How much cash do I need to bring with me?

Foreign Students's picture

You can pay by credit or debit card (such as Visa) almost everywhere in the UK. Once you have a British bank account you will also be able to get cash out from the numerous cash points.

However, you should also bring some cash (or travellers cheques) with you to the UK, as there will be a lot of expenses in your first few days and so you shouldn't rely solely on your card. It is also important to note that if you bring more than 10,000 euros in cash (or equivalent) into the country from outside of the EU, you have to declare it at UK customs.

How much money do I need to live in the UK?

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The weekly cost of living and studying in the UK varies hugely depending on where you are living, the course you are studying the accommodation you have chosen, the food you eat, and where and how often you socialize.

If you don't have much money, then you should try and set yourself a budget and stick to it. To work out roughly what your budget should be, use this Student Calculator.

What do I need to pay for before I arrive?

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It is far easier for you if you try and pay as many of your big expenses before you arrive in the UK. Try to pay your course fees online if you can, as well as your first term/month's accommodation costs if you are staying at university provided accommodation.

However, if you are planning to stay in private accommodation then it is probably better to wait until you arrive in the UK to view properties and negotiate a contract before paying large sums of money.  
You will also have a number of one-off costs when you first arrive, such as course books, travel cards, society sign ups and so on. It is important to note that you may not be able to open a British bank account for the first week, and so these expenses may have to be paid with cash or your foreign bank card (if it works).

What are the main banks in the UK?

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There are a number of reputable high street banks in the UK. The major ones include HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds TSB, NatWest and Halifax, among others. Of these, Barclays and HSBC both do special international student packages that may suit you best.

How do I open a bank account?

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After you have first arrived in the UK, you should apply to open a bank account as soon as possible. Simply ring or go in person to a high street bank and tell them you would like to open an account with them.

When you open your account, you will need to take your passport or national photo ID card, your acceptance  letter from your college or university and possibly a bank statement from your home country account. There may be other requirements, so contact the bank before you arrive in Britain to ensure that you don't leave home without essential information.

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