Life in the UK Questions

What are the emergency numbers in the UK?

The equivalent UK emergency number of 911 is 999 . The European standard of 112 will also work. Make sure you know and can relate your location. You'll be asked if you require police, fire brigade or ambulance, but you can also request the coastguard. This call is free and can also be made via mobile phone. In some areas a Pegasus system with PIN code, for those with disabilities which make it difficult to talk to emergency services on the phone. This is in use in Nottinghamshire , Lincolnshire...

What are the seat belt laws in the UK?

In the UK, passengers in the back seat must wear seatbelts as well as those in the front seat. The person liable for failure to wear seatbelts is the driver. You can be fined up to £500. If a vehicle registration (V5 / logbook) states that a vehicle seats 4 passengers, you cannot seat any additional people. If you do and you get into an accident, your insurance is invalid! If you are caught by the police, you could get points against your license for...

What are the rules about driving with mobile phones in the UK?

Driving while using a mobile (cell phone) or other communication device is illegal, can result in a fine and penalty points against your licence. Even if you're stopped in traffic . You must be parked to use a phone in your vehicle. Use a handsfree kit if needed and only push buttons while it's in the cradle . The automatic penalty is 3 points against your license and £100 fine. (If you have a new license and you get 6 points in...

Is English Mustard like American Mustard?

Not at all! American mustard is very mild. English Mustard will blow your head off and ruin your sandwich if it's not to your taste. It has been said that Dijon mustard is spicy but not quite as strong. It used to be a problem finding American style mustard, but it is becoming more and more common, with French's squeezy bottle available in many supermarkets like Sainsbury's and Tesco.

What is a fortnight?

Commonly used in the UK, a fortnight is the equivalent of two weeks or really as 14 days, from Old English FOURteen NIGHTs. (Not to be confused with four score, which is 80.) If you've not heard it used before, you wouldn't be the first. This editor had to look it up the first time the midwife said it. “I suppose in about fortnight we shall be told that he has been seen in San Francisco. It is an odd thing, but everyone who disappears is said to be seen at San Francisco. It must be a delightful...

Why are British billions and trillions sometimes different to US?

Sometimes when the British talk about billions, they actually mean what we Americans would call trillions. It's important to get clarification on which billion they're actually using in their figures because both methods are still being used. There is also a historical difference between billions, trillions and so forth. Americans use billion to mean one thousand million (1,000,000,000), whereas in the UK, until the later part of the 20th century, it used to mean one million million (1,000,000,...

How are dates written in the UK?

Dates in the UK (and most of the world) are formatted differently than the USA. Instead of Month-Day-Year as we would normally write them, the day is first, Day-Month-Year and said for example "the 7th of November" (07-11-2011) instead of as "November 7th". Pay extra attention on important forms and food expirations!

How do I get US size passport photos while in the UK?

US and UK passport photos are different, but there a number of ways to get photos that meet US passport photo requirements that are published on the embassy website. 1 The embassy has lists of photographers, however most professional photography studios have camera settings that meet the requirements. US passport photo requirements are also the same as the photos for US visa applications. Some photo booths also support US visa photos, such as those found outside stores such as Sainsbury's or at...

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UK Yankee is a resource and community for expatriate Americans living in or planning to move to the UK, established in 1999. Please join the discussions in our friendly expat community.