Opening a Bank Account

You are advised to open a bank account as soon as possible after your arrival.  Do not carry large amounts of cash around with you.  You should either try to open a bank account immediately or pay tuition fees immediately.

Opening a bank account is not always easy, but the following information should help you.  Banks will often not allow you to open a current (student) account until your credit record can be checked.  You should be allowed to open a savings account where you can deposit money.

To open a bank account you will need:

  • Your passport,
  • University offer letter or ID card
  • Accommodation contract
  • Sponsor’s letter (if you have an official sponsor - not family members)
  • A bank letter from the University

A bank letter will be sent by email to your university email account the day after you have completed registration and have both a term and home address showing in your Student Hub.

Only once all of the registration steps have been completed will a letter be emailed to you. This letter should be printed and taken to the bank. If the bank you wish to bank with is not listed on the electronic bank letter, or if they have requested a letter addressed to them, please visit the Infohub, where a hard copy bank letter will be produced for you free of charge. Please note, you must know the specific branch of the bank you wish to open an account with, as this must be included in the letter the Infohub produces.

For further information on opening a bank account, please visit the British Bankers' Association website:  Under the BBA Leaflets section there is a special leaflet for international students (International Students: Opening a UK Bank Account).

It is important to keep your bank statements for visa extension applications.  You will need your most recent bank statement when you apply for your visa extension.  The statements should be original, formal statements. Print-outs and internet bank statements will not be accepted.

Council Tax

Generally speaking full-time students are not liable to pay Council Tax on the property where they are living; however, there are some exceptions.  If in doubt, please check with our International Student Advisers regarding any Council Tax query.

Postgraduate research students in their official writing-up period (that is the year following your supervised study) can request exemption from Aberdeen City Council.  You should complete the Council Tax Exemption form which is available on the following web page:

This form needs to be signed by your Supervisor and returned to the Infohub or emailed to  Please note this exemption does not apply to other Council areas.

If you extend your writing-up period beyond twelve months, you will be liable to pay Council Tax as you will no longer be classed as a full-time student.

The Law and the Police

The Police in the UK are classed as public servants.  Part of their job is to assist people.  If you need guidance or information, do approach a police officer.  If you prefer to speak first to our International Student Advisers, they have close contact with Police Scotland Diversity Liaison Officers, local Community Officers and Community Wardens.  Our Advisers can refer you if necessary.  In an emergency you should phone 999.  For non-emergency police enquiries phone 101.

Should you get into any trouble, it is advisable to co-operate and help the police.  If you are arrested, you have the right to know why and you also have the right to remain silent until you have arranged a solicitor to help you. 


You should protect your personal possessions.  You are advised to take out a personal possessions insurance policy which covers against theft, damage or accidental loss, particularly of expensive items. Students can obtain further advice on crime prevention and personal safety from Police Scotland.

TV Licence 

Students must buy a TV licence if they have a television in their home. Using a TV or any other device to receive or record TV programmes (for example, a VCR, set-top box, DVD recorder or PC with a broadcast card) without a valid TV Licence is against the law and could lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

For current costs please check:

Further information about TV licensing can be found here.

Driving in the UK

If you hold a valid driving licence either from your own country or an international licence, you are allowed to drive in Britain for a period of twelve months starting from your date of arrival, provided that your licence is still valid during that period. Before the end of the twelve-month period, you will need to check whether you can exchange your licence for a British licence or whether you will need to take a driving test to continue driving.  This depends on your nationality.  Some countries have special agreements. Further details can be found here:

Buying A Car

Before buying a car, you must be aware of the law and the costs involved.  Legally your car must be registered, taxed and insured.  Cars over three years old must hold a MOT test certificate to prove they are safe to be on the road.  You must also consider costs for petrol and repairs.  It is illegal to drive over the speed limit and to drive dangerously.  There are also very strict laws against driving after drinking alcohol and/or using drugs.


For information on events in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, see the following web pages: