My wife and I will be moving to England when our baby is just six or so weeks old. What 'official' things do I need to remember to do?

Our baby will be born in Sweden shortly before we move. I am slightly worried that on top of becoming a first time Mum that the move to England will be something of a culture shock for the missus. I am developing some serious nest building inclinations and want to try and take care of as much of the bureaucracy as possible so that the wife can have a stress free introduction to both motherhood and the English. Any other advice is also very much appreciated!

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  • I moved over to England from the states about 5 years ago to be with my husband. Though I didn't have children yet, it was a big shock and took a lot of getting used to (even though I was very happy to be here at the same time!).

    Assuming your wife is Swedish (?) it will understandably be a big change for her but you can help her in a lot of ways. First of all, just being emotionally supportive and understanding if she seems extra nervous, emotional, etc is a huge help. Secondly, a great idea is to set up ways for her to contact home as quickly as possible. Get a mobile phone sorted, internet working in the home, etc. Even if she doesn't call friends or family in Sweden straightaway, it's a big comfort to know that she can reach them if and when she needs to.

    Also, take her out and about and spend time in places together that will become familiar to her. Bring the baby with you to a local cafe or a park, show her places she can enjoy and get used to going with or without you. Maybe she will meet other new mums to get to know and make friends.

    These were all things that my husband helped me get sorted when we moved and his support made my transition much easier. If she is like me she will adjust within a year or so and will be happy to raise her family here!

    Congratulations and good luck on the move xx

  • Thanks for the advice. Setting up an internet connection and a mobile phone are all now on the 'to do' list with a star next to them. I am also taking care to find a place to live with a spare room where the in laws and other Swedish relatives/friends can stay for as long as they want to when visiting.

    As our baby will be born in Sweden it will have a Swedish birth certificate. Does anyone know if I can also get her/him a British birth certificate too? As I understand it the birth certificate is an important document to have when it come to arranging child benefit, tax credits and schools, etc?

  • Hmmm sorry no idea about how to do this. Not sure if you can get your baby a British birth certificate (as s/he'll won't have been born here). My guess is that a Swedish birth certificate, as it is part of the EU, will be fine for all those things. But you may want to check with the Swedish embassy?

  • Hi Notboxed,

    If you are worried that your wife may feel lonely or isolated being a new mum in a new country (understandable!), why not look up your local NCT branch? There are lots of events that local branches hold for brand new mums to meet and get to know each other - could be a great start to making friends in your area.

    Find your local branch here: nct.org.uk/branches - you can take a look at what events they have on. I do suggest that you email the branch as well if you like, as they would be happy to reach out to you and your wife when you're settling in.

    All the best,

    Alice x

  • You'll want to register with a GP. You can find practices near your new home here: nhs.uk/servicedirectories/P...

    This link may help with your birth certificate question: direct.gov.uk/en/Government...

    HTH

  • Thanks everyone!

  • As Camembert_Electrique pointed out, the most important thing you need to do is register with a GP. You'll probably also want to find out when your new GP wants to see your baby for check-ups, as this might vary from country to country. I also highly recommend (from personal experience) that you arrange to get paper copies of your, your wife's, and your baby's medical records to take yourself to England, as a direct doctor-to-doctor transfer across borders will likely not be possible. If you can't get copies in English, ask your doctor to write a letter in English summarizing the salient points.

    If you or your wife will be working in England you'll need an NI (National Insurance) number, so your employer can prove that you've been paying the right taxes. There will be time to arrange that after you arrive, but if you're keen to get your ducks in a row that's something to think about.

    There shouldn't be too much red tape involved in moving within the EU, but if you're worried you may want to contact the British embassy or consulate nearest you in Sweden--they should be able to give you a thorough answer to your question, and may even send you some informational leaflets.

    Just to put your mind at ease a bit--I've lived in three countries so far and British civil servants are by far the most reasonable I've ever had to deal with. When I moved here I worked without a valid NI number for over a year because I thought the the placeholder number my employer had put on my payslips was a real one. That was all very illegal of course, but when I realized my mistake I just called up the NI people, apologized, and they just sorted me out with a number, tied it to all my previous payments, with no fuss--not even a fine. I know people who have had similar positive experiences with the Inland Revenue. That's not to say that you should deliberately let things slide, but there's no need to lie awake at night wondering if you're going to be deported or slapped with a huge fine for not doing something you didn't know you needed to.

    Good luck with everything and congratulations!

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