International students | University of Oxford
On top of the MBI Al Jaber Building
Students on top of the MBI Al Jaber Building
Copyright © Rob Judges Photography. This image comes from Oxford University Images - All rights reserved.

International students

The University welcomes some of the brightest minds from across the globe to study at Oxford every year. Did you know international students make up over a third of all those studying at the University, with 138 nationalities currently represented?

1. Apply for a UK student visa

Unless you are a European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national, to attend a full time course for longer than six months you must apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa in your home country before travelling to the UK and allow sufficient time for the visa to be processed. If you are coming to Oxford for a shorter course (maximum six months), taking a distance learning course or undertaking a period of study as a visiting student, you might need to apply for either a Short-Term Student Visa or a Tier 4 Student Visa. Visit visa and immigration for more information.

2. Accommodation

Undergraduate students are guaranteed college accommodation in their first year. For graduate students, the offer of a college place does not guarantee accommodation.  The Graduate Accommodation Office lets and manages rooms, flats and houses in and around Oxford city centre, on sites owned by the University, to full-time graduate students. Contact the Graduate Accommodation Office to find further information on graduate student properties and how to apply for accommodation. 

If you cannot find family accommodation prior to your departure, it is advisable for you to travel here alone a couple of weeks before the start of term and arrange for your family to follow once you have found somewhere suitable to live.

Note that the UK Government now requires private landlords to perform an immigration check to ensure you have the right to be in the UK before agreeing a tenancy. All University and college managed accommodation is exempt from this requirement and no immigration check is required. If you are overseas and looking for private accommodation this check can be done when you arrive in the UK rather than the usual 28 days before the tenancy starts, see section 5.1 of the guidance for landlords under the heading ‘timing’. If you are trying to arrange private accommodation and encounter any difficulties with the timing of this immigration check, please let your college know or email student.information@admin.ox.ac.uk.

3. Orientation programme and pre-departure Skype events

The undergraduate, graduate and visiting student orientation programme is available to help you settle into the University and give you advice about practical aspects of living and studying in the UK and Oxford.

Pre-departure Skype events are  also being held over the summer in the USA, China, Hong Kong, Myanmar and Japan. The Skype briefings consist of a short presentation on visas, orientation, registration and other pre-departure advice. Invitations will be sent by email to offer holders with a home/correspondence address in the near vicinity of each venue in the last week of June.

Alumni groups around the globe also organise freshers’ events, typically in mid to late September, for new students embarking on their educational journey at the University.

4. Finding your way to Oxford from the airports or Eurostar

The Finding your way to Oxford guide provides information about getting to Oxford from airports and the Eurostar. Inform your college of your arrival time, especially if you are arriving late at night.

5. Sort out your finances

Visit fees and funding for advice on funding options, managing your budget and opening a bank account. The UKCISA website also offers a guide on opening a bank account. If you plan to bring money into the UK and are arriving from a country outside the European Union you must declare any cash of 10,000 or more (or its equivalent in other currencies) to customs officers.

6. Medical treatment

Students from Britain, the European Economic Area (EEA) and any country with reciprocal health arrangements are eligible for free treatment under the National Health Service (NHS). You should apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that will entitle you to NHS medical treatment during your studies in the UK. You are advised to apply for an EHIC card before arriving in Oxford, and reminded that you should show the card if you need medical treatment during your time in the UK.  Consult the NHS guidance leaflet for more information.

Students from outside the EEA who are studying full time for more than 6 months and applied for a visa before 6 April 2015 are entitled to free NHS treatment.  Those who paid the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of a visa application on or after 6 April 2015 are also allowed access to the NHS free of charge.  Family members in the UK as dependants will be eligible for the same access to the NHS.

Individual hospitals are responsible for checking whether a patient is entitled to free treatment, in accordance with the relevant regulations. In order to establish entitlement, hospitals can ask you to provide documentation that supports you and your family's claim. If you are unsure whether you are entitled to free hospital treatment, check with the Department of Health at:

Room 4W04b, Quarry House
Quarry Hill
Leeds LS2 7UE
Tel: 0113 2545819
Email: overseasvisitors@dh.gsi.gov.uk

If you are not exempt from hospital charges, or only partially exempt for other reasons, you are advised to take out appropriate private healthcare insurance for the length of your stay in the UK. For primary healthcare, you are advised to register with your college doctor or other local General Practitioner (GP).

7. Have you got insurance?

It is advisable to have travel insurance to cover your luggage, personal possessions, money and medical costs for your journey and first few days here. If you are planning to take out an insurance policy which covers you for the length of your course in the UK, you may find that this also covers your journeys to and from home at the start and end of each term.

8. Adjusting to life in the UK

Coming to study in a different country is a major change to your life. Remember that this is a huge transition and it may take time to adjust to life in a different culture. Take opportunities to familiarise yourself with the culture here (reading papers, watching TV, talking to others). Spending time with someone from your same culture can also help you feel less isolated. You can meet people from your own country/region by signing up to one of the 200 plus student societies currently on offer at the University. Keeping in contact with your friends and family back home may help you feel more settled, but if you find that you feelings of depression, isolation or anxiety persist, advice and help is available from your college, your department, central University services, fellow students and the Student Union. UKCISA provide further information on culture shock and the transition phases you may go through.

If you would like help to improve your skills in academic English, or experience difficulties adapting to the requirements of Western academic culture, there are a number of resources which can help, including the including the Pre-sessional course in English for academic purposes offered by the Language Centre.

9. Registering with the police

Students from some countries may have to have their passport scanned or register with the police after they arrive. Visit visa and immigration for more details.