Aerial photo of Lancaster campus

Coming to Lancaster University

Pre-departure information to help you plan your travel to Lancaster and settle in once you arrive.

Before you set off

Before you travel to the UK and Lancaster there are a few things you’ll need to sort and plan. Here are some of the things you may need to think about.

Visa and CAS

Our expert Visa and Immigration team are on hand to help you throughout your visa application if you require one. As part of the application you’ll need a Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS) and we will send you this electronic document automatically once you’re eligible to receive one. You won’t get a CAS until your offer is unconditional and we have received your passport details.

For more details about visas and immigration, including information about CAS and ATAS certificates, you can visit our visa and immigration pages.

If you have any questions or concerns you can contact us at:

You might also want to check the UK Visa and Immigration webpages and information available from the Home Office.

Prepare your finance

You can pay your tuition fees in advance, but at least the first instalment will need to be paid when you register with the University. Payment should be made online, where various payment methods are offered. Details of how to register and pay any fees will be sent to you before the start of term.

You should not bring lots of cash with you to the UK. Use Travellers Cheques which can be exchanged at post offices, banks and bureaux de change, or use a pre-paid card. About £300 should be enough for your immediate needs on arrival in the UK or more if you bring your family. Only exchange small amounts at a time and ask for a mixture of smaller denominations such as £5, £10 and £20.

However, most retail outlets accept payments via bank card. Talk with your current bank about using your account and card in the UK and compare the advantages and disadvantages with opening a UK bank account.

What to pack

There's lots of helpful packing information on our Welcome pages, but here’s a list of some of the things you might want to think about and that our students recommend you bring with you on your travels.

  • Driving License - If you have one
  • Passport and other important documents
  • Credit card - this will come in useful while you set up your UK bank account
  • Money (UK Sterling)
  • Prescribed drugs or medicine - You'll also need to bring a letter from your doctor explaining what the medicine is for in case you need more.
  • Laptop, music player and other electronics
  • Clothes
  • Bilingual dictionary
  • Camera - to capture your best moments

There are some things you’ll need but might want to buy in the UK to save space and make travelling easier:

  • Bedding
  • Towels
  • Cutlery, crockery and saucepans
  • Toiletries
  • Cleaning products

Pre-sessional English courses

If you are planning to complete one of our English language courses ahead of your studies, you can find more details about these online including accommodation information and start dates.

You can access specific guidance and support about visas, money, work rights and travel on our ASK webpages.


Travelling to the UK

Lancaster is just over 1 hour from Manchester and Liverpool, and 2.5 hours from London, Glasgow and Edinburgh by train. It is well connected and easy to get to.

When flying to the UK, we recommend arriving into Manchester Airport. It’s the largest international airport near to Lancaster and is well connected to us via train and car routes. The campus itself is only 3 miles south of the city of Lancaster, and is well served by buses, main roads and cycle routes. Check out our maps and travel page for more information about getting to Lancaster and different travel options.

A map of the UK with approximate travel times from large cities

Travel times are based on the best estimates by train.

Term dates and travel planning

Before you set off to the UK, it’s a good idea to check your local authority’s and the UK Government’s travel information. You can check the UK information on the government website.

Our term dates are published online to help you plan your travel.

Airport collection

We also offer an airport collection service to bring our international students to Lancaster University during the arrival period. Details about the latest service will be updated closer to the start of term.

Welcome and settling in

Welcome Week

Once you arrive at Lancaster for the start of the academic year, we will have a variety of activities planned to help you set up and get settled in. This will include opportunities to meet your department and your college. Visit our Welcome pages to find out more.

More information about UKVI regulations for registration can be found on our Advice, Support and Knowledge pages.

  • Register with the University

    Before the start of your course, we will send you an email asking you to begin Registration online. You must provide your passport, entry clearance visa and Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). You will be required to collect your BRP on campus.

  • Healthcare in the UK

    Many international students are required to pay a health care surcharge which enables them to use the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). It’s important that you register with a doctor soon after you arrive in the UK. And, we suggest you obtain travel insurance for your journey to Lancaster.

  • Open a bank account

    You might want to arrange an international bank account or bank card before you set off to the UK so you are able to make card or online payments for basic necessities as soon as you arrive. However, there are many banks in the city and you can set up an appointment during Welcome Week.

Reka's experience

Coming from Hungary to the UK, Reka shares her experience of arriving and settling in at Lancaster, and how she made the most of her time here. Check out her videos below.

Buddy programmes

We have a variety of Buddy programmes to help new students with welfare and academic concerns. These informal, short-term programmes match you with a current student who can help you to settle in and feel supported. They offer a space to ask questions and get some advice. 

Your home away from home

In the 2024 Global Student Living Awards - based on student feedback - Lancaster has been shortlisted in two categories:

  • Inclusivity Impact Award
  • Best Specialist Housing Award

We offer almost 7,000 bed spaces for undergraduates, postgraduates and families. Find out more about our living accommodation online.

Tab Content: Applying for accommodation

You will be invited via email to apply for college membership and accommodation from June for undergraduate programmes and March for postgraduate programmes in the year you are due to start.

If you have an unconditional offer or are deferring entry we will still contact you at the appropriate time.

Tab Content: Receiving an offer

We will send your offer of accommodation by email and ask that you log back into your online account to view the details and accept or reject it. You will have seven days to consider it.

We do not make any undergraduate room offers until the UK exam results are published in mid-August and we know who is definitely coming.

Tab Content: Accepting your accommodation

When you click to accept the offer you are accepting the Terms and Conditions of the contract presented to you. You will also be directed to secure the room by paying a deposit, refundable at the end of the contract providing no deductions have been made.

Around a week before you arrive, you will be sent an invoice by email to pay for your accommodation.

Tab Content: Off-campus accommodation

While many of our students choose to live on campus, there is also lost of options to live in the city. To support our students in finding their home, we have created the Lancaster University Homes official accreditation scheme to ensure housing is of an approved standard.

Discover campus and the city

The University is based on a stunning 560-acre parkland campus, where you’ll find high-quality facilities and a range of services. We have theatres, art galleries, a cinema, bars, restaurants, a modern sports centre and a vibrant library.

The city of Lancaster is a historic part of the UK with a modern outlook. Home to a medieval castle, cobbled streets, buzzing energy and contemporary businesses. It’s got everything from independent boutiques down little lanes to major brands on the high street.

Lancaster is also a hub of activity, with a packed schedule of festivals covering music, literature, arts, and culture, to headline events such as Light Up Lancaster and Highest Point.

Discover our campus and the city.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about your travel plans and arriving at Lancaster, our team is on hand to help.

Email us