Starting at the University

Birmingham UniYou have made it! Well done!

Now there are a few things you need to do during your first week at the University.  Check the Welcome timetable and your school induction for exciting activities that will help you settle into University life.

We recommend that you do the following as quickly as possible and in this order:

1. Arrive at your accommodation

2. Have your Right to study check (RTS)

3. Collect your Biometric card (for visits of over six months only)

4. Open a bank account (if you have not done this from your home country)

5. Register with a Doctor - you need to stay as healthy as possible at University. You may need some medical help during your time in the UK. You will need to register with a GP.

There is also an essential checklist that you could use to help plan your first few days at the University. 

New to the UK?

Now you are here, things may seem different in the UK from your home country. We recognise the challenges faced by international students and how different our culture can seem and some of the difficulties you might have adapting and adjusting to life here.

The University Campus - our beautiful campus is one of our greatest assets. We are like a city within a city with all our buildings and amenities on a single site.

Our striking architecture and 250-acres of parkland including the new Green Heart will inspire you to make the most of your time here; not only that but it has all the amenities of a small town. You will find bars, shops, a hair salon, opticians, travel agents, a concert hall, fine art gallery, geology museum and major banks on campus. You will also be able to take advantage of the fruit stall and regular Farmer’s Markets that take place here.

In addition you will have access to all of the University's facilities such as the sports centre, library, outstanding nurseries, research facilities, faith support, wellbeing services, staff clubs and networks.

Living in Birmingham


Birmingham is very lucky to have excellent transport links and you can easily find your way around Birmingham by public transport.

Galleries and Museums

There are a large number of galleries that you can visit and you can check out the art galleries Birmingham has to offer. If you are interested in history or want to learn more about the UK you can visit Birmingham’s museums.


Birmingham has an enormous amount happening and if you are interested in what is happening with music, theatre, cinema go to Brum. With 2 football stadiums in Birmingham and a variety of sports and leisure activities, together with athletics, gymnastics and the fantastic campus sports facilities, you will have a huge choice. Birmingham also has some fantastic family activities you can try - there’s something for everyone in Birmingham.

Working in the UK

Tier 4 Students

The purpose of the Tier 4 visa route is for you to come to the UK to study. If you are permitted to work, this may be to supplement your income and gain experience whilst studying. If you intend to work during or after your studies you will need to meet certain working conditions as specified in your visa.

Before you can start to work you must apply for a National Insurance number. There are also strict guidelines on working and tax that you may or may not have to pay.


Worklink is the University's internal recruitment agency dedicated to connecting the students with on-campus casual work as well as interview skills and workshops.

Tier 2 and Tier 5

If you hold a Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa and you have any questions about working in the UK, you should contact Human Resources.

Start-up visa

If you have any questions about working in the UK, you should contact the IST.

Other visa types

Until you have spoken to an IST advisor, you must not undertake any work, paid, unpaid or voluntary – you should contact the IST as quickly as possible.



Voting and public funds


In order to register to vote you must be a British national or a citizen of the EU, Commonwealth countries, British Overseas Territories or British Crown Dependencies and be ordinarily resident in the UK. You have to be 18 or over on the date of an election to be able to vote, but you can be added to the register from 16. Being on the electoral register entitles you to vote in elections and referendums in the UK. Being on the electoral register may improve your UK credit rating, which will make it easier for you to get a bank loan or mortgage. 

If you are eligible to vote, you should make sure you keep your electoral registration up to date! It is particularly important to notify your local council if you change address.

Public Funds (State Benefits)

There are many state benefits available to specific groups of people, such as carers, disabled persons and families.

Whether you can claim benefits will depend on your circumstances including your household income – please note - if you are on a visa of any type, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to claim state benefits. Claiming any such benefit incorrectly can have an impact on any future applications for a visa or for Indefinite Leave to Remain. University employees should contact the IST.  See further information about the different types of benefits, including eligibility criteria.


Professional Services