University Preparation students
Arriving in the UK

Arriving in good time

You will need plenty of time to recover from your journey and settle into your new home before your course starts.

For this reason, we recommend that you arrive in the UK at least two days before the beginning of your course. This means you will arrive over the weekend before the Monday on which your course starts.

Immigration control at the airport

Once you land in the UK, you will go through immigration. If you are from a European Union country, you should not have to answer many questions at the Immigration desk when you arrive. But, if you are from another part of the world, this is your first chance to practise your English in Britain!

Make sure you have all of your important documents ready to show to the officers.

Documents you will need

The documents you will need to present to Immigration officials in the UK when you arrive are:

  • Your passport and visa (if required)
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies
  • Letter of parental consent or details of guardian
  • The bank documents that show you have enough money for your stay
  • Travel documents
  • Enrolment and accommodation documents from Kings Education
  • If you are travelling with a member or members of your family for whom you are responsible, you must show that you have enough money for their stay as well.

When you answer questions from Immigration Officers it is important to be clear and to tell the truth. Give them straight answers to straight questions. Never try to give them money or gifts.

Here are some key questions that Immigration Officers usually ask. Notice that they could ask the same question in different ways. You might want to practise your answers.

  • What is your name? / What’s your name? / What’s your first name? / What’s your family name? / What is your last name?
  • What is your date of birth? / When were you born?
  • How long are you staying? / How long do you intend to stay?
  • What is the purpose of your visit? / Why are you here?
  • Have you got a letter from the school/college? / Do you have a letter from the school/college?
  • Have you paid the school fees? / Are your school fees paid?
  • Have you paid a deposit?
  • Have you got a return ticket? / Do you have a return ticket?
  • Where will you stay? / Where are you staying?
  • What’s your address in the UK?
  • Is this your first visit to the UK? / Have you been to the UK before?
  • Will you be working in the UK? / Do you intend to work in the UK? / Are you planning to get a job here?
  • Have you got enough money to live on? / Do you have enough money for your stay?

You will also need to give them details of your address in England. Your visa may be stamped with the words “Register with UK police on arrival” by immigration officers. If so, we will help you with this when you arrive at Kings. For more information, see the later section Starting at Kings: Police Registration.

If necessary, decide how you will write and sign your name in English. Do not change that spelling and signature while you are in Britain. Make sure that other people use the same spelling if they write down your name. This will avoid confusion.

Going through customs

The next phase you will go through at the airport after you have reclaimed your luggage is Customs control. If you have only your personal luggage, you should have no problems with Customs. Do not try to bring any of the following into the country:

  • Weapons such as rifles, pistols, air or gas guns, knives, and martial arts equipment. They are almost all illegal in Britain.
  • Drugs such as heroin, morphine, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, LSD and cannabis.
  • Counterfeit and pirated goods, such as watches, clocks and CDs, and any goods with false marks of their origin.

You can bring the following with you, but they are restricted items. You will have to meet certain conditions if you want to bring them into Britain.

  • Certain plants and their produce, including trees, shrubs, potatoes, certain fruit, bulbs and seeds.
  • Radio transmitters such as CB radios that are not approved for use in the UK. For advice call The Radio-communications Agency: +44 (0) 207 211 0463
  • Endangered species, including birds and plants, whether alive or dead, and goods made from them. This includes such things as fur, ivory or leather taken from endangered species
  • Certain meat and milk products.

Transfer to your accommodation

If you are staying with a host family we will provide you with their contact details (name, address, email, telephone number). Please make sure you have these ready when you land. If you are staying in a student residence or student house we will provide you with address details in advance of your departure. If you require a transfer from the airport to your accommodation, you will need to book this with us in advance.

Please note that Students under 16 are required to have an adult present to greet them on arrival and again to accompany them to the check-in desk on departure; Kings will arrange for this service unless the student is travelling with a named adult family member, guardian or close family friend. If a student is aged 16 or 17 and has a Letter of Consent to Travel, signed by their parent(s), a taxi transfer is not required.

You will need to tell us about your travel arrangements. You can do this via your agent, or yourself if applying directly, in a letter or an email. The information we will need is:

  • Your departure airport
  • Your flight number and airline
  • Your arrival airport in the UK
  • Your arrival time

Once you have cleared customs, our representative will meet you at or near the airport information desk. They will be holding a white and purple board with your name and Kings Oxford written on it.

If for some reason you do not make contact with them at the arrivals area, please ask the airport information staff to put a call out for the Kings representative.

Kings will provide you with a special mobile telephone number before you travel to use only in the event of an emergency with regard to your transfer.

IMPORTANT — please read carefully: Under no circumstances should you leave the area before meeting the driver. You pay nothing to the driver. Be aware that illegal cab drivers might offer to take you to your accommodation. Do not take these cabs. They may charge you much more than the normal fare.

If you are intending to make your own way to your homestay, please let them know the approximate time you intend to arrive.

Adapting to British Life

It’s quite normal to take time to adapt to life in a new country. When you first arrive in England things may seem very different from what you are used to back home.

We understand this and will help and guide you as you get used to things. At first you might feel homesick. Don’t worry, this is normal! It won’t last long. We’ll help you through this early phase by keeping you busy, and organising lots of ways for you to meet and make new friends.

Our friendly student counsellors or welfare staff are always there to help if you have any problems.

Language Tip

All languages have words and expressions that show politeness and respect. British people use ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘thanks’. It doesn’t matter if you are speaking to someone younger or older than you. In Britain it is important to be polite and show respect to everyone you meet.

The immigration officer may say ‘thank you’ when you give him or her a document. Say ‘thank you’ when the officer gives it back to you.

English speakers usually add please, thank you or thanks when they accept or refuse an offer. Would you like a drink? Yes, please/ No, thanks. Just saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ sounds rude to native English speakers in Britain.

Study tip

It is a good idea to buy a notebook so that you can make a record of your stay in Britain. Carry the notebook with you and write down all the things that are strange or interesting in some way.

Watch what people do in different situations. Is it similar or not to the way people behave in your country?

Write down any common words or phrases that people use when they speak to each other. You can then ask your British friends, host family or teachers when and why people use these expressions.

At the end of your stay you will have an interesting record of how you experienced language, customs and life in Britain.