INFORMATION FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Brexit here and now...for EU students
The Government have said they want to start the process of leaving in March 2017. Once the process starts, there’s two years before Britain leaves the European Union. How we leave will depend on what is agreed in those two years between the Government and the European Union. We don’t know what they’ll agree, and probably won’t know before March 2019, but if you’re intending to stay in the UK after your degree, either for work or further study, we recommend that you keep proof that you’re here now. We can suggest the following in preparation:
- If you were thinking of applying for permanent residency start now. This is not a simple process and could be very expensive, and may affect your rights in other countries. You can get specialist advice from a local solicitor but there will be a charge for their advice and we can’t recommend a particular lawyer. A list of solicitors can be found on the Visa Team’s webpage:
- Keeping any important documents such as bank statements and tenancy agreements.
- If you have travelled outside the UK whilst you have been a student or do intend to while you are studying make sure you keep your boarding cards and documents for those trips.
- Make sure you have comprehensive medical insurance for a 5 year period also – an EHIC card will suffice as long as it is dated for the relevant timescale.
The university has protected fees for 17/18 and 18/19 academic years to stay the same but funding may change in the future for EU students but we have no information on those changes at the moment
Experience in the UK
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) is the UK's national advisory body serving the interests of international students and those who work with them. See their video on international students' experience in the UK here.
When you first arrive in the UK, you will notice differences between the way things are done and what you are used to at home. These include the way people dress, speak and behave, teaching and learning styles, food - potentially all aspects of life. UKCISA has some excellent information on culture shock and how to cope with it. You can also read a fantastic blog about an international student's first few weeks in the UK here as well as how to survive a 1 year master's programme in the UK.
Choose Your Housing
When choosing your housing, get as much information as you can, as early as possible. Find out what is available. Check the institution website thoroughly and read all the correspondence sent to you by your institution about housing. You can find some great information on housing via the UKCISA website here.
How to open a UK Bank Account
To open a UK Bank Account you will need to provide evidence of a course of 6 months or more. The British Bankers Association website has a very useful table of the main UK Banks and what they offer International Students.
What is Council Tax?
- The Council Tax is a property tax, which is set by the local authority. The amount you pay depends on the value of the property and the number of adults, aged 18 or over who live there and their individual circumstances.
Do I have to pay?
- In general, most full-time students living with other full-time students are exempt from paying Council Tax. However, you still need to provide evidence to your local authority. You will also be automatically exempt, regardless of your status, if you live in University Accommodation, including halls of residence or flats, and in Newcastle, Private Properties managed by the University.
Who Counts as a Full-time Student?
- For council tax purposes a full-time student is anyone who is enrolled on a course of education that last for at least one Academic Year and involves study, tuition or work experience for at least 21 hours per week. You are treated as being a full-time student from the date you start your course until the day you complete, abandon or are dismissed from your course, including all the vacations between these dates. Therefore once your course finishes you will become liable for the Council Tax for the rest of your stay in the UK, even if you are staying just to attend your Graduation Ceremony.
I am a full-time Student but I live with people who are not full-time students – am I liable to pay?
- If you are living with other adults who are not full-time students and are not part of your family, then the property will be liable for Council Tax. However, you will not be liable for that bill and therefore should not have to contribute to it.
Will I be entitled to any help to pay for the Council Tax?
- Some students’ can claim Council Tax Benefits but International Students are not usually entitled to claim Council Tax Benefit and any claim could jeopardise your stay in the UK.
What information do I need to give to the Council?
- Students living within Newcastle City Council area can apply for exemption using an online form. If you live outside the Newcastle area or live with your husband/wife who is not a full-time student, then you should obtain a Council Tax Exemption Certificate. Undergraduates can obtain certificates from the Registrar’s Office, King’s Gate Building; Postgraduates need to go to their Postgraduates Faculty Office to obtain one. You then send or hand your certificate into your local council.
- Everyone who uses a television set, video recorder or computer which is capable of receiving authorised broadcast programmes (that is, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, cable or satellite) needs a television licence. Since April 2004, even international students who only watch overseas broadcasts need a television licence.
- Whether you need an individual licence will depend upon where and who you live with.
Halls of Residence
- If you watch or record TV programmes in your own room you will need your own TV licence.
- If you jointly rent accommodation with other people then only one TV licence is needed for the house, even if you have separate televisions in each room. The licence will need to be in one person’s name only and s/he may be entitled to take the licence with him/her if they move out. Another licence will then need to be purchased. If you rent accommodation with other people but have separate tenancy agreements then you will need to have individual TV licences if you have televisions in your own rooms. However, if the only television is in a communal area then only one licence will be needed.
How much does it cost?
- TV Licences cost £147 (colour), £49.00 (black & white) per year. Licences can be bought online in full or by Direct Debit and by telephone. You may get a refund if you go home for the summer.
What happens if I do not have a TV Licence?
- If a TV Licence enquiry officer visits your home, they should carry an Identification Card and be able to produce it for you and state to you the purpose of their visit. You do not have to let them in but if you don’t then they will apply for a search warrant. Once the enquiry officer has a search warrant they have the right to enter the property without giving notice. You can be summonsed to appear before a Magistrate’s Court and fined up to a maximum of £1000. If you subsequently buy a licence you could send a copy of your licence to court and this may be taken into account when assessing your case. If you are facing court action or experience any difficulties, please seek further advice from us, immediately.
Further TV Licence information.
The National Health Service (NHS)
If you are studying on a course for six months or more, than you and your dependants will be entitled to full NHS treatment. This means that you can register with a Doctor (GP) and receive free hospital treatment.
If you are studying on a course for less than six months, then you and your dependants will not be entitled to full NHS treatment unless that is, your Country has an agreement with the UK. Please check the UKCISA website for more information.
European Economic Area Nationals will qualify for full NHS treatment even if they are here for less than six months if they have either filled in form E111 (EHIC from January 2006) in their country or brought their European Health Insurance card with them to the UK.
What do I do if I do not qualify for NHS Treatment?
If you do not qualify for NHS treatment we strongly advise you to take out medical insurance for the duration of your visit to the UK. If you have medical insurance in your own country, check whether you can extend it to cover your stay in the UK. Otherwise you will need to contact Insurance Companies in the UK to find suitable cover.
How do I register with a GP?
To register with a GP you need to contact or visit the GP Surgery, taking evidence that you are a student. You will then be sent a Medical Card with your NHS number. You can register with any GP in your area. Details of GP’s in Newcastle can be obtained either from the Student Advice Centre or your University Handbook. Alternatively contact NHS Choices if you have any problems in registering with a GP, contact NHS direct.
Do I need to pay for NHS treatment?
Visiting a GP is usually free, however if you are prescribed any medicine, then you will need to pay a standard charge for this, (currently £7.20). You may however qualify for free prescriptions and help towards other NHS treatment such as Dental and Optical charges, depending on your income. Fill in form HC1 available from the Student Advice Centre to see if you qualify.