Advice for International Students

Advice for International Students (requiring a visa to study in the UK) and students from the EEA (European Economic Area):

Enjoy yourself and study hard! It's important that you strike a balance between study time, working and leisure pursuits. When you are not studying, Kingston-upon-Thames is a very popular student town, with historic sites, theatre/cinema, and local major sporting venues. It is also close to the countryside and central London is a short train ride away, so you will have plenty of opportunities to practise your English and learn more about life in Britain.


First step – Apply online for a course

You must have applied for a course and had a confirmed acceptance before you apply for a visa or make any plans to travel.

  • Once you have secured the place on the course, the Kingston College International Office will help you with a ‘step by step’ process for the appropriate visa application.
  • If you are an International Student requiring a visa you must ensure that you are applying for the correct visa; students coming under a Visitor Visa (tourist visa) will only be permitted to study for a limited period.
  • Students requiring a visa can apply for a Full Time English Language Course with a Short Term Study Visa or an Academic Course at NQF (National Qualification Framework) Levels 3/4/5/6 with a Student Route Visa


Before you leave your country you should consider:

  • Have you planned your travel and where you will be staying?
  • Have you applied for a passport and the correct visa (CAS number if necessary)?
  • Do you have enough money for the journey?
  • Have you organised your bank transfer documents?
  • Use this Map to help you get to College, please remember to keep the post code and full address of both Kingston College and your accommodation with you at all times
  • Have you told the College and the people where you are staying (accommodation) about your travel plans?
  • Don’t forget to take all of your important documents with you in your hand luggage
  • We advise having warm clothing with you when travelling particularly on arrival
  • You might like to use this website for Preparing and Planning 
  • On arrival at the Immigration desk (point of entry) be prepared with your documentation
  • Try to speak clearly, tell the truth and don’t make jokes
  • If you don’t understand a question ask the Officer to repeat it
  • You might like to use these websites for Immigration and Customs from UKCISA (United Kingdom Council for International Student Affairs) or Student Arrivals: Top 10 Tips

Studying in the UK

  • Teachers and other staff are here to help you; they are informal and very approachable and can usually be called by their first names
  • Know what your goals are - tell your teachers and we will try to help you achieve your goals. You will have regular one to one tutorials with your tutor to discuss your progress and to set learning targets
  • UK teachers like questions and by asking questions everybody in the class learns, so don’t be afraid to ask! Teachers will also ask you to speak during classes - they are not testing you but they are giving you an opportunity to learn and to improve your communication skills
  • Your teachers will try to create a relaxed atmosphere in class and they might even tell jokes as students learn better when they are relaxed
  • Some students benefit from joining the Student Union who can highlight any issues or concerns and can benefit from being a member with discounted national travel and other benefits
  • You might like to use this link to learn more about Study Methods in the UK

Information about Kingston

  • Kingston First is a commercially led, independent, not for profit company focused on the marketing and promotion of Kingston, along with opportunities for community engagement and for businesses to drive down costs.
  • Trip Advisor has a number of suggestions for places to stay, eat and play in and around Kingston, with recommendations from locals and tourists.
  • Wikipedia has information about Kingston and the surrounding areas, including the history of this bustling market town.
  • Kingston Local Government Website is your resource for all local amenities, services, problems, complaints and concerns. It also lists local events happening in your area.
  • UKCISA (United Kingdom Council for International Student Affairs) also recommends Housing Tips for International students

Living in the UK


Kingston is a very popular town for students, but there are many distractions. It is important that you ensure that you have enough sleep and stay healthy to make the most of your time studying here; living away from family and friends for a long time can be difficult and students can feel ‘homesick’. Student Services and your tutors are here to help you.



Doctor/Medical Treatment

  • You should register with a Doctor/GP (General Practitioner) as soon after you have enrolled. Do not wait to become ill to register. The International Office will provide you with a supporting letter to register with your GP as a National Health Service (NHS) patient if you request this. You might like to use this website link for further information on Registering with a GP

  • Prescription medication have standard charges for registered NHS patients

  • Emergency treatment is available at the local hospital from the NHS without charge, only in case of emergencies
  • Alternatively you might wish to register for private medical insurance and there are a number of commercial companies which provide this. Kingston College does not recommend any particular service provider.



  • You should have your teeth checked at least once per year
  • If you are registered as an NHS patient you can go to an NHS registered dentist for subsidised charges. Use the following website for further information on Dental Treatment


Opening a Bank Account

International Students often need to open a bank account once they arrive here in the UK. You must provide Kingston College with your identification and your address in the UK and an overseas address before we can give you a letter to support you opening a bank account. All of your personal information (address, telephone number and email address) must be kept up to date and you must inform Kingston College if this changes during your course


  • Always arrange accommodation before you arrive in the UK. You can use this link for suggestions on Local Accommodation

  • International food or the ingredients can be found in most local shops, markets or supermarkets; most accommodation will allow you to use their cooking facilities

  • Most accommodation will have facilities for washing clothes. However, there are many local laundry facilities in the UK

  • Before you agree to secure your accommodation you must check your rights as a tenant; do not sign a contract until you are sure that you are happy with the accommodation arrangements. It is always best to view the accommodation before signing any agreement with the property owner

  • It is very important that you check the distance and the daily travelling arrangements and times for getting to and from Kingston College to attend all classes on time

  • Some accommodation will require a payment of Council Tax. After arrival you can This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request a letter exempting you from paying this charge

  • If you are studying an English Language course, Kingston College will ask for an emergency contact name, telephone number and email address for someone either in the home or a friend or relative locally who speaks English - you must provide this at enrolment along with your passport/ID and any requested documentation

  • If you have any special needs or requirements or are disabled please ensure that you inform both Kingston College and the accommodation provider prior to your arrival

  • You might like to use this website link for Planning your Accommodation


Accommodation types

Host Families

  • There are several types of families in the UK.  For example, two parents and children, single parents with children, retired older couples and older people that live alone. Let the family know your plans and be considerate of the house owner’s rules

  • You must let Kingston College know if you are staying with a Host Family

  • Ask if you want to move the furniture in your room or put anything up on the wall

  • Don’t forget to always lock the door when you are in the bathroom

  • Keep all areas of the house tidy


Student Accommodation

  • There are many types of private rented accommodation. For example, dedicated student accommodation, estate agency accommodation, bed-sits or shared student houses

  • You should consider whether you would choose an en suite bathroom, or communal kitchen facilities when deciding what accommodation is best for you and what you can afford

Travelling in the UK


  • Kingston College requires that students, once enrolled, wear their student card for identification and safety reasons. The College maintains their own policies for staff and students and has useful information for parents. All students must sign and agree to the Kingston College Code of Conduct at enrolment
  • You must provide Kingston College with an emergency contact number of someone who can speak English


Kingston- upon- Thames is a very safe town. However for your own safety we advise the following:

  • Keep your possessions in a secure, over the shoulder bag. Don’t carry a lot of cash with you
  • Keep your credit card safe and the details secret
  • Don’t leave your possessions in a public place and don’t ask strangers to look after them
  • If you are out late at night it is safer to be with friends


  • If you see trouble just walk away and if you have to, phone the police. You should always telephone 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened
  • If it is not an emergency, for example, a minor traffic collision you should telephone 101
  • Some students from outside the European Economic Area may have to register with the police. If you have a student visa it should indicate whether you are required to register within 7 days of your arrival on your visa or Biometric Residency Permit (BRP) Card. Use this link for further information Register with the Police

Multicultural UK

  • People from all over the world come to live here which makes London a cosmopolitan and diverse city. Many are British citizens who were born and grew up here. Don’t be surprised by the variety of nationalities and cultures in Britain – it is a real asset and this multi-culturalism makes this country more exciting and vibrant!
  • Please respect and comply with UK law, traffic regulations and the licensing laws (laws on alcohol)
  • You can use this link to find local places of worship
  • If you need to take any time from your lessons for religious reasons, valid personal reasons or reasons of health please ensure that you let your teacher know. This may be marked on the class registers as authorised absence and will be recorded on Pro-Monitor/Pro-Portal, which is our College system for monitoring students’ attendance and progress

Next steps...

Advice on the next step of your academic/career plan


Going back to your home country

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