Before you arrive
Things for international students to consider before arriving at UWE Bristol.
What you need to do
Find out how to pay tuition fees.
Read about visas and immigration, including when you need to apply for your visa.
Read our guidance on choosing and booking accommodation.
Please check UWE Bristol accommodation for up-to-date information about the application process and deadlines.
It is important that you find accommodation before arriving in the UK, as the University cannot offer you a room whilst you search. So please arrange temporary accommodation if needed (such as to stay in an Airbnb or hotel). The University has created a list of local accommodation contacts (PDF).
The UWE Studentpad, is an online accommodation platform to help you in your search for student houses, flats, and rooms to rent in Bristol and the surrounding areas.
For further support with understanding your accommodation options, visit The Students' Union Advice Centre where you can read the International Student Accommodation Guide. You can also watch our private accommodation webinar for more information.
Please contact the Global Student Support team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. You can also use the UWE SU Find a Flatmate Facebook chat group to contact UWE Bristol students directly.
Register online with your MyUWE before you arrive at UWE Bristol.
You can find more information about registering online on our registration pages. We will post your ID card to your term time address, so please ensure it is correct in myUWE. If your term time and home address is the same, please duplicate it.
If you are from any of these countries listed on the Gov.uk website and you will be in the UK for more than six months, you must take a tuberculosis (TB) test. Read the UK Visa and Immigration guidance on tuberculosis tests.
Book your flight and organise travel insurance. Read information about airport pickup and transport to UWE Bristol.
We want to have everything ready for your arrival. To help us to do this, please let us know when you plan to arrive by completing this arrival registration form (this is not an airport transfer form).
In your hand luggage, you should have the following documents:
- passport (containing your student visa) and ID card if applicable
- offer letter from UWE Bristol
- UWE Bristol Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies documentation
- evidence of your funding – sponsor letter or bank statement used to obtain your visa
- printed confirmation of your accommodation, including address
- IELTS/English Language qualification certificate
- airport welcome service booking confirmation email (if applicable)
- sufficient money in cash/credit card/travel cheques to support yourself for first few weeks until you open a UK bank account
- photocopies of important documents (leave a copy with your family at home too)
- these must be paper documents (not on an electronic tablet or mobile phone).
Other travel items for your hand luggage:
- warm jumper and coat – you may find the UK is a bit cooler than your home country.
Limit your luggage to a maximum of two suitcases. It is your responsibility to carry your own luggage.
- Clothes – pack lots of layers and warm clothes! There is no formal dress code at UWE Bristol – most students dress informally, for example in jeans, trousers, or a skirt with a jumper or T-shirt. Bring clothes for a special occasion, for example a suit, dress or traditional dress. Religious dress can be worn at any time and discrimination on religious grounds is illegal in the UK.
- Personal items – pack some personal belongings (such as photographs, postcards and ornaments) to make your accommodation feel more familiar.
- Packed converters and chargers if you are bringing electrical appliances (the UK uses 230 volts).
- 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.
Cooking equipment, books, food and bedding
Wait until you have arrived in the UK. There are strict controls on importing foodstuffs and plants. You can read further information on restricted goods on the Gov.uk website.
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).
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).
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 our 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.
More information about accommodation
You'll need to arrange your own accommodation before you get to UWE Bristol as we don't arrange accommodation for students. Please don’t travel to the University without any accommodation arranged. For further support with understanding your accommodation options, visit The Students' Union Advice Centre where you can read the International Student Accommodation Guide. You can also watch our private accommodation webinar for more information.
- Location: find out what campus you are studying at, and think about if you would rather live on campus, near campus, or in the city centre. Read more about some of the popular student areas in Bristol.
- Travel: if you choose to live off campus, you will need to consider travel costs, and how long it will take you to travel to UWE Bristol, particularly during peak hours.
- Rent: how much you can afford to pay each month, and what's included or excluded in your rent (eg cost of electricity, water, sewage, TV license, internet access).
- Accommodation application process: you'll need to think about the accommodation application process and whether you need a guarantor. Most private accommodation letting agencies require a guarantor (someone who is over 18, employed full time and a UK resident) in order to rent a property from them. Alternatively, you can use UK Guarantor, which is a service for international students. They act as your UK-based guarantor if you're coming to study in the UK. This means that you can pay your rent in instalments rather than in advance.
See the accommodation section for helpful information and advice on choosing both UWE Bristol-managed accommodation and private accommodation. If you have any questions, please email Accommodation Services at email@example.com.
If you're staying in UWE Bristol accommodation, please ensure you have paid your security deposit before you arrive in the UK. See further information on applying for UWE Bristol accommodation.
If you're staying in private accommodation, please contact your landlord/landlady before you leave your home country, let them know your day of arrival and check that you can get into the property when you arrive.
Landlords of private accommodation will ask for documentation on your legal right status in the UK, which is part of the UK Government’s ‘right to rent checks’.
The Students’ Union Advice Centre are here to help you with all aspects of the accommodation process. If you are an international student, new to Bristol, and need additional support with understanding your accommodation options then you might find the International Student Accommodation Guide useful.
When searching areas for private accommodation you will need to consider travel time and costs. You must also abide by our policy for sponsored students which requires students to reside at an address within a reasonable distance of their campus that allows appropriate course attendance and engagement for the duration of their programme (except during periods of vacation, outside study, work placement or where exceptional personal circumstances may require an absence). Students are required to maintain their personal records with the University, including their address, for the duration of their studies.
If you plan to secure longer-term accommodation once you arrive in Bristol, please ensure that you have arranged at least one week of temporary accommodation before you come to the UK.
It may take some time to find permanent accommodation, so it's very important that you make arrangements to stay somewhere in the interim.
We recommend reserving a room online at one of the Bristol hostels or a local guest house (also called a Bed and Breakfast or B&B). Hosts International also provide temporary homestay accommodation to international students.
If you, your parents or your family are looking for temporary hotel accommodation, try websites like Lastminute.com or Booking.com. You can use them to search for rooms within a specific budget or area of Bristol.
All these hostel, hotel and B&B options are external to the University, so it's important that you research and read reviews of these venues to check the quality before booking.
You can also get information on finding accommodation on the UKCISA website.
If you are travelling with dependants we strongly recommend that they only travel to the UK once you have secured permanent accommodation.