Welcome to London!

Check out all the information about London below!


“The man who can dominate a London diner table can dominate the world.”

– Oscar Wilde
Check out all the information you need to know to move to London!


How to apply for a visa in UK?


You don’t need a visa if you come from:

– European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), or you are a Swiss Citizen, BUT this is only to study for six (6!!!) months or less.   If you fall under this category but are planning to study in the UK for longer than six months you will need a visa. Notice that during such period you will not be allowed to to work or take part in internships/work placements. 

– Still unsure? Do a fun do I need a visa quiz here: gov.uk/check-uk-visa

  • Student Visa:

Always double check this site: https://www.gov.uk/student-visa for the most up to date information (thanks, Brexit). You can apply up to six months prior to your course beginning.

– You must be sponsored by a licensed college or university and have a confirmed place

 UK Student Visas fall under the point-based immigration system, so before applying, check: https://www.gov.uk/student-visa , the points are based on your student status, your ability to meet financial requirements, and your English language level                               

  • You need to:

– Prove your English language knowledge proficiency                           

– Have enough money to support yourself and pay for your education (cover the tuition fee and living expenses on per year basis)

– If you are from a country that is not in the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you may be required to meet additional eligibility requirements

  • Timing:

– The earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before you start your course 

– You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks

– You can check visa processing times for your country

  • Documents required:

– Current passport 

– CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance), issued by your sponsoring University

– Proof of living funds (if you are from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, you do not need to show this at the stage of application but the Home Office might request proof of financials at a later stage)

– Academic transcripts

– Recent passport sized photographs

– Proof of English proficiency (if applicable)

– Proof of accommodation in the UK

– Visa application form

– Proof of application fees paid (if you’ve done so already)

– Proof of parental consent (if under 18)

– Tuberculosis test results (if from country where test is required)

– You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre (if required to go there)

– You’ll have to collect your biometric residence permit within 10 days of when you said you’d arrive in the UK. Certain concessions are in place during COVID 19 pandemic.

Keep in mind that all official documents, if not in English, must be translated by a certified translator.

  • Who to talk to

 Use the following link: https://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk

Other useful links:



  • You can:

– Study

– Switch to a different visa category inside the UK

– Work part time (up to 20 hours a week during term time and unlimited during vacations)

-Access NHS system

-Find an internship/work placement

  • You cannot:

– Work certain jobs, for example professional sportsperson or sports coach


  • Cost:

 – It costs £348 to apply for this visa from outside the UK
– Healthcare surcharge (as part of your application)
– Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply

  • When to apply:

The earliest you can apply for a visa is 6 months before you start your course. You’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

What now?

Do not procrastinate, get done as soon as you arrive in the country.

Brexit is inconvenient for many, many reasons, but it’s a special kind of irritation for both EU and non-EU students. You can get all this done (expect for the BRP pickup at the assigned post office) prior to arrival.

    • National Insurance Number (NINo): a must to create a bank account and obtain health insurance, exist, legally breathe, all that fun stuff. Go here to make sure you understand it and apply!



    • Check the latest COVID updates and entry requirements here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus


    • Register with the police (yes, you have to), and don’t forget to bring all the documents you needed to apply for a visa: https://www.gov.uk/register-with-the-police/who-needs-to-register, if anything regarding your stay in the UK changes (address, for example) then you need to update your records with the police within the next seven days, if you don’t and you’re busted, you will be fined and perhaps imprisoned, would not recommend!

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP, pronounced like ‘burp’ probably): your ID card, tells you and the cute cop who lets you get out of trouble exactly what you can and can’t do in the UK. Upon receiving your visa, it’ll come with a letter inclusive of a section telling you when and where you can pick up your BRP at the post office where it lives. Do it ASAP.







      How to rent a flat in London?

    • Platforms to search on:



    “Easy Roommate” 


    On these two sites you need to register (it is free), then you can enter your requests, consult the ads and directly contact advertisers.



    The name says it all, a room which is spare in a house, it depends who will be your room-mates rather than where exactly you will be living!

    Use social media groups, sometimes provided by your school, outgoing students will often post housing offers and information.



    It is the most used site in the UK to search for houses and / or rooms to rent (but also to buy).



    It is managed by real estate agencies.



    It’s a generic ad site. It is used frequently to search for rooms and apartments:

    anyone can post an ad and anyone can reply. However, we can not always quality control as it is not possible to establish the honesty of advertisers.  In other words, keep your eyes open for scams.

    • List of documents:

     – ID 
     – Copy of Visa
     – Official letter (like utility bill) as a proof of identity (address and name) 
     – Electoral register 

    If you are employed:

     – Recent pay slips for the last three – six months
    – A current employment contract
     – A tax return for the most recent tax year

    If you are self employed:

     – Evidence of income (for one – three years) via bank statements or invoice records, company details (such as a certificate and tax returns)

    If you are a student:

     – guarantor with his/her information

    In the UK, it is expected to check the tenants character, hence it is recommended to have references

    (from a previous landlord or an employer)


    • Where to live:

    Camden / Hampstead – good nightlife / restaurants, feels happening, still close to central (Northern line), Hampstead is a bit posher but if you go a bit further it is very affordable by London standards.

    Shoreditch – fun, young hipster vibes, really cool bars and clubs.  If that’s a bit out of price range, Bethnal Green right next door is also a good alternative (also better connected with central line).

    Dalton – the new shoreditch, a bit cheaper probably but still feels very trendy, not directly on the tube but you’re on the east London overground line so it’s not best for commuting, but still manageable and that’s reflected in the price.

    – Kensington and Chelsea (posh and expensive but definitely the best and if you look for it you can find good deals)
    – Fulham which is near Chelsea but cheaper and let’s say Hammersmith too but surely places not too far near Fulham
    – Battersea (Clapham Junction station) which is south side of the Thames but really nice to live and lots of people are moving there cause it’s cheaper and mostly new, connections are really good even if there’s no underground but you have trains and overground every few mins
    -Vauxhall, again it’s in the south but I love the connections with the centre

    Understandably, the center is the most expensive, in general we suggest you stay in West London or central London if it’s suitable for you budget.  

    Looking at your guarantor:

    They should earn three times the rent, have full-time employment, and own their own home

    (the strictness of these requirements depends on the agency).



    What is the budget in need to live in London?

    • Housing

    A one bedroom apartment averages at £650 ($1,000 USD) per month if you’re in the city; £550 ($850 USD) if you’re outside of the city.

    The average of utility costs per city £40

    (depends on the region you live in)

    check it out:  https://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/guides/why-are-energy-rates-different-by-region

    Internet: costs about  £32.28, or $40.62 USD a month, which is the 63rd cheapest in the world

    • Food Costs

    A meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs about costs about £15.00.  Groceries will set you back about £80-£100 a week including food, basic laundry and toiletry items.​

    • Transportation Costs 

    Transportation in London is among the most expensive in the world, with a monthly pass for public transport being £150.00.  However, there is a student discount if you get the Oyster card, which save you 30% on Travelcards, as well as Bus & Tram Passes.  Make sure to have it on you at all times!

    • Entertainment Costs 

    For the movies it costs about  £7- £8 on average.

    For the disco/clubs it costs about  £15- £20 on average for entrance fees. 

    Check cost-of-living website



    Be sure to check with you school to see if any restaurants, bars, etc. in the area offer student discounts, otherwise be sure to check with your international student card provider (if applicable) and see if they offer any deals.  Don’t be afraid to ask any establishment if they offer student discounts, sometimes you’ll be pleasantly surprised! 

    Use the app Unidays for discounts (restaurants, supermarkets, fashion, technology…)



    How to open a bank account in the UK?


    • Should you even open one?

    Using a foreign card, the fee you have to pay at an ATM can start at around 5%, you also have to pay extra for credit card transactions.  We recommend you either change your contract with your current bank or open a new account in the UK.  You will have to provide paperwork proving that you are a student, then book an appointment at the bank.  You will then have to go back to the bank when it’s approved, bring your ID and paperwork with you to activate the account.

     You can also contact your bank in your home country, it is possible that they have opportunities for you to make a contract as a student so you don’t have to pay the foreign transaction fees. 

    Documents required:

     – ID
    – Student enrollment proof
    – Address in the UK
    – Income statement

    • Which banks:


    (you need to be a student in the UK for at least 2 years as an undergraduate):
    you can apply online, but then need to visit a branch in order to identify yourself.  Documents required:
    Your address(es) for the past 3 years
    Your current address in the UK
    Your place of study and course details
    Your income details (if you have any)
    Your employment details, including your employer’s address (if you also work)
    Proof of your Student or Higher Apprenticeship status for your branch visit


    Your addresses for the last 3 years
    Your employment details
    Your income details
    If applying from outside the UK but within the EU, you’ll need to provide certified proof of your identity and address, translated into English if necessary




    is an online bank where you register your card with a picture.  You send money, and you receive your card in 10 days.  If you have money of any currency, you can convert it into pounds directly.  You can withdraw money, pay by card, and send money on Paypal.  You can currency convert to the whichever you wish, it is free.



      What is the local subway company in London?

      How can I get around London?


    Emergency services contact:

    Ambulance: 999 or 112

    Fire: 999 or 112

    Police:  999 or 112

    Gas emergency: 0800 111 999

    NHS Direct (24 hour health helpline): 0845 4647

    • Drivers license:

     License is from EU (+ Norway, Lichtenstein, Iceland)

    simply exchange it to a British one 

    License holders from designated countries:

    Have 5 years starting from when they become residents to exchange their foreign license for a British one.

    Foreign license will only be valid for the first 12 months of your time in the UK.

    (designated countries are: Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and Zimbabwe)

     Not from a designated or EU:

    Use your driver’s license in the UK for up to 12 months, from the day you entered the UK, then you will have to take a test to obtain the British license



    • Public transportation

    Oyster card:


    18+ Student oyster photo card

    – save 30% on adult-rate travel cards and bus and train pass season tickets

    – you have to live in London borough

    – you have to be enrolled at school

    Get a Railcard

    Get a 16-25 Railcard or 26-30 Railcard and add it to your 18+ Student Oyster photo card, or standard adult Oyster card to get 34% off pay as you go off-peak fares and daily caps for:

    – Tube
    – London Overground
    – TfL Rail
    – most National Rail services in London

    You can take this subscription in several modes:

    – you pay monthly

    – you pay each time you take the subway (with your card directly connected to your bank account)

    – or you can apple pay each time you take the subway.



     How to apply for an insurance in the UK?

     For what do I need an insurance in the UK?

    • Required insurances:


     Health insurance is free, but not all care services are included at zero cost.  It depends on your situation, you might be charged afterwards

     GP has offers for students who study in the UK for 1 year or more

    • Checklist:

    –  Passport with visa or valid photo ID
    – Proof of address (Police Registration, Utility Bills,
    – Bank statements, Residence contract, etc…).

    • How to proceed:

    Register to the nearest GP (General Practitioner)  as soon as possible (not online!) 

    Where should you go? 

    Click on the following website, enter the postal code of your residence, and find the GP that fits you


    • Forms required: 

    Personal information and medical condition

    (some clinics might ask you to do a general test)

    GPs are always busy especially at the beginning of a scholar year.

    If the clinic that you choose requires the test, you may get an appointment in 2 weeks.

     – Always have your NHS number on you
    –  Call or pass by the GP where you registered and ask them for your NHS number one week after your registration
     – They will also send you the registration proof by mail

    If you are European

    Stick with your current insurance plan 


    • Renters: 

    Tenants’ liability:  covers repair or replacement costs if you accidentally damage your rental property.

    Most renters policies include this as standard and sometimes include TLI (Tenants Liability Insurance).

    (if not it costs you between 40 and 100 pounds)

    Some providers are: Urban Jungle, Intasure, LetAlliance, Rentguard, and HomeLet.

    More info:





    How to apply for a phone subscription in the UK?

    What are the phone operator in the UK?

    Sim cards from your home country might have good plans, so if you are staying for a limited time you can keep them.

    Otherwise local providers:

    – EE : https://ee.co.uk/ee-and-me/welcome/get-started-new

    -T-Mobile : https://www.t-mobile.com/

    –  Vodafone: https://www.vodafone.co.uk/



    Is London a safe city?


    In general London is a metropolitan city where pickpocketing is very present in crowded places and public transportation . Being aware of possible dangers includes making sure you have good transportation from the underground to your home. Don’t forget that vehicles come from the other side of the road than in other countries.Traffic is very hectic and many accidents happen.

    • Areas that aren’t that safe at night

     – Parks




    Things you should know about the UK


    1. There is a bar next to the school (ESCP) called the Black Lyon which gives a 10% discount to ESCP students.
    2. You can become friends with everyone in London, people in grocery stores want to be your friends, but they never really say what they think, they are very polite and reserved.
    3. The London underground has a badge “Let’s have a talk” people invite you to talk to them instead of being on your phone.
    4. Students use Bumble to meet new people.
    5. London can not be compared to the rest of England.
    6. If you manage to obtain your national insurance number, it will allow you to get jobs without paying taxes.







    We designed you a checklist to help you through your preparation!

    If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us!


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