Plan for your journey

Student with rucksack

There are a few things you need to do and know before travelling to Scotland to study with us.

Our pre-departure checklist is here to help you prepare and make sure you do not forget anything - you can print this as a reminder of the things to check before coming to Glasgow.

Knowing what to bring, what not to bring and what to expect may also help you prepare for your new life in Scotland. ‌

Pre-departure checklist

Step 1

Before you leave:

Check the visa application requirements
Check validity of my passport before travelling
Check visa for correct details, once issued
Arrange travel insurance
 Check out the International Student Orientation programme and make any event bookings
Arrange my accommodation (at least for arrival in the UK and for self-isolation period, if applicable)
Plan journey to my accommodation
Request a letter from doctor about medication I take regularly
Check if I need a license for bringing any medication to UK
Obtain European Health Insurance Card from home country (if relevant)

 Check the Covid-19 self-isolation requirements

 Fill in Passenger Locator form (submit this any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in the UK)

Step 2

Preparing your luggage:

Check what items are permitted to be carried in hold & hand luggage
Make photocopies of important documents (e.g. visa, passport, CAS)
Store photocopies of above documents in hold luggage
Label my luggage with my details
Check with airline regarding maximum luggage amount and policies

Step 3

What you will need to carry in your hand luggage:

Passport (containing visa if applicable)
CAS (if a Tier 4 (General) or Student visa holder) or Short-term Study visa letter
Financial evidence
Transcripts/certificates from previous studies
My UK accommodation address
Medication and license or doctor's letter (if required)
Contact details for University of Glasgow
Contact details for my Embassy in the UK
Contact details for my friends and family
Downloaded Glasgow map for initial directions
Tickets or online flight booking and boarding pass
Clothes for changing weather (i.e. waterproof)
 Payment method for initial costs (e.g. taxi fare, food etc.) and for self-isolation period, if applicable
Visa application decision letter (containing confirmation of where to collect your Biometric Residence Permit)

Step 4

When you arrive in the UK:

Be prepared for any questions a Border Force Officer may ask on arrival (e.g about course of study, accommodation etc.) Find out more about arriving at and travelling through the UK Border.

Collect your BRP. Find out more about BRP collection


Covid-19 self-isolation

 Self-isolation Support guide

Do I need to self-isolate?

When you arrive in the UK, you may be subject to self-isolation rules (this is sometimes referred to as 'quarantine'). Before entering the UK, please check the Scottish Government webpage to see if you are exempt from the requirement to self-isolate.  This will depend on the country that you travel from.  The list of exempt countries is updated regularly.

The Scottish Government webpage also states:

The regulations apply to people who live in Scotland and who are returning from outside Scotland, as well as to people visiting Scotland. These measures apply to international travellers into Scotland irrespective of their point of entry into the UK.

What should I do before I travel to the UK?

Please read the useful information from the Scottish Government about providing your journey details, contact details and the address where you will self-isolate on the passenger locator form.  Remember that passenger locator forms must be completed 48 hours before arrival in the UK.

The Scottish Government webpages currently state the following for travellers entering Scotland directly from outside the UK: From 0400 on Monday 18 January 2021, passengers travelling to Scotland from outside the Common Travel Area must have a valid negative COVID-19 test result, taken no more than three days before the scheduled time of departure. This will be checked by operators, and passengers with a positive test result or an invalid certificate will be refused boarding. Read more about testing for people travelling to Scotland.

If you will arrive in the UK via England, and will travel to Scotland after entering England, please see the information here.

What should I do on arrival in the UK?

The Scottish Government webpage outlines information on ways to stay safe on arrival in the UK - including the use of face masks on public transport and in shops in the UK and information on social distancing rules in the UK.  It also has information on what to do if you think you have symptoms.

How do I self-isolate?

If you are required to self-isolate, please see the Scottish Government guidance on how to do so.

There is also a link to useful information about looking after your wellbeing while you self-isolate and information about what to do if you think you have symptoms of Covid-19 once you are here in Scotland.

Useful resources

Information on airport eGates

Ss coming down steps

Information on eGates

Since summer 2019 more travellers have been able to use eGates on arrival in the UK at 15 major airports (including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Heathrow airports) and Eurostar terminals. EGates use facial recognition technology to check your identity against the photo in your passport and therefore the arrival process should be much quicker. In addition to UK, EU and EEA nationals who can already use eGates, nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America can also now use the eGates.  Please however note the following important points:

  • You cannot use eGates if you are travelling with children under 12
  • You cannot use eGates if you are using a national ID card or passport which does not have a biometric chip
  • You cannot use eGates if you are coming to the UK as a short-term student (coming for up to six months) and you need a stamp in your passport as you have not applied for entry clearance (a visa) before leaving your home country

For more information, please see UKVI's eGates Information Leaflet.

What not to bring


What not to bring

It is illegal to bring some items to the UK, including some food items - please take particular note of the information below.

The Scottish Government’s Animal Disease Control Branch has advised us of the importance of not bringing pork meat or pork products into the UK, due to the possible threat of it containing African swine fever (ASF).  ASF is a highly contagious notifiable disease of pigs caused by a virus and there is no vaccine. The virus can survive for long periods in raw, cooked, and frozen meat.  Please therefore ensure that you, or your family, do not pack any of these products in your luggage.

If you are thinking about bringing your pet or some food or plants from your home country, view the Government's guidance to make sure you meet all the rules and EU regulations when arriving in the UK.

You can also find out more here about goods you can’t bring into the UK.


Shipping your goods to the UK

2 Ss at laptop

To make sure you don’t pay too much tax when shipping your goods to the UK, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has created a Customs Procedure Code which is 4000C06.   You should give this code to your courier who will attach it to a C88 form. This code covers the tax for clothes, books and any personal items you’ll need for your time at University.  If you use a postal service you will need to pay and then reclaim import VAT.

For more information please see  ‘Moving to the UK’ or ‘C88’

What to expect

3 Ss in park


Life in Scotland may be very different than in your home country. First of all, the weather - people in Scotland love speaking about the weather! The reason for this is that the weather in Scotland is unpredictable. It can rain, snow and be sunny on the same day. For this reason, you always need to be prepared for all weather. As we say in Scotland “There is no bad weather, only wrong clothes!”

The days are short during autumn and winter but they are long during spring and summer.

Find further information about the Scottish climate


The food may also be very different from the food you can find in your home country. Nevertheless, you can find all sorts of food in Scotland and especially in Glasgow. Glasgow has a lot of international food shops (Asian, Chinese, African etc.) and therefore you should be able to find the food you enjoy in your home country.

Find out more about traditional Scottish food such as black pudding, haggis, full Scottish breakfast, fish & chips and shortbread.

Glasgow has also a lot of great restaurants, delis, award winning take-away shops and farmers' markets! In the last few years it has become a foodie destination and you can be sure to find amazing food for all budgets!

Find out more about Food & Drinks in Glasgow


Scotland has a strong cultural identity and a lot of customs and traditions. Scotland is more than just kilt, bagpipes and haggis.

Find more about the most popular Scottish traditions

You may experience "culture shock" when you arrive in Scotland. It is important that you know how to identify the symptoms and how to deal with it.

Find out more about culture shock

Useful resources

You might find these guides and resources useful to you in your preparations to come to study in Glasgow:

How to get to Glasgow

Campus maps

British Council First Steps guide