There’s a wide variety of safe and modern accommodation on offer for students in the UK and universities and colleges have dedicated accommodation teams that will help you find the right type of living environment to suit your needs.
For general advice on the types of accommodation available in the UK, application procedures and useful links to short-term accommodation, visit the UKCISA website.
Many universities and colleges have halls of residence that are on-site or nearby. If you prefer to rent your own accommodation, your university and college accommodation office can usually help you. You may have a look at public websites such as spareroom, rightmove, openrent etc.
You are strongly advised not to sign any contract for private accommodation without first viewing the accommodation to assess its suitability. Any signed contract is legally binding, so you should always check the terms and conditions before signing. If you decide to leave your accommodation before the end of your contract, you will be liable to pay any fees and outstanding costs, usually the whole rent until the end of the contract.
Upon arrival, you should open a UK Bank Account for receiving any part-time work payments or stipends as a part of the scholarship (if any). You may consider Barclays, HSBC, Santander, or Natwest as they have accounts suited for International students. Please visit the bank website to look for what they have on offer. Once you decide upon a bank, either book an appointment with them online and/or give a call to the nearest branch. Opening of a bank account may take up to 2-3 weeks, particularly during the busy start-of-term period.
For general advice on the things you need to consider when opening and using a bank account in the UK, visit the British Bankers' Association information - 'International students: Opening a UK bank account'.
You will require your passport and BRP, proof of address, a letter from your university, and your student ID card for KYC (Know Your Customer) checks. Once the bank account is opened, you will receive your online banking credentials along with your debit card.
Alternatively, you may consider virtual bank accounts from Starling Bank or Monzo. The KYC checks are app-based and you can open an account with them within minutes and get a debit-card delivered to you within 2-3 working days.
The NHS (National Health Service) is the UK’s state health service. Some health services are provided for free under NHS, others like dental and eye care must be paid for. For a list of treatments provided by the NHS, refer to the UKCISA link.
All Tier 4 visa applications will require you to pay the IHS (Immigration Health Surcharge) in order to receive free health services under the NHS. To find out more about the IHS, visit their website.
When you arrive in the UK, you should register with a local doctor (known as a general practitioner, GP) as soon as possible. Many universities have their own health centres that you can use – you should check your university’s website for further information about healthcare and access to local health services. For a list of local doctors, visit the NHS website for your location.
NHS 111 is much more than a helpline – if you’re worried about an urgent medical concern, you can call 111 to speak to a fully trained adviser.