We look forward to welcoming many international students to Canterbury Christ Church University each year, with 80 countries represented in our student and staff community.

We are committed to providing our international students with an outstanding education and supporting them to succeed in their studies.

Planning your arrival

The visa and immigration process can seem complex. We are here to help and guide you every step of the way. We can help you with your application whether you are a new student looking to start studying with us, or are renewing an existing visa.

As an international student joining us to study at Canterbury Christ Church University, you will likely require a visa from the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) in order to study in the UK. If you’re unsure if you need a visa to study in the UK, you can access guidance here.

The visa application route for students studying on degree-level courses is called the Student Route. If your study with us is less than six months, you may be able to apply for a standard visit visa or a short-term study visa instead.

Applying for a visa from the UKVI requires planning and preparation. For further information and advice click here or visit.

Make sure you have your student entry clearance before you travel to the UK. Being well prepared for your journey makes life a lot easier. With this in mind, make sure you’ve got everything organised with plenty of time to spare before you leave home.

Documents required for your journey

Certain documents are needed when you arrive in the UK, where you will be interviewed by immigration and health officials:

  • Your completed landing card given to you during your flight (if you’re not from an EEA country).
  • A valid passport, with a visa or UK entry clearance (if applicable).
  • Your BID decision letter which sets out the leave granted and explains the BID collection process in the UK; and your short-term visa vignette in your passport. This visa will have a validity of only 30 days from the expected date of travel to enable you to travel to the UK and to collect your BID.
  • An air ticket.
  • Vaccination certificates, if required.
  • An X-ray certificate, if required: https://www.gov.uk/tb-test-visa
  • A letter of acceptance from Canterbury Christ Church University. Keep information about the course you’re studying in your hand luggage. This must be a paper copy (not an electronic copy on a tablet or phone). This includes your university CAS number.
  • Documentary evidence that you have enough money to pay your tuition fees and accommodate yourself while you’re in the UK (recent bank statements, proof of scholarship or sponsor’s letter).
  • Originals (or certified true copies) of any degree certificates or technical qualifications.

Make sure you keep the above documents and the following in your hand luggage:

  • Some warm clothing.
  • Some British currency.
  • Insurance documents.
  • An address, telephone number and travel instructions to your final destination.

Most international students travel by air and your first sight of the UK is likely to be an airport. If you are travelling by air you will usually arrive at Gatwick, Heathrow, London City, Luton or Stansted airports, all of which are convenient for onward travel to Canterbury.

If you pass through another European airport check beforehand whether you require a ‘transit visa’, which will normally give you a fixed number of hours or days after arrival in which to complete your onward journey. Certain nationalities require a ‘direct airside transit visa’ even to transit to another flight within the airport, which means that you cannot leave the airport under any circumstances. Certain other nationalities can ‘transit without visa’ provided that the transfer is within the same airport, and you remain within the airport to take an onward flight.

If your air journey involves a connection, whether in Europe or in the UK, ask the airline staff to check you and your baggage through to your final destination, as this will make your transit through the connection airport much easier.

At first sight, an airport can appear a difficult and confusing place, but if you follow the steps below, getting through it is actually quite easy.

These are the steps you must take:

  • Follow the sign for ‘Arrivals’ unless you are transferring to another plane at the same airport. If you are transferring to another plane, follow the ‘Flight connections’ sign and any further instructions.
  • ‘Arrivals’ will take you to passport control.
  • As you approach passport control you will see electronic screens; these will show you which zone you will need to go through. Make sure you join the right queue or you could waste a lot of time.
  • All passengers must go through the immigration zone dealing with their flight. Note that there is one zone for passengers who have UK, European Economic Area (EEA)* or Swiss national passports and one or more zones for all other passport holders.
  • The immigration officer will want to see: that your passport is up to date, that your documents are in order, your landing card from the plane, and, if required, a valid visa.
  • Another part of the immigration process is health control: you might be asked to undergo a brief, routine health check by the airport doctor, which may include an X-ray as part of a short medical examination. The health check will take place in a separate room. Afterwards you will have to return to immigration control.
  • As long as your documents are in order, you should pass through immigration smoothly. But if you find you need any help for any reason, you can ask the immigration officer to telephone your college or university (keep the telephone number with you).

It is very important to plan your journey to the campus.

You can check for any guidelines regarding travel to the UK here. 

Getting here by air:

From London Heathrow: take the underground to London Victoria then rail to Canterbury. Alternatively, take the Heathrow Express to Paddington, underground to St Pancras International then rail to Canterbury. Approximate journey time 2 hours 20 minutes.

Plan your journey: from Heathrow

From London Gatwick: take the train to London St Pancras International then high-speed rail to Canterbury. Approximate journey time 2 hours. Alternatively, take the train to London Bridge and then rail to Canterbury. Approximate journey time 2 hours 15 minutes.

Plan your journey: from Gatwick

From London Stansted: take the train to Tottenham Hale then the underground to the National Rail mainline station you intend to travel from. Alternatively, take the Stansted Express to London Liverpool Street, then the underground to your National Rail mainline station. From here, see the Getting here by rail section. Approximate journey time 2 hours 30 minutes.

Plan your journey: from Stansted


There are frequent, high-speed train services to Canterbury from St Pancras International. There are also direct services from London Victoria, London Charing Cross, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International. Both Canterbury West and East train stations are minutes away either on foot or by taxi. Train timetables and fares


National Express runs a regular service (022) from London Victoria coach station to Canterbury bus station.. Coach timetable


If you wish to travel by taxi, it is essential to pre-book a car in advance. The International Team (international@canterbury.ac.uk) can provide you with contact numbers.

To complete your registration, you must meet with our Compliance team and show them certain documents. This must happen within two weeks of your arrival in the UK. You will be sent an email with times and places of dedicated 'drop in' sessions for this purpose. 

The documents you need to bring are:

  • your qualifications that you used for your visa application;
  • your highest English language qualification as listed on your CAS;
  • your passport and current UK visa vignette; plus
  • your BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) if you have a student route visa.

Please note that until you are fully registered, you will be unable to access learning materials related to your course on our virtual learning environment, Blackboard.

Once your documents have been approved, you will be a fully registered student of Canterbury Christ Church meaning you will be able to:

  • get your student smartcard
  • download letters confirming your student status
  • access materials related to your studies on Blackboard (once your Course team have enrolled you on your modules).

We strongly encourage our international students to do everything possible to arrive in the UK before 19 September – the start of Welcome Week.

  • By being on campus for Welcome Week, you’ll get to meet your course tutors and classmates, as well as being introduced to the Library, IT and other key services, before teaching on your modules begins.
  • In addition, we have a range of Welcome Week events planned specially for our international students including essential talks about your obligations as an international student at a UK university.

Please note: you will be unable to access online learning materials related to your course, until you are here and have presented your documentation to our Compliance Team in-person. In-person meetings with the Compliance Team will start from 5 September; once you have provided everything asked for during your online registration and accepted our terms and conditions, we’ll contact you by email with instructions on how to book your slot.

We understand some students may have legitimate reasons for being unable to arrive by 19 September. There may therefore be some flexibility regarding this date, in exceptional circumstances. If you have reason to believe you may not arrive at the University by 19 September, it is important that you contact both ukvi.compliance@canterbury.ac.uk and international@canterbury.ac.uk as soon as possible to discuss your options and so arrangements can be made with your course team.

If you are unavoidably late to arrive, don’t worry - we have measures in place to support you in getting off to a good start and helping you quickly settle into our friendly academic community.

At Christ Church we offer a range of student accommodation, so make sure you have organised somewhere to live before you start your trip.

Living in our accommodation means you'll be supported by us during your stay and all your bills will be included in the price. We have a range of locations and rooms available in Canterbury and Medway to suit you and your budget.

On 5 August 2022, the Home Office abolished the requirement to register with the police, "with immediate effect". 

  • If you have registered in the past and received a Police Registration Certificate (PRC), you are advised that you no longer need to keep it and will not be expected to show it to anyone in the future. However, we would strongly advise that you do keep it.
  • Any fee you have previously paid for registering with the police will not be refunded.
  • If you have an appointment booked, you no longer need to attend it or pay any fee for it.
  • If, prior to the scheme being abolished, you failed to register within the required timeframe, you are no longer required to register. 

If you have any queries please contact our International Team. 


Sign up for the International Student Success Programme

The International Student Success Programme is offered by Epigeum, which is part of Oxford University Press. It has been created in collaboration with students from universities across the UK, including staff and students at Canterbury Christ Church University.

The programme provides practical advice on preparing to live and study in the UK and will help you prepare for academic and social expectations including tips on visas, finding accommodation and healthcare. The programme also offers guidance on making friends, building your confidence and resilience, as well as strategies for good wellbeing and mental health

Settling In 

Make sure you check the Welcome Hub  - here you can find details on what you need to do to become a Christ Church student, how to get study ready, access free support and get involved. 

Remember to make all the necessary financial arrangements to pay your tuition fees and have enough money for your living expenses, such as food and rent.


This useful webpage will help you find out about banking in the UK before you arrive. 

Long-term students need to open a bank account as soon as possible. Many banks offer special facilities and schemes for students and the bank’s financial advisers can help you organise your account.

You will need to take your passport and the letter of acceptance with you, together with proof of your addresses at home and in the UK, and a reference and statements from your home bank when you go to open your account. Most banks in the UK are open from 09.30 to 16.30 Monday to Friday (some are also open on Saturday mornings). If you have a cash card for your account you can use a cash machine at any time of the day, on any day of the week.

Contact your bank in your home country and ask:

  • How best to transfer your money to the UK
  • About running a bank account in the UK.
  • Whether your bank has a special relationship with any UK banks.
  • Whether you can use cash cards from your home bank in cash machines in the UK.

It is important not to overspend on your account, as you can incur charges if your account is overdrawn.


By budgeting for university life right from the start you can feel more confident about managing your money. Check out some of the estimated costs you may need to consider.

If you want to boost your money while you're studying, you need to know what your options and rights to work in the UK are. With most student visas, you'll be able to work up to 20 hours per week while studying. You can work full-time during the holidays, as well as before and after your course starts. Why not sign up to Unitemps to find out about job opportunities at the university and in the local area.

If you are worried about finances, having difficulty budgeting or just need some money advice our friendly Student Support Team is on hand to provide guidance.

To access health care in the UK, you need to register with a GP when you arrive.

Students who come to the UK for more than six months must apply for a visa and must pay the immigration health surcharge as part of the online application. They can then access national health services in the UK. If the visa is valid for between six and 12 months, the cost is £470. The cost increases with the length of the visa.

Use the immigration health surcharge calculator to find out how much you will pay

Even if you are entitled to free NHS treatment whilst in the UK, you should consider taking out insurance that covers other medical-related costs.

For further details, please here.

COVID Vaccination

It is advised that, if you are eligible, to get your COVID vaccinations in your home country.

Anybody aged 18 or over in the UK is eligible for the Covid-19 vaccination for free, regardless of their nationality or immigration status.

In order to book a Covid-19 vaccine, international students should register with a local GP (General Practitioner) and get an NHS number. An NHS number can be found on any letter the NHS has sent you, on a prescription, or by logging in to a GP practice online service. You can also find your NHS number using this tool.

While registration with a GP is encouraged to access the vaccine, you can request to book your Covid-19 vaccination appointments as an unregistered patient through a local GP practice.

For more information click here

Depending on the conditions of your visa, you may be allowed to undertake work while studying in the UK.

International students studying full-time on a degree-level course at the University can usually work up to 20 hours per week during term time as per the UKVI’s rules. Outside of term time, students may work full-time hours. You may wish to register with Unitemps, our in-house recruitment agency, which has a range of job opportunities available in the University and local area.

To work in the UK you’ll need to apply online to get your National Insurance number which can take up to 8 weeks to receive. Once you are fully registered, you can download your Student Status letter from MyRecord – this proves your status as a full-time student at the University, and it is what you should use, along with your BRP, when seeking work.

The UK has a temperate climate, with few extremes. But the weather here is famously changeable, so be prepared. It can be quite wet and cold in the winter (roughly November to March). A warm topcoat, hat, scarf, gloves and an umbrella are a good idea. It also gets dark early. Summers can occasionally be showery and overcast, but are mostly pleasant and rarely extremely hot. The days are long and it stays light until late in the evening.

In the UK there are many people practising various faiths, and as the number of people from different cultures has grown, so have the facilities that allow them to lead a life according to their religious beliefs. 

Whatever your faith – or even if you have no faith at all – Christ Church is welcoming to all. No matter who you are, where you’re from or what you believe, our Chaplaincy is here for you.

Our team of practising Christians hold regular services in the Chapel at Canterbury and online. They also visit our other campuses to support all our students. They can advise students of all faiths on how to connect with local faith communities and find local places of worship.

We also have an Inter-Faith Council, Buddhist meditation rooms, quiet spaces and Muslim prayer rooms.

Starting university is an exciting time and as you settle in, exploring new places and meeting new friends, we have a range of initiatives to help keep you safe at the same time.

We recommend that you download the Safezone App. This safety app allows you to alert university security via your mobile phone if you ever need urgent assistance, first aid or if you have an emergency while on Canterbury or Medway campus.

Expect Respect 

Canterbury Christ Church University and the Students’ Union believe all students, staff and visitors have the right to live, study and work in a safe and supportive environment, free from discrimination, bullying or harassment of any form.

That is why we have our Expect Respect campaign  to raise awareness of what behaviour is expected on campus and how to get support if you need it.  If you witness or experience bullying or harassment, including online, we’re here to support you. You can report something either anonymously or with contact details via our online Report+Support tool.


When shopping for everyday food and drink (groceries) in the UK, most people shop at supermarkets. They offer a massive range of products to suit all tastes and budgets. Most of the major UK supermarkets now offer home delivery, which enables you to do your food and drink shopping online. 

There are smaller shops, where you can buy specialised foods from overseas, and street markets, which are particularly good for fresh fruit and vegetables, often sold at low prices.


You may not want to pack all you may need for the British weather - it is a good idea to invest in a waterproof coat, sturdy shoes and an umbrella! You can find good-quality, reasonably priced clothes in high street stores, but you can find bargains in street markets, and in the second-hand shops run by charities.

Text Books

The Library has a wide collection of resources to which you will have free access once you are fully registered. The University Bookshop offers a price match in-store for all core recommended titles and textbooks included in module handbooks.


Many shops offer a student discount when you show your student smartcard. You can also sign up for a range of different student discount schemes. 

As a resident of Canterbury, you are eligible for a MyCanterbury Discount Card. The MyCanterbury Discount Card is a special card that provides the bearer with a range of offers and deals and is free to apply for. And why not ask your friends or family to buy you a Canterbury Gift Card. Whether it’s a delicious meal out, a haircut, some new clothes or a trip out for the whole family, the Canterbury Gift Card has you covered!

Our Learning Skills Team, work with the Centre for Language & Linguistics, to offer support for any student whose first language is not English.

They offer the following help:

  • Learning Skills Hub: online modules which support your learning. 
  • Workshops/embedded sessions: interactive sessions (face-to-face or online) with tasks & a chance to ask questions. ‘Embedded’ sessions are usually integrated within the teaching of a particular module or programme.
  • Tutorials: a chance to discuss your particular needs. The result of this will usually be suggested follow-up work (maybe using the Learning Skills Hub content).
  • Free English Language Classes: taught by trainee teachers, these classes provide students with the opportunity to enhance their teaching skills while offering high-quality English language classes free of charge to the local community.

For further details click here

We know that moving abroad, away from friends and family, can be exciting but daunting. We have a range of opportunities in place to help you settle in and make the most of your time with us.

From the clubs and societies at the Students’ Union to volunteering opportunities in the community, from connecting with a peer mentor to taking part in the events on offer at the University there are plenty of ways to meet new people.

  • Why not join the Christ Church Students’ Union International Student Society – a great way to make friends and celebrate each other’s cultures.
  • Check out Friends International - an organisation in Canterbury made up of Christians from local churches, who wish to offer friendship to international students. They organise a range of events and activities to help you feel welcome.
  • Take part in HostUK – a fantastic opportunity for an immersive, cultural experience with a British family anywhere in the UK. The trips (day/weekend/weeklong) are great value and completely safe with all hosts being fully vetted. This is the perfect way to make some very special memories to take home with you.

Remember it is important to tap into your teaching with your smartcard

When you arrive and are fully registered you will be issued with your smartcard. You will use this to register your attendance. Look out for the black Smartcard reader at the entrance of lecture theatres and teaching rooms. Each time you tap in, there will be a ‘bleep’. The LED on the Smartcard reader will flash blue briefly indicating that your attendance has been successfully recorded.

It’s important for us to know if you’ve attended lectures, seminars or classes in person or online so we can support you in your studies. By registering your attendance, we’ll notice if you’ve missed any timetabled sessions and if you need any support to get back on track.

If you are an international student who is here on a Student Route visa then your leave to remain is dependent on your continued engagement with your studies. One of the ways in which we monitor your engagement will be through you tapping into your lectures, seminars and other learning activities. If you miss any of these without prior agreement from the university then we may withdraw our sponsorship of your visa. If this happens, then you would no longer be able to continue with your course and would need to return home.

My advice is to bring the essentials; health card, student visa, qualifications and other important documents. Do not worry about overpacking, Canterbury is a place full of shops perfect for students’ rooms where you will find everything you need. And remember to make sure you also bring photos to remind you home!

Marta, Film and TV Student


International Student Welcome Events January 2023

To help our international students starting in January 2023 settle in, make friends, and learn about living and studying in the UK we have organised a range of events and activities.