Arriving at a new school in a new country can seem very daunting. To help students and parents prepare for this, we have put together a comprehensive pre-arrivals guide that can be found below.
1. Student services communication
2. What to bring
Student Services will send an email in July or August with information on inductions, setting up student accounts, opening bank accounts and other essential arrival administration. Please look out for the email and follow any instructions
Before you arrive in the UK, you must email admissions (email@example.com) the following:
- Your arrival date
- Your flight details
- Let us know if you need a taxi from the airport*
*we will add the cost of this taxi to your next invoice.
Things students must bring with them
Passport, visa and course documents
Passport (with visa if required).
Copy of visa decision letter from UKVI (this can be the digital copy).
CAS statement (confirmation of acceptance for studies) or COE (certificate of enrolment).
Boarding pass or flight ticket (especially if using eGates)
Originals (not photocopies) of the supporting documents for your visa application, plus evidence of finances used for your visa. These will be listed on your CAS Statement.
Any medication you need to take. Carry a letter (translated into English) from your doctor explaining what the medicine is and what it is for. Bring any prescriptions for glasses or contact lenses.
Funds for the first two-weeks
You will need funds for your arrival and first two weeks at school to cover books and taxis, students will need to have purchased a laptop, etc. Most students will need around £100. If you are self-catered you will need around £250.
Parental consent form
Your parental consent form, completed by your parents or guardians.
UK power adaptor
Bring a sufficient UK power adapter for your electronic items.
Bring clothing for all weather conditions. Consider when you are next going home and whether you need clothes for all seasons straight away.
Things students should not bring
Uninsured high value items
We advise against bringing any uninsured high-value items such as jewellery or expensive watches..
Large amounts of cash
Do not carry this on you or in your personal belongings..
This will be provided in your Boarding House
Advice on laptop or tablet computers
Students can choose their device but it should be able to type up essays, carry out research, connect to a printer and have Microsoft Office installed as an English language version.
We recommend the following:
- 13” screen
- A keyboard which can be used for essay writing
- 4GB Ram, Intel I3 processor (or equivalent) and a 500GB HDD
- WiFi enabled
- MS Windows with the MS Office portfolio of applications, or Apple Mac equivalent, as an English language installation
- Those students who wish to use Apple products will need to ensure that they have a Microsoft account that enables them to use MS Office online. Please see Microsoft Account and Office on the Web for more information
3. UK Visa Guide
Your visa type depends on your age, what you will study in the UK and how long your course will be. The below table shows what type of visas students should generally apply for in the UK:
Less than 6 months
Over 6 months
6 – 11 months – English course only
Under 16 years
Standard Visitor Visa
Child Student Visa
Standard Visitor Visa
Child Student Visa, unless studying UFP – in which case Student Visa
Short Term Study Visa
18 years +
Standard Visitor Visa
Student Visa (no GCSE or Pre-Programme allowed)
Short Term Study Visa
You can find more information about different visa types and information about making an application below. If you have any questions, please contact
Important: The information contained below is for guidance only. Although every effort is made to ensure its accuracy, we strongly recommend you visit the UKVI website for up-to-date information.
There are four routes for students who wish to study in the UK. You can find more information about each one in the sections below.
Types of study visa
This visa is for courses under 6 months. Depending on your nationality you might not need to apply for this in advance before your travel.
You can find the list of nationalities who are categorised as non-visa nationals and can apply to enter the UK as a visitor on arrival at the port of entry here:
Students who are visa-nationals must apply for entry clearance as a visitor before travelling to the UK
This visa is for English language courses lasting longer than 6 months and up to 11 months. Everyone must apply for this visa before they travel to the UK. It is only available for students aged 16 years and over.
This visa is for students aged 4 – 17 who want to study in the UK (usually for over 6 months), excluding those studying on a Foundation course. Students can study courses at RQF level 3 and below.
This visa is for students aged 16 and above, who want to study in the UK (usually for over 6 months). It is generally used by over 18’s, except those studying on a Foundation course. The course for a Student Visa must be RQF Level 3 or above.
Students wishing to study courses of up to 6 months (e.g. High School Term, Academic English or Fast Track UFP) can apply for the Standard Visitor Visa. This visa is suitable for students of all ages and allows studying, sightseeing, and visiting friends/family for up to 6 months.
You will need to establish whether you are a visa national or a non-visa national. To do this, check whether the country you are a citizen of appears on the visa national list.
- Students who are non-visa nationals (this includes EU countries, Brazil, Japan and Korea amongst others) can apply to enter the UK as a visitor on arrival at the port of entry. Students should bring all the required documents to show at the border.
- Students who are visa-nationals must apply for entry clearance as a visitor before travelling to the UK. It is a good idea to carry with you all of the documents that you submitted with your entry clearance application when you travel to the UK. The Border Force Officer may ask to see these documents when you arrive in the UK.
Students (aged 16 or above) attending English language courses for 6 to 11 months can apply for a Short-Term Study visa. This is only possible if you are studying English. If you are studying any other course of over 6 months, you will need to apply for a Student or Child Student Visa. You can find more information on the following website: https://www.gov.uk/visa-to-study-english
The English language course does not need to lead to a specific qualification and there are no minimum academic requirements for immigration purposes.
You are not allowed to study on any other course or change your course while in the UK.
This is the route for those intending to study in the UK, usually for 6 months or more.
A student cannot make a visa application more than six months before the start date of their course outside the UK and more than 3 months before the start of the course inside the UK.
There are two categories under Student Route:
- Age: 4 – 17
- Study at an Independent school
- Course level: any level up to RQF Level 3 excluding Foundation course
- No Secure English Language Test is required
- No progression requirement – students can extend their visa in the UK
- Course change: possible on same visa if new course is on same or higher level
Please refer to the UKVI website for more details.
- Age: 16+
- Course level: RQF Level 3 or above (Foundation course can only be studied on a Student visa)
- Time limit:
- Below degree level: 2 years from the students’ 18th birthday subject to certain concessions
- Secure English Language test is required
- Progression requirement: Students need to progress to higher level course to be able to apply for their new Student visa in the UK.
- Course change: must apply for a new visa to be able to switch to new course
- Please refer to the UKVI website for more details.
Please note that all students applying for Student or Child Student (for over 6 months) are issued entry clearance (yellow sticker in passport). Students will need to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card within 10 days of arriving in the UK. The BRP card covers the full length of their student visa. The school will give you more details on how to collect the card and you will also receive a letter from UK Visas and Immigration with more information following a successful visa application.
Studies below degree level (below RQF level 6):
From the student’s 18th birthday, they can study up to 2 years below degree level on a Child Student and/or Student visa.
Concession: The 2 years can be extended to 2 years and 11 months if the student is applying for their first Student visa and the course length is 2 years
- There is no need for a Secure English Language Test (SELT) as we can self-assess entry level of English and recommend the appropriate course for each student’s needs.
- Students can take an English language pre-sessional course before their main academic course under one single CAS (as long as they are 16 or over and joining Pre: Programme/A Level/IB Diploma course)
Students applying for the Student Route must complete and pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT). The current list of approved tests can be found here.
All students requiring a SELT will need to take one of the approved tests at an approved SELT centre.
The minimum scores required by UKVI are on this website and listed below, however each course has its own entry requirements.
RQF Level 3: CEFR Level B1
- IELTS for UKVI 4.0 minimum in all 4 components
- LanguageCert International ESOL SELT B1 minimum 33 in all components
- Pearson PTE Academic UKVI minimum 43 in all components
- PSI Service (UK) Ltd Skills for English UKVI B1 (4 component) minimum Pass in all components
Students over 18 with an English level below CEFR Level B1 will have to use the Short-term Study visa route.
Exemptions to the Secure English Language Test (SELT)
Only the following students are not required to undertake a SELT in order to obtain a Student visa:
- Students who have successfully completed a GCSE or A Level in English (Language or Literature) in UK, which was started aged under 18.
- Nationals from a majority English-speaking country. The current list published by UKVI can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-english-language
Most student visa refusals under the Student route are due to errors in financial documentation. Please read this section carefully and check the UKVI website for up to date advice.
Depending on the length of the course and your accommodation, the amount of finance required to satisfy the points-based assessment will vary as follows:
|Boarding||Full boarding fees paid, or available in student or parents’ bank account|
Course fees (paid or in bank account) plus
You might not need to provide financial evidence if you’re from an exempt country but you should still make sure you have enough funds. UK Visas and Immigration may ask you to show that you have them.
Types of funds you can rely on
You can show you have enough money using:
- your own money
- your parent’s money (if they provide a letter confirming they agree to you using it this way)
- an official financial or government sponsorship or grant
- a student loan from a government, government sponsored loan company, or a regulated student loans scheme
Evidence of Funds
Evidence of your own funds (not loan or sponsorship) can be provided in the following ways:
- bank statements
- building society passbooks
- certificates of deposit
- a letter from your bank or building society
For bank statements, they must:
- Be dated no more than one month before the visa application submission date;
- Show that the entire amount required (as per above) has been in the account for 28 consecutive days (and has not fallen below the required amount throughout the 28 days)
- Be for a cash account
- Show the date it was issued, account holders name, name of bank or building society and the balance over the 28 day period
Fees Paid to Institutions
Fees already paid to the College towards student’s tuition or boarding fees can be deducted when calculating how much money a student needs to meet the finance requirements for a Student or Child Student visa application.
Applying using your parent’s documents
If parent’s bank statements are used in the visa application, submission of the following to prove the relationship between parents and the applicant is also required:
- Original legal documentation from parent/legal guardian who are financially supporting the applicant. The documentation should confirm the relationship between the parent/legal guardian and the applicant. This could include the following:
- Birth certificate showing the applicant and the parents’ names;
- Certificate of adoption showing applicant and the parents’ names;
- Court document showing the applicant and the legal guardian’s names;
- A letter from parent/legal guardian confirming the relationship between the applicant and the parent/legal guardian and that parent/legal guardian consent to using their funds to pay for the tuition and maintenance during the applicant’s studies in the UK.
Please read our quick reference guide to evidencing your finances to ensure you satisfy the UKVI requirements.
To apply for your Student or Child Student visa, you will need your CAS reference number from us.
The CAS includes information about the student, their sponsor (educational provider), their course, the evidence used to obtain the offer and the fees.
Our admissions team will send out CAS statements to students once all the conditions on the offer are met and we have received the deposit.
As a condition of being a licensed sponsor, we are responsible for the students while they are in the UK and are obliged to report students to the UKVI if they:
- do not arrive for the start of their course
- withdraw from their course
- defer or suspend their studies
- are absent for significant periods of time.
Please be aware that your visa will be curtailed if we report you to UKVI. Always contact us to discuss any changes in circumstances.
We are also required to keep up to date and accurate records of visa and passport documentation, UK contact details and attendance records.
Child Students can apply in the UK.
Students are restricted in extending their visas in the UK, and it will depend on the following criteria. Please contact us with any queries.
- If the new course starts later than 28 days of your current visa’s expiry date.
- Academic Progression requirement must be met – except if you apply for a Child Student visa or your first Student visa. Academic Progression requirement is met when an applicant successfully completed the previous course, and your new course must be above the level of the previous course for which you were given leave.
- Current visa type. We will need to receive a copy of your current visa to confirm whether you can apply in the UK. There are some visa types/ permissions that cannot be used to apply for a new visa in the UK. You can find the list in the Immigration rules under ST.1.4. – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/appendix-student
Please note that students are only allowed to attend lessons, if they have a visa application submitted for their new visa with us. We will require evidence of the new application.
We can support you with submitting your visa application in the UK. Once you arrive to school one of our friendly team can assist you with it.
Students will need to:
- Complete the appropriate visa application form: https://www.gov.uk/child-study-visa/apply or https://www.gov.uk/student-visa/apply
- Pay the visa application fee
- Pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)
- Prepare for your visa interview (if applicable)
- Students will need to provide the following:
- a valid passport or travel document
- a CAS statement from a licensed sponsor
- documents to show they meet the maintenance requirements (such as a bank statement featuring the student’s name (or parent or legal guardian, with evidence of relationship i.e. birth certificate) or a loan in their name or government sponsorship and financial consent (if the account belongs to the parent or legal guardian)
- a parental consent letter if the student is under the age of 18. The written consent must confirm support for all of the following:
- the application; and
- the applicant’s living and care arrangements in the UK; and
- if the application is for entry clearance, the applicant’s travel to, and reception arrangements in, the UK.
- Documents listed by their sponsors in the CAS statement assigned by their sponsor, such as academic transcripts.
- Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) Card (if applicable)
- TB certificate (click here to see if you are required to provide a TB certificate before submitting your application for your UK student visa)
- a parental consent letter if the student is under the age of 18. The written consent must confirm support for all of the following:
What is the Visa Interview (Credibility Test)?
Students aged 16 or above can be asked to attend an interview during their visa application process. The purpose of visa interview is to check the applicant’s credibility as a genuine student and interview questions can include the applicant’s reasons for choosing to study their programme in the UK, their knowledge of the chosen programme and whether they can afford their studies in the UK. These interviews can be carried out via video link, face-to-face or via telephone.
How do I prepare for the Visa Interview?
We recommend our students to prepare for these visa interviews so they can answer the questions properly and accurately to assist the caseworker who will be assessing the applications. This also ensures there is minimum delay to the processing of their visa application.
Here are a few things to bear in mind:
- Do attend– Failure to attend the interview may result in your application being automatically refused. In the event you cannot attend, contact the Visa Office to reschedule.
- Do answer– You should always answer all questions fully and honestly.
- Do think– You should think in advance about your course, the documents you provided for your visa application, and your intention to study. The UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) want to know that you have given serious thought before choosing your course and researched the options.
- Do speak in English! – One of the most important things they will be checking is your level of English, so always answer in English, not via an interpreter.
- Do ask– Ask for clarification if you do not understand a question to make sure you are providing the information they want.
If you would like to get a copy of our Visa Interview Guide, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Money and Insurance
Your school fees are for tuition, welfare, most activities and accommodation only. If you have catered accommodation your meals will also be included in the costs.
You may either cover additional costs from your personal finances, or through a managed by the school. You or your parents can fund this account as necessary, and the school can then give you an agreed amount of pocket money each week. A float account is managed by the school. It’s designed to help students look after their money, and can also be used to help cover school expenses.
Please email: email@example.com before you arrive to help you set up a float account.
Notice on how to open a bank account in the UK and that Reception will provide the needed bank letter, and this should be done as soon as possible upon enrolment, noting that the student must be enrolled before this can be done.
During Christmas vacation:
The Boarding Houses close. You will need to make alternative arrangements.
During half term holidays:
All students can stay in the Boarding Houses during the half-term holidays. If you are under 16 there is a compulsory activities programme, this incurs a cost of £200 per week. If you are over 16, you are welcome to stay in your accommodation at no extra charge.
During Easter vacation:
There is a weekly charge if you wish to stay in your boarding house over Easter. You will need to give at least one month’s notice.
Self-catered students can buy food and drink during the day. You can also buy meal vouchers from the catering team.
We highly recommend you take out student travel insurance that will cover you for any emergencies while you are studying in the UK. If you have already opted to take the insurance we offer, you will be covered for the following:
- Cancellation or curtailment charges
- Personal money, passport & documents
- Emergency medical & other expenses
- Personal liability
- Private medical emergency cover
- Missed departure
- Personal accident
- Overseas legal expenses & assistance
- Baggage Course fees
For full policy details contact the Admissions Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Arrival in the UK
We understand how daunting it can be to arrive in a new country to study. We have put together this guide to help students understand what to expect when they touchdown at a UK airport.
If you are aged 16 or under, you may not be allowed to leave immigration until the person meeting you has been found. If you have booked a taxi transfer, make sure you have the information with you.
You should be ready to show all your school and visa application documents to the Border Force Officer is asked.
Use of eGates:
If you are a citizen of an EU country, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the USA, you will normally be able to use the eGates on arrival. Instead of a visa stamp or vignette, you will be required to show your flight ticket or boarding pass on arrival at the school. You will be allowed to study for up to 6 months.
After passport control, follow the arrival signs to the baggage reclaim area and check the information screens to find the correct carousel.
When you reach Customs, you may be interviewed by a Customs Official. They might ask you some basic questions, such as ‘Where is your school?’ and ‘Why do you want to study in the UK?’ or questions about your luggage and what you are bringing into the UK. UK customs officers also routinely check bags.
You will need to walk down one of two exits or ‘channels’: the red or green channel. For more information on items that need to be declared – please see https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control
If you are bringing a bank draft or cheque for school fees of over £10,000 then you must go through the Red Channel and declare it. For this reason, it is easier to pay fees by bank transfer before you come.
If you arranged with us for a taxi to meet you, you will find your driver in the Arrivals area as you leave Customs. The driver holds a board showing their passenger’s name. Look out for your name or Guildhouse School logo. If you cannot see your name go to Airport Information, ask them to help you find your driver. Wait there until your driver arrives.
6. Student Wellbeing
Everyone enjoys the excitement of starting at Guildhouse School, but as time goes by, you may start to miss home. This is normal, and there are simple things you can do to help yourself adjust to school life.
- Taking part in activities organised by the school to make friends with other students.
- Staying in touch with home via email or telephone. Most of our students have contact with their families at least once a week. It might be helpful to fix a time to talk with your family every week, taking into account the time difference with the UK.
- Bringing photographs or items from home to decorate your room.
- Most importantly of all, though, it’s really important to talk about how you’re feeling. Your Personal Tutor, House Parent or the Welfare team will always be happy to listen and offer advice.
- Remember, almost everyone feels homesick at some stage but help will always be close at hand.
If you feel unwell you will need to go and see the school nurse.
The school nurse will:
- See you if you are feeling unwell or have a minor injury
- Advise on healthcare and wellbeing concerns
- Advise if you need to see a doctor
- Authorise absence from class if you a too unwell to attend lessons
If you bring any medication into the UK, also carry a letter (translated into English) from your doctor explaining what the medicine is, and what it is for. Similarly, if you are undergoing any long-term medical treatment, you should also bring a letter from your doctor, counsellor, or hospital specialist. This letter can be shown to a relevant UK specialist if further treatment is needed.
Email email@example.com before leaving to establish whether the medication you are taking is licensed for use in the UK, and to inform the school of any medical conditions. Students may also arrange to speak to the school nurse directly. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, we also recommend that you bring a copy of your prescription.
UK medical services include:
- Consulting a GP (doctor)
- Most other GP services, such as visiting a clinic for a Non-emergency treatment in a hospital.
Even if you qualify for these free NHS services, you may still wish to take out private medical insurance. Sometimes it can take several days to get an appointment with an NHS GP, and there are long waiting lists for non-emergency NHS services. Some students will require insurance for certain medical services.
Under the National Health Service (NHS), all students are entitled to free emergency hospital treatment in an Accident & Emergency department.
You do not need medical insurance for emergency care. The NHS also provides a full range of free, non-urgent healthcare services, but these services are only available to some students, depending on the terms of your visa. Private medical insurance could give you much quicker access to treatment if you need it.
If you come to the UK on a Student or Child Student Visa, the cost of free NHS healthcare will be included in the cost of your visa application.
This is called the ‘Immigration Health Surcharge’, and it gives you free access to the full range of free services provided by the NHS.
Certain healthcare costs are not covered by the NHS. All students will have to pay for these at the point of delivery.
- The prescription charge. Although the medicines themselves are free, each prescription is charged at £9.65 per item
- Certain GP services such as travel vaccinations
- Dental Treatment
Please note: The £9.65 prescription charge is only for NHS patients – this includes you if you become an NHS patient under the terms of your Student Visa. Prescription charges for private patients are considerably more.
A Standard Visitor Visa does not entitle you to free healthcare on the NHS. This means that you will need private medical insurance.
If you do not have private medical insurance, and you require non-urgent healthcare, you will be required to pay at the point of service. This can be extremely expensive, so it is very important to arrange your insurance before coming to the UK.
You should ensure that this insurance covers all additional costs that might result from illness, such as a flight home.