Arriving in the UK

Travelling to the University is a busy and exciting time for all students. If you are arriving from outside the UK, there are some extra things you will need to think about, but we are here to help make your arrival as smooth as possible.

We know that you may have concerns about travelling to the UK for your studies especially given the increased challenges and costs you may face. We are putting in place a range of measures to support you and to help ensure that you arrive safely, so that you can focus on your experience at university and on your course. We have therefore developed the following support for students joining us this September, based on where you are arriving from.

Those arriving from a country on the red list

We want to make sure that these concerns don’t get in the way of your decision making and are therefore pleased to announce that we will cover the costs of the required period of hotel quarantine for any self-financing students that are travelling to the UK directly from a country currently on the ‘red list’. This will be covered by reducing your tuition fees by up to  £2,285*

For more information on booking and staying in a quarantine hotel, please visit the Government website.

For more information on this support, please see our terms and conditions.

*This excludes students whose fees and living costs are covered by a sponsor and applies only to countries on the ‘red list’ as of 12/08/2021, or countries previously on the red list which have subsequently been removed. Countries added to the red list after this date will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Those arriving from a country on the amber list

The UK government requires (as of 14 July 2021) international students arriving from amber-list countries to take a Covid-19 test prior to departure and to self-isolate at home, or in the place they are staying, for 10 days upon arrival in the UK. 

If you’re travelling from a country on the amber list and have booked University or partner accommodation you will be eligible for up to 10 days' free accommodation to see you through this period of self-isolation. This is available for students who arrive from 9 September for the following six weeks. If you are arriving from a country that is on the UK Government amber list, you should follow the guidance on the Government website.

If you’re in university or partner accommodation, and to ensure that you’re fully supported over this period, you’ll also receive a free Welcome package which will include:

•    A bedding pack to ensure that you can settle in
•    A dining starter pack including cutlery and crockery
•    Shared use of a kitchen pack, which will include pots and pans
•    A food box providing food and basic essential items to support you through the 10-day period
•    A ‘Welcome Box’ of gifts/freebies
•    Regular calls from staff/students to check on your wellbeing and how you’re settling in  
•    A range of activities to make sure that you can connect with the Birmingham community from the day you arrive on campus (for example, virtual opportunities to meet others isolating, online exercise classes and virtual English language courses). 

If you’ve chosen to live in private rented accommodation please speak with your provider as they can supply information to help support students arriving from amber-list countries. Closer to the star of term we’ll also provide you with more information on supermarkets and other services who deliver if you have to isolate in private accommodation when you arrive.

 

Those arriving from a country on the green list

If you are arriving from a country that is on the UK Government green list, you should follow the guidance on the Government website.

As of 14 July 2021, this states that those arriving from green list countries will need to take a COVID-19 test prior to departure, as well as book a COVID test for day two after their arrival in the UK. There is currently no requirement to quarantine for those arriving from green list countries.

We recommend that before you travel you continue to refer to the UK Government Guidelines in case anything changes. You should check which colour-coded list the country you will be arriving from is on, and ensure you understand the rules that apply to you.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

As with students currently in the UK, all international students arriving from September will be eligible for a vaccination. Anybody aged 18 or over in the UK is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination for free, regardless of their nationality or immigration status. More information is available from the NHS website, including information on which vaccine you may receive.

We strongly encourage you to register with a GP, and follow the guidance provided by the NHS to get vaccinated if you are eligible.

Practical tips for travelling

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides advice on preparing for your arrival, including what to bring with you in your hand luggage. Currently in England, it is strongly advised to wear face coverings in locations including public transport, planes, and airports.

When you arrive, you will need to go through passport control. It is important that you are ready to answer questions about your visa and that you make sure the details are correct. Read more about immigration and passport control.

You will then need to collect your luggage and proceed through customs. You will need to declare certain items. Find out more about restricted and prohibited items.

Book your free airport collection

Our airport collection service will run from Thursday 9 September - Sunday 26 September from Birmingham International (BHX) and London Heathrow (LHR) airports. You will be met by our friendly meet and greet team, and will travel to campus by coach.

The service is free of charge, and exclusively for University of Birmingham students. You will need to book your place in advance.

Airport collections

Travelling to campus

From Birmingham Airport (BHX)

Option 1: Taxi

We currently recommend TOA Taxis, who is a trusted supplier of taxis to the University. This is a private, fast and comfortable way to travel once you land in the UK and the taxi will take you directly to your accommodation. 

The approximate costs to travel to University of Birmingham campus will be £30 plus car parking charges, though this may vary. All TOA vehicles accept cash payment, but also offer ‘Chip & Pin’ card payment option for debit or credit cards.  

At the airport, follow signs for the taxi rank. The taxi can take you directly to your University accommodation. You should only take a taxi from the marked taxi rank to ensure that it is a registered and insured taxi driver.

A taxi can be the quickest option and may particularly suit you if you have heavy luggage or arrive late at night or very early in the morning.

Option 2: Train

You can catch the train from Birmingham International railway station (BHI) to the station on the University campus (UNI). This will take around 45 minutes - 1 hour, and will cost between approximately £5 and £20 depending on travel time and route. You can plan the journey in advance and check train times using National Rail Enquiries.

At the airport, take the free 'Air Rail Link' monorail from the airport (near the Terminal 1 Departures area) to Birmingham International railway station. It takes two minutes and operates between 05.15 and 02.00 daily. From Birmingham International, you will need to take a train to Birmingham New Street (BHM). These trains run as regularly as every three minutes throughout the day, though schedules may be subject to change.

From Birmingham New Street you can either:

  • Take a taxi - follow the signs to the taxi rank at the station. A taxi to the University will cost approximately £15 and will take approximately 10 minutes.
  • Take a train to University station - take a train towards Longbridge, Redditch, or Bromsgrove. Check that the train will stop at University station. This will cost approximately £3 and will take approximately 10 minutes. You will then need to travel from University station to your accommodation. Depending on how far your accommodation is, you may find it easier to take a taxi directly to your accommodation.

Planned rail closures at University Station

University Station is currently undergoing works to upgrade and improve the station. As part of these works, a number of closures to the Cross City line are planned. The railway line between Birmingham New Street and Bromsgrove stations will be closed on:

  • Sunday 8 August
  • Sunday 5 September
  • Sunday 26 September
  • Sunday 3 October

Dates correct as of 9 August 2021.

A fully accessible replacement bus service will run on these days. Find out more from Transport for West Midlands.

 

From elsewhere

If you are travelling from other UK airports, or elsewhere in the UK, there are several ways to get here. Currently, the UK Government requires that face coverings are worn on public transport in England. Find out more

Train

The University has its own train station, simply called 'University' (UNI). There are also stations in Selly Oak (SLY) and at Five Ways (FWY) which are near to some student accommodations. Trains run through these stations up to every 10 minutes during the week, and regularly at weekends. You can plan rail journeys and check times and ticket prices in advance using National Rail Enquiries

Birmingham New Street (BHM) is two stops away on the cross-city line and is a major national station, with trains running to cities across the UK, such as London and Manchester, as well as Wales and Scotland. If you are travelling by Eurostar, you will need to change at London stations.

Coach

If you are travelling with heavy luggage, you may find a coach more convenient. Remember that we offer free airport collections by coach from both Birmingham Airport (BHX) and London Heathrow (LHR).  

You can travel to Birmingham Coach Station, in the Digbeth area of the city centre, and then take a taxi directly to your University accommodation. Coaches to Birmingham Coach Station are operated by National Express

Megabus coaches also travel to the city, but do not use Birmingham Coach Station.

Additional FAQs

Should I accept my accommodation offer if I’m an international student?

If you plan to arrive on campus between 9 September and 1 November, you should accept your offer of accommodation from us. To help make travelling to your new home as stress-free as possible, you can move into your University or Partner accommodation up to 10 days before the beginning of your contract (from 9 September), at no extra cost. Your contract will begin on 20 September, and you will receive support from the Living team and a free Welcome package to help you settle in. 

At Birmingham, we’ll also support you if you’re unable to travel to campus during your first semester or choose to postpone your travel arrangements. If this is the case, please get in touch with the Living team and do not accept your offer. We will send you another accommodation offer closer to your arrival date.

We only encourage you to accept your offer of accommodation if you know you will arrive in the UK by 1 November at the latest.  

What if I can’t arrive by 1 November?

We understand that travelling is more challenging this year, which is why we offer you the flexibility to join us on campus whenever you’re able.

If you know that you won’t be able to arrive here by 1 November, please contact the Living team at info@living.bham.ac.uk and do not accept your offer. We’ll then send you a new accommodation offer within seven days, ensuring that you have the widest range of options available to you.  

Will I still have the same accommodation options if I arrive after 1 November?

We expect to have the full range of accommodation options available; however, these will be subject to availability at the time of your expected arrival. Rest assured though that we’ll match you to the accommodation that best suits your needs and be here to support you every step of the way. 

What if my flight is cancelled and I can’t travel?

If your flight is cancelled, and your new flight is after 1 November, please let the Living team know as soon as possible (and include any evidence). We will cancel your original offer of accommodation and send you a new one closer to the date of your arrival. You will not be penalised for the cancellation if you inform the Living team before 1 November 2021

I like my offer but will be arriving after 1 November. Can I keep my booking but pay less?

No, we strongly advise you to decline your offer. We ask you to inform us as soon as you know your arrival date in Birmingham so we can arrange a new offer for you. We expect to be able to offer a similarly attractive option to you, matching you with the accommodation that best suits your needs.

If you accept your booking, you will be liable for the full accommodation costs which are charged from 20 September 2021 onwards.

If you have any questions or know that you won’t be able to join us by 1 November, get in touch with us at info@living.bham.ac.uk. Our friendly team will work hard to ensure you receive the best accommodation for your needs and requirements.