International, exchange and study abroad students arrival guide

Students taking a selfie by the lake

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. 

Visa requirements

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. If for any reason, you are unable to submit a visa application in time to begin your studies in person for the date you choose during online pre-registration, please update your online registration and contact cas@surrey.ac.uk.

Please note:

  • Standard Visitor visa applicants will be issued with an entry clearance vignette in your passport with your permitted arrival day one week before orientation and the expiry date at the end of your stay 
  • 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 internationalsupport@surrey.ac.uk as soon as possible. 

If you require a visa for your studies at Surrey, please check your CAS (Student visas) or visa support letter (Standard Visitor visas) carefully and ensure that you apply for your visa 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 ieo.incoming@surrey.ac.uk to let us know. 

Please note: 

  • Student Visitors (don’t need a visa) can arrive a few weeks before orientation, as long as you won’t exceed your 6-month entry clearance by the end of your stay
  • Standard Visitor visa applicants will be issued with an entry clearance vignette in your passport with your permitted arrival day one week before the exchange orientation and the expiry date at the end of your stay
  • 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 internationalsupport@surrey.ac.uk as soon as possible.

Book a Covid-19 test and self-isolate on arrival 

Before travelling to England, passengers arriving from all international destinations - whether by plane, boat or train - will be required to:  

 

Please note, currently, PCR Covid-19 tests provided on the University of Surrey campus are only available to current students with symptoms, so you must use one of the private test providers listed on the gov.uk website (see links above). 

Please note these rules still apply even if you have been double-vaccinated outside the UK and have had a negative Covid-19 test just before travelling to the UK.

You can find out more about the requirements to book a Covid-19 test on our coronavirus webpages and about the support that is available for you while you self-isolate on our MySurrey website

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 require medical treatment while you are at Surrey, 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. 

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.

Students studying in our campus restaurant
International pre-departure checklist
Make sure you complete these actions before you get here.
Student and family in halls
What to pack
It's good to be prepared for living in the UK.

Arrival information

Be prepared for your arrival in the UK and travelling to the campus.

Motorway in Surrey
Arriving in the UK
When you arrive in the UK, you will need to go through passport control and customs.
Student arriving on campus
Travelling to the University
We have great connections to Heathrow and Gatwick airports and offer a meet and greet service to meet you in arrivals.

International welcome and orientation

Information, guidance and support for your first few weeks at Surrey.

Students taking a selfie by the lake
International orientation
We prepare activities and support to ensure you settle in well.
Students shopping in the on-site supermarket on Stag Hill campus
UK arrival checklist
Find out what to expect during your first few weeks when you arrive.