Have you decided that you’ll be studying in UK? Are you just one step away from your dream college? Firstly, we admire you! While the whole world is looking for ‘safe’ options, you have decided to embrace this challenge and go ahead with your study abroad plans, this makes you a leader! And leaders are what the world needs!
With coronavirus on the loose, the situation today is quite different than it was a year ago. Covid-19 undoubtedly brought chaos, but on the bright side, you have a couple of perks as an international student today, with more flexible admissions processes and a modified UK student VISA procedure. So, if you are flying to the UK this year, let’s go over a checklist that you can consult while you pack your bags.
Before your Travel
Basic Documents: When your Tier 4 entry clearance visa is granted, you will receive a time duration before which you need to travel to the country. The actual UK student VISA, in the form of BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) should be collected on arrival. And you will need a BRP collection letter for the same, so make sure to have it well beforehand and write to the high commission if you didn’t get it. Without one, you might be stopped at immigration. The other basic documents you’ll need are your flight ticket and passport. Pack your CV and certificates too.
– Pro Tip 1: Carry a bunch of passport size photographs (at least 20), as it’s quite expensive to get them clicked in the UK. Follow the UK driver’s license measurements as they are used almost everywhere. Keep handy a couple of Indian passport size photographs too.
– Pro Tip 2: If you have a driver’s license, bring it along. You can transfer your Indian license to the UK and use it for up to 1 year.
Education Documents: You will need all your original education certificates. These include your 10th and 12th mark sheets. If you are applying to a graduate/PhD program, you will also need your Bachelor’s semester-wise mark sheets and original degree (or provisional). Some universities in the UK have provided relaxation on their English Language test requirement by accepting 12th grade English scores or scores from a Duolingo test. However, if your university requires an IELTS Score or a Medium of Instruction (MOI) certificate, make sure to have it with you.
Financial Documents: Pack your Bank loan letter (if applicable) and the receipts of all fee payments that you made to the university, include your application fee too. Also, carry multiple photocopies of all financial documents that you provided during your VISA application.
Other documents required at the airport: The Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is a super important document that you must always bring. Do pack your LORs, passport copies, and a copy of your admissions letter. If you are younger than 18, make sure to carry a clear consent letter from your parents or guardian. Also, the UK requires a mandatory Tuberculosis Medical certificate, so carry the original document. At the immigration check, you will be asked for an accommodation contract proof, this must include the address at which you will be staying in the UK and their contact number. Even if a soft copy seems sufficient, have these documents printed out to avoid any inconvenience or delays at the airport.
Other Things: A spare phone is a must, also carry your laptop and an international debit card. And keep at least 1000-1500 pounds cash in low denominations handy.
During your travel
Don’t overpack your suitcases and try to leave at least 1 kg as a buffer. The extra luggage charges are insane, and you don’t want to fall into that expensive mess during check-in. Also, check your ticket, do you have layovers? Will you need to pick up and re-check-in your baggage at these stops, or will your luggage directly head to the UK? You can always ask airport support if you’re unsure. Better safe than sorry, right?
The UK is very strict about food items that make it into their country, so if you’ve packed any, make sure to label them and include what’s in it. If you don’t, they will surely toss it out. At the end of your flight, you will receive a landing card that requires basic flight and accommodation details. They will ask for it during the immigration check, so be sure to fill it up and keep it close.
After the Travel
On landing, buy a SIM card at the airport and figure out a way to get to your accommodation, many apps provide train and bus. Also, be sure to call your parents as soon as you land, and again when you reach your accommodation. Due to COVID-19, everybody who travels internationally has to undergo a 14-day quarantine period. This is the reason why we recommend carrying your laptop and a spare phone. You can use them to order essentials, groceries and also to attend any online classes or orientations you might be having. After the quarantine period, you can head to the university where your original documents will be verified, and voila you’re finally ready to study abroad in UK, the journey begins! We wish you the best of luck, leaders!