Young man and woman at a train station in the UK. Photo (c) Mat Wright
'Some IAESTE local committees may help meet students arriving into their parts of the country.' Photo ©

Mat Wright

For undergraduate students outside the UK

If you are an undergraduate student outside the UK and want to gain technical experience in the UK through IAESTE (The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience), please check the IAESTE map for details on the specific application process in your country.

If you have been accepted to the UK as an IAESTE trainee

We’re here to help make your time in the UK as easy as possible.

Before you arrive in the UK, you must make some important arrangements. Please read the information below, particularly if you need to apply for UK entry clearance.

Making sure your documents are in order

What to do when you receive your acceptance note

The acceptance note is official confirmation of your IAESTE placement and acceptance. It gives full details of your employer’s name, address, and the dates you are expected for training.

As soon as you receive it, contact your UK employer to discuss details of your placement project. Complete the required sections at the bottom, sign and return to your local IAESTE office within two weeks.

Keep a copy of this document for the full period of your traineeship.

Passport, visas and other official documents

Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the date you intend to leave the UK at the end of your IAESTE placement. If your passport will expire before this time, you must renew it before you travel or start your visa application. 

If you are in any doubt about the acceptability of your documents, contact the British embassy or consulate nearest your home.

Registering with the police

You must register with the police if you are 16 or older, will be working or studying in the UK for six months or longer, and if you are a foreign national and citizen of one of the following countries:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Yemen

Please check your visa stamp carefully once you enter the UK. This will tell you if you are required to register with the police.

If you don’t register, any future immigration applications will consider that you didn’t register and your current leave can be shortened.

If your placement is in London

Register at the Overseas Visitors Records Office if you live in an area of London covered by the Metropolitan Police.

Overseas Visitors Records Office (OVRO) 

323 Borough High Street 

London 

SE1 1JL 

Contact your local police station if you live in the City of London.

If your placement is elsewhere

Contact your local police station to find out where to go if you’re in:

England, Wales or Northern Ireland

Scotland

Fees

Registering with the police costs £34. You can pay at the police station.

If you need to register, you should go to the nearest police station within seven days of your arrival in the UK or within seven days of getting your biometric residence permit (BRP). Bring the following documents:

  • Two recent passport-size colour photographs
  • your passport with your entry visa vignette
  • your BRP (if you have one)
  • the Home Office letter that approved your application for leave.

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your status and the police force you’re registering with.

Change of circumstances

If you registered with the police you must tell them if any of the information you’ve given them changes. Contact the police station to check if you need to go in person.

If you registered at the Overseas Visitors Records Office, check what changes they need to know about and how to report them.

Find out more on gov.uk.

Non-EU trainees: travel restrictions

If you hold a non-EU passport, and IAESTE UK helped you obtain the Tier 5 visa for your placement, you cannot travel outside the UK on this visa.

The visa allows you 28 days for travel outside of your work placement, but this travel must be within the UK. If you travel outside the UK, you will be refused entry back into the UK by customs officials because your visa is for single entry only.

Arriving in Northern Ireland

If you are a non-EU/EEA national, you must enter Northern Ireland via a UK airport or Port of Entry.

You cannot enter via the Republic of Ireland (i.e., Dublin airport), as there are no UK customs check-points at the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to stamp your arrival.

You will therefore not be allowed to work under the conditions of your visa and will have to exit the UK immediately in order to re-enter via a UK Port of Entry and get your documents stamped.

This will be at your own personal expense – IAESTE UK will not be responsible for failure to follow these instructions. Please have your acceptance documents ready to present with your visa and passport.

Managing your finances

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 help you by providing a letter of support to help them pay your salary.

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 per cent of your salary.

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

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 £9,440 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 per cent of gross salary).

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.

Healthcare

If you have a routine illness during your stay, you will need to be registered with a General Practitioner to receive treatment. For emergencies, dial 999 or 112 (these numbers are free to call) and ask for the ambulance service. 

If you are a national of an EU or EEA member country, or Switzerland:

You are entitled to treatment under the National Health Service (NHS) on the same basis as UK residents and you are entitled to receive some hospital treatment free of charge in the UK.

You should also apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This will entitle you to free emergency treatment (not to full healthcare) in all European states.

For further information on available treatments and costs, please visit the NHS website.

If you are not a national of an EU or EEA member country:

You are allowed free emergency treatment, but some doctors may not offer you other medical services free of charge.

Therefore, you are strongly advised to take out private medical insurance before leaving your home country. Otherwise, you will have to pay for private treatment in the UK.

Personal insurance

IAESTE requires participants to take out comprehensive personal insurance. You must include proof of insurance coverage on the acceptance note before you return it to your national IAESTE office.

Incoming trainees are covered in the same way as UK nationals for industrial accidents under the provision of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Some of our reception programme activities include outdoor sports, such as canoeing, hill-walking, etc. Please make sure your insurance covers you for these activities.

Neither IAESTE UK nor the British Council can be held responsible for any accidents that may occur either at your place of work or elsewhere during your training placement in the UK.

 

How do I find accommodation?

IAESTE UK may be able to provide assistance to help you find accommodation, but it is your responsibility to book and confirm your accommodation (and if necessary pay any deposit).

It is important that you book accommodation immediately and arrange it for your start date. IAESTE UK cannot be held responsible for organising accommodation for you if you fail to do this.

What should I bring?

Clothing and travel equipment 

A few essentials for all students coming to the UK: formal dress is required when working in some companies. Students working in universities can expect to dress more casually but should come prepared for formal occasions.

A sleeping bag and a backpack, if you have one, will be very useful for weekends away.

Light clothing is enough for the summer, but bring waterproof coats, umbrellas etc. for rain. Winter is rarely very cold, but warm and waterproof clothing is recommended.

Electrical equipment

Any electrical equipment you bring with you should operate on a voltage of 240v AC, 50HZ. You will also need a three-square pin adapter for your electrical goods to operate.

How do I travel from the airport to my accommodation?

IAESTE UK has local committees set up who offer support in each of the UK regions. Some of these may help meet students arriving into their parts of the country. The local committee will be in touch with you in advance if they can meet you.

However, most trainees will need to make their own arrangements for onward travel from the airport to the town or city where their placement is based.

Find out more about public transport.

Who do I contact if I have a question?

You can email our team on iaeste@britishcouncil.org or call our customer contact centre on +44 (0)161 957 7755.

For more information on the specific application process in your country, please contact the IAESTE office in your home country.

If you are a UK student wishing to do an IAESTE traineeship abroad, please visit the section for UK students.