International Student Support

Welcome and arrival

We operate a meet and greet service over Welcome Weekend and organise talks, workshops, events and trips to help you settle into life in the UK.

For the most up to date information about Welcome Weekend (21 and 22 September 2019) and the following Welcome Week, see the Student Hub.

Here's additional information specific to international students:

Meet and greet service

During Welcome Weekend our teams will be at Heathrow airport and Brighton Station to welcome you to the UK, answer your questions and help you find your way to Brighton or to your accommodation.

Find out more on our travel page in the Student Hub.

If you do see our welcome teams when you arrive, say hello and introduce yourself as a Sussex student.

At Heathrow airport we have a pre-bookable coach service to Brighton at specified times over Welcome Weekend. Find out more on the Student Hub.

If you're arriving at Heathrow Airport when our coach service is not available, or if you're arriving at Gatwick, Stansted or any other UK airport, check the information below to find out how to get to Brighton and to the University.

Travelling to the University of Sussex

The University campus is at Falmer, about four miles (six kilometers) from the centre of Brighton & Hove and four miles from the town of Lewes.

Find full travel instructions on our directions page or see our travel information on the Student Hub.

transport map

Travelling to Brighton from London-Gatwick airport

Gatwick Airport is much closer to the University of Sussex than Heathrow Airport.

Train: On arrival, follow the signs for the train station and take a 30-minute train to Brighton (cost approximately £10). Several train operators run on this route and during the day trains run every 15 minutes.  You can also buy a through ticket direct to Falmer train station (across the road from the Sussex campus).  You will still need to change trains at Brighton station to get to Falmer station. Trains to Falmer station from Brighton station run about every 15 minutes and the journey takes approximately 10 minutes.

There is a 10-20 minute walk from Falmer station to most residences on campus. There will be a minibus service transporting new students from Falmer train station to campus residences on the Saturday and Sunday of Welcome Weekend between 9am and 5pm.

If you are arriving outside of these times, and you have a lot of luggage, we would advise you to take a taxi from Brighton train station to campus (there is no taxi rank at Falmer train station).

From London-Heathrow airport

If you arrive at Heathrow Airport there are two ways to get to Brighton:

Coach: This is the easiest option and is usually a cheaper option than taking the train, especially if you book your ticket in advance. Find out more on the Student Hub travel page.

Train: This option is not recommended if you have heavy luggage. Take the underground train (Piccadilly line) to South Kensington Station and change to the Circle or District lines to travel to Victoria Station. At Victoria, follow the signs to the mainline station and take the overground train to Brighton. If you are going to take the underground train then check the Transport for London website for travel information. You can also download a map of the underground train network ('the Tube') to help you prepare your journey.

Direct transport from Gatwick and Heathrow airports

Public transport links are generally good between the main airports and Brighton but you may prefer to travel directly from the airport to your accommodation. We recommend a taxi firm called 581 Travel, who can transport you from Heathrow Airport (£80-£85 single journey) or Gatwick Airport (£40-£45 single journey). There is a small additional charge if a larger car is required for luggage and a further charge applies if the pick-up is between midnight and 5.59am. You will need to pay the driver in cash. This service needs to be pre-booked. Call +44 (0)1273 300300 or email Find out more on the 581 Travel Ltd website.

From London-Stansted airport

There are two ways to get to Brighton:

Coach: The coach station is located in front of the terminal building. The direct journey takes about four hours and costs around £37. You can also take a journey where you change coaches in London, which takes up to four and a half hours but is generally cheaper (£16-£18). The coach leaves hourly but does not run overnight. Visit the National Express website for more information. See below how to get a taxi to the University from Pool Valley Coach Station.

Train: This will be difficult if you have lots of luggage. We recommend the coach but if you must then take the train to London Liverpool Street Station. Change to the underground train (Circle line) to London Victoria Station. Then take the overground train to Brighton. For more information see the Transport for London website.

From the Channel Tunnel

See our directions page for details.

From ferry ports

The nearest sea ports are Newhaven, Portsmouth and Southampton. See our directions page for details.

From any other arrival port

Take the train to London Victoria Station. There are also direct trains to Brighton from London Bridge and London St Pancras. For enquiries visit National Rail Enquiries website.

If you arrive at another mainline train station in London, take the underground train to one of the previously mentioned London train stations (you could also take a taxi, but first ask how much it will cost). There are maps in each underground station that are easy to follow and colour-coded for clarity. From there, take a train to Brighton. The journey takes about one hour and costs approximately £25.

For more information and underground train maps visit the Transport for London website.

Travelling to the university campus when you arrive in Brighton

The University is easily accessible and well served by buses, trains and taxis from Brighton.

From Brighton Train Station

Find out about trains on our directions page. Falmer Station is the third stop on leaving Brighton, after London Road and Moulsecoomb.

There is a free minibus service transporting new students from Falmer Station to campus residences over Welcome Weekend between 9am and 5pm. If you think you'll arrive outside of these hours, get a taxi from Brighton Station instead. If you can easily walk with your luggage, most campus residences are 10 to 20 minutes' walk from Falmer Station.

During Welcome Weekend there's a minibus service running from Brighton Station to Abacus residence in London Road and the King's Road off-campus residence. You might need to collect your keys here.

From Pool Valley coach station

If you are arriving by a National Express coach to the Pool Valley coach station, and you have heavy luggage, we would advise you to take a taxi to campus. You can take a taxi from the taxi rank at the top of East Street (five-minute walk from Pool Valley). The journey is likely to cost about £12.

If you do not have much luggage, a cheaper option is to take a bus to the campus. The number 25 bus runs every 10 minutes during the day. The nearest bus stop to Pool Valley is at Old Steine, about 5 minutes' walk from the coach station.

Taxi service in Brighton

You can pre-book a taxi or get one from the many licensed taxi ranks around the city. There is a taxi rank just outside Brighton Station. The nearest taxi rank to Pool Valley coach station is a five-minute walk away (see above).

Two popular taxi companies in Brighton are Citycabs (+44 (0)1273 205205) and Streamline Taxis (+44 (0)1273 747474).

Streamline operates a 'One Stop Fare Deal'. Students or visitors travelling from central Brighton to campus (or campus to central Brighton) can ask for a £12 fare deal. See the Streamline Taxis website.


For insurance and security reasons, the University offices cannot take responsibility for luggage. You will need to make your own arrangements for storage of luggage if necessary.

Arriving in the UK - immigration and customs

Immigration control

Students from outside the EEA will be asked to complete a landing card - asking for some personal details - before arrival at the UK port or airport. Once you have landed you will be asked to show your passport and landing card to an immigration officer. In your hand luggage you must carry:

  • your offer letter from Sussex
  • evidence you have sufficient funds to cover your stay in the UK, even if you have a visa or entry clearance.

There will be two queues at passport control, one for European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and one for non-EEA nationals.

If you travel on the Eurostar train through the Channel Tunnel, you will have your passport and documents checked on the train.

If you bring your car through the Tunnel, you will pass through UK immigration control in France before taking your car on the train. It should be noted that complications can occur if you enter the UK via the Irish Republic, so this is not recommended. You should allow plenty of time to get through immigration and customs as, depending on where you are from, this can take several hours at busy times.

Passport control

There have been significant changes to immigration control in the last few years.

If you are refused entry, or given a very short period of temporary admission, please contact the International Student Support team on T +44 (0)1273 678422 as soon as possible for assistance.

Arriving with an entry clearance

You will have already obtained your visa prior to entering the UK, but you will still need to show the following:

  • a letter stating that you have been accepted onto a full-time course at the University;
  • evidence that you will be able to support yourself financially during your course (eg recent bank statements, banker's draft, letter of sponsorship, etc). The immigration officer may still ask you questions to establish that you are a genuine student and that you intend to leave the UK upon the completion of your studies. 

Arriving without an entry clearance

You should have all of your documents in your hand luggage, ready to show the immigration officer. On arrival, you will be interviewed and you will be asked about your reasons for coming to the UK. If they are satisfied that you meet the student requirements then they will put a 'student visitor' stamp in your passport. The stamp will show you how long you are allowed to stay for, which will be a maximum of six months.

You should check your stamp is correct and challenge the immigration officer if there is a problem (eg if your stamp states 'visitor' and not 'student' or 'student visitor'). If the immigration officer refuses to change your stamp, ask to see the chief immigration officer directly. If your papers are not complete, the immigration officer may allow you Leave to Enter for a short period, so that you can sort things out. If this happens to you, seek advice from the International Student Support team.

Important to remember

  • Even if you have obtained a visa or an entry clearance, the immigration officer still has the right to refuse you entry if they have reason to believe that you have made false statements to obtain this, or if there has been a material change in your circumstances since the visa has been issued. If you hold a valid visa or entry clearance (that hasn't been curtailed) and are refused entry, you will usually have a right of appeal. However, if the border force officer thinks that your purpose for entry is not the same as the one specified on your visa/entry clearance, you will not have a right of appeal.
  • Students without a student visa or entry clearance are advised not to enter the UK via the Irish Republic (Eire). Students who have entered this way only have permission to stay for three months from their date of entry to the Republic. It is not possible to extend this leave as a Student from within the UK.

Customs and excise

When you arrive in Britain you will pass through customs where you may have to declare certain items. A system of red, green and blue symbols operates in all customs halls to help you through the procedure:

Green means "Nothing to declare". Red means "Goods to declare". Blue is for EEA Nationals only.

Even if you go through the green channel, a customs officer may stop you and search your luggage.

Duty and tax-free goods

If you are carrying more than the duty-and tax-free allowance, you must go through the red channel. You should consult the list available on your plane or boat to determine the allowances. If you have more than the duty- and tax-free allowance, you may have to pay charges on the excess. These charges depend on the quantity and kind of goods, and may be substantially more than the purchase price of the goods. As a student, you are allowed to import goods temporarily into the UK without the need to pay duty or tax. If you are importing goods other than just your personal belongings, you are advised to go through the red channel and explain to the customs officer that you will be re-exporting the goods at the end of your course.

Note: if you travel to the UK via another EU airport, you may have to pay duty on your belongings, particularly personal computers, but you can subsequently claim this back.

Prohibited and restricted goods

If you are carrying prohibited or restricted goods, you must declare them to the customs officer by going through the red channel.

Carrying cash in and out of the UK

Any person entering or leaving the EU (this includes the UK) carrying 10,000 Euros or more in cash, travellers cheques, money orders etc, must declare this at the port of entry or exit. Failure to declare this information can lead to a £5,000 fine/ penalty.

Food, animal and plant imports

There are strict rules governing the import of food products, animals and plants from non-EU countries into EU countries, including the UK. If you intend to bring any of the above mentioned items with you, you should check the DEFRA website, which will give you more information before you travel.


The laws concerning drugs are very strict and penalties are heavy. If you have to bring any drugs that have been prescribed by a doctor, you are advised to bring documentary proof of the nature of the drugs; otherwise they may be confiscated.

Drugs such as cannabis, LSD, cocaine and heroin are prohibited and customs officers and police have the right to search for illegal drugs.

Students arriving late

Find out what to do if you think you will be arriving late.

If you arrive after Welcome Week you can come to a Friday lunchtime 'late arriver meeting'. This is an informal session where we can provide you with any information you have missed, as well as give you the opportunity to ask questions and meet other new students over a cup of tea or coffee.

These meetings take place in (ROOM TO BE CONFIRMED) on the following dates:

  • Friday 4 October, 1pm to 2pm
  • Friday 11 October, 1pm to 2pm
  • Friday 18 October, 1pm to 2pm
  • Friday 25 October, 1pm to 2pm.



Sussex pre-arrival guide 2018-19 (Guidance for international students)

 Sussex pre-arrival guide 2018-19

Guide to Life as a Sussex Student

New to the UK: Catch up welcome session for new international students

New to the UK: Catch up welcome session for new international students (PDF)

International Student Support

T +44 (0)1273 67 8422