National Insurance Number
International students should also obtain a National Insurance Number before commencing a PhD. To obtain a national insurance number you will need to contact your local Department for Work and Pensions. Further details can be obtained from the HM Revenue & Customs website.
We recommend prospective international students read through the British Council's Euraxess guide for international researchers moving to the UK.
To open a bank account in the UK you will need:
- Two forms of ID – usually a passport and drivers licence.
- Confirmation of your current UK address, such as a tenancy agreement, rent book or mortgage book.
- Confirmation of your overseas address.
- The previous month's bank statements, from bank accounts in the UK or your home country.
- A letter of admission or enrolment from the Higher Education Institution, confirming you are in full or part time Higher Education (you can get this from the Registry).
It is recommended that you check with the bank beforehand to clarify what information is needed, as some banks may vary with their request for information.
As well as general post services, the post office also offer a banking service. You can find out more on the Post Office website.
Most people are covered for emergency healthcare and dental care through the National Health Service (NHS), but you will still need to register with a local doctor and dentist.
NHS dentists provide dental care at a low fixed cost. You can register with an NHS dentist or you can choose to use a private dentist at a higher cost.
Find an NHS dentist or doctor.
Living in London
London is a fantastic city to live in and there are plenty of services offering private rented accommodation and house shares. The accommodation page offers more information about finding a place to live in London.
Taxis and minicabs
Black cabs are in the traditional cab design (and often appear in advertisers’ colours rather than the traditional black). They can be hailed on the street and the orange light on the roof indicates they are available. They are licensed and considered by many to be safer to use than a ‘minicab’.
Minicabs are licensed private hire vehicles which must be booked in advance. Minicabs are not allowed to pick up passengers when hailed on the street although many will do.
It is strongly advised that minicabs are not hailed on the street as it is also possible that the driver and vehicle is unlicensed and may be a danger to you.
You can find phone numbers for local taxis and minicabs on the Yellow Pages website. The reception desks at Chester Beatty Laboratories in Chelsea and Brookes Lawley Building in Sutton also have numbers of local firms.
The Transport for London website shows all London bus, tube and train timetables as well as regular traffic updates.
Travelling by bus, tube or train can be paid for by getting an Oyster card, which can make it cheaper to travel in and around London, however this varies depending on where and when you are travelling.
Students can get a discount on transport by registering their Oyster card with TfL.