Planning your finances

When you first arrive in Birmingham, our Orientation Programme will discuss money management and give you tips on budgeting while living and studying in the UK.

In addition to tuition fees, you'll need living expenses to cover accommodation, food, heating, travel, books, and stationery.

If you are an international student, you will require a Student Visa (there are some exceptions).  UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requires you to have at least £9,207 in your personal bank account for 28 days before submitting your application.  Please note that living costs have increased significantly in the last few years beyond this UKVI minimum living cost of £9,207.

This figure estimates your essential living costs during the first nine months of your studies, which covers most expenses after tuition fees. The amount you'll need depends on your chosen accommodation and lifestyle. In addition to fees, you will probably need to buy books and equipment for your course.

You may be allowed to seek work, and our Careers and Job Prospects Service can help you find part-time and vacation jobs.

Bank accounts

As an international student, you'll usually be offered a bank current account with a cash card to withdraw cash from ATMs. 

Having a UK bank account is essential if you're studying in the UK for more than six months.  We recommend considering what each bank can offer before selecting an account.

Documents needed to open a bank account:

  • Passport
  • Letter of enrolment confirming your UK and home addresses (available after enrolment from the Faculty Course Office).
  • Your University unconditional offer letter, which you received at your home address (the bank is looking for evidence that the university has corresponded with you at your residence).
  • Your University or private accommodation contract for your term-time accommodation.
  • Please provide a recent bank or credit card statement from your home bank translated into English and containing your residential address (the statement must be less than three months old).

UK banks carefully check each application before opening an account, and you may have to wait a couple of weeks for your account to be opened.

Because of this, we suggest you bring around £300 in cash and a further £300 in traveller cheques to cover you for the first month.

We also strongly advise students to take out travel insurance in case you lose any money or personal documents or face travel delays.

If you're bringing a banker's draft with you, it should be in sterling and drawn on a UK bank so that you can avoid unnecessary delays in accessing your money.

Read the latest news on the UK Council for International Affairs (UKCISA) website for further information.