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Preparing for your arrival

Travelling to the UK and settling in at Brunel

This page contains information which may be useful as you prepare for your journey to the UK. In addition to the information on this page, remember to check out the pre-arrival actions relevant to all new students, irrespective of your country of origin.

Travelling to the UK

The UK government has created a traffic light system to help monitor the flow of covid into the UK from other countries. Each country in the world is classified either red, amber or green with different requirements for air passengers from these locations.

To know what you should do, you must do two things:

1. Check your home country's status by visiting the UK Government's Covid-19 Travel Corridors. Your country's classification may change at any point so keep checking right up to time of departure and on arrival.

2. Check Brunel's specific guidance on how we can support you.

Useful link
The Department for Education has produced a useful document on frequently asked questions for international students who are travelling to England and have been in a red list country in the 10 days before they arrive.

Airport Pick-Up Service

The Airport Pick-up Service is free for all new international, EU and exchange students arriving into Heathrow Airport only. The service will welcome you at Heathrow and transport you safely to our Uxbridge campus. You must register for this service by filling in a form

Luggage Allowance

Your private vehicle can accommodate up to 2 large cases and 2 small cabin bags. If you exceed the luggage allowance, or are travelling with extra passengers, additional charges may apply. This will not be covered by the University.

This service will be operating from Heathrow to the Brunel campus only. If you are travelling from or to another location you will need to make your own arrangements.

The service is free to use and available from Friday 7 January - Monday 10 January 2022 (inclusive).

The deadline to book this service is Thursday 6 January 2022, 0800 GMT.

  1. You will need to know your confirmed flight details in order to register for the service including flight number, date and time of arrival.
  2. Once you have signed up for our Airport Pick-up Service you will receive a booking confirmation from Student Services to confirm your pick-up arrangements.
  3. When you arrive at Heathrow, your pre-booked taxi will collect you and take you on the short journey to the Brunel campus.
  4. Once we have arranged a taxi you will receive a booking confirmation email from our provider Addison Lee.

If your travel plans suddenly change or you no longer require a taxi after filling in the form, please contact studentsupport@brunel.ac.uk or 01895268268 (option 2) to amend or cancel your booking. 

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Getting to Brunel by other means

If you are travelling to Brunel from a port other than Heathrow Airport, or after 10 January 2022, you will need to make your own arrangements.

Picture of Uxbridge underground sign
Picture of Uxbridge underground sign
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Arriving by train

iconic red London bus near campus
iconic red London bus near campus
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Arriving by bus

welcome week 202 taxi
welcome week 202 taxi
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Arriving by taxi


Immigration Information

In order to register at Brunel University London, all students must provide evidence that they have valid immigration permission to study in the UK. This can be done by presenting your visa which may be a vignette in your passport or a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

If you have a pending immigration application at the point of registration, you should supply this evidence. This may include letters or emails you have received from the Home Office and/or a copy of your application form. 

You can find more information about registering as an international student here, including how to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

Tier 4 sponsorship and responsibilities  

Brunel sponsors Tier 4 visas for students to come to the UK with the primary purpose of studying full-time at our university. Both you and Brunel have to meet certain requirements so you can maintain your visa.  

In addition to the responsibilities outlined below, we recommend you read Protecting your visa published by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).

Your Responsibilities:

In order to comply with the conditions of your visa, all Tier 4 students must:  

  • register for their course annually before the registration deadlines  
  • sign the Tier 4 Student Seclaration in eVision annually  
  • provide a passport and evidence of eligibility to study (visa/BRP) to Brunel during registration
  • maintain up-to-date contact details with the University  
  • maintain full engagement with their course of study.  

All visa and immigration information can be found here and there is an Immigration Team dedicated to supporting you throughout your studies.  

What to bring or buy when you arrive

Here are some things to consider bringing to make your arrival to the UK easier.

The temperature in the UK can be varied so it’s important to have a range of clothing items to suit. Whilst you should get a chance to wear your t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops in the summer, it is strongly advised to prepare for the wetter months by packing a waterproof coat and a warm jumper. Brunel doesn’t have an official dress code so most students dress casually for class.

Housing equipment
If you are staying in our on-campus accommodation we have a range of housing equipment that is part of your payment. These include laundry facilities, toaster, oven and microwave. You will receive two pillows and a duvet in your room. Kitchen utensils, bedding covers and other homely items can be purchased for a reasonable price in shops near campus or via UniKitOut.

You should ensure that your electrical appliances (laptops, hairdryers, shavers etc.) are compatible with the UK voltage system: 230V. Adaptors are cheap and easy to find in travel shops, airports and supermarkets.

A great benefit of living in London is that you have access to a variety of foods from around the world. After your quarantine period is over you might want to have a look in the local supermarkets and International food stores in Uxbridge.

We don’t advise that you bring large amounts of cash into the UK as it can be easily lost. Aim to bring enough cash to get you through your first few weeks. After this, you will be able to use bank cards – most shops and services encourage you to use a contactless bank card.

Health and Protective equipment
When you are using public transport and going shopping you may need to wear face masks so please bring these with you - you may also buy them when your arrive and there will be masks available on campus. Some international students may need need Vitamin D supplements,  flu shots or other medical checks that may incur a cost. Please check with your local health service before travelling.

Getting a UK bank account and mobile phone 

UK Bank Account
On arrival in the UK, you may be able to use your bank account from home for some purchases, but your bank may charge you for transactions made outside of your home country. We would encourage you to set up a UK bank account to avoid additional charges and to keep track of your spending.

You can find relevant information on opening a UK Bank Account here, including:

  • Which bank to go with
  • What documents you need
  • Tips on keeping your money safe

UK Mobile Phone Number

It may be cheaper and more convenient to obtain a UK mobile number for your time in the UK. There are several networks to choose from and different options for either pay-as-you-go (pre-paid) or monthly contracts.

Using a pay as you go option allows you to pre-pay for your airtime minute, texts and data. Pay as you go plans are ideal for students. Most SIMs come with bundles that contain a set amount of data, minutes and texts. This option will not require a credit check and allow you to better control your spend.

The other option is a contract phone or 12-month sim only deal. With these deals, your handset is usually provided by the carrier when you sign up for their plan and you are usually billed monthly. However contract plans require a credit check. You will, however, be bound to a contract, which (in most cases) can vary from 12, 18, or 24 months, and breaking the contract is very expensive. Under a contract plan, you are allotted a certain number of minutes and texts and you pay a fixed monthly rate (if you exceed your minutes though, expect to pay additional charges!)

You can find more information and compare UK mobile phone deals here.

If you plan to use your phone from home, make sure it is compatible with the UK Sim card.

Accessing medical care

Medical care is free at the point of care for every resident of the UK and you will benefit from this as an international student.  Please register as soon as possible with the Brunel Medical Centre so their team of doctors and nurses can advise you on health care and provide support if you become unwell. 

You can benefit from these services if you live on campus or within a 2 mile radius of Brunel. If you live outside of the catchment area but still want to register with the Brunel Medical please visit the Brunel Medical Centre webpages for more details.

If you get seriously ill and need emergency treament whilst you are here, you will be able able to visit the urgent care centre of the nearest hospital wherever you are. You may dial 999 or call 111 to get advice.  

Getting vaccinated 

Please get fully vaccinated against covid before you arrive. If you cannot get fully vaccinated for any reason, we ask that you get at least one jab eight weeks before you arrive and you will be able to get the other on or near campus when you arrive. 

We understand this may not be possible for all students and you may have further questions or challenges, so we have created a hub with information outlining what you should do regarding vaccination. 

Visit the vaccination hub now.