International, exchange and study abroad students arrival guide
You are about to join a community of international, exchange and study abroad students from over 140 countries. Find out the essential information you need to know for when you leave home, arrive on campus, and settle into university life.
If you require a visa for your studies at Surrey, please take a look at the information below.
Check your CAS carefully and ensure that you apply for your visa in good time.
Successful Student Visa applicants from outside the EU/EEA will be issued with a 30- or 90-day entry clearance vignette in their passport. You must travel to the UK within the dates specified on your entry clearance vignette and before the last date of registration as shown on your CAS.
If you are an EU/EEA national you will not receive an entry clearance vignette. Instead your immigration permission will be entirely digital and you should follow instructions in your visa decision letter about how to prove your immigration status.
If you need to apply for a visa before travelling, please check your CAS (Student visas) or visa support letter (Standard Visitor visas) carefully and ensure that you apply for it in good time. If for any reason, you do not receive your visa in time to join the Orientation or begin your studies in-person, please update your online University registration form and contact firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
- If you are using a Visit Visa to undertake a 1 semester exchange programme then whether you need to apply for it before travelling or whether you will be granted it at the airport will depend on your nationality. For further details, please see our Study as a Visitor advice
- Successful Student Visa applicants will be issued with a 30- or 90-day entry clearance vignette in your passport and must arrive within the dates shown on that document - if your travel is delayed and you are unable to arrive within those dates please email email@example.com as soon as possible.
- Successful Student Visa applicants from outside the EU/EEA will be issued with a 30- or 90-day entry clearance vignette in their passport. You must travel to the UK within the dates specified on your entry clearance vignette and before the last date of registration as shown on your CAS.
- If you are an EU/EEA national and have applied for a Student Visa you will not receive an entry clearance vignette. Instead your immigration permission will be entirely digital and you should follow instructions in your visa decision letter about how to prove your immigration status.
Book a Covid-19 test and self-isolate on arrival
When you travel to England, you:
- Do not need to take any COVID-19 tests before you travel or after you arrive
- Do not need to quarantine when you arrive.
These rules apply whether you are vaccinated or not.
These rules are subject to change often at short notice and we recommend that all students check the official UK Government guidance before travelling.
Medical information for students from the European Economic Area and Switzerland
If you are a student from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and you are not travelling to the UK on a Student Visa, you will need to provide a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Your EHIC will entitle you to free or lower cost medically necessary treatment in National Health Service (NHS) hospitals, clinics or General Practitioners (called ‘GPs’) during your stay. However, you should still purchase travel insurance with some medical cover. You must apply for your EHIC in your country before coming to the UK. Processing time is typically around 2 weeks.
If you are arriving on a Student Visa you may also wish to ensure you hold a valid EHIC should you later want to apply for a refund on the Immigration Health Surcharge that you will pay as part of your visa application.
Medical information for students from countries with a reciprocal healthcare agreement
If you are not a resident in the UK but you are from a country that has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with the UK (PDF), you will be eligible for some free medical treatment but you will need to provide evidence of your eligibility and will still need travel insurance with some medical cover.
Read our medical advice (PDF).
Before you leave
As an international student coming to study at the University of Surrey, there are a number of things you must do before you travel to the UK.
Be prepared for your arrival in the UK and travelling to the campus.