Information about our airport welcome service for international and EU students joining UWE Bristol.
Arriving in the UK
Airport Welcome Service
We're excited to be welcoming you to the Bristol student community soon.
Please note that the bookings for free airport transfers have now closed. If you are travelling from Monday 29 March onwards, you are required to make your own travel arrangements by using public transport. Both National Express and Megabus will recommence their services from Monday 29 March. If you travel independently you can apply for up to £20 reimbursement towards your travel costs.
It is important that you let the University know when you are arriving. We have a friendly team of advisers who can provide essential arrival support, and will be able to answer any queries you might have.
For any student who has to travel to the UK, please fill in our arrival registration form.
More information and advice
How can I book the free airport welcome?
- The bookings for free airport transfers are now CLOSED.
- If you have filled the form and booked the transfer within the deadline, we will contact you with a confirmation of your transfer.
- We aim to send the confirmation 5 days before the travel date.
- Read the information about the Airport Welcome Service below, it has a lot of useful information.
- If you missed the booking deadline or arrive outside scheduled airport welcome dates, please read the information about independent travel below. If you are concerned about this or need help, contact us at email@example.com.
Register your arrival date
Even if you are not using our airport pickup service, please let us know when you are going to arrive. It is important that you let the university know when you are arriving.
We have a friendly team of advisors who will be in contact with any student who needs to self-isolate when they arrive. So it is really important that you tell us when you are going to get here so we can make sure you have all you need and help with any queries you might have.
Change of service departure time
Transfer departure times may change if we can reduce waiting time. If it affects your transfer, you will be notified.
Change to your booking/flights
If anything changes after you have booked your transfer (visa, flight changes) or if you booked the flight close to arrival time you must email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible (type URGENT and your arrival date in title).
Arriving outside airport pick up
If you are concerned about this or need help contact us at email@example.com.
What time will my shuttle depart?
Once we receive your flight details we will aim to email you detailed instructions about your transfer five days before your chosen pick-up date. This will include what time your transfer will leave the airport. You may need to wait for this shuttle but this wait should not be too long. We will inform you of any changes to your departure time.
Who can book for the free airport welcome service?
The airport welcome service is for new international and European students who start their course in spring 2021. If you are a returning student or a family member, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will assist you with travel information and answer your questions about onward travel to Bristol.
Can I request a pick up before booking my flight ticket?
No, please book your flight tickets first as we will need your flight details.
What support is available if I arrive outside the scheduled dates?
If you are arriving into the UK after Monday 8 February , please still register your arrival details by filling in the arrival registration form and we will support you with your onward travel to Bristol.
I would like to make my own way to UWE Bristol
You can make your own arrangements to travel to UWE Bristol by main national bus companies (National Express and Megabus). Limited rail services are in operation. If you chose this option please still complete the arrival registration form. It is important to familiarise yourself with the UK government’s advice on travelling safely in the UK. Details about UWE Bristol’s campus locations and travel options in Bristol are also available.
Travel Cost reimbursement
If you travel independently you can apply for up to £20 reimbursement towards your travel costs (valid for the airport to Bristol route as well within Bristol to travel to your accommodation). Please email email@example.com to request a reimbursement application which you will have to return together with any receipts by 24 May 2021.
Do I need to book accommodation before booking for the free airport welcome service?
Yes, please make sure that you arrange your accommodation in advance. It is very important that you find accommodation before arriving in the UK, as the University cannot offer you a room while you search. Please arrange temporary accommodation if needed.
It is your responsibility to let your accommodation provider know when you are arriving, and that you have made arrangements with them to collect your keys and access your room.
If you need advice about UWE managed accommodation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please check your email regularly for most up to date information. For private accommodation information please contact email@example.com and read guidance on the SU Advice website. You can also watch previously recorded webinars with advice on searching for private accommodation in Bristol.
Where will my transfer meeting point be?
You will receive meeting instructions with your booking confirmation.
What if I cannot find the UWE Bristol welcome staff?
After booking your space, you will receive contact details and a telephone number that you will be able to call if you need support.
How much luggage can I bring?
You can to bring up to 2 bags or suitcases and one item of hand luggage. Airport, transport and UWE Bristol staff members won’t be able to help you carry your luggage. Please make sure that you can carry and lift your luggage independently while you travel and move from the coach to your accommodation. Please note that you can pre-order and buy essential items online in the UK.
If you know that you will be arriving with a larger luggage please plan alternative travel arrangements. You might wish to check bespoke airport transfers or taxi options.
Will I be able to travel with any medication?
Please note it might be useful to pack painkillers in your suitcase, ideally a painkiller that will help to reduce temperature if required. Please be aware if you need to travel with any other prescribed medication, you will need to prove it has been prescribed to you. Please refer to Gov.uk regarding travelling with medication for further information.
What are the new rules for international arrivals into the UK?
The UK government announced on 8 January that passengers arriving from all international destinations will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 72 hours before departing for England to help protect against new strains of coronavirus circulating internationally.
All passengers must self-isolate for ten days, regardless of their pre-departure test result.
Please refer to UWE Bristol’s coronavirus pages for updated information.
Before travelling to the UK
Under the UK government guidance, all international arrivals are required to pre-book a COVID-19 travel test package in the UK.
Before travel to the UK, you must
- take a COVID-19 test during the three days (72 hours) before you travel
- book and pay your travel test package – this costs £210 and includes COVID-19 tests to be taken on, or before day two, and on or after day eight
- complete a passenger locator form.
Travelling from a country on the red list
If you are travelling to the UK from a country on the government's red list, you must:
- self-isolate for ten days in a government-approved quarantine hotel
- take the COVID-19 test on day two and day eight during the self-isolation period.
Financial support with testing
The EU/International Emergency Fund is for EU/international students experiencing a unforeseen financial emergency. Please get in touch with the Student Money Service to check the eligibility or ask for help.
In addition, please take a look at our COVID-19 guidance on fees and funding.
What must do after my arrival to the UK?
On arrival to the UK, you must
- self-isolate for ten days (If you have been in a country on the travel ban red list in the ten days before you arrive, you have to quarantine in a government-approved hotel. Package costs approximately £1,750 which includes costs for hotel, transport and COVID-19 testing).
- take a coronavirus test on day two and day eight of your self-isolation period
- follow the national lockdown rules.
As a temporary measure, all travellers to the UK will need to provide a negative test before travelling to the UK. All travellers arriving to the UK are also required to self-isolate for ten days in line with government guidance.
Please make plans to stay within your accommodation for this ten-day period. Our web pages contain further details on the support available during self-isolation.
What are the rules for face masks or face coverings?
Currently you are required by law to wear face covering in enclosed spaces such as shops, banks, airports, public transport. Please check the UK government website for the most up to date information as the rules might change. You will also be required to wear a face mask/covering on UWE Bristol airport pickup service
What other things should I consider before arriving in the UK?
How can I make sure I’ll be able to use my phone when I arrive in the UK?
Before you leave your home country, check with your existing provider that you’ll be able to use your phone in the UK and that it won’t be ‘locked’ to your home network. Check the costs of using your phone in the UK on your existing network (known as ‘roaming’) – if it’s expensive, make sure you switch off roaming on arrival to avoid a big bill.
It may be more cost-effective for you to buy a UK Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) SIM card than to use roaming on your existing network. Popular UK phone networks include EE, Three, O2, Vodaphone, LycaMobile, and Giffgaff. If you plan to make international calls (rather than call home using an internet-based app such as Whatsapp), LycaMobile and Giffgaff offer cheap international calling. For a comparison of the various UK PAYG SIM deals, visit a UK comparison website.
The cheapest way to buy a PAYG SIM card is online or at a local convenience store or supermarket. If you want to get connected quickly, you can also buy SIM cards at the airport on arrival. If you want to use the SIM card immediately, make sure the card includes some pre-paid credit (known as a pre-paid PAYG SIM).
If you are arriving at Heathrow, you might be able to buy a SIM card at the following places:
- WH Smiths (Terminals 2,4, and 5)
- Sim Local (Terminal 2, 3, and 5; and underground in Terminal 2)
- WeKnow tourist information (Terminals 2,3,4 and 5)
- From a Prepaid Tourist SIM vending machine.
If you want to contact your family to let them know of your safe arrival, it might be possible to use the airport wifi to do so, but note that airports are likely to ask arrivals to exit the airport quickly as part of their coronavirus safety plans.
UWE Bristol does not endorse any particular service.
How can I access money on arrival?
It’s important that you have some money for your first few weeks in the UK as a combination of cash and access to a credit, debit or pre-paid card. This is so that you can pay for anything you may have to buy (for example food, drink, travel tickets and taxis). Please note: we do not advise you to bring cash for your tuition fee payment. You can find ways to pay tuition fees, or contact the Income Office team by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are bringing cash from your home country and exchanging it at the airport on arrival or prior to departure be careful as to not exceed any currency limits set by your home country and to declare any cash exceeding EUR10,000 (including in other currencies) at UK customs. Note that the exchange rates offered by airport Bureau de Change are not particularly competitive.
As well as cash, you will also need access to a debit, credit, or pre-paid card. Card payments will be required for online purchases, and most payments in shops (many shops have been moving towards card-only as for payments as a result of coronavirus).
If you choose not to bring cash from your home country, you can withdraw £ Sterling (GBP) by using your debit, credit, or pre-paid card at an ATM (known in the UK as a ‘cashpoint’ or ‘cash machine’) inside the airport terminal.
Check with your bank in your home country to make sure that your credit or debit card will work in the UK (both at ATMs and in shops) and what fees there will be (if any). Consider opening a pre-paid travel card with a bank in your home country before you depart, or opening a digital app-based bank account.
Note that opening a bank account can take a few weeks and requires you to have proof of a UK address. You can learn more about opening a bank account in the UK on the UWE’s Banking and finance webpage.
Note that traditional taxis usually only accept payment in cash. Taxis ordered through apps such as Uber are paid for using a debit or credit card connected to app.
UWE Bristol does not endorse any particular service.
I cannot find answer to my question. Who shall I contact?
Please email email@example.com with any questions.
Who can I contact for COVID testing or any related queries?
You can get in touch with our COVID-19 support team by phone on +44 (0)117 32 87000 from 09:00 to 19:00 everyday. Or you can report your symptoms online (InfoHub login required) and a member of the team will contact you.
Whether you have coronavirus symptoms or not, we have a team ready to help you manage your self-isolation.
Further external support
- Any COVID-19 symptoms or have contracted COVID-19, please refer to NHS COVID-19 guidance, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service, or call NHS 111.
- Call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines) for guidance and how to book a courier collection for the COVID test package.
- For a medical emergency dial 999.
What happens if I need to self-isolate or feel unwell?
All students arriving outside of the UK need to self-isolate for 10 days when they arrive. Please check:
All people entering from all countries are required by law to complete a passenger location form before they travel. This provides the government with details of your journey and, where necessary, the address where you will self-isolate. Please check the details on the government website closer to your departure date and complete it.
If you are at the airport and experiencing the symptoms of a cough, fever or shortness of breath please report to the nearest airport staff member who will be able to support you.
Please make sure that you also inform firstname.lastname@example.org and the transfer provider if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms at the airport or during your journey.
If you are travelling independently and feel unwell, please check your symptoms and follow NHS advice.
We want to do all we can to support you when you arrive, so have put together advice for students living in UWE accommodation. It is important to self-isolate and follow UK government rules about self-isolation. We have put together lots of information on how you complete some of those important things in your to do list in our International and European student arrival guide. If you will be living in private accommodation, please read the Student Union's accommodation advice.
- See the UK government latest Coronavirus guidance; including current restrictions in place, who needs to self-isolate and how you self-isolate.
- Read guidance from the NHS.
- UWE Bristol's coronavirus pages.
If you are self-isolating and need groceries and other necessities supply, please see the information below.
Where and how can I buy groceries and basic household items?
You have the opportunity to order groceries and other necessities from online shops and supermarkets. Please ensure that you have a suitable pre-paid card or bank account to make online purchases.
You also might find it useful to pre-order a kitchen, bedding, cleaning, bathroom starter packs. This option is available for all students both living in university-managed and private accommodation. Take a look at the pack you might need.
We also encourage you to ask your flatmates, friends and family for support. More information about support and services on the campus will be provided closer to the date.
There are many ways people can get food or essentials delivered you below are some links you may find useful. You also have the possibility of ordering groceries and other necessities online.
Supermarkets that offer contactless deliveries are as follows:
Most restaurants offer contactless deliveries, which can be ordered through the following apps:
The catering and hospitality department at UWE Bristol deliver essential grocery and fresh produce to your door:
How can I buy food or medicine if I need to self-isolate?
You can order groceries and other necessities from online shops and supermarkets. Please see the section above.
Student food boxes
The catering and hospitality department at UWE Bristol are delivering essential grocery and fresh produce to your door.
If you are a new international student staying in UWE Bristol managed accommodation, you will receive a welcome student food box on arrival in your accommodation. Our Accommodation Services team will have this arranged for you. New international students staying in private accommodation should order food boxes if required via the UWE Bristol online shop either in advance or when you arrive.
Student food boxes provide a safe and convenient way of getting your groceries and essentials, with next day delivery on all orders placed by 16:00.
If you live in private accommodation, we encourage you to do online shopping and ask flatmates and family for support. If that is not possible you might be able to get help with shopping, deliveries, and ready meals from national and local government schemes and charities.
Bristol International Student Centre (BISC) is working in partnership with a local charity and churches to provide food parcels to international students living in private accommodation who need to self-isolate on arrival to Bristol.
The starter pack will provide basic food supplies and suggestions for meals. It will be delivered to you by a BISC volunteer. Deliveries are made on Monday - Friday only. Please note there is limited capacity of food parcels, so please book as soon as possible.
BISC is also offering the opportunity to have a phone call with a local volunteer if you need help or advice about living in Bristol.
This is a national scheme providing help with shopping for food and essential items, and to collect and deliver prescriptions from a pharmacy.
Tel: +44 (0)808 196 3646
Local volunteer scheme available to those who are self-isolating. Support involves free help with shopping for food and medicine delivery. There is also an option to pay for prepared meal delivery.
Tel: +44 (0)800 694 0184
For further guidance on self-isolation when arriving in the UK, please read our advice on self-isolation in accommodation.
Other arrival options
If you would like to make your own way to Bristol please see below for information on alternative transport options. Please note that many transport services are currently suspended or offering a limited service.