Coming from outside the UK
Coming to study in Scotland - whether for a full degree or one term on exchange - is an exciting and wonderful opportunity. At Edinburgh Napier we do everything we can to help you feel at home as soon as you set foot in Edinburgh.
From helping with your application questions to picking you up at the airport, arranging social events where you will meet new friends and in-depth inductions to let you start your studies with confidence, we're here to help.
We will send you a Welcome Pack shortly before you come to Edinburgh Napier. This contains everything you need to know about settling in and life at Edinburgh Napier. Or find out more about our University student accommodation, how to find private sector accommodation and what support is available to help you on our accommodation pages.
Once you arrive in Scotland you can make the important practical arrangements to start your life in Edinburgh, such as opening a bank account, registering with the police and with a doctor.
Immigration & Customs
All international students will go through immigration and customs control wherever you first arrive in the UK. Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs set rules about what you are and are not allowed to bring into the UK.
You will need to show the immigration officer a valid passport with your entry clearance sticker (visa). The immigration officer will usually check the entry clearance and put a stamp in your passport showing the date that you entered the UK. They will usually ask you a number of questions, such as:
- Why are you coming to the UK?
- Where are you studying?
- Have you got a letter from the University?
- Where will you live?
- How much money have you got to study in the UK?
Don't panic! These questions are normal.
You may also have to show the immigration officer some documents, so make sure that you have these to hand for passing through customs:
- A valid passport or national identity card.
- Your offer letter from us, or a letter describing your study abroad / exchange programme.
- Your academic transcripts and original certificates (or certified copies).
- Enough money (UK sterling and travellers cheques) to cover your expenses for the first few weeks in the UK.
- Evidence that you have enough money to cover your fees and living expenses.
- Health vaccination certificates or x-ray reports if you need them.
You'll also want to make sure that you pack your insurance documents, keys for checked-in baggage, and accommodation details in your hand luggage so you know where to go once you arrive.
You should only bring what you can carry in your suitcase and hand luggage, as most airlines will charge you extra money if your luggage weight or the number of bags you bring exceeds their limit. You'll also have to carry your luggage from the airport to where you're staying in Edinburgh - something to think about when you're packing.
See the full list of cities you can fly to Edinburgh from, and which airlines you can travel with. If you arrive from any other airport in the UK you'll already be cleared for immigration, and just need to collect your luggage.
We offer an Airport Welcome service where you can be picked up by our partners Edinburgh Napier Direct and taken to your accommodation - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, any day of the year. On specific dates our staff will also be on hand at our welcome desk inside the airport from 8am - 8pm to offer any advice and assistance you might need.
If you don't have University accommodation, we recommend that you book somewhere to stay - even for a night or two - before you arrive. There are many hostels in the city, the biggest being Edinburgh Central Hostel at the top of Leith Walk. Some of our North American exchange students may have reserved rooms in our accommodation through your Study Abroad provider (CIS/ISEP). If you're not sure whether accommodation has been reserved for you, please check with them or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To travel from Edinburgh airport to the city centre, you can take the airport shuttle bus for £3.50 (tickets available from the kiosk at the bus stop or online), or take a taxi which may cost up to £20 depending on whether you pre-book and where you're going in the city centre.
Glasgow International Airport is slightly outside the city, so you would need to travel to Glasgow city centre then take a bus or train to get to Edinburgh. The airport bus stop is just outside the main terminal - you can ask at the Airport Information Desk for directions.
International flights arrive into London Heathrow airport’s four terminals, and internal UK flights normally leave from Terminal One. It can take about 35 minutes to travel from Terminal Four (the furthest away) to your departure gate in Terminal One using the free underground link. You should allow more time if you need to collect luggage. A number of information desks are available throughout the airport.
Check with your airline or an information desk if you are unsure where to go on arrival. If you have a connecting flight to Edinburgh and your luggage is checked through to Edinburgh then follow the Flight Connections signs.
If you arrive at night and need accommodation in London before travelling to Edinburgh, try to book a room in advance at the International Students’ House.
National Express and Megabus offer coaches to Edinburgh from London. The trip takes around 9 hours but can cost as little as £17 if you book in advance. Buses depart from either Heathrow airport or Victoria Coach Station.
Trains are much quicker - just 4.5 hours - and if you book in advance you can get tickets for almost the same price as travelling by bus. Check the trainline for the best ticket prices.
In the Republic of Ireland
For immigration purposes, we recommend that students from outside the EEA avoid flying via Dublin or elsewhere in Ireland. The Republic of Ireland has a ‘Common Travel Agreement’ with the UK, therefore your entry clearance cannot be validated on arrival in Edinburgh from Dublin.
EEA Nationals will be asked to show a valid passport or national identity card to pass through the Republic of Ireland.
Students Pre-arrival Induction for Continuing Education (SPICE)
The online SPICE resource for undergraduate students and postgraduate students will tell you about what it's like to study in the UK compared to other countries, and help you consider important skills to successfully complete your degree. You will complete activities and exercises that will help your understanding and hear the experiences of international students who have studied at Edinburgh Napier University before you.
Some of the modules include:
- Studying at Edinburgh Napier - general introduction to the University, the city, etc
- Your learning style - getting to know the way you learn, how can you learn smarter. This is a students’ favourite!
- Time management
- Lectures - making the most of the time in lectures, note taking, active listening
- Tutorials - effective taking part in tutorials, group work
- Writing - academic writing including essays, reports and case studies, examples of academic writing from different subject groups
- Academic language – use of academic / professional language
- Using resources - referencing, avoiding plagiarism
- Assessment - preparing for and writing good assessments, examples of assessments
- Study support - where to find help for specific study skills needs at Edinburgh Napier
You can benefit from this resource before you even arrive at Edinburgh Napier - why not log in now?
Find out more
If you have any questions or concerns about what to do when - or before - you arrive, please don't hesitate to contact email@example.com.
For our exchange students, email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch before January. Otherwise, Slawek Staniszewski and Signe Olander will be on hand in the Student Hub at Merchiston campus, and you'll meet them at the Exchange students' induction.
If you need to make any special arrangements for study and assessment, e.g. being allowed extra time to sit exams, please email our Disability & Inclusion team, who will ensure that all your needs are met.
Or if you'd like to connect with other international students who are preparing to come to Scotland, check out our International Students Facebook group.