International Students

If you are planning to study abroad, then the following information may help you to take a right decision!

Why study in London

Maybe you want the very best education available. Maybe you want to put your career on the fast track by perfecting your English and working with top professionals in your field. Whatever your reasons, one thing is clear – your next step is to come to London, which will help you achieve your goals and have fun!

The language of business

A major advantage of studying in the UK is the opportunity to perfect your knowledge of the English language – one of the most important skills in the international business world. If you are from outside the EU, especially if you are studying a commercial subject, you may well appreciate the opportunity to observe at first hand the operation of the European market. The UK is a member of the EU, and living and studying here can provide a useful insight into how this major trading bloc functions.

Cultural Awareness

The United Kingdom is a diverse and multi-ethnic society, where students of all backgrounds are welcome and their involvement in local communities is valued.

The UK is made up of three different countries and a province: England, Scotland, Wales and the province of Northern Ireland. These countries all have very different characters and identities.

The UK is known for having a multicultural society with all religions and faiths represented in some way. With a racial, ethnic and religious jumble, the UK is very open to new traditions and cultures – something that is a great thing for students from other countries! All this diversity means that, when you come to the UK, you will find it easy to settle in. You will also develop an enhanced understanding of different cultures by meeting others from an enormous variety of religious and national backgrounds.

Student Visa

An important part of planning to study in the UK is to make sure that you meet immigration rules for international students. Before you pay the course fees or make arrangements to travel, ensure that you will be able to enter and stay in the UK as a student.

Here are some guidelines to help make your visa application process smooth and successful under the Tier 4 of Points Based System.

►You have been unconditionally accepted for a course at a genuine educational institution.

►The course must be provided by an organisation which is licensed by the UKBA to sponsor overseas students unless you are a national of a European Economic Area (EEA) country (the member states of the European Union, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) or a national of Switzerland. You can check whether the institution you want to attend is licensed by UKBA on their website or by contacting your nearest British diplomatic post or British Council office.

►The course must be full time involving attendance at one institution for a minimum of 15 hours’ organised daytime study a week.

►The course must be NQF Level 4 or above. English Language Courses at level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR).

►You must have the ability to follow the course.

►You must intend to follow the course.

►You must intend to leave the UK at the end of your studies (unless you are a degree student hoping to stay on to work when you finish your studies, and are not sponsored by your own government or an international scholarship agency).

►You must not intend to take up employment or engage in business, unless the immigration authorities allow you to.

►You must have enough money without needing to work (or engage in business or claim ‘public funds’) to pay for your course fees, and the accommodation and maintenance of yourself and your husband, wife, and children, if they come with you.

Police Registration

Certain nationalities will be required to register with the police. This will be indicated on your visa.

Right to work

International students can work up to 20 hours a week whilst studying in the UK. Providing you are allowed to work whilst studying then there are some stipulations you must observe. Firstly, the limit for working hours is 20 hours per week during term-time which is extended to full-time hours during holidays. The 20 hour per week rule is not an average duration though – it’s a maximum number of hours. Please visit UKBA for details.


The cost of food based on a western style breakfast, hot evening meal, plus a light midday meal is likely to be £30-£40 per week. There are a great many food shops for buying foods and a hot meal ranges from £3.50-£5.00. There are supermarkets and street markets all around London including international supermarkets and shops selling halal products. But if you cook yourself, you can save money.

Arriving at a UK airport

When you arrive in Britain your first stop is Passport Control for which you will see two different signs. One queue is for EEA and British passport holders, and one for holders of all other passports. You may need to show the Immigration Officer all your documents and answer any questions regarding your stay in the UK. The Immigration Officer will usually put a date stamp in your passport to show the date you entered the UK. You will have permission to stay until your visa or entry clearance expires.


Make friends with people from the UK. It is easy to stick to people you know, but meeting people from the UK will help you adapt quicker and let you experience the British culture. As well as the international society, The UK have plenty of clubs and societies, ranging from sports to arts, so there’s a good chance of meeting more people.

Night Life

London nightlife is fantastic too. There are lots of chilled out late bars, as well as a more uplifted nightclub scene with clubs playing every type of music genre. In fact, London has the best nightlife in Europe, if not the world.

Television licences

If you buy or rent a television, you must obtain a television licence e. A television licence can be bought from any post office. A colour TV Licence costs £145.50 and a black and white TV Licence costs £49.00. It is an offence not to have a TV Licence and use of a television without a licence carries a large fine.

Personal Safety

By international standards the UK is a safe country, with low levels of violence and street crime. The Home Office and the police are working together to make all students less vulnerable to crime while they are studying in the UK and have prepared a guide for international students coming to the UK, containing useful advice and information on personal safety. Click here to download the leaflet.

Cars and Driving

To drive a car or motorcycle in Britain, you must have a valid licence and you must be at least 17 years old (16 for driving a moped). The car must also be registered and taxed and if it is over three year old, it must have a MOT certificate.

During your first year in Britain, you may use your own overseas driving licence or an International Driving Permit. If you stay in Britain for more than one year, unless you are from EEA, you will have to apply for a British provisional licence (application forms available from any post office) and retake a driving test. If you are driving on a provisional licence, you will have to abide by the following rules:

►Display ‘L’ plates on your car or motorcycle

►Not drive a car without being accompanied by someone who has full driving licence

►Learn the British Highway Code; and

►In order to obtain a full licence, take a driving test.

Shopping and consumer rights

High streets in most areas of London as well as towns outside London, have a wide range of individual shops and chain stores which cater for most everyday needs. For food, the supermarket chains all offer a variety of food and other goods. Most will have international food sections where you will be able to find many familiar items from home.

London also has many street markets where you can buy cheaply priced food, household goods, clothing and much more. Check out Camden Market, Portobello, and Spitalfields. Shopping Centres, Malls and Hypermarkets have been built in the suburbs of London.

In general shop opening times are generally 9am-5.30pm but Shopping Centres are often open till 8pm in the evening Mon-Saturday. Sundays from 11am-5pm. Many supermarkets are open 24hrs. Small local shops often stay open late. Chemist shops usually work to a rota system so that there is always one open in each area for emergency supplies.

Public Holidays and Festivals

In Britain there are eight public holidays, usually referred to as bank holidays. On bank holidays most offices, banks, shops and schools are closed.

►New Year’s Day 1 January

►Good Friday, the Friday before Easter (the date changes each year)

►Easter Monday, the first Monday after Easter (the date changes each year)

►May Day Holiday, the first Monday in May

►Spring Bank Holiday, the last Monday in May

►Summer Bank Holiday, the last Monday in August

►Christmas Day 25 December

►Boxing Day 26 December

Working in the UK after your studies

As an international graduate from a non-EEA country you will need permission to undertake paid or unpaid work as a graduate in the UK once you have finished your studies. More information visit the following websites: UK Border Agency:

Why study in the UK?

Choosing to study overseas is one of the most important decisions you will ever make and it is vital that you choose the right course and place for you. It can be very confusing for an international student in making that decision as you may know very little about the UK education system. You will need to look not only at the quality and structure of the programmes on offer and the academic support provided, but also the many aspects of student life, such as

The UK provides internationally recognised qualifications of the highest standard. They also offer more opportunities than ever before for our students all over the globe.

Worldwide Recognition

The degrees and qualifications from UK higher education institutions are known around the world as high quality and world class. The standard of excellence is set by some of the older universities with recognizable names, like Oxford and Cambridge, but the tradition carries through to many of the universities and colleges throughout the UK. When looking for work in the future, this can be a great selling point in your favour!

Growing Destination

International students have always been an important presence in the UK, and the numbers have been growing steadily. With a huge number of international students every year, the UK is the second most popular destination for international students, behind the US.

Education Costs are Lower

The cost of education for an international student in the UK can be lower compared to the USA and other countries. Some courses in the USA can be $25,000 plus a year in tuition alone. Tuition for the majority of UK higher education institutions is in the region of £3,000 to £7,000 a year – considerably less!

You can also save a lot of money because your degree will generally take less time to complete in the UK than in other countries. Although four-year programs are increasing in popularity, most degree programs in the UK require a three-year course and a masters program is typically between one and two years. When you consider the shorter timeframe, the cost will be much lower if you only have to plan for three years instead of four or even five as in many other countries.

Tier 4 of PBS

If you want to apply as a student in the UK after the end of March 2009, you will have to apply under Tier 4 and pass a points-based assessment.


Students can apply to bring a spouse and any children under 18 to the UK as their dependants for the duration of their study. Each dependant will need to apply on a separate visa application form and pay a fee. You will need to show proof of suitable accommodation and finances to support them. Please visit UKBA for details


Start making arrangements as soon as you have been accepted on your course. This is especially important if you are planning to bring your family with you. Contact our student welfare office . They have lists of local accommodation to rent and may help arrange the accommodation for you. They will inspect the accommodation and can help you if you have any problems.

Medical Service

If your course lasts for six months or more you can get free treatment from the National Health Service (NHS) from the beginning of your stay. This also applies to your spouse and children.

London Transport

London transport is mainly dominated by tube and bus. You need to make use of the underground tube as well as the bus service together to make it to all the places in London conveniently. This can be done easily if you have a travel card. You can use tube to easily access any part of London quickly and easily. You can travel from Heathrow to London using the underground. Also from the London airport you can easily get into central London through the underground tube. This will save you a lot of time and effort. You can choose the London travel card for your travel in either zones 1-2 or zones 1-6 depending upon your choice and plans. It makes travelling simpler and easier. You can get a travel discount card from Transport for London as a student that will give you 30% discount on purchasing weekly or monthly travel card.

London tubes and transport system are safe. There will always be exceptional cases but personal safety should not be a concern, just take the same precautions as you would when travelling anywhere.

You have nothing to fear, just be sensible, even late at night. The underground (tube) and National Rail stop just after midnight, but there are buses operating all night.

Academic support services

Adapting to academic life in the UK is a straightforward process for most international students, but if you do face any problems during your course, there are support services in place to help you. If you are having difficulty with your studies, it is advisable to talk to your lecturers, or personal tutor straight away, as they should be able to guide you, and may even offer a solution to your problem. If you are having difficulty communicating with your lecturers, however, there are alternative ways to seek confidential advice from the student welfare office.

Bank accounts

You cannot open a bank account until you are in the UK and have registered on a programme of full time study. It can take up to 2 weeks to open a bank account. UK law requires banks to make detailed checks on customers to establish proof of identity (signed passport), proof of address in home country and proof of new address in the UK.

International Students House (ISH)

International Students House offers sporting, internet and restaurant facilities alongside an extensive programme of events. For more information, click on

Explore London

Living in the heart of London you can easily explore the city’s many museums and galleries, visit theatres and music venues browse famous open-air markets and relax in one of the parks or countless restaurants, bars and cafes.

UK Climate

The British Climate is unpredictable and it can be very wet and cold for much of the year. You will therefore need to ensure that you have adequate clothing: a warm coat or jacket which is weatherproof, T-shirts or shirts to be worn under warm jumpers, trousers or jeans, warm socks, strong shoes and an umbrella.

For up to date weather information please visit the BBC website (

UK cost of living

The cost in the UK can vary greatly. according to UKBA Policy Guidance. Please visit UKBA for details

Electrical goods

The electricity supply in the UK is 240 volts alternating at a frequency of 50 Hertz. You will need to check if any electrical goods you bring can work at this voltage (otherwise you will need to buy a transformer).

Plugs in the UK may be different from those in your country; you may need to buy an adapter plug when you get here.

We would however advise that you try not to bring heavy items with you as you can usually buy these things in the UK.

Mobile phones

Many students find mobile phones a convenient way of keeping in touch with family and friends. There are many different companies offering a wide variety of deals, so you will need to shop around.

In order to buy a mobile you will need documents to show that you are a student plus proof of your address.

The main mobile telephone networks in the UK are:

Virgin Mobile

Please visit the individual provider’s website for further information.


Britain is a constitutional monarchy and its present monarch is Queen Elizabeth II. Although the monarch is the head of the Government, she has little political power. Political power is held by the Government of elected members of parliament (MPs) and is led by a cabinet of ministers led by a prime minister. Laws are made and changed in Parliament which has two houses: the House of Commons which consists of 660 members elected by the people of the UK, and the House of Lords membership of which is either hereditary or conferred by the Queen on the recommendation of the prime minister. In addition, all Bishops and Archbishops of the Church of England are members of the House of Lords. The House of Commons is where most of the laws are formulated. A function of the House of Lords is to revise, amend or agree them.


The state church is the Anglican Church of England and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. However, every major religion of the world is represented in London. As well as the many different protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, you will find synagogues and Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic and Sikh centres.

Gateway to Europe

With the addition of the Channel Tunnel and low cost airlines such as EasyJet and Ryan Air, Europe is easier to access from the UK than ever. You can reach most areas of Europe from the UK within a few hours by train or direct flight. For example, if you are studying in London or Manchester and you want a weekend away in Italy, you can fly Ryan Air direct to Rome, Milan, Pisa, Genoa, Venice or several other cities in Italy. The direct flight would take around two hours and cost anywhere from 30 to 100 pounds, depending on when you travel and when you book.