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  International students

Coming to Scotland to study offers many exciting opportunities. At Edinburgh Napier University we like to do everything we can to help you make the most of your time here and feel right at home as soon as you arrive.
​While you’re settling into life in Edinburgh, from time to time you might need a little help along the way. There are lots of great resources on campus to help you sort out everything, from legal issues to finding a new flat.

Things you need to know...

Visa & Immigration- Arriving in the UK via Ireland
Friendship Programme
Visiting Students
Pack your bags
Edinburgh Airport Transfer Service
​International FAQ
Keeping in touch
Contact us 

International arrival guide

We know you will have lots of questions as you prepare for your studies at Edinburgh Napier. We’ve put together an arrival guide and handy checklist to point you in the right direction.


Visa & Immigration - Arriving in the UK via Ireland​

When you first arrive in the UK you will need to go through immigration and customs control. You’ll be asked to present the immigration officer with your valid passport and entry visa, and may be asked to show some documents including evidence of where you will live, an offer of admission and proof that you have money to cover any fees and living expenses you’ll have while you’re here. 

Arriving in the UK via Ireland

You might travel to the UK via the Republic of Ireland. However, it is important to understand that both countries are part of a Common Travel Area (CTA). The CTA streamlines arrival in the UK from the Republic of Ireland for most travellers, because there is no immigration control on arrival in the UK. However it can cause a problem for some students on short courses who did not apply for a visa before travelling.

If you already hold a UK visa (i.e. you applied for a visa before you travel to the UK)

There is no problem if you have applied in your home country for a Tier 4 or short-term student visa/entry clearance before travelling. Your UK visa/entry clearance will not be date stamped on entry to the UK, but this is fine. You should keep evidence of your travel in case your date of entry ever becomes important or relevant. If you do travel and re-enter the UK later, for example after a short trip elsewhere in Europe (other than Ireland), your entry clearance will simply be date stamped on re-entry.

USA, Japan, South Korea and other non-visa nationals

This information is for nationals of the USA, Japan, South Korea and other non-visa nationals who are planning to travel to the UK via the Republic of Ireland, and enter the UK as a short-term student.

As a non-visa national, you can indeed normally travel to the UK and apply when you arrive for immigration permission to enter as a short-term student (or other type of visitor) for up to six months. Non-visa national students on short courses often choose to do this rather than applying for entry clearance before travelling. However, if you arrive in the UK from elsewhere in the CTA (this includes the Republic of Ireland), you will not have the opportunity to do this because there is no immigration control at your UK arrival point. You should therefore apply for UK entry clearance (a visa) as a short-term student or Tier 4 student in your home country before travelling to the Republic of Ireland.

If, despite the above advice, you do enter the UK from the Republic of Ireland with no specific UK immigration permission, and you are a non-visa visa national, you will in most cases automatically have permission to be in the UK only for three months, not for six months. This may not be enough time to complete your short course, but you cannot extend your stay in the UK as a short-term student or Tier 4 student. If you need to be in the UK for more than the three months, you will need to leave the UK within the three month period, then re-enter asking for immigration permission to enter as a short-term student, for a maximum visit of six months.

Note also that any immigration permission you are given on arrival in the Republic of Ireland is for the Republic of Ireland, not for the UK.

Our Visa and International Support Team can give you further advice. Email:​

Friendship Programme

Visa & International Support operate the International Friendship Programme for staff and International students at Edinburgh Napier University.
The International Friendship Programme is designed to give international students a chance to have first-hand experience of the local culture and way of life, in addition to life on campus. At the same time, those signing up to be “Friends” with students will get an opportunity to learn about the students' home countries and cultures. The idea is to spend time together, doing things that are mutually interesting and enjoyable, and get to know each other. Activities could involve: dinner at home, holiday celebrations such as pumpkin carving for Halloween, Burns Supper and Christmas activities and attending local events.  Friends will be staff members of the University.
Friends and students will exchange contact information and can then contact one another independently. It is up to you to decide how often you meet and how you will spend your time together. Friends will have the chance to help you to adapt to new circumstances and thus make your study period abroad easier and more enjoyable.
If you think you might be interested in this programme once you arrive in Edinburgh please contact us for more details at

Visiting Students​

The Global Mobility team at Edinburgh Napier University are the first point of contact for visiting students to the University so regardless of if you are an Erasmus+ exchange student, a free mover from Europe, or a visiting student from a non-EU institution, they will be a key contact and are here to help. 

Frequently Asked Questions about starting your studies at Edinburgh Napier can be found in the FAQs section but if you can't find the information you're looking for, email and the Global Mobility team will be happy to help.  As a visiting student you are not alone, so you may also find it useful to ask questions and meet other new students who will be starting in September on the Facebook Group 'On Exchange at Edinburgh Napier 17/18' 

All new visiting students are expected to arrive at Edinburgh Napier by Monday 4 September 2017.  If, for whatever reason, you will be arriving after this date, please email​​ to let the Global Mobility team know. We hope to see you then. 



The weather in Edinburgh is predictably unpredictable all year round. Like most of the United Kingdom, the climate is temperate, which means we don’t experience huge extremes in temperatures throughout the year. In July and August the average temperature is roughly 19°C, while during the winter months the average temperature is a little over freezing. It’s not unusual to get snow during the winter; however it’s usually no more than a light covering that melts away after a few days.
Because of the city’s northern location, daylight hours vary significantly between summer and winter. On the longest day of the year in June the sun doesn’t set until after 10pm, while on the shortest day the sun sets just after 3.30pm. For many students coming to Edinburgh Napier University from warmer climates, adjusting to the lack of sunshine is the most challenging aspect of life in a new city.


There are many clothes shops popular with students and these are located on or near Princes Street (the main street in Edinburgh city centre for shopping):

Edinburgh Airport Transfer Service


Edinburgh Airport Welcome Service

Reliable, comfortable free travel from Edinburgh Airport to your accommodation in Edinburgh operating from Friday 7 September to Sunday 9 September from 7.30am to 7.30pm.
Student ambassadors will be at the airport to welcome and assist you with your onward travel to your accommodation in Edinburgh.

To arrange for collection, please submit your request by emailing and provide the following information:
  • Full name
  • Student number
  • Departure airport
  • Date of arrival to Edinburgh
  • Arrival date and time
  • Flight number
  • Accommodation address
  • Items of luggage (including carry ons)
Please submit your request as early as possible and preferably no later than 5 days before your date of travel.

If you are arriving out with the above dates, then please email to let us know and we can give you alternative transport advice.

If you prefer to make your own way into Edinburgh, you can find out about travelling by taxi, bus or tram on the Edinburgh Airport website. Airlink bus no.100 goes from the airport to the city centre every 10 minutes. The journey takes 30 minutes and a single ticket costs £4.50. Please note that there are no student discounts. Alternatively you can take the Edinburgh Tram which costs £6.

Welcome Event September 2018

If you have any questions or need support or advice on such things as opening a bank account, registering with a doctor, finding accommodation or getting your student ID card then Visa & International Support staff will be available at the Welcome Event for new students being held on Saturday 8 September at our Craiglockhart campus from 10am to 4pm.

International FAQ 

How do I open a bank account?

To open a bank account, make an appointment with your bank of choice and bring with you your passport, student ID card, student status letter (available from any of the iPoints) and proof of address. You will need to show the bank your accommodation acceptance letter if you’re living on campus, along with proof of your home address. It’s also wise to ask when making the appointment if there are any other documents you require to get an account opened. 

Where can I get insurance?

In the UK there are a number of insurance providers that offer everything from contents to travel insurance. Many people choose to take out insurance policies through their bank. You can also find a policy to suit you on a price comparison website, which will help you secure the best deal. 

Do I have access to healthcare?

In addition to the Tier 4 visa application fee, from 6 April 2015, applicants will also be required to pay an immigration health surcharge at the point of submitting their visa application. This is not optional and will apply to all applicants and family members applying to come to the UK as their dependants for more than 6 months. The fee will apply to all applications, whether inside or outside the UK.  The charge will entitle the visa holder and dependants to free health services under the National Health Service (NHS) once inside the UK. 

What if I need medication?

If medication is prescribed to you by your GP you will be able to get this free of charge at your local pharmacy.

Police registration

Some nationalities may have to register with the police once they have arrived in the UK.  If you have to register with the police it will state this on your visa.  Further information can be found on the Police Scotland website.

Can I work during my studies?

Your Biometric Residence Card will advise you if you are eligible to work during your studies.  As you will be studying a full time course at a Highly Trusted Sponsor institute your BRP should state that you can work up to 20 hours in term time.  Further information can be found on the UKCISA website.

Moving away from friends and family is a difficult adjustment for many international students who come to study at Edinburgh Napier University.

Staying in touch with loved ones back home - as well as all the new friends you'll make while you're here - doesn't need to be difficult. One of the biggest challenges many of our international students have is the change in time zones and finding the right time to talk, but with a little creativity and some modern methods most manage to keep connected with no trouble at all. 

The easiest way to stay in touch during a busy semester is with a mobile phone. If you want to keep your phone from back home, you can purchase a SIM card from a local provider or opt to buy a new phone once you arrive. There are many different tariffs that offer everything from international calling to mobile internet and unlimited texts, and almost all will offer a pay as you go service. To keep your bill down, it's also a good idea to invest in a calling card that you can make use of when making long distance calls. Text messaging is another affordable and convenient way to keep in touch on the move. 

The internet also helps make it easy - when you arrive at Edinburgh Napier University you'll be set up with your own private student email address for course work, which you can also use to keep in touch with your classmates, lecturers, friends and family. Free services like Skype also offer the opportunity to video call loved ones back home for a face-to-face catch up. For most students, social networking also plays a huge part, and makes it easy for you to share all the things you've been up to in Edinburgh with your social circles.

Mobile phones

There are various mobile phone networks available in Edinburgh.  You may have to visit various stores to see what company can provide you with the best offer for your needs.  Again, there are a number of mobile phone shops on or near Princes Street: 
The International Support team is dedicated to advising and supporting international students on all campuses.

Visit International for further information or email​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ | Edinburgh Napier Mobile App