Think of address proof

Finally some sense of normality is returning to life. I’ve found a house in Charlton, London. It’s 45 minutes commute to work by tube (underground). My son is still waiting for a school placement from the local council though, it’s taking longer than I’d expected.

Newcomers will find it quite difficult to start anything here in UK because nothing seems to move without an address proof!

You want to open a bank account?
Show your address proof.

Your child needs to go to school?
You can’t apply without an address proof.

You want to rent a house?
Address proof please!

You can’t even register with GP (Local Doctor) without an address proof!

If you’ve just arrived in the UK, where are you going to get the address proof from? It’s like a Chicken and Egg story! I was lucky that I’d opened HSBC UK account from Hong Kong, which worked for my address proof. If you’re coming to settle in the UK, think about how you’re going to get an address proof ahead of time, that will save you from some unnecessary hassles.

BTW, I bought a new MacbookPro in Hong Kong just before coming to UK because it’s insanely expensive out here. I bought it for HK$15,400, the same machine is GBP 1299 in UK. It’s around HK$ 5K (nearly 300 pounds) more expensive. Not only Apple laptops, but everything is expensive out here. Anyway, I love my new santa rosa MacBook Pro. It’s refreshingly fast compared to my previous Powerbook. I wanted to use Parallels to install different OS in my MBP, but encountered a problem with WindowsXP installation. It gives an error message saying “Error loading \PrlSAShellExt.dll”, I tried to tweak several config and reinstalled twice, but no luck. Now I’ve turned to Vmware Fusion, and I’ve to say that it’s as smooth as silk. I’ve already installed WinXP, CentOS 5 and Ubuntu. Solaris 10 is next.

I was hoping to get my hands on 3G iPhone early, but as Steve Jobs announced, it’s going to be the same EDGE and need to wait until Nov. 9. One good thing though is that there will be free unlimited access to any of the O2’s 7500 wifi hot spots.

Most of the time local telephone calls in UK are more expensive than international calls – I don’t understand how the prices are fixed. I use pay as you go (prepaid card) from voafone, it’s 30 pence for first 3 mins and 10 pence there after. The telephone plans are charges are very confusing. In Hong Kong nobody cares about how long you’re talking, but here you need to be aware of minutes, pounds and pence.

You need to pay tax for watching TV. Yes, it’s illegal to keep a TV without paying for TV License, that’s of course separate from the cable bill.

Anyway, with all that said, overall I’m finding UK life quite interesting! Different culture, different people and different environment. It’s quite a change, and it’s a welcome change. Work is challenging and pay is not bad :). Most importantly, my son loves the new place!


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Posted in Life, UK
6 comments on “Think of address proof
  1. Lindsay says:

    Hi there, me again.
    Good news to hear you have found a place to live.
    It is interesting to see the view on our systems from somebody coming from another country, I can see that they sometimes look a little wierd heheh.
    I’m not on the defensive with this reply, but perhaps explaining it a little might help you to understand what the thinking is behind it.

    The address proof is mainly because of the amount of illegal immigrants that have managed to cross the border. The Government was pretty bad in setting up something to control this properlly. As a result they are putting this measure in place at the service application level to try and control where the tax payers money is going, and making sure it is going to legally registered citizens / visitors only, and that it doesnt all dissappear on unregistered, illegal citizens so there will not be enough left to cater for the legal people’s needs and wants. Thats a generalisation, and aid and systems are in place, but as a sweeping generalisation, that is broadly why a traceable address is needed to gain access to anything over here.

    As for the BBC television license.
    I did used to agree with you about why are we paying for cable / satellite and other services, and we are forced to pay this TV license on top.
    Since then however I have seen the light. When we pay this license fee then the BBC isnt funded by advertising, so on a review program, say if Jeremy clarkson wants to say the new BMW is a pile of dung then he is free to do so because the program isnt sponsored by BMW and there isnt going to be a BMW advert come on in the middle. Also the BBC isnt silenced by any powers that be (Like the Rupert murdock enterprise or government) because it isnt funded by them either, it is funded by us the public, and as the funders, we demand an unbiased review. This means that when newspapers and other news stations may tend to give a slant on a story, you can be pretty sure that the BBC is giving you a straight forward, un biased report on the situiation and is usually the one to believe as being the closest to the truth.
    This is now unique in that it isn’t funded and silenced by any other influence and in todays world of propaganda, I sincerely hope that the BBC continues to keep going with its world service, and news and documentaries.
    It can seem expensive to the British public, especially if you dont really listen to BBC radio or watch BBC television much, but I do think it is becomming a necessity for the world to have a service that you know you can trust as real news.

    Anyway, I wrote loads here so had best get on,

    I hope you and your son continue to enjoy your discoveries of the UK.


  2. Hi Lindsay,

    You made the point very clear. Actually I knew the thinking behind address proof (even though they’re trying to control at the wrong place). But was not so clear about the tv taxes, thanks for the enlightening comment.

    I agree with you about the necessity of news that we can trust as real news. I’ve noticed not only news but the documentaries and movies are without ads here. That’s really something… In Hong Kong people are bombarded with 5 min. ads after every 15 min. of program. You just feel like smashing the tv. So, I guess tv tax is a fair deal… you pay for quality, trust and your time.

    We’re enjoying the new discoveries and new life in UK.

  3. Pawan says:

    Hello Niranjan dai,
    Good to hear/read that you’re doing well in UK. We face a similar problem when we first get to the US- not proof of address but credit history. You need to have an established credit history for many things- buying a (non-prepaid)cell phone and getting a new apartment being the two things new Nepali students would be trying to do.When you’re new, you have to either put in a ridiculous amount of deposit, or have a co-signer for the contract.
    And its the same chicken-and-egg story–you need a line of credit and a history of timely payment on contracts( credit card payments, phone bills, apartment rent etc) to build a credit history and you need an established credit history to get approved for the things that help establish a credit history. It sounds very confusing and well…retarded to a 19 year old who just got to the country!
    Fast forward five years and you now have an established history and banks have given you credit cards with a great line of credit..and guess what-you’ve blown it all on college tuitions!! That’s the story of almost every Nepali student.
    You have a great blog, keep it up. I’m really glad I stumbled upon it.

  4. Hi Pawan,

    what a surprise! I’m glad that you stumbled upon my blog. Yes, the address proof is quite a problem here, but fortunately for the credit history they take into account international record as well.

    So, how’re you doing? I’ll write you shortly at your email address.

    Take care,

  5. Nice write up!
    I liked your style.
    keep writing

  6. Hi Nabin,

    thanks for the compliment. I hope to get back to regular writing soon.

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