International students: Before you arrive

As international students there are some extra steps you need to take before you begin your studies with us.


Organise travel

  • Find out about how you can get to the UK and the University
  • Book travel tickets.
  • Buy travel insurance.
  • Check your government's restrictions on taking money out of your home country.
  • Check the HM Revenue and Customs website to see what you can bring into the UK.
  • Check your luggage weight against your airline's allowances.
  • If you are arriving late in London, we recommend you make a reservation in a London hotel for your first night.

Documents to bring with you

You'll need the following documents when you arrive in the UK. They will be checked at the airport (passport control) and when you register at the University:

  • Visa decision letter;
  • A print out of the email with your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number;
  • Bank account statements;
  • Details of where you are staying
  • Original copies and translations of relevant certificates and examination results.

These documents must be in paper copy (not electronic copies on your phone or tablet) and you must keep them in your hand luggage.


EEA nationals

If you are a resident of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This gives you access to the NHS at a reduced cost or for free. It does not, however, guarantee total care cover.

Non-EEA nationals

If you are a national of a country outside of the European Economic Area (EEA), your visa application may include the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). This is a fee you may need to pay to use the NHS. If you haven't already check to see if you need to pay the IHS towards your healthcare in the UK.

If you are taking a short course (a course lasting less than six months) you are not able to access free health care under the NHS. You will have to pay for treatment. You should take out comprehensive medical insurance before you leave home. Find out more from UKCISA about insurance.


You should find out what vaccinations and immunisations you need before you travel. 

Health documents to bring

  • Bring details (in English), of any past physical or mental illnesses requiring medical treatment.
  • Bring a full record of past immunisations.
  • If you have a serious illness or are currently undergoing treatment or investigation, bring a doctor's letter in English summarising your medical history. This will help the doctor organise your ongoing healthcare in the UK.
  • Bring your European Health Card (EEA students only) to access hospital treatment.

If are bringing prescribed drugs or medication with you, you will also need a letter of explanation from your doctor. If you are bringing prescribed drugs or medication, bring enough to last you at least two months.


  • Check the opening times of your accommodation so that you arrive in good time.
  • If you plan to arrive in Bristol before your accommodation is ready, find out where you can stay


  • Get travellers' cheques and British currency for use during your first few days or weeks.
  • Check with your bank about how to transfer money to the UK.

What to expect when you arrive in the UK

Knowing what to expect will make arriving in the UK a smoother experience. Look at Border Force 10 Tips for students (PDF, 243kB) and watch the videos in our playlist to help you through passport control and customs when you arrive at the UK Border.

Undergraduate checklist

There are other steps you need to complete. Read the undergraduate checklist to find out about:

  • registering
  • paying fees
  • other services and facilities the University has on offer. 
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