Overseas Education Checklist

Take a look at our checklist before you begin your oversea studies.

Checklist for moving overseas

Checklist for studying in Canada

Before moving to Canada to begin your studies there are a few things to get sorted. Here’s a guide to some of the key areas to focus on before you leave home:

1. Check your passport

Renewing your passport overseas can be harder than doing it at home. If your passport is going to expire in the next 12 months it may be worth renewing it before you go to prevent you having to worry about it when you’re studying.

2. Apply for work permits and visas

To study in Canada you’ll need a study permit – this allows people from other countries to study at designated learning institutions. A study permit is usually valid for the length of your studies, plus an extra 90 days. You may also need a visitor visa or an electronic travel authorisation. One should be issued with your study permit.

3. Lock in student accommodation

If you’re attending a Canadian college or university, you’ll want to set up accommodation. Some colleges and universities will supply dormitories and townhouses. If you’re living on campus, you may be able to opt for a meal plan program.

Another option is to rent a property close to campus or move into a share house with other students.

4. Set up your banking

How are you going to move and then access money in Canada?

You may set up an overseas bank account in advance and receive your bank account number and debit or credit card (subject to local regulations) prior departure. Alternatively, you can book an appointment online at a branch when you arrive.

5. Budget for settling in costs

There are a range of things you may need to buy once you land in Canada. It could be new clothes for the cold weather or new furniture for your place. Set yourself a budget that includes all the things you think you’ll need once you arrive as well as your visa, tuition fees, flights and accommodation.

6. Start saving

Now you’ve got your budget, set yourself a savings goal. Do you think you’ll be able to save enough before you leave? If it’s looking tight you may be able to cut back on your current spending or on some of the potential costs when you move.

7. Do a health check

Before you set off for Canada you’ll need to get a copy of your medical and immunisation records, as well as a list of any prescription medication you’ll need.

Also, make sure you're able to access any medication you need in Canada and don't forget to pack extra in your carry-on bag, in case your checked baggage is delayed on arrival. If you’re unsure about anything, chat to your doctor about your options.

See more information about what you’ll need and how the health system works in Canada.

8. Weigh up travel insurance

Travel insurance can cover you for your belongings, illness, travel delays, missed departure and airline failure. Think about whether this is something you feel would be worthwhile for you.

9. Check your phone is unlocked

If your phone is unlocked you'll be able to use any SIM card in Canada. This may give you more options when it comes to looking at contracts with different companies.

10. Double-check all documentation

In the final couple of days make sure you have all relevant documentation ready.

What next?

Checklist for studying in the US

American colleges are some of the most famous in the world. From frat houses and sororities to all the different sporting teams, you’ve probably heard a lot about what life will be like.

Here’s a guide to what you need to do before you go to make sure you’re ready.

1. Make sure your passport is valid

It can be harder to renew your passport overseas, so if your passport is going to expire within the next year you may want to renew it before you go.

2. Apply to study in the US and for a visa

You’re only able to apply for a student visa once you’ve been accepted by a US college that’s certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

The course you’ll be studying and where you’ll be studying will impact what kind of student visa you need to get.

See more information from the US government on the different types of visas.

To be granted a visa you’ll have to attend a visa interview – the US government provides tips on how to prepare and what documents to provide.

3. Sort out student accommodation

If you’re attending a US college you can choose between on-campus accommodation (dorms) or off-campus accommodation (private homes and homestays). Take a look at what services your college offers, it may even have a dorm especially for international students that will make it easier to make friends in a similar situation.

4. Set up your banking

How are you going to move and then access money in the US?

You may set up an overseas bank account in advance and receive your bank account number and debit or credit card (subject to local regulations) prior departure.

Alternatively, you may pre-book an appointment with HSBC online or pop into your nearest branch when you arrive.

5. Create a budget

Aside from your visa, tuition fees, flights and accommodation, there will be other costs to consider. This may be clothes for different temperatures, new furniture or materials you need for your studies, like textbooks.

6. Start saving

Now you know how much money you’d like to have for moving, you can set a savings goal. Is it realistic to reach this amount in the time before you leave? If it seems like a stretch, look at any areas where you could cut back to make it more achievable.

7. Get a health check

You may need to have vaccinations or health checks before you enter the US. Currently vaccines for diseases such as mumps and measles are required.

See the full requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Also, make sure you're able to access any medication you need in the US and don't forget to pack extra in your carry-on bag, in case your checked baggage is delayed on arrival. If you’re unsure about anything, chat to your doctor about your options.

8. Think about travel insurance

Travel insurance may be able to cover you for the duration of your studies, or just the first few weeks. This may be helpful if your luggage is lost or if there are travel delays which cost you money.

9. Check your phone is unlocked

If your phone is unlocked you'll be able to use any SIM card, which makes it much more flexible if you switch to a contract in the US but want to keep your handset.

10. Double-check all documentation

In the final couple of days, make sure you have all relevant documentation ready. This can include your passport and visa, as well as your travel information and communication from your college.

What next?

Checklist to study in the UK

Getting ready to begin studying in the UK? Sorting out all the logistical stuff early means you can relax and enjoy your last few months at home. Here’s a guide to what you need to do.

1. Check your passport is valid

If your passport is due to expire within the next year, you may want to renew it before you move to the UK to save you from having to manage it abroad.

2. Apply for work permits and visas

Students from a country outside the European Union, European Economic Area and Switzerland need to have a visa to study in the UK.

If you’ll be studying for a single semester you may be able to get a Short-term study visa. If you’ll be studying for longer (over 6 months) you may be able to get a General student visa (Tier 4).

You can apply for a visa three months before starting your course and it’s best to do it as soon as possible, as it may take several weeks to get a decision.

See visa processing times.

3. Set up student accommodation
You’ll be able to choose from university accommodation or to rent from a private landlord.

You may find that living in university accommodation makes it easier to meet people and make friends. They may also be catered, meaning your food is taken care of. Take a look at your prospective university’s website to see what they have to offer.

4. Set up your banking

How are you going to move and then access money in the UK? You may set up an overseas bank account in advance and receive your bank account number and debit or credit card (subject to local regulations) prior departure.

5. Set a budget for settling in costs

Aside from your visa, tuition fees, flights and accommodation, there may be other costs that you want to save for so you’re prepared. This can be for anything from new clothes to new furnishings, as well as any reading materials you’ll need.

6. Start saving

Once you have your budget, set yourself a savings goal so you’ll be ready when the time comes to move. Make sure your goal is achievable so you’re able to stay on track.

If you feel you may not be able to save enough to meet your budget, consider whether there are any areas where you could cut back your current spending or your planned costs once you move.

7. Complete a health check

You may need to have vaccinations or health checks before you enter the UK. For example, you may need to have a tuberculosis (TB) test if you’re coming to the UK for more than 6 months.

Also, make sure you're able to access any medication you need in the UK and don't forget to pack extra in your carry-on bag, in case your checked baggage is delayed on arrival.

If you’re unsure about anything, chat to your doctor about your options before you leave.

8. Consider travel insurance

A fully comprehensive one-way travel insurance policy can cover you for your belongings, illness, travel delays, missed departure and airline failure.

9. Check your phone is unlocked

If your phone is unlocked you'll be able to use any SIM card in the UK, which makes it much more flexible if you switch to a contract and keep your handset.

10. Double-check all documentation

In the final couple of days, make sure you have all relevant documentation ready. This includes your travel details, your passport and visa and also any communication from your university.

11. Stay safe

Life in the UK may be different to what you’re used to and while some things may be common sense, it’s important to read up on how to stay safe.

See the British Council’s Safety First booklet.

What next?

Ready to open an overseas account?

Let us help you further

Preparing for overseas education 

Guidance for parents, students and returning students. From planning to funding education overseas to making the move, we'll help you secure the best oppourtunties.

Opening an overseas account 

Opening an overseas account? Whether you are moving to a new country or interested in investing overseas, we can help you set up your account overseas in a few simple and easy steps.

Moving your finances globally 

Transferring money abroad? No matter where you go, we'll make sure managing funds, trading currencies and transferring money internationally is easy and straightforward.

Relocating to a new place 

Planning to move abroad? Let HSBC International help you with your banking needs when moving abroad. We can arrange for an account to be opened before you arrive through our dedicated International account opening team.