QMU International Student Pre Arrival Handbook


Congratulations on receiving an offer to study at Queen Margaret University (QMU).

From now, until you arrive at QMU there will be a number of steps you’ll need to take and some key dates you’ll need to remember.

Please familiarise yourself with following pages and check the QMU website and our social media feeds for
important information about preparing to #STEPintoQMU.

Welcome from the International Office

The International Office are available to help answer any questions you have, particularly if you have any enquiries about immigration or extending your visa. We offer information and advice on a range of topics and can provide you with supporting letters for extending your visa, inviting a family member to visit you, and for visiting another country.

We operate drop-in surgery hours during term time;

  • Monday afternoons (2.00pm-5.00pm)
    Thursday mornings (10.00am-12.00noon)

In case of any changes, you can check with the Registry Information Point on Level 1 of the Academic Building.

The International Office organise a number of social events for international students throughout the year. These are usually held in conjunction with the Student’s Union and include a familiarisation tour of Edinburgh, a Christmas lunch and other activities throughout the year.

Like our International Facebook page to keep up to date with information.

We also encourage international students to volunteer, as a way of getting to know the local language, community and culture. If you would like more information about any of these things, please email International Email Address 


All International Students entering on a Student visa MUST ARRIVE IN TIME to attend the International Student Induction Event.
For students starting in September, this will usually be held in the first week of September and for students starting in January this will usually be held in the second week of January. Please be prepared to arrive at QMU from 9.30am on the day of Induction in order to register your attendance. Failure to do so may result in delaying your matriculation and affect your student visa.

You will receive joining instructions and induction information via email from our Admissions and Registry teams in the weeks preceding induction. Please also familiarise yourself with the following website for further induction information

International students who do not require a Student Visa are strongly encouraged to attend. Attending induction will welcome you to the University and provide you with the best possible start to your time with us.

The induction will include:

  • An introduction to the University and the campus

  • Guidance and support on matriculation (including issues relating to Student Visas and monitoring of attendance)

  • Insight into Student Support Services at QMU including careers, counselling, disability, finance, welfare and visa support

  • Introduction to student clubs, societies, and volunteering opportunities

  • Receive your welcome pack with useful information and special offers.

Scotland makes up the northern part of the UK and has a population of over 5 million people. Although Scotland is part of the UK, it has its own devolved parliament, as well as having distinct education and legal systems.

There is something for everyone in Scotland – historic buildings and castles, tourist attractions, events and festivals, outdoor activities such as golf and hill-walking.

For further information on Scotland visit: Visit Scotland Website 

Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city and is located in the south-east of the country. Edinburgh is frequently voted as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and one of the best places to live in the UK.

As one of the most picturesque cities in the world, Edinburgh boasts an amazing mix of galleries and museums, restaurants and bars, parks and gardens, and all the shopping you could wish for. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Edinburgh combines the medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town. The city is also host to several arts and cultural festivals throughout the year. The most famous of these events are the Edinburgh Fringe, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Hogmanay Street Party on Princes Street.

For further information on Edinburgh visit: Edinburgh Website

Edinburgh has very unpredictable weather, with sunny summer conditions sometimes rapidly changing into damp, showery conditions and vice versa. Summers are generally fine, with mild temperatures and bright sunshine, although days might start out misty. Winters are long and damp with many frosty days. December, January and February are the rainiest months. Snow in winter is infrequent.

[table External link possible ]




Visa & Immigration


You will need to check with your local British Embassy, or British High Commission if you require a visa to enter into the UK. They will be able to advise you on how to make an application. Most students require at least entry clearance.

Student Visa System

For full details on the complete immigration policy, you should visit the UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI) website at: www.gov.uk/browse/ visas-immigration/study-visas

In order to obtain a student visa for a course at Queen Margaret University you must be in receipt of an Unconditional Firm Offer, and have paid a deposit towards your tuition fees at QMU (or provided evidence of sponsorship). You must then request a CAS from the Admissions Office. After you have satisfied these requirements QMU will issue you with a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) which you will be able to use in your completed Visa Application. Information and Guidance on obtaining your student visa, paying your deposit etc. is available on our website: Visa and Immigration

Visa Problems?

An offer of a place at the University and the issuing of a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) does not guarantee the issue of a Student Visa. Responsibility for valid student “Leave to Remain” in the UK lies with the student at all times.

Local Assistance

All countries have a British Embassy/British High Commission and most also have a local British Council Office who can provide help or advice. Check your local phone directory to locate them or visit British Council Website

Immigration Health Surcharge

An immigration health surcharge will be required to be paid by non- EEA nationals who apply to come to the UK to study for more than 6 months. This means that health surcharge payers will be able to access the National Health Service in the same way as a permanent resident, i.e. they will receive NHS care generally free of charge but may be charged for services a permanent resident would also pay for, such as dental treatment.

The health surcharge is payable in full at the time of the immigration application. The amount charged will be calculated based on the amount of time a migrant would be permitted to stay in the UK.

Further information about the immigration health surcharge
can be found on : Immigration Health Surcharge

Credibility Interviews

As part of the application process you may be required to attend an interview to confirm your reasons for choosing the UK, QMU and your course, how you intend to fund your studies in the UK and also how this fits into your career aspirations.

Biometric Residence Permits

You will receive a vignette in your passport which will last for 30 days. Within 10 days of arrival in the UK you will be required to go to a designated Post Office in order to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). You will be required to bring your BRP to the International Office in order for us to take copies along with your passport.


Queen Margaret University offers on campus accommodation in our student halls of residence. There are 800 single bedrooms, in self contained flats for three to six students. Each flat has a shared kitchen/living area.

You will need to apply in advance as availability cannot be guaranteed.

What is provided?

Each en-suite single bedroom is equipped with a bed, wardrobe, desk, chest of drawers, shelves and chair and has en-suite toilet, shower and sink.Each bedroom has a WiFi internet connection. The kitchen contains a fridge, freezer, electric cooker, microwave, an electric kettle and an electric toaster. Irons and ironing boards are also provided, as are brooms, mops and vacuum cleaners. Each living area (open plan to the Kitchen) is equipped with a dining table and chairs.

You’ll need to provide your own bed linen, towels and kitchen utensils.

Personal contents insurance is also provided as part of the lease.

It is possible to purchase a pack of essential items to be in your room when you arrive. Purchases can be made online via Click 2 Campus Website

Please note that once you sign the accommodation lease, it is legally binding for one full academic year, (or 38 or 50 weeks). One-semester study abroad/exchange students who sign an accommodation lease are liable for the duration of the semester.

Once your application has been processed you will be sent an offer of accommodation which you should accept and make a £250 prepayment to confirm your place.

To apply online and complete a virtual tour of the halls of residence please visit the accommodation website: QMU Accommodation Web Page

You can contact the accommodation team directly with any questions:Accommodation Team Address Email 

External Accommodation

For external accommodation, there are many things that you should be aware of including location, deposits and agency fees. Student Pad (www. studentpad.co.uk) provides excellent advice and hints on dealing with landlords, contracts, etc. Accommodation can also be found via the following links:

Student Pad Website [ Broken Link ]

Unite Website [ Broken Link ]

City Lets Website

A suggestion of what to bring

Think about what type of clothing you will need to help you cope with the changeable weather in Scotland. Below are some items you might consider bringing or buying once you get here.

  • Hat

  • Long sleeved jerseys or pullovers

  • Warm winter jacket

  • Sturdy footwear

  • Thick socks

  • Scarf

  • Gloves

    Please note: there are strict rules governing the import of products into the European Union. Information about the products you can and cannot bring with you can be found on the DEFRA website

Getting to Edinburgh When to arrive

Remember—all International Students entering on a Student Visa MUST ARRIVE IN TIME to attend the International Student Induction Event. Failure to do so may result in delaying your matriculation and affect your Student Visa.

You may wish to plan your travel so that you have a few days of rest to get over jet lag and get used to your new surroundings before the Student Induction. Please contact accommodation in advance if you are planning on arriving early to ensure a place will be available for you.


For students starting in September, member of the QMU International Team will be available to meet you upon your arrival at Edinburgh airport.

If you would like further information please email – international@qmu.ac.uk or provide your arrival information via the following website: Meet QMU

Clearing Immigration

You will need to bring the following documents with you when travelling to the UK:


A valid passport is required. Check that your passport is valid for a minimum of one year after you enter the UK. If in doubt get a new passport.

Visa or Entry Clearance

See information on Page 3 on how to obtain a visa/entry clearance.

Offer Letter

We would also recommend you bring a copy of your offer documents sent to you by our Admissions Team.

Airport Bus

A regular Airport Bus service to the city centre is available from outside
the main terminal building. The journey time to Waverley Bridge (opposite Waverley Train Station) is 25 minutes. From Waverley Bridge you can either take a taxi to the University (fare approximately £25 and journey time 20 minutes) or take a train from Edinburgh Waverley Station to Musselburgh Station.

Edinburgh Airport Links


A regular tram service to the city cen- tre is available from outside the main terminal building. The journey time to St Andrew’s Square (near Waverley Train Station) is 30 minutes. From St Andrew’s Square you can either take a taxi to the University (fare approximate- ly £25 and journey time 20 minutes) or take a train from Edinburgh Waver- ley Station to Musselburgh (see next page).

Edinburgh Trams

Taxi, Edinburgh City Private Hire (ECPH)

ECPH offer a special set fare which is set at £32 for a car of $36 for a people carrier from the airport to the QMU campus during the September and January arrivals weekends.

City Cabs (Black Cabs)

The journey will be priced as per the meter reading. These taxis are larger and good if you have a lot of luggage. City Cabs taxi’s are queued up on the ground floor of the multi-storey car park outside the main exit. Follow the signs for ‘taxis’ Both companies are perfectly safe and secure. Tell the driver where you wish to go and either pay the set price or the meter rate.

Getting to QMU from

Waverley Train Station

An hourly train service runs between Edinburgh Waverley and Musselburgh (the nearest station to the University) Taking a train from Edinburgh Waverley to Musselburgh will take under 10 minutes and there are regular trains during the day and a single fare will cost around £2.70. The University Campus is a 2 minute walk from Musselburgh station.

Scotrail Website 

Edinburgh Bus Station

St Andrews Square Bus Station is Edinburgh’s main bus terminus. From here you can either get a taxi to the University (fare approximately £25 and journey time 20 minutes) or walk the short distance to Edinburgh Waverley Train Station and take the short train ride to Musselburgh and the University (see left for further information). Whilst there are also a number of bus services to the University from the city-centre these would not be suitable when travelling with luggage.

Public Transport

Upon arriving at Glasgow Airport please follow signs for Buses/Coaches and proceed to Stance 1 From here board the Number 500 bus service to Glasgow Queen Street Railway Station then onward train to Edinburgh Waverley.


Register as a student using our online matriculation system

We call the student registration process Matriculation. Please complete this process before you attend your induction programme. You will require your student number to log-in, which can be found on your offer letter.

You will be able to complete this process during August (if you’re starting in September) or during December (if you’re starting in January).

Please check this website for further information QMU Website


Police Registration

Are you from one of these countries?

Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Columbia, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Yemen.

Does the visa in your passport state that you have to register with the police within 7 days of arrival in the UK?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, you will need to register with
the police within seven days of your arrival in the UK. You should first attend the Police Scotland Headquarters to book an appointment (it is not possible to book an appointment by phone or email). You can only book one appointment for yourself and any dependants. The headquarters reception is open Monday to Sunday 9.00am-5.00pm. Appointments for registration are available Monday to Thursday 8.30am-12.00noon and 12.30pm-3.00pm.

You will receive an appointment card with the date and time of your appointment written on it along with a list of everything that you are required to bring to your appointment. If you attend without the listed documentation, you may not be able to register and may have to book another appointment.

You should arrive 10 minutes before your appointment, and your appointment will take around 10-15 minutes. You will not be seen if you are late for your appointment, and you will have to book for another day. If you cannot attend, you must cancel your appointment as soon as possible in person at Fettes, and rebook for a suitable time. If you miss your appointment without cancelling you will be emailed advising of your requirement to register with the police as part of the conditions of your visa, and you may be reported to the Home Office for late registration.

Contact Details

You can get further information at:Register with the Police

Police Scotland Headquarters 

  • Overseas Visitor Registration Office
  • Fettes Avenue
  • Edinburgh EH4 1RB
  • Tel: 0131 311 3171/3977

Email Police Scotland 

Office Hours: To get there from campus, take the number 30 Lothian bus into the city centre or the train from Musselburgh to Edinburgh, then change to 24, 29, or 42 Lothian Bus.

Tuition Fees

Details of fees are available on the QMU website

The Finance Office will issue you with an invoice for your tuition fees for that year after you have matriculated. These are due to be paid, in full, 21 days after the invoice date, however an instalment option is available as described in this section.

One Single Payment

Students can pay their tuition fees in full on or before arrival. For tuition fees over £9,000, where the student is self- funding and the fee is settled in full prior to 31 October or within 7 days from the date of invoice, whichever is the later a 5% discount will be applied. The discount will be calculated at 5% of the net fee payable (i.e. after any scholarship).


You can choose to pay fees by instalments by Direct Debit. You must hold a UK Bank Account to operate this system. Instalments start in October and run through to May the following year (8 payments).

You must complete a Direct Debit Mandate, which you will find on the QMU Portal as soon as you have your UK bank account details.

Please note that if you miss one instalment, the Finance Office will automatically request the remaining outstanding balance.

Credit Card Payments

You can pay your Fees, in full, by credit card or debit card at the Finance Office. You should check prior to payment whether you will be charged by your bank for using your card abroad and what this charge will be.

Sponsored Students: Sponsored students should provide written evidence of who will be sponsoring their studies and what exactly will be paid by the sponsor.

Regardless of how you decide to pay your tuition fees it is essential that you arrange a payment method with the Finance Office within 21 days of your arrival at QMU. A full copy of our Student Debt Recovery Procedures can be found on our website.

Information about scholarships can be found by visiting the following websites:

QMU Website 

British Council Website 

Post Graduate Research Funding

Studying at QMU

Term Dates 

A full calendar of the Academic Year is provided on our website: QMU Website Term Date

Teaching and Learning Methods

During your studies at QMU, it is possible that methods of teaching and learning will differ from what you are used to.


Traditional teaching, where a lecturer speaks on a particular subject to many students.


This is where you meet your tutor with a small group of students. Here you will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of the topic and contribute to discussions.Remember, if you are struggling with your studies you must seek advice from academic staff rather than wait for them to approach you.

Further information about study methods used in the UK is provided on the UKCISA website

Independent Study

You are expected to do a fair amount of independent study either on your own or in small groups. To be able to contribute in class and to write assignments you are expected to read about your subject. Reading lists are provided as guidance.


Assessment is carried out through examinations and course work. Do not put work off to the last minute as pressure soon mounts.

Plagiarism is a very serious matter in the UK. You should NEVER copy someone else’s work or even repeat it in different words without stating where you found the information and who it came from. Guides about referencing are available in the Learning Resource Centre. (LRC)

Personal Academic Tutor (PAT)

Your personal Academic Tutor is the member of staff who will be your guide and mentor for academic issues throughout your time at QMU. Your PAT will:
• be a friendly and helpful first point of contact within the institution
• be a source of advice and guidance on all matters relating to academic progress
• act as a link with other academic staff
• be aware of the broader network of support services at QMU and advise you as appropriate

Your PAT will contact you within the first 6 weeks of the first semester to arrange a meeting. You will then be able to meet again at least once every semester, or more if you need to.

Library Services

The Learning Resource Centre is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a student at QMU, you have access to thousands of books, journals and online resources to support your studies.
In the Learning Resource Centre you will find:

  • Books, journals and DVDs

  • Group study spaces (with smart-boards)

  • Quiet study spaces (with IT and somewhere to plug in your laptop)

  • Silent study spaces

  • Large open plan areas with terminals

  • Comfy seating

  • Workshops to help you find and use online resources

  • Friendly staff who are available 9am-9pm Monday – Thursday, 9am – 7pm on

    Fridays and 9am – 5pm at the weekend.

    Online you will discover:

  • eBooks, eJournals and databases (via our “Discover” service)

  • Friendly staff!

Library Email Address 

QMU Library Web page


English Language Support

Free English language support is available from Tim Freckleton and Hazel O’Hara in the Effective Learning Service, which is based in the Learning Resource Centre. The Effective Learning Service provides support for all students wishing to develop their English language skills. QMU ELS Web page 

www.qmu.ac.uk/study-here/student-services/ effective-learning-service-els/

Throughout the year the Effective Learning Service offers:

  • Individual appointments

  • Drop in facility, for quick advice

  • Workshops on a range of study skills

  • Language support for international students

  • Online guides and resources

  • Tim and Hazel can be contacted at ELS Email Address


Student Services

Student Services acknowledge the diversity of students' backgrounds and experiences, and have established a range of support services designed to meet students needs and requirements.

There is a team of specialists in the areas of careers and student employment, disability advice, counselling, financial advice, transition and pre-entry guidance and a medical service linked to the Riverside Medical Practice in Musselburgh.

Services are confidential and free. Further information about Student Services can be found via QMU Student Service Web page

Student Services are located alongside the International Office at the Registry Information Point on Level 1 of the Academic Building.
The office is open Monday – Friday, 9.00am – 4.00pm.

You can also access information and resources 24/7 through the online Student Support Portal, OurQMU. Once you have matriculated, you can use your QMU ID details to log in.

Student Services

Wellbeing Services

The Wellbeing service offers practical and emotional support, daily drop-ins for a confidential chat and signposting to relevant internal and external support resources to help you stay on track with your studies. The service also offers groups, for example to manage stress and anxiety, and advice on self- management to ensure you stay well throughout your time at university.

Please contact our Wellbeing Adviser if you have any questions or concerns - Wellbeing Email Address 

Careers and Employability

The Careers and Employability team offers you support throughout your studies and after graduation. There is a wealth of information, resources and access to support available through the new online portal, Student Central. Once you have matriculated, you can use your QMU ID details to log in. The portal will allow you to:

  • Access information and resources 24/7
  • Book one-to-one guidance appointments for advice on future career or study choices ·
  • Find events details including careers fairs, workshops and employer presentations
  • Find advice and appointments for getting a National Insurance Number
  • Search for part-time jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities

You can book appointments with the team or drop in to the Employability Centre for ad- vice and support on developing your skills and attributes that will contribute to your future success. You can get information and advice on lots of topics including:

  • Mentoring from industry professionals through the Employer Mentoring Programme ·
  • Support with CVs, job applications and interview skills
  • Work experience and placements
  • Finding graduate level jobs

Careers advice and support is available to you throughout the course of your studies and beyond, as QMU offers a ‘Careers Advice for Life’ service to its graduates. Our door will always be open to you as a graduate of QMU.

Contact us:

Email: QMU Careers 

QMU Careers Web page

Tel: 0131 474 0000 (say ‘Careers’ when prompted)

Drop in to: Employability Centre, Level One
Follow us on Twitter: @QMU_Jobs
Like us on Facebook: QMU Careers and Employability

Living in Scotland

Leaving home to study in a foreign country can be a very exciting experience but it can also be quite stressful. Often students are surprised by the effect that travelling to another country can have on them. However,

it is important to realise that many of your reactions are perfectly normal, regardless of where you are from or what you are studying. Culture Shock can be caused by a number of things:

  • The shock of a new environment
  • Different study methods
  • Constantly meeting new people
  • Being separated from your loved ones and the people who you would usually turn to for advice
  • The climate of your new home The food
  • Being submerged in a foreign language
  • Social customs that challenge what you have always accepted as ‘normal’.

It is symptoms of culture shock and look after yourself. It is perfectly normal, and to be expected, that you may feel homesick and you may be surprised when it hits you. You may have difficulty sleeping, or alternatively want to sleep all the time; you may get headaches or be over anxious. Often your concentration span is affected, and your emotions may fluctuate more than normal. 

Remember that there are support networks in place to help you through any difficult times. Here is some basic advice:

  • Maintain a healthy balanced diet

  • Take light exercise

  • Keep in touch with your friends and family at home by email or make a few extra phone calls home

  • Make friends with other international students, as often they will understand what you are going through

  • Join some societies, or get involved with your local community as this is a way of keeping yourself busy and also getting to know other Scottish students who can in turn help you to understand the culture better

  • Speak to someone from the International Office or the Student Counsellor

  • Ultimately, look after yourself and remember that culture shock is a perfectly natural reaction to life in a new environment.



Notes: £100, £50, £20, £10, £5, and £1 Coins: £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p, and 1p

In Scotland, three different banks can issue bank notes: the Bank of Scotland,
the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Clydesdale Bank. In England, only the Bank of England issues bank notes.

Before you leave home, you may consider getting a bank draft in your own name in Pounds Sterling (£GBP) so that you can safely bring a large amount of money with you. Please ensure that the draft is drawn on a UK bank as this speeds up trans- actions and ensures that commission payments are dealt with locally in your own country. Once you arrive at the University, you can then open up your own bank account and deposit the bank draft. Do not bring personal cheques as many banks will not accept them.

In addition, you may consider bringing some travellers cheques in Pounds Sterling as a small working reserve, enough for two weeks (about £250 - more if you are seeking accommodation outside of the University halls of residence, as you will have to pay a deposit). MasterCard and Visa credit cards are also widely accepted.

Also bring with you about £250 in UK bank notes. This will cover your taxi fare and allow you money for food etc until your bank account becomes operational (nor- mally about two weeks).

Opening a Bank Account

ATMs will accept Visa, MasterCard, cards with the Cirrus logo and various UK bank cash cards. There are a number of banks nearby in Musselburgh where you can open an account including:

There are also more banks in the centre of town. Banks are usually open from 9.00am until 5pm, Monday to Friday, with the exception of bank holidays.

It is essential that you open a bank account as soon as you arrive in the UK. If you bring a bank draft in GBP with you, you can open an account at a convenient bank. The draft should take between seven to ten days to clear.

The bank will ask you to provide photo identification, confirmation that you are a student at QMU and your postal address. Therefore, once you have chosen a bank, go to the School Office in the University and they will prepare a letter confirming your student status and your postal address. Please make sure you give at least 48 hours notice. We can only issue one bank letter per student.


There is an ATM located opposite Main Reception of the University. You should be able to withdraw cash from most UK banks free of charge.




[table cost of living ]

Please note that these costs are estimates and will vary depending
on the individual and the choice of accommodation. You can rent a flat privately in Edinburgh - the cost will vary depending on the size of the flat and the location. You will also have to budget for the costs of travel to and from QMU. These costs do not include tuition fees.

Council Tax

The Council Tax is a property based tax based on the value of the house you are living in and is used to pay for local services. Whether you are liable to pay council tax or not will depend on where you live and whom you live with. If you live in halls of residence you are exempt from council tax and don’t need to take any further action. The adjacent table explains the situation for private accommodation. When you move into a new flat you will need to inform the Council of everyone who is living in the flat. Council tax exemption forms can be stamped by the School Office.


Most international students studying for longer than six months do not require a work permit to work part-time. Therefore, international students studying full-time are allowed to work in the UK for up to 20 hours per week as long as the work meets certain conditions:

  • Students must not work for more than 20 hours a week during term time, except where a work placement is to be undertaken as a necessary part of the course of study as agreed by the education institution.

  • The stamp in your passport must not say “prohibition on taking employment.”

  • Students cannot engage in business, self-employment, the provision of

    services, or take work as a professional entertainer or sports person.

  • Students should not pursue a career by filling a permanent full-time vacancy.

Further Information on employment 

Students on short term Study Abroad or Exchange programmes from countries which do not require a UK entry visa, will need to obtain a Tier 4 Student Visa if wanting to work part time while studying. If you are a Study Abroad or Exchange student please contact StudyAbroad@qmu.ac.uk for further guidance.

If you decide to work you will need to get a National Insurance Number by following the procedure below:

  • Get a job offer in writing.
  • Telephone 0845 600 0643 to make an appointment for getting a National Insurance Number.
  • When you go for your appointment, take your passport, matriculation card/ unconditional course offer and the job offer letter from your prospective employer. The interview may last over one hour.
  • It can take up to 10 to 15 days for your permanent number to come through and 10 to 12 weeks for the National Insurance card to come through.

Visa Extensions

If you need to extend your visa, you are advised to meet with the International Office as early as posisble. Not all students are eligible to extend.

You will need to complete an online application under the Tier 4 (General) category, and obtain a new Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) from the Interna- tional Office stating that you are a registered student.

You can apply online and then either submit your supporting documents by post or attend an interview in person in Glasgow. You should aim to organise your visa extension 4 – 6 weeks in advance of your visa expiring.

It is advisable to make a note in your diary of the date your visa expires


All international students who study full-time in Scotland and have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge are entitled to free medical advice and hospital treatment under the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland. The cost of dental care, and eye tests are not covered by the NHS.

It is advisable to register with a
doctor once you are settled in your accommodation. If you are living on campus you can register with our local GP by picking up a form at our Student Services reception desk.

Student medical services are delivered in partnership with:

  • The Riverside Practice
  • Esk Medical Centre
  • Ladywell Way
  • Musselburgh
  • EH21 6AB
  • Telephone : 0131 665 2267

Local Services


There are a number of shops within walking distance of the University and on close-by public transport links, including supermarkets Tesco, Asda, Lidl and Aldi, as well as high street retailers Marks & Spencer, Boots and Superdrug. These shops sell many homeware items together with food, toiletries and clothing. Edinburgh’s city centre offers a

large ranges of shops that are usually open Monday—Sunday from 9.00am—5.00/6.00pm.

There is also a retail park close to the University called Fort Kinnaird which offers over 50 high street stores.

An International Student Identity Card (ISIC) card can allow you discounts on travel, accommodation and flights in the UK and overseas. You can get an ISIC card from STA Travel on Forrest Road, Edinburgh.

Post Office

There are Post Offices available in the following locations close to the University:

  • 105 High Street
  • Musselburgh
  • EH21 7DA

Also at 

  • c/o Asda
  • The Jewel 
  • EH15 3AR


Getting around Edinburgh

As a student, you can apply for rail and bus discount cards which will provide you with money off standard fares.

There are two main bus companies that operate throughout Edinburgh: Lothian Buses and First Bus. To find out more about the various bus routes you can visit their

Lothian Buses Website

First Bus Website 

The main bus that runs from Edinburgh city centre to Queen Margaret University is the Lothian No. 30. The Number 45 also serves the campus. The 30 bus runs approximately every 10 minutes, with a journey time of 20-30 minutes. Sunday service tends to be every 30 minutes. It is possible to travel between Edinburgh and QMU by train in an average of 7 minutes. Timetables can be found on the Scotrail website

Edinburgh is extremely accessible by road, rail and air.

Bus - National Express Website

Bus - Scottish City Link

Bus - Megabus

You can purchase student discount cards, which will offer you up to 30% discount on fares (visit their websites for further details). The main bus station is in St Andrews Square, behind Princes Street.

Train - Scotrail

Train - Virgin Trains

Alternatively, visit Waverley Station on Princes Street for further information. You can purchase a young persons/student railcard that lasts for one year and gives you up to a 1/3 off all rail travel.


Edinburgh is well serviced by a number of airlines, including budget airlines such as easyJet  and Ryanair  Have a look at their websites for details of special offers. STA Travel specialises in student travel and is located on Forrest Road near the Museum of Scotland and Nicholson Street. Remember to check if you require a visa for your chosen destination if you decide to travel outside the UK – even within Europe. Don’t leave this until the last minute!


Please note that there is no on- campus parking for students in University accommodation who wish to bring their own cars. This is in accordance with the University’s Green Travel Plan. Exceptions can be made for students with mobility impairments.

Travel Accommodation

You may wish to become a member of the Scottish Youth Hostel Association (SYHA) which gives you access to budget accommodation across the country

Students Union

As a student at QMU, you are automatically a member of the Students’ Union. The Union is a safe social space for all students to relax, socialise, volunteer, receive advice and participate in extra curricular activities.

The Students' Union Officers and staff can be found in the first floor offices. They are there to help with all your needs and enquiries during your time at University - pop along to see them!

The Students' Union Welfare Point is also on the first floor: welfare@qmu.ac.uk. The Help Zone is also the place to go if you wish to campaign, to get free sexual health and safer sex materials, and general information.

You can get involved in Student Parliament and various sports clubs and societies where you can voice your opinions and gain valuable new skills - contact union@ qmu.ac.uk for more information.
The bar and café have a pool table and a games machine, an internet area where students can use their laptops and a partitioned area that can be used for private/ alcohol-free events.

For further info: QMU Student Union website 


There is a sports centre on campus, offering a range of facilities. The staff endeavour to provide you with a high quality service and are happy to assist with any questions.

Our facilities include:

  • Fitness suite

  • Astroturf suitable for 5-a-side or

    7-a-side football

  • Sports hall

  • Exercise studio

Further information about the sports facilities can be found on QMU Sport Web Page

There are many sporting events and activities that take place within Edinburgh and Musselburgh, including:


Football is one of Scotland’s most popular spectator sports. There are two professional teams that play in Edinburgh: Hibernian Football Club and Heart of Midlothian


Golfers regard Scotland as the home of golf. East Lothian alone has 20 golf courses. Further information can be found on Golf East Lothian Website


There is a local rugby team in Musselburgh and it is also possible to watch rugby at the national stadium, Murrayfield. Further information about the local and national team can be found on the Scottish Rugby website

Useful Contacts

Accommodation Services 

Telephone : 0131 474 0000

Email Address 

British CouncilWebsite



An up-to-date list of consulates and contact addresses in Edinburgh can be found at:

Visit Scotland Website 



Effective Learning Service - Email Address Telephone - 0131 474 0000

Foreign & Commonwealth Office - Website

British Home Office - Website



STUDENTS UNION - Website    Email Address 

United Kingdom council for International Students (UKCISA)


UKCISA Website 

Advice Line: +44 207 788 9214(1.00- 4.00pm, Monday to Friday)

You can visit the UKCISA website before you depart for the UK as it is an excellent source of advice for international students, and includes many useful information sheets for download.