Step One: Ensure you are up to date with preparations
At this stage, it is important that you make sure that you have made the necessary preparations prior to departure. If the following (all steps from the previous checklists) have not been completed before you leave for the UK, you may experience significant difficulties when arriving at the airport, or when you arrive at the College.
1. Secure your place at the College by accepting your offer.
When you are ready, it is important that you secure your place at Queen Mary by accepting your offer online. UCAS applicants can do this at www.ucas.ac.uk. Direct applicants should do so as per the instructions outlined in their offer email by accessing our applicant portal.
If you have applied for more than one course, please be aware that you can accept only one offer. Once you have accepted this offer, your application to your second choice course will be automatically declined.
If for any reason you are unable to accept your offer online, please contact the staff member or admissions team named in your offer letter, clearly indicating your name and application number.
2. Ensure sufficient funding. If you cannot prove that you have sufficient funding to cover you for the duration of your studies it is likely you will not be able to obtain a visa or entry clearance.
3. Make certain you have a visa or entry clearance. For guidance how to apply for a student visa it is recommended that you visit UKBA website.
4. Organise accommodation. If you have not already applied or been offered accommodation in QMUL Residences it is unlikely there will be any rooms available at this stage. The Residential Services website has advice on finding and securing private accommodation, please click here. If you are planning to find accommodation once you have arrived please ensure you have arranged for somewhere to stay during your first few days at least, as there will be no available rooms on campus. Again, Residential Services offer advice about local hostels and hotels, please visit their website.
5. Complete your pre-enrolment (online registration) You will be contacted once you can pre-enrol.
6. Book onto airport collection service, or plan your journey from the airport.
You can book your place on the airport collection service here - bookings for the service will open on 29th July 2013.
7. Book onto the International Student Welcome Programme 2013
You will be able to book your place for the International Welcome Programme in September 2013 when bookings open on 29th July 2013.
All other steps in the previous two checklists (‘Starting Preparations’ and ‘One Month Ahead’) are important and valuable, and they will help considerably with your arrival experience if completed beforehand. However most can also be completed once you arrive in the UK, and if you are particularly stuck you can still contact staff in the International Office or in the Advice and Counselling department.
Advice and Counselling Service
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717
Fax: +44 (0)20 7882 7013
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 3066
Fax: +44 (0)20 7882 5556
Step Two – Organise your luggage, including sending items ahead
Make sure your luggage is clearly labelled with your name and address in London. If you do not yet know your address mark your luggage labels with your name and ‘Queen Mary, University of London’. Do not pack valuables into your suitcases (or luggage you will check in). If you must bring valuables carry them in your hand luggage.
Sending Luggage Ahead
Check the baggage allowance for the airline you will be travelling on. If your luggage exceeds the baggage allowance it is usually cheaper to ship goods than to pay expensive airline excess baggage charges. Please also be aware that if you are using the free airport collection service there is limited space available for luggage on the coaches, and it is asked that you limit your luggage to two large suitcases.
Goods can be shipped by sea or air. Make sure you choose a reputable company and insure your goods against loss or damage. If you have a place in the College accommodation, you can ship your goods there, but the goods must not arrive before you do. Please contact Housing Services if you need to check your address. If you send your personal possessions ahead, ask the Post Office or shipping agent for a Customs Declaration form. Make it clear on the form that the goods are for personal use only and that you are a full-time student in the UK.
Step Three – Make arrangements for any post to be forwarded to you in the UK
Check the procedure in your home country and ensure you arrange for your post to be forwarded before you depart for the UK.
Step Four – Make sure you have your finances organised for the initial period
When you arrive in the UK it may take a couple of weeks to open a UK bank account and for money to be transferred into your account. While you are waiting for your bank account to be opened, you will need some other source of money. You will probably need around £500 for the first two weeks.
Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in the UK and on campus. Cards displaying the Visa or Mastercard symbols are usually accepted. Most people in the UK do not carry a lot of cash as cards are more convenient, secure and can be stopped if they are lost or stolen.
Credit or debit cards
If you already have a credit or debit card, you may be able to use this in the UK and some banks will allow you to use your card to withdraw cash from UK cash machines (ATMs). Check with your bank to see if they will allow you to use your debit or credit card in the UK and what they will charge you. If you do not have a credit or debit card that you can use in the UK, check with your bank to see if they can issue you with one.
If you do not have a credit or debit card (e.g. you don't have a good enough credit rating or don't want the possibility of becoming overdrawn), you may be able to use a prepaid card. You use them to buy goods, services and to withdraw cash in the same was as credit or debit card, but instead of the money being charged to your bank account, you load money onto the card to spend when you are in the UK. These cards have the advantage that you do not have to carry a lot of cash and if you lose the card, your money is safe (a new card can usually be issued for a fee).
Bringing cash or travellers cheques
You may wish to bring a small amount of cash or travellers cheques in pounds sterling with you to buy things when you arrive, but we do not recommend that you bring large amounts of cash or travellers cheques when you travel to the UK.
Please not that if you are bringing the equivalent of 10,000 euros or more in cash or traveller's cheques, you will have to declare this when you enter the UK. You can find more information about this on the direct.gov website.
Step Five – Reconfirm your flight to the UK (check with airlines)
Some airlines request that you confirm your flight before departure. This is to minimise the risk of over-booking the flights. To ensure that you do not encounter any problems at the airport, make sure you check with your particular airline whether this is necessary, and if so, confirm with in the time specified.
Step Six – Ensure you have packed appropriately
How different you find the weather here will depend on what you are used to. We have a temperate climate, which means it is not too cold in the winter (average 2-8ºC in the day), and not too hot in the summer (up to 30ºC) and rain at any time of year. Fog in London, contrary to popular belief, is very unusual. Most British homes (including all College accommodation) are centrally heated but not usually air conditioned. The weather is very changeable and you will need a variety of clothes, including a good waterproof coat. In general, people in Britain dress informally.
If you are bringing electrical appliances with you, remember that the electrical supply in the UK works on 250 volts, 50 Hz and sockets take three pin (square) plugs. Adapters are cheap and easy to find. If you are living in the College accommodation, the Residences Office will tell you what is provided in your room, and what you may need to bring from home. We suggest that you bring things such as photos and posters to decorate your room, which will help you feel more at home.
Bringing food items from home can be problematic. There are very strict rules on bringing meat, fish and dairy products into the UK from outside the European Union. Our advice to you is not to pack any food items, especially not in your suitcases.
For information on restricted products in the UK please click here.
Essential Items Kit List.
This has been compiled by one of our own international students, and lists all the items he considers as essential for your arrival in the UK! Ensure that you check you have all official documents required, and keep packing to a minimum to avoid excess baggage charges (there is also limited space on the coaches for the airport pick-up, and travelling on the underground with lots of baggage can be very difficult).
* Passport and UK Student Visa
* CAS number document
* QMUL acceptance and pre-enrolment document
* 3 months of bank statements
* 3G/ GSM mobile phone **
* Warm clothes and a rain coat!
* Casual wear
* Toiletries and medications
* Photos or postcards to decorate your room
* Alarm clock
** Depending on your mobile phone usage you can get 'contracts' or 'pay as you go' SIM-only plans from the following companies:
Please note, the majority of items can be bought from local supermarkets for relatively low cost. It may be worth purchasing these on arrival. There will be a temporary shop on campus selling bedding, linen and kitchenware, plus a bus taking students to the local supermarket to purchase other essentials such a food, drink, clothes, towels and toiletries. You can also order items online at most supermarkets, and delivery is free if you spend over a certain amount (varies depending on the supermarket).
Major UK Supermarkets
Argos (no food- just homeware and electrical items)
Step Seven – Bring your medical certificate and recent chest x-ray (if applicable)
It is sometimes requested that residents from certain countries take part in a medical examination before applying for a visa. If this is the case you will need to bring the certificate and chest x-ray with you to show immigration on arrival at the airport in the UK.
For more information, and to check the countries who will need to provide a certificate, visit the Home Office website for visa applications.
Step Eight – Bring any essential medicines as you will need them when you first arrive
Upon arrival at the College, if you are completing a course lasting longer than 6 months, you will be eligible to register with an NHS doctor. Information on how to do this will be available upon arrival (you can not register with a doctor before arriving in the UK). The process of registering can take between 5 -10 working days from application, so it is important that you have all necessary medicines to last this period and more.
Further information will be available closer to the time with regards to registering with the Student Health Service.
Step Nine – Arrange travel insurance for your journey and the first few weeks in London
Take out a travel insurance policy to cover you for your journey to the UK and for a few days after arrival. This should cover any loss or damage of personal property as well as any medical costs.
It may be worth extending it if you intend to travel around the UK or abroad. We also strongly advise that you insure personal belongings (for example, your computer, music equipment) while in the UK. Some insurers provide specific student policies. For example:
It is illegal to drive in the UK without proper car insurance. For information about driving, read the information from the UKCISA website.
If you are studying in the UK for more than 6 months, you do not need health insurance in the UK as you can use the National Health Service. If you are in the UK for less than 6 months, you do need insurance. For more information, go to the Advice and Counselling Service page on health.
There will be opportunities to arrange insurance once you arrive on campus at Queen Mary, and if you are living in QMUL accommodation the price of your rent includes the cost of a basic cover insurance policy (check the Residences Handbook carefully for details of what this does and does not cover). Please read the details of the policy carefully before arrival to ensure it is adequate for your needs.
Additional cover can be arranged during the first week of term, with the same insurance provider that provides cover for QMUL accommodation, Endsleigh, as they will have representatives on campus. They can also assist in setting up insurance policies for those who are not living in QMUL halls of residence. However you are still advised to arrange cover for your journey, and for the first few weeks until you have agreed a policy here.