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 and prepare for Covid-19-specific travel requirements and self-isolation/quarantine requirements


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 Student visa holder) or Standard Visitor 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.


Covid-19 information

 UofG travel advice for international students

What should I do before I travel to the UK?

Please ensure you check the Scottish Government guidance on international travel and the university's travel advice for international students.

As well as the preparations you will make for your studies in the UK, outlined on the Pre-departure Checklist above, there are also specific preparations you need to make for international travel at this time.  This includes Covid-19 testing, completing the online Passenger Locator Form and other arrangements.  Please check the university’s travel advice for international students for full details.

Where can I get more information about self-isolation/quarantine requirements?

There are a number of factors that determine where self-isolation/quarantine must take place, including where you are travelling from and whether you arrive in Scotland directly or indirectly.  Please check the university’s travel advice for international students for full details.

How can I prepare for self-isolate/quarantine?

Please see the UofG Covid-19 Self-isolation Support information with many useful resources on taking care of your mental and physical wellbeing when self-isolating, as well as practical tips on making preparations for food, toiletries, money and other essential items for living during the self-isolation/quarantine period.

What should I do on arrival in the UK?

Please familiarise yourself with the information on the Scottish Government webpage in order that you can follow the national rules on Coronavirus in Scotland, including staying 2m away from other people and wearing face coverings.

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

See the Home Office guidance on entering the UK for advice about what to do and expect at border control. 

You should also have documents relating to:

  • your studies 
  • your finances
  • where you are going to stay

in your hand baggage, in paper form (not on an electronic tablet or mobile phone).


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