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Living in Edinburgh: What you Need to Know

Edinburgh is United Kingdom’s fourth largest city, and one of the fastest growing cities. It is the beautiful capital of Scotland and home to titanic names in arts and science. The fact that habitation in this fine city dates back to 8500 BC says much about its desirability as a place to live and work. Back in the days, stone tools, clothes dyes, hazelnuts, shellfish and jewelry, which Edinburgh boasted of, were the real deal as far as visitors’ attractions were concerned. Edinburgh, like the rest of the world, has evolved with time and today stands out for more reasons such as being the second best place to live in Britain by the end of 2013.

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1. Visa Requirements

You do not want to throw a lavish farewell party for your friends and family only to call them to pick your embarrassed self at the airport later. To go past the airport, you must comply with travel documentation laws as set down by the United Kingdom Home Office. You must hold a valid passport, and if you are traveling with children, they may require their own. If you are a European Union citizen, you do not need a visa and can stay in Edinburgh as long as you require. To apply for a visa, you must be outside the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Island. You will first need to register for an account through telephone, email, live web chat or other methods of contacting the UK immigration office made available in your country. You will also need to fill the application forms in English, pay the visa fee, print the forms out and book an appointment at a visa application center near you. Showing up with the original and copies of all your supporting documents may sound like obvious advice, but some people forget. Translate your documents if they are not in English. Check the visa processing time to ensure you give the process sufficient time. The time and conditions such as medical tests vary from one country to another.

2. Work Permits

Working in Edinburgh will take you to the UK’s most stable and strongest local economies. Before you get excited at the idea of working in the Scottish region, you need to understand and adhere to the bureaucratic details, which vary depending on your country of origin. European Economic Area (EEA) and European Union (EU) nationals do not require a work permit to take up a job in Edinburgh. However, you should prove an ability to support yourself and your dependents financially. If you are from outside the region, on the other hand, you will need a visa appropriate for your work category. Tier 1 visas are for entrepreneurs, investors and exceptional talents such as arts or science. If, for example, you have invented an app that can print real, edible burgers, you undoubtedly belong in that category. Tier 2 visas are given to skilled workers, foreign assignees and employees. Check the visas and immigration department at the UK home office to confirm which work permit you require.

3. Finding Work

If you are ready to work hard and get good rewards for it, Edinburg is a right choice for you. The country boasts of an economic diversity that ensures something for anyone looking to move. However, good jobs are competitive and only those that want it bad enough and prove it through their search efforts, succeed. Keep an eye on recruitment pages in the Scottish press such as Aberdeen Press, Dundee Courier, Scotsman and Herald, and other relevant local papers. Check online sites such TalentScotlandUniversal Jobmatch and Scottish Jobs.

4. Where to Live

Edinburgh is a small city but has many options to choose from when deciding where to live. It has a large selection of guest houses, hotels and hostels where you can reside as you work out a long-term plan. It is worth noting that during peak times in the year such the Hogmanay season between December and January, rooms can be hard to come by. Numbeo pricing site estimates that renting a one bedroom apartment in and outside the city center will cost you £ 675.71 and £ 515.67, respectively. That cost jumps to £ 1,226.73 and £ 900.83 for a three bedroom apartment, respectively. Buying an apartment in and outside the city center will cost you an estimated £ 2,636.75 and £ 2,000 per square meter, respectively.

5. Cost of Living

The currency unit for Edinburgh is the pound sterling (GBP). The cost of living may vary widely depending on your budget, lifestyle and needs. It, however, remains lower than most cities in the EU and the world. It will, for example, cost you 26 percent less to shop for groceries as it would in New York. Check online databases such as the Numbeo and the Expatistan of living index for estimated prices of basic stuff such as food, electricity and transport.

6. Health Care

You will face very few health hazards in Edinburgh as their hygiene standards are very high. The government takes the issue of food and water safety very seriously. Standards are equally high in restaurants and bars. Urgent health care and first aid are free to all visitors. Other forms of medical care are free for EU nationals and other countries which the United Kingdom has a reciprocal agreement. Everyone else must have a travel and medical care cover before moving into the country. Visit the National Health Service website for a country-by-country guide to healthcare agreements.

7. Other Considerations

As it is in the rest of the United Kingdom region, English is the official language in Edinburgh. The accents vary, but they are all distinctively Scottish. If you plan to visit or live in the western highlands, Gaelic is still spoken by most people there with English being their second language. If you must carry a gift for your friends, families or hosts in Edinburg, alcohol, cigars or a baby panda may signify love or swag to you, but the immigration officers might not think so. Avoid carrying restricted items such as animals, leather goods, foodstuff, birds, or ivory. Such items will only delay you at the airport, and the authorities can choose to destroy them. Familiarizing yourself with Scottish airport security guidelines will make your journey more pleasant.

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The great history of Edinburgh makes it robust with cultural and academic pleasures and treasures. The natural beauty of the Scottish city helps; especially because it is true that exposure to beautiful scenery is good for your health. There is also this little thing the city does every year named the Edinburgh Festival. It is the biggest arts festival in the world, and the thought of being right in the midst of it is enough temptation for millions of visitors to pay a ticket for. The only downside is that the city can get very congested during such festivals, especially because it is already ranked the third most congested city in the UK. Considering you are already bold enough to leave the comfort of your home for a new experience, everything can work out to be fun, if you put on the right attitude. So, if you love mixing work with pleasure, Edinburgh is the perfect place for you.

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