Checklist: One Week To Go
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 (which include 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 University.
1. Secure your place at Queen Mary 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.com. 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 email, clearly indicating your name and application number.
2. Ensure you have 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 on how to apply for a student visa, it is recommended that you visit the UKVI website.
4. Organise accommodation.
If you have not already applied or been offered accommodation in Queen Mary 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. 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 can offer advice about local hostels and hotels, so please visit their website.
5. Complete your pre-enrolment (online registration)
You will be contacted once you can pre-enrol.
6. Plan your journey from the airport.
Due to COVID-19, we are unfortunately unable to run our usual Airport Collection service from Heathrow this year as universities have been restricted from spending time in the Arrivals Hall to collect students we normally do. Given you will be arriving with luggage we would recommend that you use a taxi to get to campus or any privately rented accommodation you have booked. There are public transport options available to you, such as the London Underground, Heathrow Express and buses, but a taxi would be the most direct and Covid-secure method of transport.
If you plan on taking a taxi then we would strongly recommend that you use Greater London Hire who offer a discount exclusively for Queen Mary students. Bookings can be made over the phone or by email and you can pay by cash or card.
How to Book:
Telephone: +44 20 7490 4222
Account Reference Number: 99610 (this must be quoted to benefit from the preferential rate)
Please have your flight details ready and the airport terminal you arrive into before you contact Greater London Hire and please state whether you wish to pay by bank card or cash at the time of booking.
The price quoted includes 30 minutes waiting time and airport car park charges. The driver can meet you 30, 60 or 90 minutes after the flight is scheduled to land to avoid any further waiting time charges, please state your preference when booking. Any additional car park charges are charged at cost depending on the airport and waiting time is an additional £15.00 per hour.
Your driver will text you to let you know they are there, which will include a photograph and their telephone number. They will also meet you at ‘Arrivals’ with a name board. If you are arriving into Terminal 5 in Heathrow, the meeting place is by ‘Costa Coffee’ as you come through Arrivals.
If you have any difficulties, please contact Greater London Hire on +44 20 7490 4222 quoting your booking number and they will be able to assist you.
Gatwick Airport to E1 Postcode – This is the postcode of Queen Mary’s main campus.
• Standard Car - £68.00
• 6 Seater - £95.00
LHR Airport to E1 Postcode
• Standard Car - £54.00
• 6 Seater - £75.00
Alternatively, there are two more options that you can utilise to make your own way to Mile End campus：
- Heathrow Express and Underground: change at Paddington for Hammersmith and City Line
- London Underground:
- Heathrow Airport - change at Holborn for Central Line. Queen Mary’s Mile End campus is 5 minutes’ walk from Mile End station which is on the Central line.
- Gatwick Airport – change at London Bridge for Northern Line and change at Bank for Central Line
If you are staying in Aspire Point accommodation in Stratford, the nearest underground station is Stratford which is also on the Central line, one station further East than Mile End.
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
Global Engagement Office
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 that your goods are insured against loss or damage.
If you have a place in the University 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 with some retailers also now accepting American Express (Amex) for a small fee. 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 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 way 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 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 note 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 by visiting www.ukcisa.org.uk
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 within 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 University 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 University 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.
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 of the official documents required, and keep your 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 a 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 (this varies depending on the supermarket).
Major UK Supermarkets
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 Queen Mary you should register with a National Health Service (NHS) doctor.
Information on how to do this will be available once you arrive (you cannot register with a doctor before arriving in the UK). The process of registering can take up to a few weeks from application, so it is important that you have all necessary medicines to last this period and more. Some medicines that you use at home might not be available or routinely prescribed in the UK. Check with your doctor at home if the medication you need is likely to be available in the UK and if not, you may need to bring a supply from home with you. Your home doctor is best placed to advise you about what medication you are allowed to travel with.
More information, including how to register and contact details about Queen Mary's Student Health Service can be found on the website.
If you are studying in the UK for six months or more, you have to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge. If you have paid the Health Surcharge as part of your immigration application you will be able to access the National Health Service (NHS). If you are in the UK for less than six months, you will need insurance. For more information, visit the Student Health website.
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 six months or more, you have to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge. If you have paid the Health Surcharge as part of your immigration application you will be able to access the National Health Service (NHS). If you are in the UK for less than six months, you will need insurance. For more information, go to the Student Health website.
Contents Insurance - Accommodation
There will be opportunities to arrange insurance once you arrive on campus at Queen Mary, and if you are living in Queen Mary 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 Queen Mary 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 Queen Mary halls of residence. However, you are still advised to arrange cover for your journey, and for the first few weeks until you have arranged a policy here.
Step Ten – Look into which bank you would like to open an account with
It would be useful to have an idea of which bank you would like to open an account with in advance of the event – you will only receive one bank letter when you enrol so to save yourself time, it would be better to know which bank you would like this for to save you having to request multiple letters.
Find out more about Banking in the UK.
Step Eleven - Update your term time address to a UK address, if not done so already
As part of the enrolment process you will be given an official confirmation of study letter which can be used for varies purposes such as opening a bank account, proof of enrolment, council tax exemption (if eligible) etc. In order for you to receive a letter in the Enrolment Centre, your contact addresses must be up-to-date. If you wish to use the letter to open a bank account then your term-time address must be a UK address.
You will also have had a chance to update your contact addresses. To find out how to up-date your address after completing the pre-enrolment task please watch our video: How to change your address – QMUL student MySIS.
Step Twelve - Register with our Welcome Week Programme
Welcome Week is all about bringing people together, creating friendships, helping you settle in and introducing you to everything life at Queen Mary has to offer, and this year will be no different. However, it’s been a challenging time for everyone for lots of different reasons and we’ve all had to make some changes along the way, including here at the Students’ Union. We’re sure you’re both nervous and excited to begin your journey here, and you’re probably keen to find out a bit more about what we’re planning for you, so we’ve put together this post to let you know what we have planned for you this Welcome Week.
We’ve been working hard to make sure you receive an unforgettable welcome to Queen Mary whether you’re planning to join us from home or in our great city of London. We’ll be posting lots of updates between now and when you arrive so sign-up to our mailing list, join our Official Freshers' Facebook group and check our website as like everything right now, plans may have to change!
When you are on campus, visit the Information Point in Library Square, Students’ Union Hub Reception or BLSA Building Reception (Whitechapel). Pick up a What’s On Events guide and a Try Something New guide from any Students’ Union outlet. Talk to a Students’ Union Crew volunteer – you can find them around campus in their red hoodies & t-shirts