Setting Up a Bank Account

Setting up an UK bank account is definitely worth it. Save future you lots of time and money by getting it sorted early on! Having an UK bank account is a more practical and cheaper choice than trying to manage your finances from your everyday home country account.

The University page on UK bank accounts is a good place to start, click here to find it. The page gives advice on the following:

  • why you should open a bank account
  • how to open a bank account and getting set up before you leave home
  • types of UK bank account
  • Sharia banking
  • frauds and scams

Some UK banks may require you to prove that you are a student here. You can request a bank letter confirming that you are a student from the University - click through to find out how you can get one.

Save the Student also offer loads of good advice on opening an English bank account, including the following information on:

  • why you should open a bank account
  • things to consider when choosing a bank account
  • how to open an English student bank account
  • International Student account reviews
  • alternatives to seeing up an English bank account

Click here!

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) gives much of the same information you’ll find above. However, their blog also looks into cash machine etiquette and tips. Very handy to know! Do UK cash machine quirks differ from the ones in your country?

Find out here.


If you feel worried about managing your money when you get here, don’t despair! There are lots of ways to figure out your budgeting needs for each month. It’s a good idea to keep in mind that these tools are good for getting a rough idea of how much you’ll need to spend on rent, food and other essentials each month but nothing beats sitting down yourself and working it out. Everyone’s budget will be different so use budgeting tools as a guideline.

Which? University has a student budget calculator to help plan your spending before you get here. You can type in Sussex University into the search bar to bring up a rough estimate for:

  • accommodation
  • water and energy
  • mobile phone and internet
  • transport
  • food shopping
  • takeaways and snacks
  • and lots more!

This calculator is useful because, as you scroll down the list of your potential outgoings, you can personalise each one. For example, if you know you won’t be spending any money on alcohol or cigarettes you can set the amount for this to £0. Or you can enter your own amount for each.

Student Discount

The National Union of Students (NUS) can save you money through their student discount scheme called TOTUM. TOTUM gives you access to exclusive student deals on food, fashion, tech, travel and more. Pick up your TOTUM card here! If you’re still making your mind up on whether to join or not, you can sign up for TOTUM Lite to get a taste of what discounts you can get your hands on.

National Insurance Number

You will need a National Insurance (NI) number if you want to start work in the UK. Your NI number is a unique personal reference number required for tax and employment purposes. Depending on how much you earn you may have to pay Income Tax and National Insurance contributions. Find out more about this on the government website, here.

To apply for a NI number, you will need to call the National Insurance application line on 0800 141 2075 (Monday - Friday, 8am - 6pm). During this call, you will be asked personal details (such as name, date of birth, nationality, UK residential address, and the date you arrived in the UK).

Following this you will be either sent an application form in the post or invited to an interview at a local Jobcentre Plus in Brighton. Click here to read more information on applying for your National Insurance number from the University’s Career and Employability Centre.

Working on a Tier 4 Visa

Many International Students on a Tier 4 visa are allowed to work, depending on the type of Tier 4 sponsor you have. The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has comprehensive information about Tier 4 work. Click here to visit their pages, advising on:

  • who can work and working hours
  • work placements and internships
  • what kind of work Tier 4 visa holders can do
  • work with Tier 4 leave when you are no longer studying

The University runs a drop-in immigration advice service, offering advice on Tier 4 student and short-term study visas as well as general visa and immigration issues. You can book an appointment by emailing [email protected], calling 01273 678422 or dropping into Room 202 on Bramber House’s second floor.

Click here to read what the University advises about visas and immigration.

Looking for Work?

Login to the University’s CareerHub website to search for jobs that pay at least £8.21 per hour. They also post voluntary roles if you are looking to boost your CV.

The University's Careers and Employability Centre run a wide range of events, from employers on campus to careers or study skills workshops. They also organise an annual Careers Fair in November and other smaller fairs throughout the year. You can find the full list of events and book online through this link.

You could also look on local job sites. The Careers and Employability centre recommends the following:

USSU Jobs - Student roles at the Students' Union. Subscribe to the vacancy mailing list to keep up-to-date and be one of the first to know.

The Argus - The job section in Brighton's daily newspaper.

Brighton and Hove Jobs

Student Job Brighton

Wired Sussex - Vacancies for students within the care sector.