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Visas, pre-departure information and orientation
Visas, pre-departure
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Pre-departure briefings
Visas, pre-departure information and orientation

We aim to help international students have a positive experience in the UK. We do this by giving them guidance on getting a visa, preparing for coming to the UK and settling in once they arrive.

For full details of our work in this area, please see the following brochure:
Download PDF Document The British Council's role in visas and immigration (89KB)

Visas and entry clearance
The British Council works closely with the UK Visas and Immigration, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Home Office, UKCISA, educational institutions and other sponsors and partners to ensure that visa and entry arrangements are more user-friendly for international students and to make their stay in the UK a positive experience.

We are a stakeholder in the Joint Education Taskforce, where we develop and share research, resources and insights into immigration issues affecting international students.

In April 2009, the UK introduced a new points-based system for visas. One of our main areas of focus has been to help students, agents and educational communities around the world understand the new system and what it means for them. We do this by providing information through the Education UK website, newsletters, publications, pre-departure briefings and through local outreach and media.

If you have any queries about our work in visas and immigration, please contact Helen Clews, British Council External Relations & Immigration Adviser.

We produce a range of publications giving guidance to international students on coming to the UK. These publications are located on the Education UK website. Please note, all of these publications are now electronic copy only, except for Creating Confidence.

Download PDF DocumentEntry Clearance and Immigration booklet 2014-15 (1631 KB) for all self-funded international students coming to study in the UK.

Download PDF DocumentFirst steps - a pre-departure guide for international students coming to the UK 1627 KB) covers what students need to know and do before they leave home, along with advice about arriving in the UK, settling in and getting on with making the most of being a student in the UK. This guide is not available in hard copy.

Download PDF DocumentCreating confidence - making sure that your time in the UK is safe and enjoyable (1620 KB) this guide, which replaces Comfort Zone and Safety first, is designed to help international students prepare for their stay in the UK and gives practical advice about living and studying in the UK. It highlights some of the safety and security issues international students need to be aware of and lists organisations to contact if they need help.

To place an order of Creating Confidence guides, please download the order form and send to Helen.Clews@britishcouncil.org.

For more information on staying safe in the UK, visit the Education UK website.

Download PDF DocumentSafety First - making sure your visit to the UK is safe and enjoyable (1670 KB) this guide is a version of the above Creating Confidence guide that is not student-specific and is useful for all visitors to the UK, especially long term visitors. This guide is not available in hard copy.

INTERVIEWS WITH PROFESSIONALS IN THE UK – making your time in the UK safer and more enjoyable
An interview with a Door Supervisor
An interview with a police officer
Find out about working in the UK during your studies and working in the UK after you have finished your studies with the UKCISA factsheets

We also produce publications to assist UK institution staff:

Download PDF DocumentCultural connections: this essential guide to cultural awareness is for those who want to make the most of the international student experience and help students do the same. Latest version: fourth edition, published June 2007.
Get advice about Download PDF DocumentHiring international graduates under tier 2 after April 2012 (156kb) from Penningtons Solicitors.

If you have any queries about the above publications then please contact: helen.clews@britishcouncil.org

Student pre-departure briefings
We hold

pre-departure briefings in a wide range of countries to give students planning to study in the UK advice and tips on getting a visa and settling in to life in the UK.

Safety survey - Creating confidence
This international student safety survey, conducted by the British Council, aims to assess student experiences and premises about safety issues in the United Kingdom.
Download PDF Document Creating confidence - international student safety survey report 2010 (790KB)

Recognising institutions' best practice - The British Council Award for International Student Support

The British Council supported, jointly with the Association of Colleges (AoC), a Beacon Award for International Student Support. The award recognised best practice in supporting international students from recruitment through to completion of qualifications. It was awarded to further education colleges that developed and maintained consistent and caring procedures for the support of students who are studying in the UK

Previous winners include:

  • 2010/2011 Edinburgh’s Telford College
  • 2009/2010: Coleg Llandrillo
  • 2008/2009: Stevenson College, Edinburgh
  • 2007/2008: Bridgwater College
  • 2006/2007: Boston College
  • 2005/2006: Sussex Downs College
  • 2004/2005: The Bournemouth and Poole College
  • 2003/2004: Broxtowe College
  • 2002/2003: John Leggott College
  • 2001/2002: Pembrokeshire College
  • 2000/2001: Dudley College
  • 1999/2000: Chichester College
  • 1998/1999: Broxtowe Col

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