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What to do when you arrive

Pre-arrival information and things you need to do on arrival

As you know, during your first week at your new university – Freshers’ or Welcome Week – there will be many activities and events organised to encourage students to meet one another, make friends and join societies or groups that interest them. There will be plenty to do, but there are also some important “official” procedures that you need to follow. Let’s look at some of these ‘official’ things.

Police registration

Students from certain countries are required to register with the police within seven days of arrival in the UK. To find out whether or not you have to do so, check your visa, residence permit or entry clearance stamp.

Biometric Residence Permit

If you need a visa to study in the UK, then you’ll probably need to collect your Biometric Residence Permit after you arrive in the UK. You may be able to collect this from somewhere in your university, or from a specific post office, but this will be made clear to you by your university.

Opening a bank account

It’s never wise to carry large amounts of cash about. You’re in the UK for a long period and therefore you’ll need to open a bank account. To open a bank account, you’ll need to provide the bank with your passport, your letter of acceptance from your university/college and proof of address.

Registering with a doctor

If you’re studying in the UK for six months or longer, you’re entitled to receive free treatment from the National Health Service (NHS) from the beginning of your stay. This applies to both routine appointments with a doctor (called a General Practitioner, or GP, in the UK) and to hospital treatment. You may have a medical centre on campus. To register with a GP, take your passport, letter of acceptance at your university, and proof of address to the medical centre or nearest GP surgery.

Here are a few other things that you may need to do while you settle in.


Depending on the type of accommodation you’ve arranged, you may need to buy bedding (eg sheets, duvet, pillows) and kitchen equipment (eg saucepans, utensils). Check on this before you leave your own country, as you may be able to bring some of this with you.

Travel cards

If you’re living away from campus, you can save money on travel by getting the right kind of ticket or card, particularly if you’re traveling regularly. Check with your local bus service. If you live in London, you will save money by using an Oyster Card or a contactless credit or debit card to pay for travel on buses or the Underground – paying with cash is significantly more expensive. For travel between towns and cities, long-distance buses are cheap; train is more expensive but you can save money by buying a 16-25 Railcard. In fact if you’re full-time student over 25 years of age, you can still get a 16-25 Railcard!

These are some of the most important things to remember, but there are many other things you need to check on before you travel to the UK.

The British Council’s Study UK website has pre-departure information for international students coming to study in the UK.

UKCISA has similar advice on its webpages.

The Admissions team at the university you have applied for should provide guidance about what to bring with you. Read that guidance carefully, and if you’re unsure about anything contact them for clarification.

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This article is from the free online course:

Study UK: Prepare to Study and Live in the UK

British Council