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Due to planned engineering works and industrial action, there will be disruption to rail and London Underground services between Heathrow and Central London between Saturday 30 September and Friday 6 October 2023.
Over this period, there will be disruption to Heathrow Express and Piccadilly line services. The Elizabeth line will be operating as normal, and inter-terminal transfer services between all terminals will also be completed by these services.
Passengers should plan their journeys before travelling, and allow for additional time where necessary as services will be busier than normal.
London's Ultra Low Emission Zone, or ULEZ, is expanding to encompass all of Greater London, including Heathrow Airport, from the 29 August 2023.
The initiative, implemented by Transport for London (TfL), is aimed at reducing air pollution in London, therefore all vehicles entering the airport must meet certain emissions standards in order to avoid paying a daily charge.
The daily charge for non-compliant vehicles is £12.50 for most vehicles, including cars, vans, and motorcycles.
The charge will be in addition to any other fees or charges associated with entering the airport. The charge only applies when a vehicle is driven within the ULEZ zone, and does not apply to stationary vehicles including when cars are parked at Heathrow.
Please note, if you have booked Meet & Greet or Valet Parking with a non-compliant vehicle, and have selected a different exit terminal to your entry terminal, you will be liable for payment of a ULEZ charge to transfer your vehicle to another terminal.
When packing for a long educational stint abroad, it’s important to prepare a checklist to keep everything organised.
Don’t overdo anything. Keep it simple and useful. Remember: most airlines only allow between 23-32kg and you can get almost everything in the UK as we are multicultural country.
Try to take the important stuff along with you and have less-important items shipped. Also, keep a check on weather changes to make sure you have the essentials.
Pack a bag you can take as hand luggage that includes your paperwork, money, warm clothing, and the contact details of your university or accommodation provider. (See Tips to help you navigate UK Border Control “ below)
There are also restrictions on what you can bring into the UK, such as certain foods, plants, and large amounts of money – so familiarise yourself with the rules. (See “Things to avoid when reaching UK Border Control” below)
If you’re from a non European Economic Area (EEA) country, complete the landing card given to you during your flight before you arrive at border control.
Have your passport ready. Remove it from any cover, and remember to remove sunglasses and hats.
Keep information about the course you’re studying in your hand luggage. This must be in paper copy (not an electronic copy on tablet or phone). This includes your university Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number.
Keep recent bank statements and details of where you are staying in your hand luggage, Border Force officers may ask to see this information.
Expect Border Force officers to ask simple questions about your stay in the UK when you arrive at passport control.
Do not bring in any meat or dairy products from outside the European Union (EU). There are restrictions on traditional medicines, food products such as fish, eggs and honey, and some fruit, vegetables and plants (including bulbs, seeds, cut flowers and tree bark).
There are also restrictions on the amount of tobacco, 7 alcohol and gifts you can bring to the UK. If you exceed your duty-free allowance and do not declare them, all of your items could be taken away from you.
Never bring in counterfeit goods, illegal drugs, offensive weapons or indecent or obscene material. Some items are restricted and will require a licence or permit.
You must declare cash of 10,000 Euros or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you are travelling from a country outside the EU.
Never give false or misleading information (including forged or counterfeit documents).
It's super-important to still feel connected to home when you're studying abroad, so getting the right phone to stay in touch is paramount.
There are two types of cellular frequencies: the GSM band and the CDMA band. The UK operates on the same GSM band as most of the rest of the world.
One of the worst things you can do is keep your current SIM card while studying in the UK. You'll pay extremely high charges for calling abroad and local numbers.
SIM Local stores can be found across Heathrow and stock a range of handsets and a selection of accessories carefully selected to meet all your needs. You can also find out about local plans from the leading mobile operators. The SIM Local staff are trained to help you choose the options to suit your needs.
And remember: there's free WiFi throughout Heathrow, so you'll always be connected when you're in the airport!
A lot of Britain’s higher education institutions will pick up international students directly from the airport. This can be done in a number of ways depending on which terminal your flight arrives at.
In Terminal 3 there is a designated International University Student Meeting Point away from the public meeting points.
Hosts should have a sign clearly designating the student name and be made aware of any late arrivals.
Once you have collected your luggage and negotiated customs, it’s important to have a plan in place with regard to your onward journey.
Heathrow’s journey planner gives you a complete door-to-door guide with times and directions. Just insert ‘Heathrow airport’ in the left-hand field and your desired location in the right-hand field.
Travelling around London is easy if you have a contactless card. Bus, tube, DLR, London Overground, River Bus and the majority of National Rail services inside London all accept contactless payments below £100.
Anywhere you can already use an Oyster card, you can use a contactless card – just look for the yellow Oyster card reader and don’t forget to touch in (and out, if necessary) to pay for your journey.
And remember, the best way to travel to and from the airport is to use the Heathrow Express service, which only takes 15 short minutes to and from Paddington in Central London.
Heathrow app: Even if you only ever fly from Heathrow once in your life, the Heathrow app is your ideal travel companion. Download the app and have everything you need, right when you need it, wherever you happen to be.
XE app: this is a currency converter app that helps you get the best exchange. And getting the best exchange rate means your money goes further. Priorities!
WhatsApp: The most ubiquitous messaging service used in the UK. Simple to use, and you can stay in touch with everyone at the touch of a button.
Totum: As a student in the UK, you'll be entitled to a wide range of discounts, and TOTUM has over 300 discounts on many national and local brands. For a small fee, you can also get a card which acts as your proof of age, name and status as an international student.
Google Translate: Unsure how to say something specific in English? Just pop it into Google Translate, and all the confusion will fade away. Essential (and available in app form on both Google Play and the Apple Store).
A supermarket app: Wherever your students digs, a supermarket is bound to be nearby. Downloading an app and setting up an account is a good idea if you want to take advantage of discounts and offers. Who doesn't want to save money?!
Your university app: Okay, so not all of them have one, but the ones that do will house maps of the campus, points of interest and other little essentials to keep you ahead of the game.
We hope this information has been helpful and that you have a memorable, productive stay on these shores.
If it’s your first time in Britain and you need any more advice, guidance or recommendations, there’s some helpful hints for all newcomers here.
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