International Students

UCB’s International Student advisors are located in the International Student Centre on the Seventh Floor of the Summer Row Campus and can offer help and advice either before you come to Birmingham or after you have arrived.

As an international student, you are likely to have to make extra preparations before leaving home and to require additional documentation from UCB. Please use the checklist below to make sure you are fully prepared.

Before You Travel to Britain

  • For EU students, make sure you satisfy the conditions of the offer of a place given by UCB;

  • Bring all your original qualification certificates and examination results with you - copies will not be accepted;

  • Have a valid passport;

  • Obtain any medical certificates you might need;

  • Make arrangements for your accommodation and bring your accommodation details with you;

  • Book transport to Birmingham;

  • Book UCB’s Airport Meet and Greet;

  • Check the dates for the international student orientation;

  • Plan your budget;

Non-EU students will usually require a student visa.

Once you have made your decision to come to University College Birmingham you will need to make final arrangements, which will include, in most cases, obtaining a Student Tier 4 Visa. 

Although you can only apply for the visa within 3 months of seeking to come to the UK, you are advised to apply for your visa as soon as possible – this procedure can take some time, especially during the summer months. Each year, many students are unable to study in the UK because they did not leave enough time for visa applications.

Points-Based System

Student visa applications are now points-scored: in other words, your application will be assessed against specific criteria set up by the UK Government. It will be possible for you to check that you have sufficient points to be granted entry to the UK, before you make your application, by consulting the Home Office website.

Tier 4 Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies Letter (CAS):

You will need to obtain a CAS before you can apply for a visa. You can obtain this from the International Student Centre when you have received an unconditional offer from UCB and you are in a position to accept this offer. You will need to provide this CAS when you make your application to the British Consulate or High Commission in your home country. It is important that you bear in mind that once the CAS has been issued, you will be expected to join the issuing institution, so if you change your mind, you will need to contact International Admissions so that the Home Office can be informed of your decision. 

To gain a Tier 4 General Student visa:

You will have to score points against 2 sets of objective criteria with a score of 40 points - 30 points are awarded for the CAS; 10 points are awarded for the Maintenance and Funds Test (you will have to show that you have funds to pay the first year of fees plus £7,380) which means that you must be able to demonstrate that you have and have had for a minimum of 28 days £7,380 as well as any outstanding tuition fees for your course.

You must also be studying on a full-time course, involving a minimum of 15 hours per week organised daytime study; or a course which includes a work placement element which is no more than 50% of the full course length if the course is at Level 6 (a degree course or higher) or 33% if the full course length if your course is at NQF Levels 3-5. 

You must also choose whether you wish to undertake a work placement before your arrival in the UK.

As your approved education provider for the duration of your study in the UK, UCB has a number of duties that we are required, by law, to comply with. There are some important points relating to these duties that we would therefore like to remind you of as you prepare for your arrival in the UK.

For international (non-EU) students it is essential that you bring a copy of your passport with your new visa in it and, if applicable, your biometric identity card, to the enrolment session at UCB on the day specified. You will be expected to have our Tier 4 Licence number (6W04D4YG2) printed on your student visa and it may delay or prevent your enrolment if this is not the case.

Non-EU students who are new to the UK should note that the visa you you receive after your application is successful will only be valid for thirty days. It does not entitle you to enrol at UCB and you must arrive at UCB within 24 hours of your arrival in the UK to arrange collection of your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from a specified local Post Office. This Permit contains your permission to be in the UK for the rest of your course (plus a short amount of time afterwards) and is only available from the UK. Failure to do this could mean that you lose your student visa.

We will also need to verify your new address in the UK, so it is important that we receive up-to-date contact details for you as soon as they are available.

The UK Immigration authorities also requires us to maintain up to date records for students whilst they are enrolled at University College Birmingham and we are asked to report any students whose circumstances alter once they arrive in the country. We are required to report students who:

  • Fail to enrol on the course within the enrolment period;

  • Withdraw, or who are withdrawn by us, from their course;

  • Miss 10 expected contacts/lectures without permission from the University;

  • Change their immigration status to another category and therefore their migration sponsor;

  • Transfer to a shorter course or have their length of study shortened;

  • We suspect are breaking the conditions of their permission to stay.

You will also need to keep your CAS statement safe for the duration of your stay in the UK as you may be asked to produce this in the future. As a student under Tier 4, you will be expected to provide us with all the information we need to meet the duties above and your cooperation would be greatly appreciated.

If you need to extend your visa in the UK, our International Student Advisors in the International Student Centre will be happy to help you (international@ucb.ac.uk).

New International Students - What You Need to Bring With You

  • International students who need a Tier 4 visa should bring evidence of entry qualifications certificates & transcripts (originals), a copy of the CAS statement, and your passport and visa.

  • Eight (8) passport size photographs

  • You will need your passport if you will be seeking part-time employment. For travel overseas from the UK, a valid passport of at least 6 months duration is required. If your course involves an overseas residential trip this is particularly important.

  • If you are travelling to the UK from a country outside the EU and are carrying more than €10,000 (£8,000 in sterling) in cash, a banker's draft or cheque of any kind, you will be required to declare this at Customs.

  • Birth certificate – required for proof of identity and for tuition fee payment requests for EU students.

  • Clothing - The weather in England can be variable from one day to another and you can experience a noticeable climate change in a year. December to February are the coldest months, and occasionally it snows! May usually brings warmer and drier weather. Sometimes summer in the UK is not always hot! One item you might want to pack is an umbrella because the British weather is known for unpredictable rain. Students on campus generally dress informally, but you may want to bring with you something more formal for special events and if you have to do a presentation on your course of studies.

  • Most medications can be purchased over the-counter in chemists or in a pharmacy, but some are available only by prescription in the UK. We suggest that you stock up on any medication you will need during the stay. You may also want to verify the availability of certain drugs in the UK and their equivalent English names. Make sure you put all your medicine in the main luggage and not in your hand luggage as you do not want to have your medication confiscated at Customs.

  • You will find a number of mobile phone stores in the city centre. Before buying mobile phone check the different companies and the billing rates. Consider whether a contract or a ‘pay as you go’ option is suitable for you. Also consider the consequences if you lose your phone – this may mean you owe the mobile phone company a lot of money, in which case you are advised to get insurance. Check which network your friends are using as using the same network may reduce the cost of calls and texts. If you have to sign a contract for a phone you will need proof of your identity and also your address.

  • A laptop will be really useful to you, but, if you do not have one, do not worry as UCB has numerous computers which can be used by students. We even loan out laptops for University work.

  • As used in Bangladesh, Brunei, Cyprus, Ghana, Gambia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Vietnam amongst many countries, the UK electrical plug has three rectangular blades in a triangular pattern and has an incorporated fuse (usually a 3-amp fuse for smaller appliances such as a computer and a 13-amp one for heavy duty appliances such as heaters). British sockets have shutters on the live and neutral contacts so that foreign objects can’t be introduced into them. If you need an adaptor you are advised to bring these with you, although adaptors can be purchased in UK electrical stores relatively cheaply.

  • You are advised to bring some bedding (a duvet, pillows, covers etc.) with you if you are staying in the Maltings or Cambrian Hall, although bedding can be purchased very cheaply in various stores around the city.

Living Costs

It is very difficult to advise international students as to the living costs in the UK, since much depends upon the student’s expectations and needs. However, as a guide, we can offer the following estimates of costs over the course of an academic year:

 

Table of average living costs

 Rent (including utility bills)

 £3,800

 Travel

 £500

 Food

 £1,700

 Equipment

 £150

 Laundry

 £130

 Social and Miscellaneous

 £1,100

 Total

 £7,380

 

Important:  The Home Office require at least £7,380.00 to be available to you to spend on your living expenses (excluding tuition fees).

On Arrival in the UK - Immigration arrangements

Please let us know when you plan to arrive.

Passport Control

If you travel to Britain by air, you may arrive at one of London’s international airports, Heathrow or Gatwick, or you could arrive at Birmingham International Airport via the European Hub. Either way, try to get a trolley for your luggage - it can be a long walk! However, a non-refundable charge of £1 or £2 will be made for their use.

When you go into the airport you will have to show an immigration officer your passport or entry clearance document, if you have one. You should also have any necessary health documentation ready.

There will be two different queues of people for clearance through passport control. One queue is for European Union passport holders and one is for all others. If you are a non-EU resident you will be asked why you have come to the UK and also be asked to show proof that you have been offered a place at University College Birmingham, in which case you should have a copy of your Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) letter and evidence of your UK address.

When the immigration officer puts a stamp on your passport please check whether you are required to register with the police.

European Union residents will be treated as UK residents, but you will still be required to show your passport or ID card. If you wish to receive further information regarding British immigration procedures, please contact the International Student Centre (or visit either the UK Visas and Immigration or the UK Council for International Student Affairs websites).

Luggage

After passing through passport control you will be able to collect your luggage. Wait for your luggage at the carousel indicating your plane’s flight number and point of origin. If you do not find your luggage you must make enquiries with the airline that you have used. Please contact an official or porter and ask them for directions to register your complaints.

Customs

When you have collected all of your luggage you must pass through Customs. You will have to pass either through the Green Channel (which means you have nothing to declare) or the Red Channel (which means that you have goods to declare). In either channel, the Customs Officer may ask you to open your luggage for checking.

If you are unsure about what you can or cannot bring into the UK, you should check with your local British Embassy or High Commission before your journey. Please note that it is illegal to bring drugs (other than those prescribed by a doctor) or animals into the country. The penalties for attempting to do so are very severe.

Once you have passed through passport control and immigration, you will need to find your way to Birmingham, either directly or via London.

On arrival in Birmingham

Please check your passport to see if you need to register with the local police. If you are required to do so, the local police station is: Digbeth Police Station, Overseas Visitor Registration, 113 Digbeth, Birmingham. In order to register you will need your passport, 2 passport-sized photographs (3½cm x 4½cm), an administration fee of £34, the addresses of your home and term residences and a student confirmation as students need to register within 7 days of arrival. Further details can be found here.

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