Relocation guide

We welcome staff from around the world to work at the University. This information is intended to help future and new staff relocate to the Guildford and Surrey area.

Relocating from UK and overseas

Accommodation is usually one of the most important factors in anyone’s mind when thinking of moving either within the UK or from overseas.

Deciding where to live can be a daunting prospect if you are unaware of the area. Property sites like Rightmove or Zoopla can help you to find out about the local area and where you may find accommodation within your price range.

Accommodation in Surrey and particularly in and around Guildford can be expensive, however only a few miles away there are towns and villages such as Aldershot or Farnham which are more affordable.

For those who are coming to the United Kingdom for the first time, below is a list of the various types of accommodation available (from traditionally most expensive to least expensive):

  • Detached house - has no adjoining neighbours
  • Semi-detached house - shares a wall with another property
  • Terraced house - part of a connected row of houses
  • Bungalow - only has one level
  • Maisonette - apartment/flat on two levels with internal stairs
  • Flat/apartment - usually self-contained with separate living area and at least one bedroom
  • Studio flat - self-contained with no shared facilities, combined living area/bedroom sometimes with separate kitchen otherwise combined
  • Bedsit - combined bedroom/living room/kitchen, often has shared bathroom and sometimes a shared kitchen
  • House/flat share - facilities are fully shared with others but with own bedroom

There are numerous estate agents within the vicinity of the University of Surrey, many of whom are both selling and renting accommodation. The National Association of Estate Agents website will help you ‘find an expert’. If you are wanting to rent upon arrival there are numerous agencies (Zoopla/Rightmove) or you could look through the local press to see adverts. GOV.UK has useful information and advice regarding renting including tenancy agreements.

There is also information in regards to Immigration checks by landlords on the Citizen’s Advice website.

The University of Surrey are also able to assist with your relocation requirements through the procurement of services from Pavilion (this expense is part of your relocation package and is not an additional award).

Right from a few weeks after birth, there are a number of options for your childcare needs through to their educational requirements. GOV.UK has information and advice on childcare and parenting.

Age Education/options available  
From Birth to 5 years Nursery Usually private (see Campus Kids)

Are employed to work in your home. Could be self-employed or through an agency, if directly sourced, this may make you an employer. (with certain legal responsibilities)


Not usually considered workers or employees as they live with the family they work for and get ‘pocket money’ of about £75-£80 per week. Can be located through an agency or direct online.

  Registered childminder

This is a person who looks after children in their own home for payment and can include pre and post school places.

All 3 and 4-year-olds in England are entitled to 570 hours of free early education or childcare a year. This is often taken as 15 hours each week for 38 weeks of the year. 

Age Education/options available  

From 5 to 16 years

  • Community School controlled by local council and not influenced by business or religious groups
  • Foundation School and Voluntary School have more freedom to change than Community Schools 
  • Academies run by a governing body, independent from the local council and can follow a different curriculum
  • Grammar Schools run by the council, foundation body or trust and select all or most of their pupils on academic ability and often an exam to get in.
  Private school Also known as independent charges fees to attend. Pupils don’t have to follow the national curriculum

Special educational needs and

disabilities (SEND) has information on how to progress an application is required.

Guildford itself has a number of very good schools both state and independent including:

  • George Abbot School Academy - Co-educational, 11-18 years
  • Royal Grammar School - Independent, Boys only, 11-18 years
  • Christ’s College - Voluntary Aided, Affiliated to Church of England, Co-educational 11-18 years
  • Tormead - Independent, Girls only 4-18 years 

Please note this in no way reflects the preference of any school and is only used as a guide for the variety of schools in the Guildford area.

For more information, take a look at the guide to secondary schools for the Guildford area.

The school year in England runs from September to July and the links given should help with admissions criteria for relevant local authorities (or your ‘catchment area’). Schools in England are inspected by OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) and this can be a helpful way of you finding out more about your local schools.

For any further education queries please see the Department for Education website

Age Education/options available  
From 16 to 18 years (Further Education) Apprenticeships This combines practical training in a job along with study (National Minimum wage)
  Sixth form college Includes any study after secondary school that’s not part of a higher education. Courses range from basic English and Maths to Higher National Diplomas and Advanced Levels (usually free for under students under 24 years of age and studying for their first qualification). Can be independent or part of a school.
From 18 years onwards (Higher Education) University  

Guildford is conveniently situated roughly half way between Portsmouth and London Greenwich and today is easily accessible by various forms of transport.

By car

Guildford is serviced by the A3 trunk road which runs from Portsmouth to London and is roughly an hour’s drive from central London. Whilst Guildford is a beautiful city due to its history, the roads are not designed for the volume of the 21st century and can cause major congestion in the centre particularly at rush hour.

There is a Park and Ride (you leave your car and ride the bus into the city centre) at:

  • The Spectrum Leisure Complex (just off A3 southbound)
  • Old Portsmouth Road at Artington
  • Merrow
  • Ladymead

By bus

Bus routes are more local than coaches (see below) and payable as you enter the bus, although you can buy passes on weekly, monthly and annual basis. Guildford is served by many bus routes from Aldershot, Woking and Godalming. Some find the bus fares expensive and the buses unreliable, however from the University they tend to be frequent and arrive quickly in the city centre (other traffic permitting).

By coach

Coaches are for longer distance journeys and tickets have to be purchased in advance. These tend to stop at Guildford Pak Barn which is slightly outside of the city and you would need a local bus or taxi (cab) to take you into Guildford.

By train

Guildford train station is central to the city and includes two direct routes to London as well as Portsmouth. Please note that there is a smaller station called London Road (Guildford) which is the penultimate stop on the route from London via Cobham.

By taxi (cab)

Other than London Black cabs you should not try and get a taxi to pick you up unless you are at a designated taxi rank or you have booked directly with a taxi company.

There are numerous cab companies and Uber is available via an app on your smart phone. On average a taxi tends to be the most expensive form of transport.

Relocating from overseas

As an employer and sponsor we must fulfil our responsibility by ensuring that you have the right to commence employment in the UK. Before you commence employment, the University will undertake various document checks to demonstrate your eligibility. If you are a non-EU national, your employment with the University may be subject to the relevant permission to work in the UK as defined by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and you may require a visa. If you are unsure, there is a simple process you can follow to check if you need a visa. Your HR office will also be able to help.

Non-EEA Nationals

If you are a non-EEA national then you will be required permission under one of the following tiers of the Points Based Immigration System before you can start in the UK.

Tier 2 (General) sponsorship

For some skilled roles, the University can sponsor some employees and provide a Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) visa. If this is required, you will be provided with all the relevant information by your HR team and will liaise with you accordingly.

Monitoring and record keeping

Once employed the University is obliged to carry out certain monitoring and record keeping duties of all current visa holders. Please see our eligibility to work in the UK policy for further details.

You will require a bank account for your salary to be paid into. Whilst this should be done as soon as possible if arriving from outside of the UK, the rules and regulations for opening a bank account are very strict and require significant documentation.

If arriving from outside of the United Kingdom: 

  • Discuss the transfer with your current bank who may be able to offer some advice or may have links with banks in the UK
  • Ask if your current bank card can be used in the UK and if there are charges
  • Ask if your current bank has a mechanism to transfer money to and from the UK 

There are two main types of bank account: basic and current, neither of which tend to have a fee attached. A third type of account is a packaged account, where customers pay a monthly fee in exchange for benefits such as travel, home and mobile phone insurance.

At the University of Surrey we have a branch of Santander on site, with several others in Guildford town centre (10 minutes’ walk away).

To open an account at this or any other High Street bank, you will normally require:

  • A confirmation letter of employment (your local HR office can help with this)
  • Your passport or your EEA national identity card
  • UK address (temporary is usually acceptable, however be aware that banks may send confidential information to this address and so you should ensure any change is updated as soon as possible)

Everyone who works in the UK needs to register for a National Insurance number. This personal number will determine the amount of national insurance you pay and these contributions are collected along with Income tax under PAYE (Pay as You Earn). The University is responsible for paying your contributions and these will be deducted from your pay automatically. These contributions qualify each individual for certain state benefits. It also acts as a reference number for the whole social security system in the UK.

If you are moving to the UK, you may have an NI number printed on the back of your biometric residence permit (BRP). You do not have to apply for an NI number if you already have one or that one is printed on your BRP.

If you don’t have a National Insurance number, you must apply. You can only apply for it once you’re in the UK. You must have the right to work or study in the UK to get a National Insurance number.

You can start work before your National Insurance number arrives if you can prove you can work in the UK. You should tell your employer that you’ve applied for one, and give it to them when you have it.

If you are in any doubt, visit your local HR team who will be able to assist you with the process. 

There are special rules in force if you are coming to the UK from EEA or Switzerland and therefore you may wish to visit the HMRC website.

The University of Surrey is unable to provide advice on tax matters, however anyone who is paid employment normally has to pay income tax and you will be taxed according to your earnings. The same as NI, this is deducted by the University from your pay.

Should you have any queries you should visit the Tax Office website.

If you wish to contact the University of Surrey’s tax office, details can be found on the e-pay system (your electronic payslip) or from the Payroll department (Floor 7 Senate House).

All employees will be automatically enrolled into the relevant scheme you are eligible for. You will have received some details in your starter pack or you can contact Pensions on Floor 7 Senate House.

Currently there are three main types of pension:

  • State pension (payable if an individual has enough qualifying years from their National Insurance contributions)
  • Occupational pensions (including the University Scheme)
  • Personal pensions (available from banks, building societies and life insurance companies)

Registering with a doctor (GP)

The National Health Service (NHS) covers emergency and routine care*. Unlike other countries private health care insurance is not standard and most individuals rely on the comprehensive health care system.

When you arrive in the UK, you will need to register with a doctor (or often referred to as a GP) in order to access NHS. Doctor’s surgeries have catchment areas which means you can only register near to where you live. You will be issued with a personal NHS number on a card which should be kept safe as you may need it when you visit the doctor or hospitals. Whilst consultation is free, there is a charge for prescriptions (or prescribed medication). Should you require specialist treatment, this may require a referral from your doctor to a hospital-based consultant.

In the event of an emergency you should call 999 which would alert an ambulance to your home, or if possible visit your local Accident and Emergency usually based at your closest hospital (i.e. Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford or St Peters in Chertsey). You may also be close to a ‘walk-in centre’ however these are more local and may have specific opening and closing times.

(*NHS Surcharge is payable by non-EU visitors per person per year).

Registering with a dentist

You can register with a dentist in the same way as you register with a doctor, however dentists do not have a catchment area in the same way as a doctor. Find a dental practice that is convenient and contact them to see if they have any appointments available. Please note that not all dental practices will be able to take new NHS patients, which usually means you can choose to be seen privately or request to be placed on the waiting list (or seek another dentist). You should always find a dentist prior to requiring treatment. Children in full-time education are free, however there is a minimal charge for most adults.

All treatment that is, in your dentist’s opinion, clinically necessary to protect and maintain good oral health is available on the NHS. If you require cosmetic dental treatment this will be done privately and you should ask your dentist how much this will cost in additional to any changes for NHS treatment.

Please see the NHS Choices website for more information.