Student help

Arriving in the UK

Pre-arrival and Post arrival

Useful information on living in the UK

It is very exciting to travel to a new country and the UK is a popular country for visitors and students.

We have given good advice below for all students coming to the UK.

Before Travelling

Take special care of your passport, travel documents and tickets and keep them with you in a safe place. Before you travel, take a photocopy of all the pages of your passport and pack this separately from your passport. If you do lose your passport contact the police and your Embassy immediately and give them your passport details. 

Look after your Cash and Valuables

We strongly advise against carrying large amounts of cash with you. Just bring enough to cover your immediate needs (about £250). Bring a credit card or travellers cheques, to pay for things such as rail tickets and hotel bills. If possible, your cash should include some coins so that you can use public telephones and ticket machines, and some small denomination bank notes (£5 and £10). Carry cash, credit cards and travellers’ cheques in a safe place, such as an inside pocket, a money belt or a zipped bag. If you lose your travellers’ cheques or credit card, report the loss to the police and the issuing organisation immediately.

Left Luggage

If you need to leave your luggage somewhere while you change money or make telephone calls, find an official left luggage office available at airports and at major rail and coach stations.

Registering your stay

Some international students will need to register their stay with the police within seven days of their arrival in the UK. The stamp in your passport will tell you whether or not you should register.  You should take a letter from the school confirming that you are studying here, what course you are studying, proof of your address, your passport, two photographs and a £34 registration fee to a local police station.

The police station in Manchester is located on Bootle street.

In an emergency Call 999

In an emergency, where there is a danger to life or a crime is in progress, you can contact the police, fire brigade or ambulance by dialling 999 from any telephone. This call is free of charge, but should be used only in an emergency.

Taking out insurance Travel + Medical

It is essential that you take out insurance when you arrive in the UK to cover your full period of studies for travel and medical emergencies.   For general advice on insurance and a full list of insurance brokers, contact the Association of British Insurers at:


It is important for you to have suitable, safe accommodation while you are studying in the UK. Make sure that you arrange some form of accommodation before you arrive in the UK.

Implications of living in bedsits and flats

If you rent a bedsit or flat you may have to pay higher rent. Also you may have to pay local council tax. You will have to cook and clean the flat yourself. Also, you will lose contact with English speaking nationals. You will have to pay all the bills for heating, lighting bills, food bills and cleaning. You will have to provide your own bed linen and towels and do your own cleaning. 

Note: In the case of bedsits, flats and houses, do not sign any contract you do not fully understand. If you are unsure, take a copy of the agreement to your school accommodation office or welfare officer for their advice or a housing advice center, a law center or Citizens Advice Bureau.

Personal safety

Generally speaking, it is safe to walk on the streets in the UK, although you should always be aware of your surroundings and use your common sense wherever you are. When you first move into your accommodation, find suitable and safe routes to petrol stations, shops and public telephones. Try to find routes that are well lit and busy. If you are returning home late at night, walk in a group or use public transport. Avoid putting yourself at risk by taking shortcuts, for example, through dark alleyways or parks. Don’t carry large amounts of cash with you when you are out.

Make sure you carry a mobile phone with you or enough change or a telephone card, so you can make a phone call or call a taxi, should you need one. Be alert and be brief when using a mobile phone. Be discreet and try to conceal it. Don’t wander along with your iPod earphones on.

If you feel that you are being followed, cross the street (more than once if necessary), and if you are still unhappy, move as quickly as possible to a public area, such as a restaurant or bar, and telephone for help. It is not necessarily the best idea to use the first telephone that you see if it is in an isolated spot. Don’t accept drinks from strangers or leave your drink unattended in public places as ‘spiking’ drinks with drugs or alcohol is on the increase. Think about buying a personal attack alarm and carrying it in your hand when walking at night, in case you need it quickly.

Public Transport

Public transport in the UK is reliable, relatively inexpensive and convenient to use. If travelling by bus, try not to wait at bus stops alone. When you are on the bus, sit downstairs if you are on a double-decker, where the driver and other passengers can see you.

 If you can, take a taxi rather than walk the streets. If you travel by train or metro don’t sit in an empty carriage. Try to sit near groups of people in a well-lit area. When you are on the train, store your luggage as close to your seat as possible or where you can easily see it. If you use a luggage rack, check your belongings regularly, especially when a train stops at a station. If you are travelling a long way by train, make sure someone knows which train you are travelling on and when you are due to arrive.

Check the time of the last train, bus, tube or tram home to avoid being stranded at night. Think about texting a message about your travel arrangements to a friend. Try to avoid walking alone after getting off a train or bus.

Using taxis

If you don’t feel safe walking home, use a taxi.  Check the back of the taxi to ensure there is an official licence plate displayed before you get in. If you are still not sure, ask to see the driver’s identification. Be aware that some ‘minicabs’ that stop in the street may be cheaper, but are not licensed and are therefore not as safe as taxis or minicabs that you arrange by telephone. You must pre-book private hire taxis otherwise you are not insured to be in the vehicle. If the taxi does not have a meter, agree the fare with the driver before you get into the taxi in order to avoid misunderstandings when you get to your destination. Sit behind the driver, whenever possible.

Driving in the UK

As an international student, you must make sure you fulfil the legal requirements and be aware of the correct procedures before you drive in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. You must have a licence that allows you to drive in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). The car must be insured and have a valid MOT and road tax.

The Highway Code is a government publication that provides a summary of UK traffic law and has pictures of all the road signs in use in the UK (many of which are also used throughout the European Union). You can buy this at most good bookshops or read it online at:

Laws in the UK

The laws in the UK may be different from those in your home country. This especially applies to the use of tobacco, alcohol and self-defence sprays. You must not carry drugs with you of any kind (unless prescribed by a doctor), or use any illegal drugs, including cannabis, ecstasy, LSD or amphetamines. It is illegal to carry any sort of weapon including knives, self-defence CS gas sprays, guns or stun guns. You must be 18 and over to buy tobacco. You must be 18 and over to buy alcohol.

Useful Links

Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB)
The CAB service helps people resolve their money, legal
and other problems by providing information and advice.

Lots of useful safety advice and tips regarding crime
prevention and self-defence.

Home Office
The Home Office has a website giving practical advice
on protecting yourself against identity theft.

Home Office Crime Reduction
Useful information and resources about

National Union of Students
The website for the National Union of Students (NUS).

Student Accommodation
A directory of student accommodation and associated links.

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