University of Glasgow, Scotland.

Here in the UK, a warm welcome is waiting for you. 

Our open and inclusive way of life will inspire you, our rich cultural history will fire your imagination and - as our universities are the among the most trusted and respected in the entire world - you’ll be able to develop your best and brightest ideas by studying here. 

UK universities are welcoming students for new academic year. UK universities have adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring student safety remains top priority while continuing to deliver the world-class teaching the UK is known for. Each UK university has dedicated staff to support international students at every step of their journey: from application, to preparing for travel, to supporting you on arrival and throughout your time at university. 

We want you to feel welcome and at ease when you arrive in the UK, and would like to reassure all international students that UK universities are looking forward to welcoming you. 

Find out more about preparing for your UK studies in the 2021-22 academic year below. 

Health and wellbeing

With one of the best healthcare systems in the world, globally respected policing and low crime rates, studying in the UK is exceptionally safe and secure. 

Our NHS (National Health Service) is one of the world’s most advanced healthcare systems, offering safe and modern treatment. Each of our educational institutions offers excellent and comprehensive support to students around issues of wellbeing and mental health. 

The NHS is available to all international students. As part of your student visa application, applicants are required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. The Immigration Health Surcharge costs £470 per year for a student, and it gives students access to NHS services without further charge (subject to a few exceptions, such as prescription charges in England). Find out more about this here

Public health

Remember to follow local guidance for the part of the UK you live in, or are planning on studying in. Please note the public health advice and requirements for Covid-19 may differ between the UK’s four nations. Find out more below:

Face coverings

It is recommended that you wear a face covering in the UK in crowded and enclosed spaces, where you come into contact with people you don't usually meet. In some areas (such as London and Scotland), it is mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport, so check the rules for the part of the UK you are studying in for the latest guidance. 

View the government guidance on face coverings.

Covid-19 vaccine

The Covid-19 vaccine is available to international students in the UK. Anybody aged 18 or over in the UK is eligible for the Covid-19 vaccination for free, regardless of their nationality or immigration status. Find out more on the NHS website.


Most international students need a student visa to study in the UK. Finding out whether you need a visa to study is easy - simply check here.

For the latest information on your local UK Visa Application Centre, please visit: 

  • TLS contact if you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East
  • VFS Global for all other countries 
  • UK service points (UKVCAS)

If your local Visa Application Centre is closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, you can still familiarise yourself with UK visa requirements. We recommend you talk to your university about the English language evidence you will need to make your visa application.

If your local English language testing centre is closed, universities can use other forms of evidence to demonstrate English language ability. 

These include:

Please note that different universities have different requirements, so make sure you check what form of English language evidence you will need with your university.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK government has implemented a number of concessions to assist visa holders in the UK who have been impacted by global travel and health restrictions. This includes concessions related to blended and distance learning, meaning international students have more flexibility around when to travel to the UK. Find out more about concessions for students on GOV.UK.


The UK is operating a ‘vaccination status system’ for international arrivals. The rules for travel from countries and territories not on the 'red list' will depend on your vaccination status.

Please note that travel and arrival advice will vary between the UK’s four nations. See relevant advice for where you are travelling to below:

Remember to also check travel advice in your own country in advance of making your travel plans.

It’s important to stay in touch with your university as you make your plans.

We know how daunting moving to another country can be, and we want to reassure you that universities are working hard to ensure that you know what to expect before you travel to the UK and are welcomed and supported on arrival by your chosen university. Get in touch with your university to find out more about how they can support you.

Visit our Covid-19 FAQs for the latest travel advice.

Further information

Many British Council offices run webinars and events to provide international students with up-to-date information on studying in the UK and some run pre-departure briefings. Please contact your local British Council office to find out what support is available.

Follow us at @StudyUKBritish on Twitter, @studyuk_britishcouncil on Instagram and @StudyUK.BritishCouncil on Facebook for regular updates. You can also sign up to our newsletter to get the latest information. 

Visit our Covid-19 FAQs for more information on how Covid-19 is affecting international students.

See also

External links