Arriving in the UK: 10 top tips from Border Force
As you prepare to study in the UK, here are some top tips from Border Force (part of the UK Home Office) to make sure you have everything you need for a smooth arrival.
- If you’re from a non-European Economic Area (EEA)country, Complete the landing card given to you during your flight before you arrive at border control.
- Do not bring in any meat or dairy products from outside the European Union. There are restrictions on traditional medicines, food products such as fish, eggs and honey, and some fruit, vegetables and plants (including bulbs, seeds, cut flowers and tree bark).
- Expect Border Force officers to ask simple questions about your stay in the UK when you arrive at passport control.
- Never give false or misleading information (including forged or counterfeit documents).
- Keep any recent bank statements and details of where you are staying in your hand luggage â€“Border Force officers may ask to see this information.
- Keep information about the course you’re studying in your hand luggage. This must be a paper copy (not an electronic copy on tablet or phone) and includes your university Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number.
- Have your passport ready. Remove it from any cover, and remember to remove your sunglasses and hat.
- You must declare cash of 10,000 Euros or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you are travelling from a country outside the European Union.
- There are also restrictions on the amount of tobacco, alcohol and gifts you can bring to the UK. If you exceed your duty-free allowance and do not declare them, all of your items could be taken away from you.
- Never bring in counterfeit goods, illegal drugs, offensive weapons or indecent or obscene material. Some items are restricted and will require a license or permit.
It is recommended that you carry £1000 in cash and the rest of the money in either Traveler’s Cheques or in a demand draft made to yourself. Please note that this has to be in UK currency. You will need enough money to make the balance of your tuition fee payment (which can be paid in seven instalments once you have paid the deposit) and also balance payment for accommodation.You can deposit the cheque/draft in your bank account once you have successfully opened one.
Banks and bank accounts
Most of the major banks in Middlesbrough will open an account for full-time international students at the University on courses lasting for a year or longer. You need to provide the following documents:
- Your valid passport or EU identity card
- UCAS or official University offer letter addressed to your home address
- The latest bank statement from your home bank
- A document confirming your local address during your studies (see below).
Proof of local address – Once you have enrolled at the University and you have confirmed your local address with us you will have access to our e-vision online site. Here you will be able to request and print a letter of introduction for the bank of your choice. This letter confirms that you are studying with the University and your local address. Where possible you should print a color copy of the letter as this is more likely to be accepted by the banks.
UK bank accounts are not usually open to students whose stay in the UK is for less than one year. Do not carry large amounts of cash with you. Instead use traveler’s cheques or a credit card. The British Bankers’ Association has a leaflet, International Students: Opening a UK Bank Account on their website www.bba.org.uk
What Should I pack?
You will need to pack sensibly because you have limited luggage allowance. Most airlines give you an enhanced allowance once you show them your visa but you would still need to pack as per the limit being offered.
Pack clothes which you can wear in the UK. The British weather can seem cold and damp to many students, particularly those used to warm climates. It is best to make sure that you have warm clothes and that you dress in layers, for example shirts and sweaters over T-shirts, with a jacket or overcoat on top. It is a good idea to have a waterproof coat and a pair of strong shoes. You will also need gloves, hats and scarves in the winter. It may be cheaper to buy these things in the UK when you arrive. You are required to dress informally at all times while you are a student except perhaps on graduation day.
Carry some Indian spices like turmeric powder, red chilly powder, hing, mustard seeds, sambar masala, jeera powder, dhania powder, salt, sachets of milk powder, a little sugar in a small pouch, tea bags or sachets of coffee powder, readymade packets of food (lots of variety available under ‘Ashirwaad’ and ‘MTR’ brands), a small bag of daal or lentils, some rice. This will see you through the first few days until you can find a store to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. Buy oil or a medium to cook as soon as you arrive along with a carton of milk and a loaf of bread. You can also carry a small pressure cooker. You will need to buy crockery and cutlery on arrival so carry some plastic spoons, a small melamine container and thermocol plates and glasses for the first day or two until you can buy some crockery. You can also buy a frying pan, a wok and a kettle from Primark or somewhere cheap. Use you cooker for heating water and cooking until you buy the rest. (Please note that all the above should be in your check in luggage)
You will also need to carry at least one set of bed linen (sheet and pillow cover) and a towel. You can buy more sets from Primark later. Your bedding is not provided in most of the accommodation so you will have to buy a pillow and quilt from a local store or the university’s online shop.
Carry some medicines like Crocins and sealed bottles of cough syrup just in case you need it urgently. If you are under any medication then you need to carry your doctor’s prescription and your stock of medication.
What should I carry in my hand baggage
You have to carry the following documents in your hand baggage:
- A valid Passport with your Tier 4 Visa stamped in it
- Medical Report that you received from your doctor
- Copies of the financial documents that you had presented for your visa
- Evidence of Accommodation confirmation
- Passport size photographs (please carry at least 25 of these because it is expensive to get them done in the UK and you need it at almost all times)
(You will be required to show all the above documents during enrolment also)
Looking after yourself
If you do eat out, the Students’ Union is a very good, cheap option. Some restaurants can be expensive, although smaller cafes can offer value for money. ‘Fast food’ takeaway restaurants are plentiful, but are often relatively expensive and the food less nutritious.
Colds and Flu
In the winter especially, a lot of viral infections such as colds and flu are passed around. You may be less immune to them than the British students. Apart from eating well, keeping warm and getting enough sleep, there is little you can do to avoid catching a cold. If you do, you may find that staying in bed for a day or so, and taking paracetamol and lots of liquids may be enough for your health to improve. If the symptoms get worse, or if you are worried, make an appointment to see your doctor.
Registering with a GP (doctor) and medical /travel insurance
If your course lasts six months or longer, you can get free health care from the British National Health Service (NHS) on the same basis as anyone ordinarily resident in the UK. This is from the beginning of your stay and you are entitled to free treatment in NHS hospitals and may register as a patient with an NHS GP (doctor). You would have already paid for this service when you made your visa application so you are entitled to this service for as long as you are in the UK.
You will need to register with a GP as an NHS patient as soon as possible after you enrol. Contact the University’s Student Centre for advice and information about health treatment.
Look after yourself
When you are in a new country, it is sometimes easy to concentrate on your studies and forget to take care of your health. A different climate, unfamiliar food, expensive clothing and heating costs can make it more difficult to keep healthy.
To keep warm, dress in layers, and don’t be worried about how you look – British students may be more used to the cold and damp weather and wear less.
If you come from a warm climate, you may have additional problems. British houses are not always well designed to keep out the cold. Make sure that the rooms you live and work in are warm enough and that you have plenty of warm blankets and bedding. Be careful not to overheat your rooms as heating costs can be expensive, particularly electricity, and you will feel even colder when you do have to go out.
You might feel homesick after the excitement of the first few days wears off. However, just remember you are not the only one. There are others who are feeling the same way. Just stay with your friends when you feel low and you will get over that feeling very soon.
What Food Should I Eat?
If you are cooking for yourself, eating the right food (and enough of it) is vital to staying healthy and warm. This is not easy if the foods you normally eat at home can’t be bought here. Try to ensure that you have a balanced diet of readily available food.
Food can be divided into five main groups and it’s important to try to eat the correct number of portions of each per day (see below):
- bread, rice, pasta or cereals – at least five portions
- milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter or margarine – two to three portions
- fresh fruit and vegetables – at least five portions
- meat, fish, eggs and alternatives, e.g. beans – two to three portions
- foods containing fat and sugar – zero to three portions. Cheap protein foods can be used instead of the more expensive meat and fish, and these include beans, peas, lentils and nuts.
Prices vary considerably, so shop around and look out for special offers and cheaper cuts of meat. Buy the vegetables that are‘in season’, that are locally grown and available without being imported, and be prepared to experiment – it can be fun! Supermarkets will have everything you need, but can be expensive. Street markets selling meat, fish, eggs, cheese and vegetables can be much cheaper.