student withdrawing money
IAESTE - Finances ©

© Mat Wright

Before you come to the UK, you should know how to manage your finances and what issues you may be faced with.

Banking and Money

Make sure you bring enough money to cover you for your first month here as many salaries are not paid until the end of the first month.

In most cases you will need to open a bank account to receive your salary. We recommend you open an account with the same Bank used by your employer. Your employer can assist you by providing a letter of support to help them to pay your salary.


Your weekly salary is stated on the Job Offer Form. Check if your employer will pay this on a weekly or monthly basis.

National Insurance

National Insurance is the UK equivalent of social security in other countries. It entitles you, for example, to treatment under the National Health Service (NHS). You will be required to make National Insurance (social security) contributions of approximately 12% of your salary.

You will need to apply for a National Insurance number as soon as you arrive in the UK.

See details on how to apply for a National Insurance number.

Income Tax

If you are a trainee on a short term placement and your total salary for that period does not exceed the personal allowance of £9440 per annum then you will not be required to pay income tax.

Your employer will need to complete form P38(s) available from the Inland Revenue website. Students whose gross income exceeds the personal allowance will be liable to pay income tax (currently 20% of gross salary).

Please note that your employer is not obliged to make use of the form P38(s) and may still deduct income tax from your salary. If this is the case you may be able to reclaim the income tax at the end of your placement - but this can be a lengthy process. Income tax is generally deducted from your salary by your employer under the system known as PAYE (Pay As You Earn).

Council Tax

If you are on a long term placement and/or living in private accommodation you may have to pay Council Tax. This may be included in your rent, so you should check with the landlord before you start paying for your accommodation.

More details can be found on the Citizens Advice Bureau website.