Preparing for study at Birmingham


luggage-1436515_1920Whether you are coming as a short term or long term student, as a member of staff or an academic visitor you will be able to find links to help you make your plans for coming to study at Birmingham.

If you are coming at the start of the academic year, we recommend that you check the Welcome timetable and your school induction for exciting activities that will help you settle into University life.

Visas and Immigration

If you are not an European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national then you must have a valid visa that will permit you to study at the University of Birmingham.  The following information will help you with the process. 


If you are coming to the University as a member of staff our Human Resources (HR) team is responsible for supporting you. You can find lots of information such as employee benefits and information for new starters.

Please feel free to use these pages for information about coming to and living in the UK!


If you are coming to the University of Birmingham as a student you must make sure that you apply for the correct type of visa for your studies.  To help you with this the International Student Team (IST) will be delighted to provide you will advise and guidance.  Please take time to look at our website where you will find lots of information including news and events. 

The IST staff are the only staff who can provide visa advice at the University on a broad range of topics:

  • Information about the type of visa you would need to come and study or visit.  We provide specific advice on study – If your course is six months or less or if your course is six months or more.   There is general advice if you are from the EU or EEA
  • We provide information on the process for making a visa application and when and where to apply for your visa
  • You can check our information if you want to know more about the Common Travel Area (CTA). Checking this information may help you decide the best place to arrive when you fly to the UK
  • We provide advice about visas for dependants
  • Advice on how to have your Right to Study check (RTS) so as you can start your studies
  • Advice on extending your visa to continue your studies at the University of Birmingham or changing sponsor if you are currently sponsored by another University
  • If you think the visa you have been granted is not correct you can contact us and we can help you if there is a visa error
  • You should contact us as quickly as possible if your visa application has been refused

Other visitors

The IST provide some support for visitors who are coming to the University for other activities such as academic visitors, pre-arranged meeting, conferences etc.  Further information can be found on our visas for visiting the University webpages.

Families and Childcare

If you are bringing your family with you, you will find that the city of Birmingham offers a huge variety of activities and events for families with children of all ages.

If you are bringing your family, you may need to sort out schools or see what is available locally to support you and them during your time in the UK.  See our ‘Families’ section.

Money and Banking

You will need a bank account when you are in the UK and it is up to you whether you arrange this before you come to the UK or if you open a bank account when you arrive. 

Our information on Money and Banking will provide you with lots of information about:

  • How much money you can bring to the UK
  • Opening an account before travelling to the UK
  • Opening an account before travelling to the UK
  • Types of banks in Birmingham
  • Types of accounts, credit cards

Keep your money safe

Universities in the UK are aware that sometimes criminals target international students by demanding money for pretend visa problems.

These criminals will try to take money from you and will want you to panic or feel scared by saying you need to pay a ‘fine’ for an immigration problem or issue in your home country.

They may threaten you with deportation from the UK or cancellation of your visa unless you provide personal or financial information or unless you pay the fine.

Please read our information to help keep your money safe.


Coming to Birmingham to study or visit may be your first time living away from home and it is important that you find somewhere you are happy to live in.

University Student Accommodation

The University of Birmingham provides different University student accommodation to suit your needs.  University accommodation is called ‘Halls of Residence’.

If you are planning on using University student accommodation, we would encourage you to visit their pages where you will find a variety of information such as:

  • Services available
  • How to book
  • Accommodation for Undergraduate students
  • Accommodation for Postgraduate students

Renting non-University accommodation

There are different types of properties in Birmingham to suit all students or visitors. You may want to consider renting accommodation privately in the local area.

Extra things to remember

Living in the UK may be very different to your home country. There are things you need to consider before you leave and things you need to do as soon as you arrive.

You will need to consider any additional costs such as household utilities such as electricity, gas and water bills. There is lots of information below and living costs is also discussed on the University website.

Electrical equipment

You need to make sure that any electrical equipment you bring is compatible in the UK, for example hair straighteners or electrical shavers may not be compatible.


Once you arrive on campus, you can connect to the University’s WiFi network using your University email address through eduroam or WIFiGuest. The University has a dedicated IT service site where you can find clear instructions on how to connect.

Mobile Phone

In the UK your mobile phones may not be compatible. The internet has lots of information about the different types of mobile phones you can have.


There may already be a telephone line in your accommodation. A line with a fixed connection is known as a 'landline'. To activate an existing landline you will need to contact the telephone provider.

Television Licence

In the UK you will need a licence to watch TV - follow this UKCISA link for information about the TV Licence.  You will need a TV licence to watch or record programmes as they're being shown on TV live or through an online TV service, such as All4, Sky Go and YouTube, or  if you download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.

What should I bring with me in my luggage?

The more prepared you are the smoother your journey will be from your home country to the UK. You can use the University of Birmingham checklist and recommendations of items to pack to help prepare you for your journey and settle in your first few weeks in Birmingham.

It is really important that you check the baggage allowance for the airline you have booked for your travel flights before you travel.  The airline will provide comprehensive information regarding luggage weight restrictions, items you can take as hand luggage and other general information.

The University cannot accept mail or store luggage sent in advance of your confirmed arrival date. You can, however, have luggage sent to your accommodation using a shipping service.

What can I not bring in my luggage to the UK?

Before packing your luggage with everything you think you will need, you should check if those products or items can be brought with you by checking the list of banned items or goods. There is also a restriction on cash when entering the UK and we recommend that you check this too.



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