Information for new students

International and EU students

The International Office is here to provide International and EU students with advice and support, and we’re committed to making your stay successful and enjoyable.

Come to see us during International and EU Orientation Week: Monday 11 September – Sunday 17 September. Every year we host an Orientation Week for our international and EU students. During the week you will get to know the city and the University before your classes start, as well as meet other new students. More details about the Orientation Programme and the events that are available is on our website.

We’ve put together a summary to help you take your next steps to becoming a student in Portsmouth with useful tips that will help you prepare to travel to the UK.

We have dedicated pages on our website with information to help you to prepare for travel before you come to Portsmouth. It is a good place to begin if you are getting ready to join us in September.

Meet people before you arrive and ask any questions about living and studying in Portsmouth by joining our University of Portsmouth – Global Community Facebook group.

Check out our blog page, My World in Portsmouth, where our International Student Ambassadors write about their experience of living in Portsmouth and give tips about studying and working in the UK.

Below is everything you need to know to become a student at the University of Portsmouth:

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Admissions, deposit and visas

Admissions, deposit and visas for international (non-EU) students

There are several steps you need to take in order to become a student at the University.

  1. Accept your offer – accept your offer here. (If you applied through UCAS you will need to accept your offer through UCAS.)
  2. Meet the conditions of your offer – you will have received an email outlining the conditions of your offer. Make sure you email the documents requested to the Admissions Team as soon as possible. You will find details of who to reply to in your offer email. This includes applying for ATAS clearance (if applicable).

Your conditions may also include:

  1. Complete the Eligibility to Study in the UK questionnaire (Tier 4 students) – complete the questionnaire here.
  2. Pay your £2,000 deposit  You can make payments in a variety of ways. Many students find Webpay the simplest way to pay using a debit or credit card or Western Union transaction. Other options available are direct debit and bank transfer. Please only pay your deposit when you have an unconditional offer that you have accepted.

All Tier 4 students will need to complete points 14 before their Confirmation of Acceptance will be issued.

  1. Receive your Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) (Tier 4 students) – Your CAS will be sent to you automatically when you have taken steps 14 above. Find more information on the International Office web pages.

Sponsored students need to supply details of their sponsorship to the University before they can receive their CAS. More details about this can be found on our International Fees and Funding pages, at the bottom of the page.

  1. Apply for your visa (Tier 4 students) – You will be able to apply for your Tier 4 student visa once you have your CAS statement. See further information about applying for a Tier 4 visa on our Student Visa webpages, on the UKVI website or at UK Council for International Students Affairs website.

Current students who have applied to the University to study a postgraduate degree can seek help from the International Office to extend their visa. Please come to see us when you have received your CAS and prepared all your supporting documents. Search ‘Tier 4 Visa  Extension Information’ on MyPort for further information.

Admissions for EU students

  1. Accept your offer – If you applied through UCAS you need to accept your offer through UCAS as soon as possible. If you applied directly to the University, or through an Agent, you can can accept your offer here.
  2. Meet the conditions of your offer – you will have received an email outlining all the conditions of your offer. Make sure you email the documents requested as soon as possible. You will find details of who to reply to in your offer email.
  3. Apply for the tuition fee loan – If you are planning to take one. More details can be found on our website.

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Useful information and contacts before you travel

Go to the International students web page for information to help you to prepare for travel before you come to Portsmouth. This is a good place to begin if you are getting ready to join us in September.

Register online and apply for your student card – you will be able to register online and apply for your student card from Friday 18 August. The links for this will be sent to you via email so look out for them and complete these forms before you arrive – this will make everything much easier once you are here.

You will need to complete your registration once you have arrived on campus. You can find details of how to do this in the ‘Welcome Pack’ you will collect from the International Office.

Late arrivals – the term start date and last date for registration is included in your offer letter. Late arrival is not permitted as it will be detrimental to your studies. If you are unable to arrive due to exceptional circumstances you will need to seek authority from the Universality by filling out the form at late registration form. If you have been offered University accommodation, please contact Student Housing to inform them of your late arrival; they will then be able to advise.

What to bring – on our preparing to travel web pages, you’ll find details about the documents you need to bring with you, the items you aren’t permitted to bring into the UK, and information about how much money to bring for your first couple of weeks.

Materials for your studies – information about what you need is available from the International Office during Orientation and over the year as and when you need it.

Taking time out from studying – the University has a huge amount of extra curricula activities on offer. If you enjoy taking part in music, remember to bring your musical instrument; if you enjoy sport, remember to bring your kit. Here’s a list of the clubs and societies linked to the Students’ Union.

You can meet people before you arrive, and ask any questions about living and studying in Portsmouth, by joining our University of Portsmouth – Global Community Facebook group.

Check out our My World in Portsmouth blog, where our International Student Ambassadors write about their experience of living in Portsmouth and give tips about studying and working in the UK.

Useful checklists:

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Accommodation

Once you have an unconditional firm offer, Student Housing will send you an email inviting you to apply for a room in a Hall of Residence. Take a look at the rooms available on our Accommodation page.

If you prefer to live in private accommodation in your first year, or you are bringing dependents with you, Student Housing also has information about private accommodation in the city. You will find some useful information on our website about how to start your search.

Remember to make arrangements with your landlord or Hall of Residence regarding your arrival time in Portsmouth, so there is someone available to meet you and let you in.

Bedding will not be included in your Hall of Residence or private-rented accommodation; however, you can buy sets when you arrive in a range of shops such as Argos, Primark and Wilkinson, as well as department stores such as Debenhams or some of the local supermarkets such as Asda or Tesco. Prices will vary, but a standard bedding set starts from around £15. Remember to check what size bedding you need before you head to the shops – most of the University Halls have single beds.

Students living in Halls of Residence might choose to purchase bedding packs before they arrive in Portsmouth by visiting Click2Campus or UniKitOut (for UniKitOut, use the discount code PORT17 which will give you 10% off your order) to pre-order a pack.

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Travel arrangements

Travel insurance – we recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance to cover your journey to the UK and any trips outside the UK that you make take during your studies.

Airport Pickup Service – we have a dedicated airport pickup service collecting students from Heathrow Airport, Terminal 3, for a small fee on Monday 11, Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 September. Details of the pickup service and how to book can be found here.

Arriving in the UK – UK Border Force has prepared a helpful guide for students to follow and prepare for border control when they arrive in the UK. The documents below will advise you on the correct documentation to present at passport control and make you aware of customs rules and regulations.

Public transport – many students fly to the UK and then travel to Portsmouth by coach, taxi or train. Details about travelling to Portsmouth from the airport can be found here.

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Opening a bank account

It is a good idea for you to open a UK bank account as soon as arrive. As an international student you will need a letter from us to confirm you are a registered at the University. We can only provide bank letters for students who have registered at the University and can produce a valid student card.

We are able to issue bank letters from 11 September for students who have collected their valid student card. If you arrive earlier than that date please make sure you bring sufficient funds with you to cover the period from arrival until the account is open and your cheques/transfers have cleared.

Search MyPort for ‘bank letters for international students’ and you will find a list of banks we can provide letters for. You can review the student accounts on offer and select one that suits your needs.

Before you travel, seek advice from your own bank at home as they may have a special arrangement with a UK bank. You should also find out if you can use a cash card from your home country in the UK.

For details on applying for a bank letter, making an appointment at the bank and the documents you need to take with you when you open the account – please visit MyPort.

Please be aware that it may take two to three weeks to open a bank account in the UK, so you must ensure that you have money available to you during this period.

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Police registration

If you are a Tier 4 student, you may be required to register with the police in the UK. It will say on your vignette/stamp in your passport if you need to do this.

When you arrive in Portsmouth, come into the International Office and we will advise you on what you need to do to register with the Police. During September and October Hampshire Police is on campus, which means you don’t have to travel too far.

If you arrive on campus after October please come into the International Office and speak to our International Student Advisers about how to book a Police registration appointment or go onto MyPort.

Any dependants you have who are aged 16 or over will also need to register with the Police.

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Collecting your BRP card (student visa)

When you arrive in the UK you will need to collect your BRP card before your vignette expires or within 10 working days of arriving in the UK, whichever is earlier.

Make sure you bring your visa decision letter with you as it contains details of where you need to go to collect your BRP card.

For most students this will either be from the University or from the local post office – depending on what you selected when you applied for your visa.

If you haven’t yet applied for your visa we suggest that you select the ‘alternative location’ to collect your visa and enter the code 2HE479. This will allow you to collect your BRP card from the University. The default option on the form is the local post office.

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Living in the UK

You can find some useful information about life in the UK on the Study UK website

The International Office is located in the Nuffield Centre. Find out where we are on the campus map. In the student website MyPort is full of useful links and information (search ‘Living in the UK’):

For a personal take on what it is like to be a student in Portsmouth, please visit our international student blog, My World in Portsmouth.

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Working in the UK

You might want to work part-time while you are in Portsmouth and details of where to start looking for jobs can be found on MyPort.

We suggest that you wait until you are here before applying for work, but you can familiarise yourself with the information before you travel so you have a head start in looking for work when you are here.

Don’t forget: If you are a Tier 4 student you will have restrictions on the amount of hours you can work per week/volunteer as part of the conditions of your visa. Please check the work conditions on your visa. If you are not sure what the condition means then come to see the International Student Advice team.

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Students already studying in Portsmouth

Current University students  current University of Portsmouth students who have applied to the University to study a Postgraduate degree can go to the International Office for help to extend their visa  please come to see us when you have received your CAS and prepared all your supporting documents. Search ‘Tier 4 Visa  Extension Information’ on MyPort for further information.

ICP and Pre-sessional English students  you might already be in Portsmouth studying at ICP or at a Pre-sessional English Course at LSI or the University.

If you are a pre-sessional English student you will have the opportunity to meet our International Student Advisers as part of your course during a dedicated presentation.

ICP students can ask their Student Support Team any questions they have about transferring to the University.

Orientation week is a really nice way for you to integrate into the University and ask any questions you have before you start your studies. We know that by this time you will already be familiar with the city, but you will find out important information about registering onto your University course and how the University works.

If you have any specific questions you can email us at international.office@port.ac.uk and we would be happy to help.

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Your first weeks

We understand that during your first weeks in Portsmouth you will receive lots of information while you get used to your life here as a student. We have put together a checklist to help you navigate your first weeks and settle into your new routine as quickly as possible.

Your department should contact you with details about your induction but you can also find information on MyPort and search for ‘When and where is my University induction?’ The timetables will be finalised two days before induction week begins so please keep checking the site if you haven’t had the details sent to you.

Your personal timetable will be available to you through your University computer login.

Don’t forget that there are University staff available, not only in your first weeks but throughout your time in Portsmouth, who can support you with academic and personal issues you may encounter. Information about who some of these people are appears in the section ‘Settling into your life as a student and ongoing support’ below.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has a blog from 2016 called Things I wish I’d known in my first weeks in the UK that you might find useful.

You’ll need to complete your registration at the University in the first few days after you arrive. There are a number of steps to do this which are covered in the checklist above. The documents you need to bring to complete your registration are outlined in our Preparing to travel web pages. When you arrive you’ll receive a ‘Welcome Pack’ from the International Office that contains all the information you need to help you with this.

Useful information:

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Settling into your life as a student and on-going support

Support from the International Office

International Office staff recognise and understand the cultural changes you may experience whilst studying in the UK. We are here to answer your queries and help you settle into your new life within the University and the local community.

Contact us:

International Student Advisers

Our International Student Advisers offer a variety of services for international and EU students:

  • personal, confidential advice and support throughout your studies
  • student visa extension services, where we check your application before sending it to the Home Office
  • visa advice and supporting letters for holiday and Schengen visas
  • advice on working in the UK
  • a programme of social and cultural events throughout the year  tickets can be booked online once you are a registered student
  • sightseeing coach trips to famous cities and attractions
  • e-newsletter  keeping you updated on events, useful information, advice and competitions
  • HOST UK  spend a weekend in a British home learning about British culture, sightseeing and making new friends

Contact us:

Exchanges and Study Abroad Team

Based in the International Office, the Exchanges and Study Abroad Team is your first point of contact at the University. We are here to help and support you throughout your stay with us.

If you’re an Erasmus+ or Exchanges student please pop into our office and say hello.

Contact us:

Other support services

We are dedicated to making sure you get the most out of your University experience. For those times when you need a bit of extra support or advice, however large or small, help is at hand. We offer a range of both academic and personal support tailored to your needs. You can find more details about the support available on our Advice and Support page.

Culture shock

Travelling to a new country is exciting, and there are many new opportunities to get involved with, but you might have feelings that don’t reflect the positive experience you wanted to have. This is known as ‘culture shock’ and is something many students experience on a temporary basis when they get to a new country.

There is some helpful information about what causes culture shock and how to help yourself if you find yourself in this position on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.

Don’t forget that you’re not alone – if you want to talk to someone about how you’re feeling you can start with the International Student Advisers in the International Office.

Part-time jobs and volunteering

You might want to get a part-time or volunteering job while you are in Portsmouth. There are various roles around the city, and a good place to start your search is Purple Door – our on-campus careers and employability department. They have lists of part-time and volunteer jobs, and can support you with CV writing, mock interview and much more.

You can also contact the Students’ Union to find out about volunteering opportunities through their Raising and Giving (RAG) Committee.

Our International Student Ambassadors have written about working in the city; their thoughts appear online at My World in Portsmouth.

If you decide to work in Portsmouth while you are here you will need to have a National Insurance number. Information about what this is, and how you can get one, can be found on MyPort.

Don’t forget: If you are a Tier 4 student you will have restrictions on the amount of hours you can work/volunteer per week as part of the conditions of your visa. Please check the work conditions on your visa. If you are not sure what the condition means then come to see the International Student Advice team.

Explore what the Students’ Union has to offer

The Students’ Union is an organisation run for students by students. It lets you try new experiences through its many clubs and societies, provides a place to relax and meet friends, and offers support for issues and challenges faced by students.

As a University of Portsmouth student, you are automatically a member of the Students’ Union and are able to get involved in the wide range of activities and services available. You will also make a good network of friends studying different courses at the University.

Register your details and interests at www.upsu.net to stay up to date with the latest events and activities the Union has to offer.

As a member of the Students’ Union you are entitle to purchase an NUS Extra discount card. This gives you student discounts in shops nationwide and online, and services such as National Rail and National Express Coaches. You can order your card online (cards.nusextra.co.uk) or purchase directly from the Student’ Union Shop.

Carrying ID in the UK

You are not required to carry your ID with you in the UK, so there is no reason for you to carry around your personal ID on a day-to-day basis. If you want to, you can carry a copy with you while the original is safely at home  but this is not a necessity. You will need to carry your student ID card with you while you are on campus, and you might get asked to show this.

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