International Students

Entering the phase of college life while leaving home can be scary and even more so when you are studying in another country. We at ELS recognise this and aim to help all of our International tenants integrate into the wonderful student culture that is Edinburgh.

To help you find your feet, ELS Student Apartments has an ‘in-house’ international student concierge who will help you with the day to day living, which can be daunting for the first few weeks. He is an ex-international student who understands Edinburgh and the difficulties of initially moving here. Tasks like starting a new bank account, getting a bus pass, finding food that tastes like a home cooked meal, finding your favourite haunt, the list goes on and on. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a trusted friend to ask?

We at ELS provide the most comprehensive orientation for our students making the student open to the experiences that Edinburgh has to offer and assuring those at home that their loved ones are in safe hands.

Student Advice International Students

We understand that moving to a new country can be scary. That is why we have put together some information to help you settle into your new home as quickly as possible.

Please ensure you speak to one of our friendly staff should you have any questions about anything – they are very happy to help you!

Opening a bank account

Opening a bank accountIt is not possible to open a UK bank account until you arrive in the UK. However, it is likely to be one of the first things that you do because this is the safest way to keep your money. This will take you at least a week so you must make sure you have enough money for your first few weeks in your new city.

To open a bank account you will need to check individual bank requirements, but most require you to take your passport and introductory documentation from your university detailing your personal details and course of study.

Speak to your university student union for more details or go to for advice on budgeting and managing your money or the British Bankers Association for their guide for international students

Student Travel Reduction Cards

Student Travel Reduction CardsIf you are exploring the UK while you’re here you will make considerable savings on travel by purchasing a Young Person’s Railcard and/or a Coach Card. The Young Person’s Coach Card can be bought at National Express coach offices or online. This card costs £10 for a year or £25 for three years and gives you 30% off all coach travel in the UK. To get one you simply need proof that you are a student. For further information see

A Young Person’s Railcard costs £30 for one year or £70 for three years, and gives you a third off your rail travel in the UK. To get this you will need proof you are a student, your passport and a passport-size photo. The card can be purchased at any train station ticket office. For further information see

Getting a UK Mobile Phone

Getting a UK Mobile PhoneMobile phones are cheap to buy, but expensive to use, especially if you are calling another country. If you choose a contract the phone will be cheaper or free but make sure you check the monthly payment and call charges before signing any contract and there is often a compulsory monthly charge. You will also need an enrolment letter from your university.

Pay-as-you-go is the no-contract, no credit check, no-commitment, no-monthly bills option. However, you always pay a lot more to buy the initial phone and calls are generally more expensive than on contract mobile phones, but you will not need to provide a proof of enrolment letter from your university.

There will be deals for international calls so make sure you take a look around before rushing into buying a phone.

Immigration & Visas

Immigration & VisasYou may need to apply for a student visa to enter the UK.

The University of Edinburgh has a great guide for students needing a visa. You can read it here.