International College Portsmouth

After You Arrive

6 things you need to know

Here's what you need to know before you step off the plane...

We want your transition to the UK to be as smooth as possible

Here's what you need to know for your arrival at the airport...
Immigration Control

Once you arrive at the airport in London you will first pass through immigration control. There will be two queues: one for European Economic Area and Swiss nationals, and one for other Internationals. When it is your turn, a Border Force Officer will look at your passport and check your Visa/Entry Clearance. We advise that you carry the following documents in paper form in case the Border Force Officer asks to see them:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid visa or entry certificate
  • Proof of residency
  • Evidence of funding; personal or family resources, confirmation or sponsorship
  • The letter from ICP confirming your place of study as a full-time student
  • Recent medical report (including x-ray results if this applies to you)
  • You may be asked for additional information regarding your proposed studies in the UK
Immigration procedures

Immigration procedures at British airports can be stringent and may result in a considerable delay at the end of your flight, especially during peak traffic periods (at the start of term and at UK holiday periods). For information on what goods you may bring into the UK, please click here.

Baggage Collection

Once you have passed through immigration, the baggage claim area. Check the screens for your flight number and the name of the place your flight departed from. When you have found the right carousel for your flight, wait for your baggage to appear. If you have a lot of baggage you may wish to grab a trolley to help you carry it out.


After collecting your baggage you will need to pass through customs. The exit you need to pass through here depends on whether you have anything to declare or not.


  • The green channel if you have nothing to declare. (Even if you pass through the green channel a Customs Officer can ask you to open your baggage for checking. You really must only use this channel if you have nothing to declare.)
  • The blue channel if you have arrived from an airport within the European Union (EU) where you have already cleared all your baggage through Customs Control
  • The red channel if you have goods to declare

If you arrive in Portsmouth during ICP opening times you can come directly to the college, here we can help with your registration and accommodation check in. We advise arriving in Portsmouth in the morning, this will make the transition from your flight to moving in to your new accommodation as smooth as possible!

If you arrive in Portsmouth outside of college opening hours make sure you have arranged an out of hours check-in with your accommodation provider. If this isn’t possible you must arrange to be taken to a local hotel for the evening ready to come to ICP the next day. For more information on hotel options you can find it on our Travel to Portsmouth page.


Here are a few things you may want to buy once you have settled into your accommodation. Some of the stores mentioned below have websites where items are available for home delivery, if you prefer to purchase online rather than go in store.

Food, Toiletries & Cooking Utensils


You can find these at

  • Tesco, Co-op, Sainsburys, Asda, Waitrose

Bedding and Homeware

These can be found at

  • Wilko, Argos, Matalan, Gunwharf Guays, Ikea (Southampton)


The main clothes shopping areas can be found at Commercial Road and Gunwharf Quays. More information is provided under Places to Explore in Portsmouth.

Opening a Bank Account 

When you arrive in Portsmouth you may wish to open a UK bank account. It is advisable that you research the different options available to find the one that best suits your needs. Almost all banks offer standard student accounts, however with some banks students can also get additional benefits including freebies and interest-free overdrafts. A few examples of banking options in the area are Lloyds, HSBC, NatWest, Barclays and Santander, all located within 10 minutes walking distance. You will need to prove your student status when opening your account and the Student Services team can provide you with a letter of enrolment to support this once you complete your registration.

Student Discounts

You are eligible for student discounts when you arrive that will make it more affordable for you when purchasing services and products. Here are a few of the options you have:

  • NUS Card can be applied for via the NUS webiste for student discounts in many major high street stores
  • You can apply for a rail card for discounted train tickets
  • By entering you university login details on the Unidays website, you are able to unlock a multitude of discount codes for retail stores
  • Similar to Unidays, Student Beans offers similar discount codes after logging into your university portal via their website
  • Some of the most popular supermarkets are Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Co-op. Most of them offer loyalty cards which give you access to discounts and special deals when shopping in-store. 
Employment while you're in the UK...

Employment Information for students on working in the UK can be found at Students should not rely on part-time jobs to fund living expenses or pay tuition fees. Any income earned from part-time jobs should be seen only as a supplement to established sources of funding.

National Insurance

Everyone who works in the UK must pay National Insurance (NI) contributions. If you have a part-time job offer or can provide evidence that you are actively seeking work you can apply for a NI number. Please contact Student Services for further information on how to apply for an NI number once you arrive at ICP.

Where to go, what to do, things to see...
  • Portsmouth city centre has a large shopping high street (Commercial Road) and shopping mall (Cascades) only a few minutes away from ICP. Commercial Road offers a variety of high street favorites such as Primark and H&M, TK Max, Dorothy Perkins, Debenhams, Republic, Boots, Waterstones, New Look and River Island. There are a range of restaurants and cafes to choose from whether you want a quick snack or a full meal. The cascades centre is the original Portsmouth shopping centre, it has recognisable brands such as TK Maxx and Starbucks alongside a few independent places. This area is situated a close walk from Guildhall which is a leading concert and conference venue and where the university students graduate every year. Both are a short walk from the beautiful Victoria Park.
  • The beautiful waterfront at Gunwharf Quays has a relaxed, cosmopolitan atmosphere and again is only a five minute walk from ICP. This is where the most popular landmark Spinnaker Tower stands. This shopping complex offers a 14-screen cinema and a large bowling alley which is extremely popular with students. It has high end brand outlets such as Ted Baker, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Superdry, French Connection, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Addidas, Pandora, Fossil, Swarovski and Vans. It also offers a variety of restaurants and bars with cuisines from all over the world. It sits right on the edge of the sea front where you get a lovely view of the waterfront and the passing boats.
  • Albert Road and Elm Grove in Southsea offer a host of alternative student venues with stylish and alternative shops and restaurants.
  • Southsea Castle was built during Henry the VIII’s reign. It was stationed at the entrance to Portsmouth harbour, so whenever danger threatened it was right in the front line ready to defend the city. The Castle is now a museum open to the public featuring tunnel walks, Southsea brewing company and The Courtyard Cafe.
  • Most bars are open until 11.00pm on Monday to Saturday and 10.30pm on Sunday. More information on Portsmouth can be found at

If you have a question that we haven't covered here, please don't hesitate to contact us on +44 (0) 2392 848540 or email