What you should know about life at Univ, travelling to the UK and arriving in Oxford!
Life at Univ
University College has one of the most vibrant communities of international students of any Oxford college. More than half the graduate students at Univ come from overseas, so we have a very multicultural and multi-lingual MCR!
Our adviser for international students, Mrs Jing Fang (firstname.lastname@example.org), is available to help and advise all international students in the College and has a particular interest in working with students from mainland China. Incoming students should also note that this year, the majority of the WCR Committee are EU or International students – so you should feel free to contact any one of us with problems. We will understand!
Before Arriving in the UK
All international students (that is, non-EEA/Swiss) students coming to Oxford to study a full-time course of more than 6 months must obtain Entry Clearance (i.e. a Visa) before arriving in the UK. For more information, see the bottom of the page.
The College recommends that all students born after 1982 have the MMR and Meningitis C vaccinations before arriving in Oxford. If this is not possible, you should contact the college doctor immediately upon arrival. International students registered for a full-time course of study lasting six months or more are entitled to free treatment on the National Health Service (NHS). This extends to the student’s spouse and children, provided they reside with the student while in the UK.
Travelling to the UK
When you arrive in the UK, make sure you have your passport with visa, your letter of acceptance from Univ and your letters specifying financial support. You may be asked to show these at Border Control. Should you travel outside the UK during the term covered by your visa, you should carry these papers in your hand luggage every time you re-enter the country. If you are intending to travel during your time at Oxford, you should consider getting an International Student card.
If you are planning to go home during any of the student vacations, please remember that university regulations do not permit students to leave Oxford before the Saturday of 8th week in each term, and that you must be back in residence by the Thursday of the week before term starts. Students on taught courses should check term and assessment dates with their department before booking flights; many graduate courses do not follow the 8 week undergraduate term and many departments hold graduate exams in vacation time.
Arriving in Oxford
The International Office is running a meet and greet service for all new EU and Overseas students. For more information and to register, see their website. The university also runs an Orientation Program for international students; for more information and to register, see here.
During Welcome Week, international students are asked to bring their passports and visas to the Academic Office so that they can be scanned and stored in accordance with the UK Border Agency requirements.
When you arrive in Oxford, you should make opening a UK bank account a top priority as it can take some time to open an account. When choosing with which bank to open an account, you might like to read the comparison of Oxford banks produced by the Student Information and Advisory Service. The UKCISA website provides detailed information for international students on opening a bank account, but in general terms students should be aware that all banks will require documentary evidence proving your identity, your correspondence address before and after admission to Univ, and your confirmed status as a University of Oxford student. On arrival the Academic Office can provide you with a letter to confirm your status as a student to take to the bank. More information can be found here.
Non-EU students planning to study at Oxford will need to obtain entry clearance (i.e. a visa) before arriving in the UK; this process is explained on the university website.
Depending on the length and nature of your course, requirements for the visa may vary, but all students will need to present a confirmation of acceptance for studies (usually a ‘visa letter’ issued through your department) as well as supporting financial documentation (e.g. a letter from your bank, sponsoring institution, fellowship committee, etc) which demonstrates that you have enough money to cover your expenses while living in the UK.
Most students coming to Oxford will be applying for a student visa under Tier 4 (General), details of which are explained here.
Make sure to leave yourself plenty of time (i.e. at least a month) when applying in case of any unexpected delays in processing!