Plymouth city skyline on a sunny day
If you are relocating to work with us from outside the UK you may have some general questions on how to get set up in Plymouth. From accommodation to banking, the essential information you'll need to get started in Plymouth is listed below.


Plymouth and the surrounding area offers a wide choice of affordable housing within easy commutable distance to the University campuses. Costs will vary depending upon size and condition of the property, inclusion or exclusion of bills, and location.

Renting or buying a property

Monthly rental costs will vary depending upon size and condition of the property, inclusion or exclusion of bills, and location.  You will normally be required to pay a deposit upon signing a tenancy agreement which will vary from one to two months’ rent.
Letting agencies that are a member of a professional body, such as ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) or the National Approved Letting Scheme, have to comply with the body’s code of conduct and you can lodge a complaint if things go wrong and the code of conduct is not followed. If you decide to work with an agency, it is recommended that you look for those that are registered with one of these organisations. You can find a letting agent through Property Mark and find rental properties though websites such as Rightmove.
You must prove that you have a right to rent property in England. Full details of the document checks required can be found on

The website gives useful information about buying a property in the UK. You can find information on available housing and house prices in Plymouth on websites such as Rightmove. 

Moving your possessions

If you want to bring large items to the UK such as furniture, heavy items such as books or boxes containing your belongings, you will need to organise shipment through a professional mover in your home country or an international mover based in the UK. If you have been allocated relocation expenses, you will need to follow the University’s relocation policy to claim permitted expenses.


It is advisable to make a list of everything you bring to the UK for insurance purposes. If you are renting it is advisable to obtain contents insurance and if you are buying a property, it is likely to be a condition of the mortgage to have building and/or contents insurance. 


There is a wide range of utility companies in the UK and you are usually free to choose your preferred provider for gas and electricity. However water companies are limited to the one provider covering your area.


The water provider in Plymouth is South West Water. Unless you are renting a property with water bills included in the rent, you will need to contact South West Water when you move to your new property and set up an account.


There are many gas and electricity suppliers in the UK. When you move into your new home there should already be an electricity and (in most cases) a gas supplier. You should take the meter readings when you first move in to your new home to ensure that you only pay for the energy you use. You can also usually switch suppliers to get the best deal. You can compare tariffs using price comparison websites such as Money Supermarket, USwitch and Energy helpline.

Council Tax

Council Tax is a local tax, set by councils to help pay for local services like policing and refuse collection. It applies to all domestic properties, including houses, bungalows, flats, maisonettes, mobile homes or houseboats, whether owned or rented.
Further information on Council Tax and council services in Plymouth can be found on the Plymouth City Council website.

Telephone and internet

Mobile phones
There are various mobile phone companies in the UK all with a range of price plans.
Landline phones
There are many home telephone providers in the UK, although unless your home has cable provisions you will probably need to pay for a BT line rental. 
There is a large variety of internet (sometimes referred to as broadband) providers in the UK. Often internet and telephone is combined into one packpage.
You can compare prices using comparison websites such as Money Supermarket and USwitch.


You may wish to rent or buy a television when in the UK. You need to be covered by an annual TV Licence to watch and record programmes. Refer to the TV Licensing website for further information and purchase your licence. 

Banking, National Insurance and tax

In this section you'll find out how to open a UK bank account, what National Insurance is and how you'll pay Income Tax on your wages.

UK bank accounts

You will need to open a UK bank account to allow the University to pay you.
Your salary can be paid into any UK bank and there are branches of most banks on the high street in Plymouth city centre.  
Banks in the UK are legally obliged to undertake identity and address verification, which may lead to a delay in individuals from outside the UK opening a UK bank account. Please check with your chosen bank the items of documentation they require before you make the appointment to open your account. They will normally require proof of a UK residential address such as a tenancy agreement and a letter from the University confirming your employment details. If you require a letter confirming your employment to open a bank account, please email and this will be prepared for you.
Once you have opened your account please notify as soon as possible.

National Insurance

What is a National Insurance (NI) number?
You will need to pay National Insurance contributions (NICs) whilst you work for the University of Plymouth. NICs are collected by HM Revenue & Customs through the Payroll system and go towards benefits, such as unemployment benefit, the National Health Service (NHS) and the state pension. You will need to obtain a National Insurance Number and let know your number as soon as you have it.

How do I obtain a National Insurance (NI) number?
If you are a Tier 2 visa holder your National Insurance number will be printed on the back of your BRP.
If you do not already have a National Insurance number you will need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions. 

Income Tax

Income Tax is a tax you pay on your income and is deducted by the University (along with National Insurance contributions, and pension contributions if you join a pension scheme) before you receive net pay on pay day each month. Refer to HM Revenue and Customs for further information. 


You can search a range of healthcare in Plymouth including GP surgeries, dentistry and emergency care.
The nearest hospital to the University is University Hospitals Plymouth, located at Derriford in the north of Plymouth, which also houses the area’s emergency department.  The minor injuries unit at the Cumberland Centre in central Plymouth can provide care in relation to small burns, bites and stings, infected wounds and sprains certain fractures.   
Visit your nearest NHS centre to complete the appropriate forms, taking with you proof of identification to register, normally a passport or driving licence and a copy of a utility bill confirming your address.

Visas and right work

You can find information around visas and right work on the UKVI webpages. If you are a sponsored worker, the HR Administration team will liaise with you regarding your visa and requirements to work in the UK.

Further information 

Extra information you may find useful when moving to Plymouth is listed below. 

Emergency services

In the event of an emergency call 999 using your telephone and request the appropriate service.
Non-emergency advice can be sought by dialling 111.
More information on other local services include:

Childcare and schools

You can visit the schools in Plymouth webpage to find information on schools and to apply for a school place. 
Nursery and pre-school childcare
Visit to find information on nursery provision in the local area.

Public transport

Find information on local buses from CityBus Plymouth and Stagecoach.
Find information about national travel from National Express Coaches and National Railways (trains).
The nearest airports to Plymouth are Exeter Airport and Newquay Airport.

Shopping and supermarkets

Plymouth has a number of national supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl and others, all of which sell fresh groceries, healthcare products and clothing and also some supermarkets have petrol stations on site.
There are also a number of different establishments selling and serving international cuisine as found in this international food guide. 

Leisure, events and tourist attractions

Find out about activities and attractions in Plymouth by visiting the Plymouth City Council and Visit Plymouth websites.

Employment for family members

Family members can find employment opportunities though visiting the Job Centre, employment agencies such as Hays and Reed as well as registering with the University’s casual workers bank.

Staff networks

Staff networks offer you the opportunity to discuss challenges you have faced at work in a safe space surrounded by people like yourself. You can talk, share experiences and offer support and advice in a confidential setting; this engagement is strongly supported by the University of Plymouth yet remains independent and impartial. 

Networking and community groups

There are a variety of websites to network and find community groups including Plymouth Networking and the Plymouth Online Directory.