International students: Before you arrive

Find out about Bristol, visa guidance, travel advice, health information and important documents to bring.


We are an international university and welcome staff and students from over 150 countries.

In the EU referendum, 62% of Bristol voted to remain in the EU. Find out about how Brexit might affect our prospective and new students.

You can also get advice on visas, following Brexit, from our Student Visa Service.

Get to know Bristol

Bristol is a vibrant and friendly city and we want to make sure you feel welcomed and prepared to live and study here.

Find out about Bristol and some things you can do here so you can imagine your new home. Fnd places of worship, student groups and student networks so you can start making friends and building a community as soon as you arrive.

Visa guidance

You will need to check if you need a visa to study in the UK. Our Student Visa Services can help you with queries about visas, your immigration status and working in the UK.

Plan your travel to the UK

We recommend you book your travel to the UK as soon as possible. If you are living in university accommodation, find out dates for moving in. If you are arriving before your accommodation is ready, you will need to arrange somewhere to stay.

Plan how to get here.

If you are arriving into the UK late at night, we recommend you book a nearby hotel for the night and travel to Bristol the next day.

We recommend you check:

  • Your government's restrictions on taking money out of your home country.
  • What items you can bring into the UK.
  • Your luggage weight against your airline's allowance.

We recommend you buy travel insurance and bring these documents with you. 

What to expect when you arrive in the UK

Knowing what to expect will make arriving in the UK an better experience. Look at Border Force 10 Tips for students (PDF, 243kB) and watch the videos in our playlist to help you through passport control and customs when you arrive at the UK Border.

Where we can meet you

During arrivals weekend (21 and 22 September), we run a Meet and Greet service to welcome you and help you reach your destination. Find out where we can meet you.

Health advice

Read the UKCISA health and healthcare information to understand how the medical system works in the UK. This explains if you are covered under the National Health Service (NHS), or have to pay the cost of any medical care you receive.

Our Students' Health Service  provides information about what you should do before you arrive. You don't need to register with a doctor (often called a GP) until you have arrived.

If you have a health issue, disability or mental health issues tell our Disability Services team, so we can make sure you get the right support while you are with us. Giving us this information will not negatively affect your application, grades or the qualification you receive. Information you provide will be treated confidentially.

Health documents to bring

  • Details (in English) about any past physical or medical illness requiring medical treatment.
  • A full record of past immunisations.
  • Your European Health Card (EEA students only). 

If you have a serious illness, or currently undergoing treatment or investigation, you must bring a doctor's letter (in English) summarising your medical history. This will help your new doctor organise your ongoing healthcare in the UK.

If you are bringing prescribed drugs or medication, you will need a letter of explanation from your doctor. You should also bring enough of your prescribed drug or medicine to last you at least two months.

Important documents to bring with you

You need the following documents printed and available in your hand luggage when you arrive in the UK. Electronic copies will not be accepted and may delay your journey significantly.

  • visa decision letter
  • a printed email showing your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies number (CAS)
  • bank statements
  • accommodation details
  • original copies and English translations of relevant certificates and examination results
  • health documents (see above).

What to do next

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