Preparing to leave the UK

When leaving Birmingham, either to return home or to move within the UK, there are number of practical matters which you should attend to before you leave.

Update the University

Make sure you give the University your new address so that we can easily contact you in the future.

If you have been subscribed to Interlink this year, please make sure that you unsubscribe before you leave. This is an automated process, so follow the unsubscribe instructions carefully.

Finally, do not forget to stay in touch! The University of Birmingham has a very active Alumni Association and many Alumni Association branches, groups and societies.


Paying your bills

If you receive gas, electricity or water bills in your own name, tell the suppliers the date when you will be moving out and provide them with the final meter readings. Make sure you keep a note of the readings yourself. Inform the suppliers of your new address so that a final bill can be sent to you.


If you have paid a deposit for your property make sure that you read the ARC deposit leaflet to prepare your property before leaving.

Council tax

You should inform Birmingham City Council of the exact date when you will be leaving your accommodation, even if you are exempt from paying Council Tax. If you do have to pay Council Tax, you should make arrangements to pay Council Tax only until your last date in the accommodation.


If you have any standing orders or direct debits to pay bills, such as tuition fees, water rates etc. you should contact the bank to cancel these and inform the appropriate company that you are leaving the UK. If you plan to close your bank account, contact your bank and ask about the procedure for doing this.

If you want to keep your bank account open, you should contact your bank and ask if this is possible. As you are no longer a student you should check if the conditions of your account will change, for example, some banks may try to give you an account for which you need to pay a monthly charge.

If you are planning to return to the UK for full-time employment in the near future, we recommend that you keep your bank account open as you may experience difficulties trying to re-open your account when you are no longer a full-time student.

Claiming money back

Income Tax refunds

If you have been working and have paid Income Tax, you may be eligible for a refund. However National Insurance payments cannot be refunded. The personal tax allowance changes each year, first you should check if you were over-taxed and then if you have, apply for a refund.

You should do this as soon as possible as it can take a long time for your application to be processed and a refund is normally made by cheque which is posted to you.

You should also keep all your pay slips and inform your employer of your forwarding address, so that your P45 (certificate stating how much you were paid by your employer) can be sent to you.

TV Licence: reclaiming money

If you have more than three months left on your TV licence, you should use the TV licensing online refund form to claim the money back.

Value-Added Tax (VAT) refunds

If you buy goods during the last 3 months of your stay, which you plan to export with you out of the European Community, you may be entitled to a VAT refund. You should ask the shop if they operate the VAT Retail Export Scheme. If they do, you will be given the VAT Refund Form.

You must produce the goods and the documentation listed above when you leave the European Community. If you wish to apply for VAT refunds you should use the HMRC website.

Shipping your belongings

You should contact several shipping companies to find the best quote and the most appropriate service for your needs. Shipping agents can be found in the Yellow Pages telephone directory under the entry 'Removals'. It is worthwhile spending some time deciding which agent to use and asking a selection of companies to provide you with written quotations.

It is important to chose a well-established agent who is a member of the British Association of Removers (BAR) and has experience of the country of destination. A good agent will offer collection packing, warehousing, documentation and insurance facilities.

To ensure clearance at the destination you must complete a Bill of Landing (for sea freight) a Certificate of shipping (for overland consignments) or an Air Way Bill (for airfreight). This can be obtained from the agent. It is important to ensure, however, that the cover is adequate and has been underwritten by a reputable company.

Selling your car

If you own a car, you should make sure that you protect yourself and follow the law when selling.

You can apply for a refund on Road Tax when you sell your car, providing you have at least one complete calendar month still to run.


If you have taken out contents insurance for your possessions, you need to contact your insurers to inform them of the date you are leaving the UK and give them a forwarding address.

Mobile phone 

If you have had a mobile phone in the UK on a contract, you should check the contract to find out how much notice you are required to give to the supplier before terminating the contract. Make sure you inform the supplier in writing of the date you will be leaving the UK and keep the phone in a safe place. You should never sell your contract mobile phone to another person because the account is in your name and you will remain legally responsible for paying all bills.

NHS: Returning your Medical Card

You are required to return your NHS Medical Card to your General Practitioner (GP) just before you leave the UK, as you will no longer be entitled to free NHS treatment once your stay as a student has ended. If you are registered with the University Medical Practice, please hand your card in at the reception desk. It is also helpful if you tell your GP and dentist that you will be leaving the UK and give a forwarding address if you are waiting for the results of any tests you have taken.

Police Registration

If you are required to register with the Police, you should inform them that you are returning to your own country and give your full name, nationality, Police Registration Certificate number and the date you will be travelling home. You can contact them at:


If you are expecting to receive letters after you have left, you should collect a form from the Post Office to re-direct your post to your new address. You will have to pay a charge to do this, but this is the best way to ensure you receive important post.

Person holding suitcase