work & money

Working while you are studying in the UK

Working while you are in the UK can be a good way of earning some money to help your finances, gaining experience, improving your English and meeting new people. Most international students are permitted to work limited hours during teaching periods and longer during university holidays, and there are no restrictions at all on EU students working, although we recommend students should not work more than 15 hours a week during teaching periods.

If you are from outside the EU, you should check the terms of your visa before applying for work. Prospective employers must check that everyone who works for them has the right to work in the UK and take copies of the documents which prove you are allowed to work.

In general you will be allowed to work up to 20 hours a week during term time and full time in vacations, but you should check your specific conditions

For more information see

Tax and national insurance

Before you start work, you must apply for a National Insurance (“NI”) number. This number is used to identify you in the UK tax system. You apply over the phone:

Everyone who earns or receives income over a certain amount in a tax year pays income tax, and the more you earn the more income tax you pay.  If you work for someone else your employer will take the tax from your earnings each pay day and pass it on to HM Revenue & Customs.  This is known as the “Pay as You Earn” (PAYE) system.  It takes care of your tax automatically.

You will only have to pay tax and/or NI if your earnings are above a threshold – this changes every year – you can find out whether you earn enough to have to pay NI here:

Overseas students may be able to reclaim tax and NI when they leave the UK using form P85 – see

Student support

Some groups of students may be able to get government student support to help with fees these include:

  • Students with settled status  who ordinarily reside in the UK and students with the right of permanent residence
  • EU nationals and their families
  • EEA and Swiss nationals living in the UK
  • Children of Turkish migrant workers living in the UK
  • EEA migrant workers
  • People with recognised refugee status or who have been granted humanitarian protection,  and their families

In general, to qualify for support you must

  • have one of these statuses on the first day of the academic year of your course  and 
  • in some cases a qualifying period of residence of 3 or 5 years before that date.

For more detailed information on qualifying for student support see:

Student Finance information for EU students:

For information about scholarships and other sources of support see

Claiming benefits

Students in general are not able to claim state benefits, as their UK student finance is considered sufficient to cover their needs. Most international students in the UK are subject to a condition of their visa that they are not allowed to access public funds- , which excludes them from claiming state benefits.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties while you are in the UK, because unexpected issues have arisen, you can approach the Dean of Students Office for help ( ) or contact us at advice|su

Opening a UK bank account

There is a branch of Barclays Bank on campus, and several cash machines.  You will be required to set an appointment with the Bank to open your account. Remember to allow time to open an account, and ensure that you have a credit card and/or travellers’ cheques to pay for things for 2-3 weeks after you arrive.

To open an account you will need:

  • Proof of your identity
  • Proof of your immigration status
  • Confirmation of your student status from the university

For more information on how to open a UK bank account, including how to get confirmation of student status see:

More information:


The Dean of Students’ Office (DOS) has a team of International Student Advisers who can advise on a wide range of aspects of life in the UK including:

The International Student Advisers Team are the people to contact for advice about immigration and visas.

DOS also provide advice on financial issues, including how to apply for  hardship funding to help with living costs  in case of unexpected financial difficulties. Note that hardship funding is never available for tuition fees. For more information see

You can get general advice on budgeting from both advice|su advisers and DOS.