cheap organic and gluten-free products.
Germans are fans of flea markets (trodelmarkt, flohmarkt) with leaflets for upcoming flea markets
readily available.
Shops are all shut on Sundays with the exception of bakeries, generally open for three hours between
7am and 11am selling a limited range. If desperate, supermarkets at the local airport may be
open. For example, Dusseldorf airport has a Rewe which is open on Sundays.

Getting involved in the community
Taking an active role in the community makes for a more satisfactory time (and may also help with
the COL requirements). Germany has a long and proud tradition of festivals and events, at the local
and national levels, throughout the year. They are especially fun for children!
There are lots of groups and clubs on facebook and www.meetup.com (search by local area) which are a
great way to meet locals and other migrants to Germany and locals.

Travel to and within Germany
Ryanair, Easyjet, Flybe fly to many German cities. However, before booking be sure to check which
city you are actually flying to. Ryanair may state a flight is to Dusseldorf, but it actually takes
passengers to Weeze, close to the Dutch border and 60km away from Dusseldorf.
Germanwings is the no-frills arm of Lufthansa, Germany’s national airline. Deutsche Bahn often has
special offers for travel both within Germany and abroad http://www.bahn.de/p_en/view/index.shtml.
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Eurostar can also be taken to a number of different German cities. http://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/travelinformation/connections-information/travel-germany#.VERMsSmwJcY.
Coach companies also offer routes connecting many German cities and going further
afield https://www.flixbus.de/ and http://meinfernbus.de/.

Public Transport
Public transport is organised regionally in Germany and thus varies from city to city. The larger the
city, the greater the number of transport options.
Cities generally have extensive bus and tram (Strassenbahn) networks, as well as underground trains
(U-Bahn) and commuter trains (S-Bahn). Cities are connected via regional trains and the more
expensive intercity (IC) and (ICE) trains.
Every city is run by a transport cooperative meaning fares and tickets are coordinated. A single ticket
(Fahrkarte, Fahrschein, or Fahrausweis) will usually be valid for at least 90 minutes allowing
unlimited transfers within that time frame. Tickets can be bought on the buses and trams, however
train tickets must be bought before boarding. The language at ticket machines on the platform can be
changed to English.
Tickets must be validated (entwerten), unless they are pre-stamped. Failure to stamp/validate the
ticket could result in a €40 fine. Tickets must be validated via one of the (usually orange) machines
before getting on (in the case of S-Bahn and regional trains) and as soon as you get on, in (in the case
of trams and buses).
A monthly ticket may be a more financially viable option for those expecting to use public transport
frequently. The tickets available differ from city to city and are available from the nearest transport
customer service office or the travel centre (Reisezentrum) at any main train station.
http://www.gettingaroundgermany.info/stadt.shtml
http://www.studying-in-germany.org/a-foreigners-guide-to-public-transport-in-germany/
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/germany/transport/getting-around

Peculiar to Germany
• Pedestrian crossings: It is an offence for a pedestrian to cross on red in Germany. The police have
been known to issue on-the-spot fines to offenders. You will see Germans cross roads on red, but
the overwhelming majority do respect the law.
• TV Licences: TV licences are mandatory for every household, even in the absence of a TV. At the
time of writing, the TV licence fee was €17.99 a month.
• Personal Liability Insurance: It is standard for Germans to have personal liability insurance. There
is no legal requirement for this, but most Germans (generally risk-averse) find the idea of not
having such insurance baffling. PLI can be arranged through the bank.
• Public transport: Public transport is generally barrier-free. This can make it very tempting to travel
without buying a ticket however ticket inspectors roam local trams, trains and buses and do issue
fines to those without a valid ticket.

About Germany
Germany offers a good standard of living, with generally clean and efficient public services. Most
Germans are decent and law-abiding, although perhaps not generally as open and forthcoming as
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some other Europeans. The reputation Germans have as being sticklers for rules is probably not
undeserved. If you do something “wrong” don’t be surprised if you get publicly “told off” by a little
old lady. However, this has an upside! German public officials also seem to stick to the rules,
making the process of obtaining a a visa for Germany and a residence card smoother compared with
the UK.
Germans are generally friendly and helpful, particularly once you know them. There is also quite an
active expat community in most of the bigger German cities. See http://www.toytowngermany.com/.
Tip: Take it one step at a time and focus on the important things first, allowing you to get into the
swing of things, and hopefully feel settled and able to enjoy your time in Germany.

City: Dusseldorf
Dusseldorf, on the river Rhine, is the capital of North Rhein Westphalia. It is a bustling and
prosperous economic centre with a population of nearly 600,000. The city is famous for trade fairs,
carnival, designer shops and supposedly having the “longest bar in Europe”. Some multinationals
(Vodafone, Metro) have their German headquarters in Dusseldorf, and there are consequently quite a
large number of migrants living here. With economic success comes reasonable job prospects, but
higher living costs than many other German cities.
Dusseldorf is a very liveable city, with lots of parks and interesting sites. The politics of the area is
pretty conservative and this does detract from its potential vibrancy somewhat.

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Greece
Applying for a Greek Family permit
TBC

Applying for a Greek Residence Card
Residence Cards for EU citizen
Get your employer to fill in a document obtained by the Aliens Police.
Then arrive at the Aliens Police station as early as 6am
Documents you will need include:
• Employment contract or €4000 deposited into a Greek bank account to prove you have the means
to support yourself
• Document referred to above filled in by your employer
• Passport
• 2 passport photographs
• Valid Health Insurance (Can be E111 card)
• House Contract (with tax stamp by the municipality)
Top tip: Take three copies of each document.
You will fill in a form and wait around for 3-4 hours, following which you receive the Residence Card
which needs to be taken down the street to the main office for lamination and copying, then brought
back to the Aliens Policestation.
Non–EEA Residence card
TBC

Applying for a UK Family permit
The family permit application is made online, followed by an appointment at the teleppeformance
contact centre in Athens. The EU citizen is not allowed in the building with the applicant.
Take a copy of all documents with you; staff will check the original against the copy before returning
it to you, except for the non-EEA passport which is retained for the FP stamp. Biometrics will be
taken. The application is sent to Warsaw for processing and indicative timescales are about 15
working days for return of the passport with the FP stamp.

Tax
AFM – for tax purposes equivalent to NI number
Once you have an address, go to Eforia (local tax office) to obtain AFM (af em mee). Documents
needed:
• Tenancy agreement
• Passport
• Birth Certificate
Top Tip: Take three copies of each of the above along with the original document.
AMKA - Social Security number
Simple to obtain from KEP office. You will need to take your passport to obtain an AMKA.

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Rentals
Athens is a very safe city, apart from lots of poverty you should not feel unsafe in any area that you
live in. Usual sensible precautions apply especially when traveling on the metro or train system. Use
common sense. Best areas to live in are in the center and Kissoff, Alkali and coastal regions like
Voulagmeni and Glyfada. Living in the center has its benefits and Victoria, Kypsili, Acropoli,
Syntagma and Koloniki are all decent places to live.
Temporary places to live
Athens Backpackers offer studio apartments or shared rooms at fair prices for short term rentals.
They also have a bar that a lot of migrants go to, so is a good place to get advice and help from others
going through the same experiences. The staff are also very cool.
The fish cafe sells fish and chips for €5. http://www.backpackers.gr/
Airbnb is also a good website for short-term rentals, allowing you to live with a local person/family.
Long term rentals
Find an area you wish to live in and walk the streets looking in windows for a red sign saying
ενοικίαση. Usually, there will be some indication as to what floor the vacancy is on, how many
rooms it has, and if it’s furnished it may say επιπλωµένο. There are some websites which target
migrants for rentals – they’re pricier but they are in English so represent an easier way to seek a place.
http://www.expatriates.com/classifieds/ath/
http://athens.craigslist.gr/

The website www.xe.gr has a comprehensive list of all properties for rent in the selected area, but you
will need the assistance of someone who speaks Greek to navigate the website.
Ensure your landlord takes the tenancy contract to the Municipality office and has it stamped,
otherwise it will not be valid.

Jobs
There are many teaching/nanny positions, but you can also find work in hostels in the summer
months. Check out the nanny website on Facebook and find a job in Athens is also a good source for
positions.
Beware though as Greeks may try to avoid paying tax for you, especially where payment is in cash
form, which can be problematic in showing legitimate work. One member overcame this by keeping
regular receipts and depositing the earnings yourself into her Greek bank account, to ensure there was
a trail of evidence.
Teleperformance tend to take on staff who speak different languages.
Some websites will list jobs in English, including www.kariera.gr

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Bank account
Documents needed:
• Copy of tenancy agreement
• Passport and Residence card (if obtained)
• AFM
• Work Contract
If you have not paid tax you must obtain a tax document from the same office you took your AFM to,
stating that you have nil income for the relevant financial year.

Mobile phones
Free sim cards are available from most places, offering deals at very low prices. The main mobile
networks are Wind, Vodaphone, Germanos; there is also Frog and other low cost networks which are
great as calls to others on the same network are often free, for a low monthly charge of €1.
Contract phones offer packages which may include free calls to UK. Vodaphone offers an all-in-one
package. Networks have shops on the high street and speak English. Documents needed:
• Tenancy agreement
• Passport
• AFM

International calls, photocopying and TV
Some packages include free UK calls. For calls to outside Europe, best deals will usually be from
stores owned by migrants from that region; you go in and use their phone and they calculate the cost.
These stores also offer internet access for as low as 50¢ an hour.
There are printing companies in almost every area which print
for as little as 5¢ a sheet. If you take your USB stick they are
happy to print directly from that too. Their English will likely
be better than your Greek!
Don’t bother getting TV channels as they’re useless!

“My husband used to
call Africa and was able
to speak to his family
there for 20 mins for just
€1. Very cheap and

Groceries
AB is expensive, akin to Sainsbury’s or Waitrose, so best reserved for special occasions. Carrefour
tends to have good deals. Lidl is the cheapest and a good option for those on a budget.
Most areas host a farmers market, Laiki, one day a week where you can buy seasonal fruits, salad and
vegetables for a low price. Top tip: Bargains to be had towards end of day (from 3pm) when
vendors keen to sell all produce.
On Athinas Street in central Athens there is a local meat and fish market. It can be a bit
overwhelming as it’s quite graphic, but is cheap e.g. a chicken is €2. Pick stalls which look fresh.
Most of them speak English but it’s not hard to make simple requests e.g. to order a kilo of mince, just
point to mince and say ‘ena killo’! An amazing thing to do on Saturday mornings as a weekly treat.
Around Athinas Street, you can find spices, local cheese suppliers, sausages and fruit and vegetables –
but fruits and veggies here are not of the same standard as at the weekly street markets.

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Newspapers
Sunday newspapers have vouchers for supermarkets. Thema for example has two editions, one which
is just €2, and a more expensive one which also includes additional items like DVD’s etc.

Schools
St Katherine is a private (expensive) British school. Not many schools offer a British curriculum.
Byron College and Athens College (American school) are also private and expensive. Schooling in
Greece is not generally up to a good standard so it is worth considering home schooling as there are
lots of native English teachers offering to home-teach at reasonable prices. Most kindergartens and
preschool nurseries are in the northern suburbs. Barbara Boden is quite popular.

Transport
A monthly ticket for the Bus, Tram and Trolly was €20, or €45 to also include the metro. Transport is
expectedly busy at peak times, but very efficient and regular. See www.oasa.gr for guides and transport
routes.
KTEL is a long-distance bus company and you can get almost anywhere in Greece using their
services. www.ktelbus.gr

Hospitals and medicines
If you fall ill, the best thing to do is to call 112 for a list of emergency hospitals offering treatment. If
it’s an emergency they will also send an ambulance. However, ambulances are not particularly quick
so it can often be faster to get a taxi to the hospital.
Process in hospitals is similar to A&E in UK; they will also deal with non-emergencies. You will
need an E111 card though, which should allow for free treatments for the most part.
Pharmacies offer a consultative service. You describe the symptoms and they will try and diagnose it.
Basic medicine like Paracetamol is cheap but if you are on regular medication check it’s availability
in Greece else stock up from the UK. For example, Codeine is not available in Greece.
Contraception is expensive, so you may want to stock up on this from the UK as well. They don’t
seem to offer contraceptive injections or implants yet and many shops don’t sell tampons. The
general attitude towards sex is quite conservative.

Religion
Greece is predominately Greek orthodox but there are churches offering Christian/Catholic services.
St Paul’s Anglican Church in the Plaka hosts a weekly Sunday service at 10:30am and Wednesday
communion at 10am. This is a great place to meet other Brits and make new friends.
There is also a Catholic church in the Syntagma area and a Mormon church in the Plaka central areas.
There don’t seem to be any mosques or synagogues in Athens but there are underground temples and
venues where people meet on a regular basis. Just ask around for info on these.
Migrant groups in each area hold their own church/religious festivals and sermons with groups from
around the world, including Poland, Russia, Iran, Iraq, various African countries.

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Word of caution
Athens can be a difficult place to live especially if you look different. There have been reported
incidents of foreigners (Brits and their family) experiencing bigotry and insensitivity. Ensure you
carry ID with you at all times, and if of non-white appearance, possibly your passport as well.
The police carry out random spot checks on foreign nationals and if you are not in receipt of the
correct documents they will imprison you for a number of hours whilst they undertake the checks.
Having said that, most places in the world have issues and Greek people for the most part are very
thoughtful, caring, generous and helpful. The food is amazing, the weather glorious – it almost never
rains!

Useful contacts as recommended by members
Notary service: Dimitri Kontopoulos Tel: 2103641801 located in Koloniki
Immigration Lawyer: Christos 6944242553 located in Academias
Translation services: Vasil Pappa 210 5223016 located in Omonia

Summary
The Good

The Bad

Not expensive

Bureaucracy

Food

Job situation

Weather

Language

Reviews
“I would not recommend Greece unless you have family, friends or certain skills to get a job as there
are no jobs and all the young people are leaving the country.
The bureaucracy here is unimaginable. Even though I hired a lawyer it is still taking me two months
to submit documents for my mother’s Residence Card, as the Greek authorities do not consider a birth
certificate sufficient to prove a parent-child relationship. Mum had to go to the Russian embassy to
obtain a letter to confirm our relationship.
Translating of documents takes lots of time, and at times it appears that when all of Greece is not on
holiday, departments randomly make up their own rules – be it the police or banks with different
branches choosing to implement procedures to suit the branch manager.
Speaking Greek and having family and friends – any contacts – is a massive help. Use of an
accountant seems mandatory but they are not expensive.”

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Hungary

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Ireland
Applying for an Irish Family Permit
If the non-EEA family member is from a visa waiver country they may not need a visa/family permit
(aka short stay C visa) to enter Ireland. However be prepared to answer questions at the port, and
ensure you know your rights. Be polite but firm.
If the non-EEA family member is not from a visa-waiver country, they will need to apply to the Irish
embassy in their own country. Documents needed include:
Non-EEA applicant’s passport
Copy of EEA national’s passport (sponsor)
Evidence of relationship e.g. birth certificate or marriage certificate with translations if required
Evidence of accommodation for first few nights in Ireland e.g. hotel booking or tenancy if already
sorted out
• Flight itinerary
• Cover letter




The application can be started online and applicant has 30 days to submit the documents and the
signed summary page to the nearest Irish embassy or application centre.
Purpose of trip should be marked as “Join or accompany EEA national”. Responses to most of the
other questions may be denoted as ‘N/A under European Directive”.
You do not need to answer questions relating to employment at this stage.

Applying for an Irish Residence Card
http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/EU%20Treaty%20Rights

Required documents:
• Evidence of relationship between sponsor and applicant - birth certificate, marriage certificate.
Statutory declaration could be accepted where an original birth certificate to show parental
relationship between sponsor and applicant is not available.
• Passports of sponsor and applicant
• 2 passport size photos each, for sponsor and applicant. Beware of the very specific requirements
for photos.
• Tenancy agreement which includes names of everyone involved
• Contract of employment
• Evidence of dependency of applicants who are not partners / children on the sponsor. Financial is
normally the easiest one to evidence.
• Letter from the Private Residential Tenancies Board confirming registration of tenancy.
• Two recent payslips (self-employed will need to submit receipts, invoices, bank statements and tax
registration forms).
• Most recent P60 or a tax credit certificate
Not all the documents are required at the initial application stage; if there’s something missing the
authorities will write in requesting this. However the application is likely to be processed more
quickly if there are no missing documents.
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About four weeks after sending the application, sponsor and applicant will be asked to submit
biometrics, following which the applicant will be issued with an identity card allowing stay for six
months while the RC is processed. Recommend getting to the Immigration Service as early as
possible because it’s an extremely long wait otherwise.

Applying for a UK Family Permit
The first step is filling out the online form – it is possible to start filling in the form and then
continuing it on another day – just remember to save it. Once submitted, the applicant will need to
register on the teleperformance site, pay for the return service and make an appointment. Ensure you
print confirmation of the booking time and return service for your records.
At the appointment, biometrics will be taken.

Travel between UK and Ireland
UK and Ireland are part of the Common Travel Area http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Travel_Area
Members are able to travel between these countries using their driving licence, as long as this shows
place of birth as UK or elsewhere in the EU. Airlines may have more stringent requirements than
immigration though!

Citizen’s Advice Bureau
Citizen’s Advice Bureau has lots of branches, including on O’Connell St - main street in Dublin.
CAB helps look over visa application forms to see if filled in correctly, advise on courses, including
free English classes and welfare benefits which could take ages to sort out but tend to be backdated.

PPS number
PPS is the equivalent of National Insurance. Obtaining a PPS number is simple. Documents required:
• Passport
• Proof of address (tenancy agreement, “Certificate of Balance” from bank, utility bill).
• Birth certificate may be needed for minor children.
You receive your PPS number by post within a few days. PPS number is needed in order to work and
claim benefits (known as social welfare in Ireland).

Jobs
Check out online portals, sign up with agencies, walk around as many advertise in shop windows, ask
people you live with, look at job boards in libraries, Citizen’s Advice Bureau, community centres. Be
prepared to do anything and part-time work (usually a minimum of 12 hours) is fine for the Surinder
Singh route. Relief work may be easier to obtain albeit on a zero-hours contract.
Ensure you have an updated CV with you, along with any certificates you may be relying on to find a
job. Top tip: ensure you have copies of all important documents in your email for easy access.

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Banks
Permanent TSB is recommended, although members may wish to look into Allied Irish Bank and
Bank of Ireland too. KBC has also been used by some members although it does not have many
branches scattered around. Transferwise may be useful for transferring money to and from Ireland.

Travel
In Dublin, day and ‘journey’ passes are available. For example, 30-day pass allows for 30 days travel,
and the 30 days do not have to be consecutive. The ‘journey’ passes allow for ten trips, although any
travel, including in different buses within the same 90 minute period counts as the same trip.
Holders of an Irish student card benefit from cheaper travel as well as fee-less banking. Banks in
Ireland otherwise tend to charge for things taken for granted in the UK, like using an ATM.
Travelling within Ireland by coach is reasonably priced. From Limerick to Dublin for example costs
€15 one-way using Dublin Coaches, including on-board Wi-Fi.

Accommodation
Airbnb is good for temporary accommodation, allowing living with locals who can be a great source
of info on jobs, travel and long-term accommodation. Check out the reviews and photos. Given the
purpose of those embarking on this route, there is no point being holed up alone in a hotel room.
For longer-term accommodation daft.ie is good, even for house shares. Gumtree.ie may not be bad,
but there are a lot of rogues, so do your own due diligence. Note, your landlord is legally required to
register the tenancy with the PRTB, and the sooner they do this the better, as it’s cheaper for them and
the registration document is required for the Residence Card application.
Dublin:
In Dublin, even-numbered postcodes are south of the river and odd-numbered postcodes, north. The
airport is north around D9 and about 30 minutes from the city centre by bus. As the numbers get
higher, so does (generally) the distance from the city centre.
South is generally nicer, but there are good and bad areas everywhere, so walk around before signing
a contract. Things to consider include proximity to work, school, airport, transport, supermarkets.
Rents vary but generally the city centre is more expensive with apartments not as nice. Closer to the
airport living in a complex, a 2 bedroom apartment is around €900 a month but tends to be inclusive
of things like rubbish collection. In other places, rubbish collection charges would be payable on top.
House shares may be worth considering for those on a tight budget.
Limerick:
Aviary Estates is a good agency. They accepted a UK work reference for the British citizen and did
not mandate one for the foreign family member. PPS number could be added later. Generally
contracts are six months with a month’s notice required to terminate.

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Utilities
Ensure you budget for utilities such as electricity, gas and internet. There are currently no council tax
or water bills, although there have been murmurings of introducing these. Monthly charges for
rubbish collection may be payable on top.
UPC seems to be the fastest internet service provider, being fibre optic but if you don’t need stream,
then you may prefer Imagine, which includes unlimited calls to UK landlines (for the first 60
minutes). Another advantage of Imagine is that it’s portable, so if you move house, you can take your
internet connection with you – even if you go elsewhere in Ireland for say a weekend! However
internet quality is not on par with the connection and speed of that in the UK.
Magnet is another internet provider and is a contract-free internet and phone service. There is a €50
connection fee but you can cancel the service at any time. http://www.magnet.ie/
Everything is a 12 month contract which can be a concern for those not expecting to remain in the
country for that long. Some companies may however waive the early termination charges for those
moving overseas. For things like internet, it may be possible to transfer it to someone else in Ireland –
perhaps one of the next batch of BritCits members, as moving the services to another address is
usually free. It may also be worth asking your landlord if the rent can be inclusive of things like
internet and TV, as the next set of tenants will likely be in need of these things.
Where heaters are electric, there may be on a dual-rate basis with day and night rates; depending on
the plan it may be economical to buy the heat at night and then release it slowly during the day.

Mobile phone
Lycamobile cards are available in most corner shops. Calls and texts from Lyca Ireland to Lyca
Ireland accounts are free, and there are often deals to call other Lycamobile account holders in other
countries, including the UK, for very low rates or even free, subject to a minimum top-up. There are
also advantages to topping up credit online because of the matching credits.
Tesco mobile has also been found to be inexpensive and with good reception.
3 mobile and eircom also worth looking into.

Library
There is a library in city centre with branches all round Dublin. Easy to join, provides free internet
access, reading material, information on courses and often free English classes.

Religion
There are churches, mosques and Hare Krishna Temple. There is also a Gurdwara in Dublin:
Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar
78 Serpentine Ave,
Dublin 4

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Supermarkets
There are no big stores like Costco or Makro, though such stores are available across the border in
Northern Ireland. No Sainsbury’s or Asda either.
There is however a Tesco and those in Ireland temporarily may wish to use their UK Tesco Clubcard
rather than starting a new account in Ireland. Be prepared for paying more for your groceries though
with Irish butter more expensive in Ireland than it is in the UK! All food is generally pricier than in
the UK, except for maybe potatoes! It may not be a bad idea to stock up on non-perishables from the
UK before heading over to Ireland, depending on luggage allowance.
Aldi and Lidl provide an opportunity for prices more comparable with the UK.
Beware, all supermarkets charge for plastic bags, so get used to carrying your own bags to save
money and helping the environment. M&S around for those who can’t do without their ready meals.
Small shops around Moore street in central Dublin may be better for fresh produce than supermarkets.
Dunnes and Supervalu tend to have deals and loyalty cards as well. Finding halal food is not too
difficult in the big cities like Dublin, Limerick and Cork and in Asian shops.
Limerick not as pricey as Dublin.
Top tip: Tesco points can be converted to British Airways frequent flyer points (called Avios),
which are great for travelling between UK and Ireland airports.

Doctors
Registration with the GP is needed for use of GP services. Proof of residence not usually required.
This should be free but then most charge around €50 for each consultation (pregnancy consultations
are free). Having an EHIC from the UK is a good idea as it allows free treatment in hospitals,
although if residing in Ireland then a UK-issued EHIC is not technically valid.

Summary
The Good

The Bad

No language barriers

Expensive especially Dublin

Beautiful and friendly

Rains almost every day!

Proximity to the UK

Feels like stepping back in time to UK in the
70s

Reviews
“Dublin is a great city and that it’s English speaking makes navigating and looking for jobs much
easier than it would be so in other countries. However it is surprisingly expensive. Make the most of
the beautiful landscapes though and ensure you live the city to explore the Irish countryside and
coast.”

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Malta
Government employees in Malta are familiar with their treaty obligations and are helpful and polite.
This could be a sign of Malta’s relatively recent inclusion in the group and thus their keenness to not
only actually abide by the regulations but also to be seen to be doing so.

Applying for a Maltese Family Permit
An entry visa from any Schengen state is sufficient for entry into Malta, allowing the holder to live
there for three months whilst the residence card applications gets underway. It is important to state
that the applicant is accompanying or joining the EU citizen (sponsor) who is their
partner/parent/child etc.

Applying for a Maltese Residence Card
Take originals and copies with you, but don’t panic if you forget something. The staff may photocopy
it for you as well if they’re in a good mood! However, the better prepared you are the quicker you
will get out of there.
Documents Required:








Passport (sponsor and applicant)
Rental Agreement
Work Contract/Self Employment papers (sponsor)
Marriage Certificate
Passport photo (sponsor and applicant)
Form 4A (EU) Residence Card Application
CEA Form F
Form ID 1A (both) Electronic Identification Registration Form
Form ID 2 Image Capture Application Form

All forms can be downloaded from the internet. If you miss one don't worry they will have them there
and will tell you which you need to fill in.

Applying for a UK Family Permit
Applying for the FP you need to make sure that you arrive at the British embassy at least 10 minutes
before your scheduled appointment as otherwise they will not let you in!
The Teleperformance website has a lot of information on the Family Permit application process.
http://www.ge2mt.tpcontact.co.uk/

Although the website states payment of a mandatory fee of £59 to use the Visa Application Centre else the
appointment will be cancelled, recent amendments to the website specify that those applying for a Family
Permit are exempt from this, in accordance with EEA regulations. So you do not need to pay!
One member has documented their experience and more on this can be found in the Annex.
Documents you may wish to consider submitting include some of the following (copies/originals as
appropriate):

• Family Permit Cover Letter
• Family Permit Application
• Proof of Employment:

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o Employment contract
o Payslips
o Bank statement
o Tax number certificate
o Social Security letter of sponsor and applicant
Proof of Self-Employment
o Letter of Registration
o Company registration office certificate / receipt for registration fee
o Accounts for three months
o Business bank account statements
o Receipts / invoices for service
o Invoices for purchase of business cards and flyers
o Evidence of attendance at committees, meetings, seminars
o Sample of business cards / flyers
o Business Facebook page or company website
Proof of Residence:
o Joint lease/Rent book, or signed letter from landlord stating names of tenants and move-in date.
o Letter from landlord confirming rent includes utilities if applicable.
o Sponsor and applicant’s Maltese residence cards showing residential address
o Payslip for applicant showing residential address.
o Phone and internet agreement showing residential address.
Proof of COL:
o Library cards
o Store loyalty cards from Carrefour and Smart Stores
o Receipts from grocery shopping
o Evidence of Church membership e.g. letter from Pastor
Proof of identity and Relationship:
o Passport – applicant
o Passport size photos x 2
o Passport – sponsor (British)
o Marriage certificate – apostilised
o Wedding photos (if married during the Surinder Singh period)

Social Security Number
Obtaining a social security number is reasonably simple, however the non-EEA family member
should specify their status as the family member of an EU citizen. Required documents:
• Passport
• Evidence of relationship (marriage/birth certificate for spouse/ADR)
• Employment contract if available
• Rental agreement
The SSN is issued on the spot. The EU national will receive their Tax Certificate by post after around
four weeks. The non-EEA national will need to register with Inland Revenue in order to obtain the
tax certificate.

Language
In most cases English is sufficient and knowledge of Maltese is not necessary. Russian or
Scandinavian languages help in some sectors. Tourist areas may be most popular with English
speakers unless the role is a fronting of house role e.g. receptionist in a local company for which
Maltese would likely be essential.

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Rentals
www.Maltapark.com is

great for rentals, with Facebook also have some ads. You may want to ask people
exercising free movement rights if they have rooms to rent as some offer rooms to those at the
beginning of the process, whilst longer term accommodation is sought.
If using agents, you will be required to pay first and last month’s rent in advance, plus an agent’s
commission which is usually 2-3 weeks rent plus taxes. They’re expensive but do save time.
Top tip: don’t arrive in high season and try to find a place to stay for at least three weeks initially.

Areas
Most areas in Malta are great to live in and buses offer a convenient means of getting around the
island. Recommendation is to stay close to the water as it’s nicer with better access to jobs and
transport, but further inland is the older part of the island and likely cheaper.
Saint Julians / Slimea are lively areas but expensive as it’s also a tourist area, with rent upwards of
€500 a month. St Paul’s is also popular.
Marsaskala is a nice and reasonably lively seaside town with rent upwards of €350 upwards. There
are some very nice flats here. However public transport in this area is not great, so if you work in the
centre of the island you would be better off with access to a car.
Inland, Hamrun / Birkikara / Santa Venera are crowded, less fashionable and quite busy areas, but
cheaper and a good location if you don't have a car. They are within walking distance to Valleta, the
capital of Malta, which is nice but too very pricey for rental. May suit those who don’t drive and
don’t have children.

Jobs
The website www.maltapark.com is a popular place to look for jobs, along with some Facebook groups
specifically for job hunting in Malta. Time of Malta (online and paper version) and Sunday Times are
also useful. Recruitment agencies mostly in Slimea and Gzira may also be useful.
ETC is also good for jobseekers https://secure.etc.gov.mt/Jobseeker/JobSearch/JobSearch.aspx Documents
needed to register with ETC include:
• Passport
• Evidence of relationship e.g. marriage certificate for non-EEA citizens.
These can be scanned into the computer and appended to the application. Members without access to
a scanner have used their digital camera / smart phones to take pictures of the documents and
uploaded them that way.
However, the best way to get a job in Malta seems to be just going to places in person, checking the
shop windows and asking the manager if they are hiring. A lot of places don't advertise and
sometimes only realise they could use more help when someone goes in to offer their services.
Popular sectors for English speakers are i-gaming, education, hospitality and tourism, recruitment and
finance.

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Salaries
Salaries are not that great. Casual work likely to pay around €5 per hour and permanent office jobs
are in the region of €1,350 per month. Entry level call centre work typically pays around €1,000 per
month. Real estate work can pay very well, but it is usually commission only and therefore not stable
income.

Banks
There are three big banks in Malta: BOV, HSBC and Banif.
Banif Bank seems to be the one most on the Surinder Singh route opt for. Required documents:
• Passport or Malta ID Card (residence cards)
• Rental agreement
• Tax Certificate
• €150 deposit (doesn’t have to remain in account for any specified length of time)
Account holder can give non-EEA family members access to the account even where they are not
joint-account holders, by way of an access form. http://www.banif.com.mt
HSBC and BOV have more onerous documentary requirements:
• Passport or Malta ID Card (residence card)
• Rental agreement
• Marriage Certificate for non-EEA family member
• Employment contract
• References from another bank (they will not accept a letter you bring directly from the UK bank)
currently taking one week to obtain.
HSBC requires new customers to go through Sliema - appointments at point of writing had about a 4week waiting list with references from UK banks taking about one week to come through.
One couple’s experience of BOV has not been positive, with BOV waiting for information from UK
and Canadian banks four months down the line. https://www.bov.com/

Credit cards
It is possible to obtain a prepaid credit card in Malta. Some such providers include:
Sparkasse: http://www.sparkasse-bank-malta.com/en/banking-services-card-solutions
Papaya: https://www.papaya.eu/
PaySafe: https://www.paysafecard.com/en-mt/

Phones and internet
There are three major phone companies here: Vodaphone, GO and Melita. For PAYG calls and text
(no internet access) is quite cheap and members have found they can get by on a total of €15 a month
across two handsets. A Maltese phone number is essential to get jobs.
GO is a decent internet service provider. The British citizen should be able to open an account with
them by showing their passport and a statement from any bank account, including one from the UK!
Without evidence of a bank account the cost will be higher and a deposit will be required.
Melita require a deposit up-front for any services if the individual does not hold a Malta identity card.

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Supermarkets
The major supermarkets are: Lidl, Smart, More and Park Towers

Library
Getting a library card is super easy in Malta once you are holding a Residence Card.

Bus Fares
Bus fares are very cheap, with a Day Pass costing €1.50, weekly pass €6.50 and a monthly pass
€27.00. To get a monthly pass you need to hold a Malta Residence Card

Healthcare
The primary hospital in Malta is Mater Dei, equipped for a large range of health services and
surgeries. It is one of the largest medical buildings in Europe and is an acute general teaching hospital
offering a full range of hospital services as well as specialist services. Patients are admitted to Mater
Dei Hospital either through the emergency department or through a referral by their doctor
There are lots of hospitals to choose from, public and private, with Maltese healthcare considered to
be of a very high standard.
Click on the links below to find out about each hospital’s area of expertise and contact details.
Mater Dei Hospital (Msida)
St. Philip's Hospital (Santa Venera)
St. Mark's Health Clinic (Msida)
Da Vinci Hospital (Birkirkara)
Mount Carmel Hospital (Attard)

St. James Hospital (Sliema)
Karin Grech Hospital (Msida)
Gozo General Hospital (Victoria-Gozo)
Sir Paul Boffa Hospital (Floriana)

There are several public health centres or clinics in Malta. If health issue not serious, it is better to go
to a clinic for a quicker consultation. Links below provide more info on the listed centre:
Floriana Health Centre (Floriana)
Qormi Health Centre (Qormi)
Cospicua Health Centre (Cospicua)
Rabat Health Centre (Rabat)
Gozo Health Centre (Victoria-Gozo)

Gzira Health Centre (Gzira)
Paola Health Centre (Paola)
Mosta Health Centre (Mosta)
Birkirkara Health Clinic (Birkirkara)

Support groups
There are several useful groups on Facebook, including:
Undivided Family in Malta: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AnUndividedFamilyInMalta
This group was set up by David and Dee Hook, and includes a lot of information about Malta from
David and Dee’s experience and other Surinder Singhers. The files section is useful and includes
documents required to apply for residence cards. There is information on regular meetups, and plenty
of advice available for those unsure about their adopted home.
Free movement Malta https://www.facebook.com/groups/freemovementmalta/
This group was set up by a D'Arcy and also has a lot of information and members.
For those not on Facebook, blog on living in Malta could be useful reading:
http://anundividedfamilyinmalta.com/

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Cost of living
Relative to the UK most things are cheaper, including rent, household goods, eating out, groceries
from street markets.
Some things however have been found to be more expensive than in the UK such as buying or renting
cars, mechanics, petrol, supermarkets, clothes, utilities and mobile phone calls.

Reviews
“Malta as a SS destination? Overall, I'd say it's great. Working conditions are not great, though on
the island it’s not too bad. However, finding work is easy. You don't need to speak a language other
than English. People are very friendly. Cost of living is not cheap, but a lot lower than the UK and
most other European countries. And the bureaucracy is not too bad....”

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Netherlands
Registration at Gemeente (Town Hall)
To register at Gemeente you will have to make an appointment and take with you2:
• tenancy agreement
• marriage certificate (Apostilled/legalised + sworn translation) or birth certificate for ADR
applications
• EU national’s BSN
• EU national’s passport
• non-EU spouse’s passport
You will be asked to fill out a registration form. The authorities will take copies of the documents and
return the originals immediately. The non-EU family member will receive a letter that has to be
stamped by IND and then submitted to Gemeente.
A few days after the appointment EU national will receive a letter confirming their registration. NonEU spouse will receive confirmation a few days after they submit the IND stamped letter.

Applying for a Dutch Residence Card
IND -> Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst (Immigration and Naturalisation Department)
https://ind.nl/
To apply for residency you will have to make an appointment at IND stating that you and your nonEU family member wish to register. A few days after scheduling of the appointment you will receive
forms in the post – note these are all in Dutch but the English version can be found online at:
https://ind.nl/EN/Documents/5005.pdf and https://ind.nl/EN/Documents/6021.pdf
Documents which will be required at the appointment include:









the forms filled in
marriage certificate (Apostilled/legalised + sworn translation) or birth certificate for ADR
tenancy agreement
EU national’s work contract
payslips showing earnings for the last 3 months3**
EU national’s insurance
EU national’s BSN
EU national’s passport
non-EU family member’s passport
the letter from Gemeente confirming your registration

The authorities will take copies of the documents and return the originals. They may also ask
you questions about your relationship to establish if it’s a genuine marriage (e.g. when and how you
2

Each Gemeente may require different documentation. For example, towns within Gemeente Uithoorn require birth
certificates for sponsor and applicant. However Gemeente Amsterdam region does not. You should therefore contact the
Gemeente in your area and ask what their requirements are. You may be able to register without these documents and submit
them at a later stage. It depends very much on the region and person you are dealing with.
3
If you do not have 3 months worth of payslips, your residence application may not be accepted. If you worked in
Netherlands on a prior occasion, payslips from previous work may be fine, but sight of old work contract and tenancy
agreement may be needed.

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met, your co-habitation history, reasons for marrying, etc). If the application is accepted, biometrics
of the non-EU family member are taken.
The EU national passport is stickered, though this is just a formality as not required since
1st January 2014. The non-EU family member’s passport will also be stickered with a validity of 6
months during which they will be able to work. The authorities should also stamp the letter from for
Gemeente.

Applying for a BSN/SOFi number (Citizen Service Number)
BSN / SoFi number -> Burgerservicenummer (Citizen Service Number)
http://www.government.nl/issues/identification-documents/the-citizen-service-number
BSN for EU national
• Employer may apply for this
• Otherwise likely to need to go to Gemeente and register as a resident first.
BSN for non-EU spouse
• Go to Gemeente to get a letter regarding registration. This should be stamped by IND and returned
to Gemeente. The confirmation letter will include the BSN.
Note
When you call Gemeente they will tell you that you have to go to IND first. However, when you call
IND they will tell you that you have to go to Gemeente first. You might be able to do either (based on
what we were told during our appointments). One family overcame this by registering at Gemeente
first, indicating IND told them that was required. Gemeente will then provide a stamped letter which
was taken to the IND, which in turn will also stamp it.

Health insurance
Health insurance is compulsory with a 3 month grace period. If not chosen voluntarily, it is assigned
to you at a minimum monthly cost of €80.

Housing
Facebook groups for a particular city/town.
• pararius.com
• expatica.nl
• iamexpat.nl

Banks
Debit cards are widely used and essential for things like ov-chipkaart, library, subscriptions, etc as
credit cards are not accepted in most places. Normally, there is no minimum transaction amount.
Documents required to open an account are generally the following but may vary for different banks:
• passport
• BSN
• proof of address
• proof of income (e.g. work contract)
Banks in the Netherlands charge fees for accounts.

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ABN-Amro - speak English and website and cash machines are available in English as well as
German and Dutch). They are expat friendly and it is very easy to add a non-EU family member to the
account upon presentation of passports and BSNs.
https://www.abnamro.nl/en/personal/index.html?pos=vku_english
ING Bank https://www.ing.nl/particulier/?first_visit=true
Rabobank https://www.rabobank.nl/particulieren/servicemenu/english_pages/
SNS http://www.snsbank.nl/particulier/home.html#

Public transport
Public transport is very expensive. An OV-chipkaart is a card that can be topped-up (a bit like Oyster
in London) which can be used on trains, buses, trams at much lower rates. The website: www.ovchipkaart.nl
Train times, routes, prices can be found at: http://www.ns.nl/en/travellers/home and www.9292.nl
There are two types of OV-chipkaarts:
• Anonymous - blue card obtained in a local shop (currently €7.50). Anyone can use it.
• Personal - yellow card which can be bought through the OV-chipkaart website. Only the
named person can use it. Able to add extra discounts to it.

Bikes
Bikes are very useful for getting around. There are bicycle paths almost everywhere. Dutch use bikes
no matter what the weather however for Brits weather apps Buienradar, Buienalarm may be useful.
You can find decent bikes from €100 Euros. However, on the facebook groups for given town/city
you can easily find bikes for even less.
You can also look on www.marktplaats.nl for cheaper second hand purchases.
Bike route planner: www.routeplanner.fietsersbond.nl

Mobile phones
Main ones:
• Vectone
• Lebara
• Lyca

Shopping
Many stores seem not to accept credit cards, with debit cards or cash preferred.
Supermarkets
• Aldi
• Lidl
• Albert Heijn
• Digros

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• Jumbo
• Deen
• C1000
Other stuff
• Blokker – household things
• Hema – household things and clothes
• Etos – Health and beauty products (no pharmacy)
• Kruidvat – Health and beauty products (no pharmacy)
• Action – Bric’a’brac
• Xenos – Bric’a’brac
• www.marktplaats.nl - like eBay but local to Netherlands

Library
You have to pay for a library card to borrow books, CD’s, DVD’s. The cost depends on age of the
member and validity.

Internet cafes, printing, copying, scanning
It is really hard to find an internet café in the Netherlands. If you cannot find one you should
be able to print/copy/scan at your local library.
You don’t need to be registered at the library but you do need a Dutch bank card as you have to pay
by card for using computers (this may vary across the country). An exception is photocopying for
which you will likely need coins.
Also, most Albert Heijn supermarkets have a photocopy machine for use, at a price.

Useful links
Holland vs the Netherlands - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE_IUPInEuc
www.expatica.com
www.newtoholland.nl
www.iamsterdam.com

Summary
Pros
Everyone speaks English

Close to the UK
Very good public transport

Cons
Need Dutch for regular jobs, except
international companies, some agencies, call
centres in Amsterdam.
Expensive
Bureaucracy

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Poland
Applying for a Polish Residence Card
You have to go to Urząd Wojewódzki to apply for the Residence Card. Required documents include
the originals and a photocopy as below:
For the EU citizen:
• Passport or other form of ID with a photo
• Reason for stay in Poland, such as employment or being self-employed. Self-sufficiency can be
evidenced instead of work by showing funds in a bank account, however it is not clear what the
minimum balance would need to be.
• Application form.
For the non-EEA family member:
• Passport
• Sponsor’s Residency Permit
• 4 photos
• Evidence of relationship (marriage/birth certificate, translated into Polish).
• Proof of funds
• Proof of medical insurance
• Passport
• Copy of sponsor and applicant’s photo page from passport
• Copy of visa (if required)
• A cover letter explaining why you want to stay in Poland
• Application form

Rent
Rent can vary depending on the location in Poland. In Krakow for a 2 bedroom flat you would pay
around £250 per month.

Mobile phones
Play is the cheapest mobile network. Once the phone is topped up, it allows for calls for about 45
days, following which a further top-up is required, even if the phone still has some credit remaining.
A starter sim card can be bought from most shops.

Transport
Transport is fantastic in Krakow. It is always on time, and is clean and cheap. Minute ticket is a
ticket for 1 trip and costs 3.60zl. “Polski bus” is cheap way to travel around.

Supermarkets
Biedronka, Lidl and Carrefour are amongst the lower-priced supermarkets. There is also a Tesco.

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Cost of living
The essentials of life cost less than £500 a month.

Summary

The Good

The Bad

Cheap

Language barrier

Transport

Bureaucracy

People nice and approachable

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Spain – Barcelona
About the city
Barcelona is the capital of Cataluña and with its almost 1.6 million inhabitants there is loads to do!
The city is abuzz with cultural events, famous sights to see, awesome restaurants, beautiful coffee
shops and lots of shopping opportunities to just name a few, even in the even in the colder months
when the beach is just too cold to tempt you into the waters.
Unlike the rest of Spain, Cataluña and specifically Barcelona enjoy lower levels of unemployment,
and with so many foreign companies (big and small) there is plenty of work on offer.

Getting to and from the airport
Barcelona airport “El Prat” is one of the biggest in Europe and many low cost airlines fly here.
To get from the airport to the city there are four main options, to suit all budgets:
• Taxis have a fix rate of €29 to Plaza Cataluña.
• Aerobus is the bus company that connects the airport and the city. It stops at Plaza Espanya and
Plaza Cataluña with a fare at time of writing this at €5.90 for a single ticket.
• A city train runs from terminal 2 to the metro stop “Passeig de Gracia” for the cost of a normal
metro ticket.
Since February 12th a new metro line (L9) connects the airport with the city, costing €4.50. With
this you can take the metro and it will connect with Lines 1, 5 and 3.

Apply for a Residence Card for the EU citizen
Barcelona is one of the most strict places in Spain and at the moment they are issuing permanent
residence cards (Numero de Identidad de extranjero - NIE) to Europeans only where the requirements
are met in full.
The first thing to do is to get a “cita previa”. They only see people by appointment and only a couple
of appointments are released every day.
Top tip: get up early and be on the website by 8am to try and nab the first appointment available.
Appointments are made at: https://sede.administracionespublicas.gob.es/icpplus/index.html and office
is in “Ramble Guipuzcoa 74, Barcelona, close to metro Bac de Roda”.
Documents needed:
• Evidence of your activity (see below)
• Passport and photocopies of the passport
• A formulario EX-15 – found at
http://extranjeros.empleo.gob.es/es/ModelosSolicitudes/Mod_solicitudes2/index.html
Once your application is submitted, you’ll be given a voucher which will then require you to pay the
fee of €10.50 the bank across the street from the Extranjeria.

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Activity
There are four ways to legally apply for permanent residence and get your NIE:
• Job Offer:
If you have a job offer (promesa de contrato or “PRECONTRATO”) with all of the conditions of the
job (if permanent, specification of the number of hours, or if temporary, the salary). You will need to
declare the company’s registration number for the NIE and the original “precontrato” letter signed by
the employer.
• Self-employed (Autonomo):
If you register yourself as an “autonomo” (self-employed) you can also apply to obtain your NIE.
• Student:
If you enrol at a university you will need to be able to evidence details relating to your course in order
to apply for the NIE.
• Self sufficiency:
If you can prove you have sufficient resources for you and your family (e.g. using a bank statement),
you can also obtain a NIE using this formula. The minimum amounts you need to meet are typically
as follows:
Para ciudadano de la UE y 1 familiar: €8,732,22 anuales. (EU plus 1)
Para ciudadano de la UE y 2 familiares: €12,327,84 anuales.(EU plus 2,wife/husband plus 1 child)
Para ciudadano de la UE y 3 familiares: €15.923,46 anuales.(EU plus 3, wife/husband plus 2
children). And so on.
As someone who is exercising free movement on the basis of self-sufficiency, you will also need to
get private health insurance for yourself and all the other applicants, to cover your entire length of the
stay, because you will not be allowed to add yourself to the social security system.

Apply for a Residence Card for the non-EU family member
Documents needed:
• Evidence of sponsor’s activity
• Padrón, both EU and Non-EU
• NIE of the EU sponsor
• Sponsor and applicant’s passports, plus photocopies of every page of the non-EU’s passport
(including blank pages)
• Marriage certificate (Apostillado if required – check!)
• Legalized and certified translation if the marriage certificate is in a language other than Spanish
(Traducción Jurada).
• Social security number (if applicable).
• Proof of private health insurance (if activity is self-sufficiency).
• 2 Photos for the Biometrics (Huellas)

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• EX-19 Form http://extranjeros.empleo.gob.es/es/ModelosSolicitudes/Mod_solicitudes2/
Appointments are made on the same website as for the EU’s Residence Card, but select a different
category.
These appointments are also few and far between so be prepared to book it early in the morning –
Monday mornings are probably the best time to book.
For the appointment you must arrive 15 minutes early, at which point you will be assigned a number
in the queue.
Make photocopies of EVERYTHING as they do not take originals.
The immigration bureau for Non-EUs is located on C/Murcia 42, close to metro El Clot.

Applying for a Social Security number
If you have a NIE getting your social security number will be very simple.
You need to find the “tesoreria general de la seguridad social” closest to where you are living.
Appointments can be made online, but if you get there early, the wait shouldn´t be that long.
Bring your precontrato, autonomo info, student info and NIE and passport and inform the staff at the
desk that you need a new social security number (“Buenos días, necesito que me asignen un número
de seguridad social”). Once they see your passport and NIE they will give you a number and tell you
to fill in a registration form while you wait to be called.

Finding a place to live
This might be one of the most difficult things to sort as it can be difficult to convince the agencies or
landlords to take on new tenants without any local references.
Temporary accommodation for the first two or so weeks while you get yourself sorted is worth
considering, perhaps through websites like Airbnb.
Ensure you come with sufficient funds as the guarantee deposit tends to be two months in rent, and
you’ll of course need to pay the first month’s rent in advance. Additionally, if you’ve found the
property through an agency, you’ll also need to pay the agency fees.
Best places to look are:
• www.fotocasa.es www.idealista.com
• www.loquo.com
• this Facebook group could also be of some help for people looking to share an apartment:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/146514662078536
Prices in Barcelona are a bit higher than in other places in Spain, but this reflects the generally higher
level of salaries too.

A decent one bedroom apartment close to a metro station is likely to around €600 a month, and
something very close to the city centre (say in the Eixample area) and two bedrooms will probably be

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in the region of €850 a month. It all depends on the size of the apartment, whether it is furnished or
not and so on.
Cheaper places to rent are Hospitalet Llobregat and Badalona. They are further though but well
connected with the metro.
Top tip: When you sign the contract remember clarify the minimum period of stay, as we found out
that our contract could only be broken after 6 months of rent. Termination of the contract within
this period would trigger rent for the outstanding term.

Registering your tenancy - Empadronamiento
The Spanish like to keep a register of the people living in their cities.
For the empadronamiento, a passport is sufficient - you do not need to have a NIE.
The only thing you will need is the original rental contract. If you rent from/to someone that person
will have to come and physically be present for the empadronada/o.
Until 2015, it was possible for the tenant to turn with with just a letter from their landlord, but they
have made the rules tougher ever since.
Documents to bring include:
• Passport or NIE if issued
• Original housing contract.
The registration is at the “Ayuntamiento”, in the Gotic area, close to metro Liceu (L3).

Getting around Barcelona
The easiest way to move around is using the metro. There are various ticket options, and which is
best depends on how much you plan on using it.
Consider the 10 travel ticket (€9.95), a monthly ticket or a three month ticket.
If you have a NIE you can also sign yourself for the Bicing bikes around the city which at €47 is an
economical and environmentally friendly way to travel. It allows you to use bikes scattered around
the city with 30 minutes use free each time.

Opening a bank account
There are many banks in Barcelona, so shop around for the one with the best deal for you.
Most banks in Spain charge commission on everything, whether it’s just to keep the account open or
to withdraw money from another bank’s ATM.
One member’s experience at the bank BBVA was that the fees were lower if the account was opened
with the NIE as evidence of Spanish residency, otherwise the fees are charged at a higher rate for
‘foreign person’. So while it is possible to just open an account with a UK passport, keep in mind
the fees could be lower if opened post-NIE.
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Jobs
Barcelona has a much healthier job market than the rest of Spain, with a lower rate of unemployment
than elsewhere in the country.
Several websites are good for job hunting, including:


http://www.thinkspain.com/services/joboffers/ Gets a higher volume of new jobs coming in
Anglo info can also be a good place where to start: http://barcelona.angloinfo.com/
www.indeed.es it is an awesome search engine for jobs. You can just start with the simplest
search like “english” “barcelona” and it will show you hundreds of jobs.

You will likely need to upload your CV and make yourself searchable by agencies.
A website used by a lot of teachers or those who want to teach English as a Second Language is
http://www.eslemployment.com/country/esl-jobs-spain.html
If you have any customer service experience, have a look at Sellbytel as they are regularly hiring
people.
Edreams tends to have many openings as well, as does Booking.com.

Language
There are free Catalan classes for foreign people in Barcelona but you’ll need to buy the book which
is €12
The classes start from the Inicial level for people with no knowledge of either Catalan or Spanish.
More info at this website: http://www.cpnl.cat/cursos-catala/

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