International and exchange pre-departure checklist

Students studying in our campus restaurant

As an international, exchange or study abroad student coming to study at the University of Surrey, there are a number of things you must do before you travel to the UK. 


Apply for your visa

When applying for your visa, you may also be required to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate in order to begin your studies.

Apply now

Apply for accommodation

Apply for University accommodation, await an acceptance email and submit your pre-payment.

You will need your Surrey student number to apply. Put any special requirements in the space on the form e.g. permission to purchase a fridge to store your medicine in, etc. 

Apply now

Check your passport

International students - your passport needs to be valid for at least six months after the start of your course. If you have to order a new passport, please scan a copy of this and send this to the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) team. You will need to do this even if you have already received your visa. 

Exchange and study abroad students - your passport needs to be valid for at least six months after the end of your stay. If you order a new passport, please scan a copy and send it to the International Engagement Office. You will need to do this even if you have already received your visa. 

Book your travel

Once you have your visa (if relevant), you can book your travel. We recommend booking flexible tickets in case you need to change your travel dates due to changes in travel restrictions. Check your visa dates and our semester and vacation dates carefully before booking. 

Get travel and medical insurance

Take out travel insurance to cover any loss of luggage or travel delays and cancellations, together with medical insurance, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition. The health surcharge, EHIC cards and reciprocal healthcare agreements will only provide partial medical cover so most international students will require some additional cover. University accommodation provides some belongings cover for your room. 

Visit your home doctor

For ongoing medical conditions, bring with you a good supply of medicine and a letter from your doctor or medical notes translated into English.

Complete online pre-registration

This is an important first step. Pre-register online in just a few minutes. Keep your confirmation of registration as you will need to show this when you register in person at the University.

Pre-register now

Set up your IT account

As soon as you are notified via email, set up your IT account.

Find out more

Register for a GP

Those applying for a Student visa can register online with a local doctor (a ‘GP’) before you arrive to save time. The health surcharge you paid with your visa application entitles you to the same NHS health care as UK residents. Other students (Visitors) should only register with a GP if you need treatment. Any students with an existing medical condition should book a phone appointment with a local GP for your first week at Surrey. 

GP appointments are by phone in the first instance so you will need a UK phone number. We recommend you unlock your phone and purchase a UK SIM card before you travel or as soon as possible on arrival – the University receptions and MySurrey Hive will have some free SIM cards available to get you started. 

Find out more

Set up an online bank account

Set up an online bank account and transfer funds to cover your living costs and accommodation for when you are in the UK, and avoid currency conversion fees. 

Find out more

Order UK currency

To help cover the first few weeks in the UK including small amounts of cash for use at the airport and your first few days at Surrey, we recommend getting no more than £400 GBP in currency. Most transactions in the UK are by bank card or phone payment app now, including public transport and taxis, and the University campus is almost entirely cash-free.

Pack your bags and purchase a bedding pack

When you are coming to the UK for just a few months or years, it is hard to decide what to bring. View our what to pack guide for recommendations, and why not purchase a University bedding pack which will be in your room.

Packing advice

Top tips

View our semester and vacation dates to plan ahead.

Find useful information about studying and living in Britain on the British Council and Prepare for Success websites.

Email your family copies of your passport, UK Visas, Immigration decision letter (as appropriate) and accommodation allocation email, in case of an emergency.

Get your phone unlocked so that it can be used with any UK SIM card.