Preparing to move


On this page:

Passports
Your Northern Ireland SFA
Move-in
Schools
Cars
Doctors/dentist
Insurance
Pets
ID card
Allowances

 

Passports

If you are posted from mainland UK then you do not require a passport to move to Northern Ireland but you will need some formal identification such as your driving licence. If you are travelling from outside the UK then you will need a passport.

Be aware that some airlines operating in NI request that you have a passport for identification purposes.

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Your Northern Ireland SFA

All properties in NI will come under the same contract for allocation and repairs as mainland UK from November 2014.

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Move-in

Removals can take up to ten working days for delivery, but the removals company do their best to get your personal belongings delivered as soon as possible.

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Schools

In NI, the school year runs from the end of June, not the beginning of September as in England.

So, any child born in July or August will be placed in the year below the one they would be placed into in England unless your child has started their first year of primary or secondary school in the UK mainland, and would face going back to nursery or primary in NI.

If you encounter difficulties with this process please contact the AFF Education and Childcare Specialist ec@aff.org.uk or the Children’s Education Support Officer, on 028 9226 6347. 

School timings

Younger children finish school earlier than those on the mainland:

  • P1 – P3 children (Reception – Year 2) finish school at 2 pm
  • P4 – P7 children (Year 3 – Year 6) finish school at 3 pm

Homework

Homework is issued Monday to Thursday and varies form ten minutes for Primary 1 children to one and a half hours for Primary 7 children.

Secondary schools

NI has a system of secondary and grammar schools, known collectively as post-primary education.

In primary 7 (Year 6), your child can sit the Common Entrance Assessment to try for a place at a grammar school.

If you arrive in NI after the Common Entrance Assessment has taken place, you must produce evidence of your child’s previous school work to see if a place at grammar school would be suitable. Contact the Principal of the grammar school for advice and guidance.

You will also need to complete a CEA Form SC09 (available from www.aqe.org.uk).

Children not wishing to go to grammar school can apply to the secondary school of their choice.

Pre-school funding

As in the UK, parents will receive pre-school funding for children from the term after their third birthday.

If your child is in a civilian playgroup, you are only eligible to claim the fees paid if there are no places available in the station pre-school and no free places available in the civilian pre-school.

School holidays

Children have less time off for half-terms and Easter and instead have the majority of their holidays from the end of June to the beginning of September, approximately nine weeks.

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Cars

On arrival in NI you must register, tax and insure your car in the Province.

Registering your vehicle 

  • Register your vehicle under the registered keeper’s address (you will then receive a NI Log Book)
  • You can still keep your mainland plates.

Insurance

  • Ensure your vehicle is insured through a recognised insurance company who provides cover in NI. 

Tax

  • If you change the plates on your car then your tax disc has to reflect the new registration number
  • If your car is still registered to a mainland address, it will have to be MOT’d and taxed on the mainland
  • Cars in NI are required to have an MOT test four years from new.  

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Doctors/dentist

Families living in Aldergrove can use the medical centre on camp but otherwise you would register with the local doctor’s surgery; prescriptions are free.

Your family will need to register with the local dentist’s practice; dentist charges are same as mainland UK. More information about this will be given at the arrivals brief from your local welfare team.

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Insurance

We recommend you insure you belongings while they are in transit, in storage and in use in NI.

Don’t forget travel insurance to cover your family during your move – you never know what could happen!

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Pets

Want to bring your dog to NI?

  • You must register your dog annually
  • Obtain a licence application form from your local council
  • The licence cost will vary from free to 12.50 per year
  • The council will not issue a licence unless your dog has been micro-chipped
  • Subject to a few exemptions, when in a public place all dogs must wear a collar with your name and address on it (you could be fined up to 1,000 for failing to comply).  

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ID card

This will be issued once you have received an arrivals brief from your local welfare team.

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Allowances

Whilst in NI you will receive Northern Ireland Residential Supplement (NIRS), this is paid directly into your soldier’s wages at the end of each month.

If you have any other questions which are not addressed here, the AFF Northern Ireland (NI) team will be happy to hear from you. Get in touch at ni@aff.org.uk or 07729 159013.  

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