Page 1




GUIDE Pre-Departure Administration



99 Medical matters 99 ATAS certificate application 99 Visa application 99 Exit permit application 99 Financial matters





HI THERE! Feeling lost like a sotong? Daunted by all the things you have to prepare before heading off to a whole new experience in London? Don’t worry!

zap to visit our website


Published by Imperial College Singapore Society Prince Consort Road London SW7 2BB United Kingdom ©2013 Imperial College Singapore Society All rights reserved. No part of this publication shall be reproduced, stored or transmitted by any means, whether electronically or physically, without the prior written permission of the publisher. The publisher shall not be liable for any damages as a result of the use of the information contained herein. All care is taken to ensure that the contents of this publication are free from errors.

The Imperial College Singapore Society Sotong Guide is a series of four guidebooks which we have specially prepared to guide you through your journey to London, from pre-departure to settling down. This is the first book in the series. In this book, we are covering essential pre-departure administrative details, such as medical matters, financial matters and visa application, just to name a few. We’ve picked out some things to take note of, to help you breeze through the application process. More information regarding our upcoming events are found on our Facebook page. Also, don’t forget to register with us so that we can contact you on any latest updates. If you have any queries or comments, feel free to get in touch with us via email. Lastly, we hope that you’ll find this guide useful and we look forward to seeing you at Imperial College London! 31st Executive Committee Imperial College Singapore Society

? E D I S N I S ’ T A WH E


04 cation 06 i l p p A rtificate e C S A AT tion 09 a c i l p p Visa A tion 14 a c i l p p rmit A Exit Pe tters 15 a M l a i Financ Talk 16 e r u t r a p Pre-De ation 19 m r o f n I ey tters

l Ma a c i d e M







Medical Matters


efore you depart for London, there are some essential medical matters which you will need to settle.

First, attend a medical checkup at your preferred travellers’ clinic to obtain a medical report and a chest X-ray. Some clinics are able to provide you with a smaller version of the chest X-ray. The chest X-ray should be placed in your carry-on baggage as custom officers may request to look at it. Next, ensure that your vaccination against meningitis C and MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) are up-to-date. If you are unsure, bring your health booklet along with you to check with the clinic staff. These vaccinations are available at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) Travellers’ Health and

Vaccination Clinic. At the clinic, you may request for a printed copy of your vaccination records with the National Immunisation Registry (NIR). Vaccinations may take up to three weeks to take effect. Bring this copy of your vaccination records along with you as they are required when you register with a doctor in the UK. As the meningitis C vaccination will not be stored in the NIR, you may need to request for a separate vaccination certificate. Alternatively, you can get the vaccinations for free at the Imperial College Health Centre if you are 24 years old or younger. This isn’t the best option, unless you enjoy sitting in the queue for hours as countless students flock there to register with the clinic during the first few weeks of term.

Check that you have the following:

Medical report Chest X-ray

Meningitis C and MMR vaccination records

Documents can be requested atmost travellers’ clinics

Vaccinations are available at TTSH Travellers’ Clinic

04 | Sotong Guide Book One

The Imperial College Health Centre is located on the ground floor of Selkirk Hall, Southside. All Imperial College international students who will be studying for at least six months in the UK are covered under the National Health Service (NHS) medical care.

Dental Services It is advisable for you to go for a dental checkup before leaving for London, as dental care is more expensive in London and NHS only subsidises a portion of it.

Opticians Visit an optician in Singapore for an eye checkup before departing. Ensure that your spectacles are in good condition as a pair of spectacles in London could cost as much as £50. Ensure that you have an adequate supply of contact lenses and contact lens solution, as these are generally more expensive in London. Furthermore, it may be difficult to find your favourite brands in London.

At the Imperial College Dental Centre, a simple dental examination and treatment cost £17.50, while fillings or extractions cost £48.

TTSH Travellers’ Clinic +65 6357 2222

Medical Matters | 05

ATAS Certificate Application


he Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) was first implemented in 2007 for students taking a PhD, MSci or MEng course in a few specific fields, namely (with their JACS code):

ÔÔ Materials Science (F2) ÔÔ Physics (F3) ÔÔ Mechanical Engineering (H3) ÔÔ Aerospace Engineering (H4) ÔÔ Chemical, Process and Energy Engineering (H8) ÔÔ Materials Technology (J5) Students that fall under these categories have to apply for an ATAS certificate before applying for their visa. Your JACS code is the first two characters of your course code and is found on your UCAS application. For example, the MEng in Chemical Engineering has a UCAS code of H800; the JACS code would be H8.

For PhD/doctoral level students and Visiting Research Students who will be in the UK for more than six months to do research which will count towards a postgraduate qualification in another country, do check the ATAS website to see if your course needs the ATAS certificate, and your relevant JACS code if required. Details of your PhD topic proposal will normally be emailed to you by someone in your academic department.

06 | Sotong Guide Book One

Checklist ‰‰ Contact details ‰‰ Passport details ‰‰ Full details of all previous studies ‰‰ Full details of all previous/current employment (if applicable) ‰‰ Previous ATAS applications (if applicable) ‰‰ Programme of study you are applying to follow in the UK (including JACS code and research proposal) ‰‰ Full names and contact details of two referees (first name and family name). You must have known both of your referees for at least three years. At least one must be an academic from your country of origin. ‰‰ Method of funding for your studies (self-sponsored or scholarship)

‰‰ If you are doing a taught Masters course you will need details of any optional modules you wish to take. ‰‰ MSc students will need to enter the names of the optional modules which they think they might choose to study as part of the course. For details of the modules available on your course, please see the postgraduate prospectus or contact your department. ‰‰ MRes students should describe the options available on their course and (if known) list which options they will choose. ‰‰ MEng and Msci students should also provide information about the modules offered on their course, in particular the advanced level modules. This information will be provided by the Undergraduate Admissions Tutor for relevant courses.



Register for an account at



Fill in the online application form.



Submit and print your application.

ATAS Certificate Application | 07

Take extra care with the information that you enter in the form. If your ATAS does not match your university offer, or that the text in the application form is different from the one in your offer letter, you may be refused a visa. This is especially true for the JACS code. If you have entered the wrong JACS code, start again with an alternative email address. Alternatively, you may complete and submit the form first, then register again

using the same email address (with the correct JACS code). In this case, email ATAS to inform them that you have done this, quoting your ATAS ID number and they will withdraw the incorrect application. In short, the process of applying for an ATAS certificate is not difficult and just involves filling out your details on an online form. However, you must give ample time for the processing and delivery of the ATAS certificate.

Things to Note ÔÔ If you require an ATAS certificate but do not have one, any visa application made will automatically be rejected. ÔÔ The entire application process takes up to 20 days (or sometimes more than that). You are advised to begin the application early, but only after confirming your place in Imperial College London.

For more information... ÔÔ Imperial College ATAS Information ÔÔ Foreign & Commonwealth Office, ATAS

Imperial College International Office ATAS Office

08 | Sotong Guide Book One

Visa Application Before you begin...


ou will be applying under the Tier 4 (General) Adult Students category. Take special care not to apply to the Child Students category. Your application is considered under a points-based assessment system, which means that you will have to accumulate a certain number of points by fulfilling certain criteria in order for your visa to be approved.

UK Border Agency http://www.ukba.homeoffice. studying/adult-students/ apply-outside-uk/

Need further help?

The details below specify the criteria. As a Tier 4 (General) student, you must have 40 points in the points-based assessment:

Imperial College has a trained team of experts to assist you with visa applications.

ÔÔ 30 points for having a valid Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS) for studies.

Imperial College International Office

ÔÔ 10 points for evidence of sufficient maintenance funds to cover your course fees and living expenses.

What will happen? During the application process, your passport will be taken from you along with your original documents and photocopies. These items will be flown to Manila, the Philippines, where your visa will be issued in the form of a colourful sticker (with your photo on it) and pasted onto your passport. You will only get those stuff back around 6 to 10 days later. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to travel during this period of time.

Visa Application | 09



Apply online at Submit and print it out the completed form.



Print out and complete the points-based assessment (PBA) Appendix 8 (General) Student. Go to overseas/form for help on completing the form. When requested for a UK address, use Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ. Don’t worry if you can’t fill in everything perfectly. You may write on the form at the counter.



Schedule an appointment with the visa application centre and print out the appointment letter. Bookings can be made online at online at https://www.vfs. up to 3 months before your departure date. On average, visas require 6 to 10 working days to be processed. However, should your visa application be rejected, you will need to have sufficient time to apply again.



On the day of your appointment, you must take the documents listed on page page 11 with you. The application centre is located at 20 Cecil Street, #11-02 to 05 Equity Plaza, Singapore 049705, near Raffles Place MRT station.



Track your visa application at UKG-PassportTracking/ApplicantTrackStatus.aspx.



After collecting your visa, upload a scanned copy onto your Imperial College Student e-Service account.

10 | Sotong Guide Book One

Take these to your visa appointment... Applicants with Singapore citizenship are considered low risk. You may not be asked to show most of these documents. However, the UK Border Agency might request these documents, which you will need to submit by a certain date. Prepare the original documents early and take a copy of each document with you. ‰‰ Visa Application Form VAF9 ‰‰ PBA Appendix 8 ‰‰ Two passport photographs (45 mm by 35 mm, colour) on a white background The UK Border Agency photo guide is available at visa-photo-guidance.pdf. Applications have been rejected due to unsuitable photographs. In the visa application process, the term sponsor refers to your visa sponsor (i.e. Imperial College London) and not your financial sponsor

‰‰ Your passport ‰‰ Your old passports ‰‰ Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number The CAS number will be given by Imperial College London, via the Student e-Service account after you have accepted your offer. Imperial College will only release your CAS number after you have uploaded a scanned copy of your latest passport. You may also need to mail a certified true copy of your educational certificates to Imperial College. This information can be found in your acceptance email. If your CAS number still does not appear, send an email to admissions.enquiries@ ‰‰ Academic certificates ‰‰ Evidence of funds (see page 12) ‰‰ Your NRIC ‰‰ S$600 cash

ÔÔ Be punctual for your appointment ÔÔ Enter the application centre alone ÔÔ Switch off your mobile phone

The application fees can be found on the VFS Singapore website and may fluctuate based on the prevailing exchange rate.

Visa Application | 11

What is “Evidence of Funds”? If you are on scholarship, produce a sponsorship letter stating that the organisation will sponsor the full course and your living expenses. Make sure the letter is a genuine copy (i.e. not scanned and printed or photocopied) and that it is stamped and signed. Tuition fees for each course is found on page 15.

If the funds are in your parent’s name, you must submit the following:

If you are self-funded, produce bank statements or your bank book showing the minimum required funds available in it.

If the funds are in your legal guardian’s name, you must submit the following:

minimum sum = tuition fees of £22500 to £27500 + living expenses of £9000

‰‰ A signed letter from your guardian agreeing to fund your studies and confirming your relationship

You do not need to create a foreign currency account just to fulfil this purpose. The exchange rate on the date of the closing balance of that particular account will be used, based on the official rates on OANDA at Funds can be either in your own name or in a joint account where you are one of the account holders and your parent(s)/legal guardian(s) is the other.

‰‰ Your birth certificate confirming your relationship with your parents ‰‰ A signed letter from your parent agreeing to fund your studies and confirming your relationship

‰‰ Your legal guardianship documents

Evidence of funds must have been held for a minimum period of 28 consecutive days finishing on the date of closing balance shown on your bank statement. In other words, the funds must have been in the bank account for 28 days prior to the date of your application. If you have already paid for your tuition fees, this should be mentioned on your CAS (official receipt of the payment is not required and will take time to obtain) and a bank book showing funds to cover living expenses for 9 months (£9000).

Things to Note ÔÔ If your passport is going to expire, apply for a new passport before early July and upload a scanned copy to the Student e-Services to obtain a CAS number linked to your new passport. It would be troublesome and expensive to transfer your visa to another passport. ÔÔ If you are unsure of any aspect of your application, ask the staff at the counter or you may be required to pay S$600 for a second application. 12 | Sotong Guide Book One

How long will the application take? If you require ATAS clearance...

l Co

ct le



i ce re

u yo





ts en

r fo

n io

e lin on

at ic AS AT


sa vi


or yf

lin on

pl Ap



r ce


e et


t en tm nt in po tme e ap n oi lin sa n pp vi o a d nd an sa ne vi te ai k At bt or y f te o ca o Bo






re pa e Pr

m Co

ct le l Co

ur yo





rv fo ts en

m cu do

t en tm in po ap t sa vi en tm nd in te At po e ap lin on an sa ok vi Bo or yf pl

ve i ce re or





e Pr



2 WEEK 1

6 5


If you do not require ATAS clearance...

Visa Application | 13

Exit Permit Application STEP


Apply for exit permit at



If asked to submit evidence of overseas studies, follow the given instructions.

Things to Note ÔÔ Apply early as checks will take approximately 3 weeks if you are randomly selected to submit evidence of your overseas studies. ÔÔ If you receive the message “You are only allowed to apply for a three year exit permit even if you are on a four year course. Extend your exit permit in your third year”, simply renew your exit permit when it expires. ÔÔ For pre-enlisted or disrupted servicemen, check with CMPB or MINDEF for details.

NS Call Centre (24-hour) 1800 367 6767

14 | Sotong Guide Book One

Financial Matters Cost of Living

Taking Cash to London


ver the course of 39 weeks, an average student would spend anywhere between £8000 and £12000 on rent and living expenses, excluding tuition fees.

Students based in London would spend around £80 to £100 per week on living expenses, but this would vary depending on how much you socialise and dine out. A breakdown for weekly expenses is as follows: ÔÔ Groceries: £30 ÔÔ Dining out: £30 ÔÔ Travel: £10 (£25 if you take public transport to college) ÔÔ Miscellaneous: £10 The course fees for 2013 entry (Year 1 students) are as follows: Course

Tuition Fee





Biomedical Sciences






Life Sciences




Based the above breakdown, do a self-evaluation and decide how much money you would need for the next nine months. This figure would come in useful when you purchase a bank draft or standing order. Bank drafts are usually valid for 3 to 6 months. Some students will open a HSBC bank account from Singapore before departing for London.

How much do I need? For the first few weeks in London, you would need some cash while you are waiting for your bank draft to clear. £500 is a conservative amount for two weeks’ of day-to-day necessities and some initial shopping. The rates from money changers in Singapore are usually much more favourable than those in UK. Therefore, it is suggested that any form of foreign exchange is done in Singapore than in UK, i.e. bank draft should be purchased in Singapore and made payable in pound sterling.

If you plan to travel... If you plan on travelling around Europe anytime within the year, it would be advisable to bring some Euros in cash to take advantage of the better exchange rates found in Singapore.

Financial Matters | 15


very year, Imperial College Singapore Society organises a Pre-Departure Talk to provide freshers with information before they leave for London. This year, the event will be held at the 170-seater auditorium of The Treasury.

The talk begins with a presentation to disseminate essential information about living and studying in London. Topics such as accommodation, visa application, things to bring, and the necessary preparatory work will be covered. Following which, you will get to interact with a senior who is studying in the same course. The senior will serve as an academic advisor and address any course-related queries you have. This is also an excellent opportunity for you to meet and mingle with your coursemates.





or most freshers, travelling overseas to study in college will be their first time being away from their family and home for an extended duration of time. The Imperial College Singapore Society Sotong Guide was conceived over ten years ago to make the preparation and transition less dauting and more seamless.

Every year, the Sotong Guide has played an instrumental role in providing freshers with important advice and tips. Indeed, we are proud to say that we are the first overseas Singaporean society to publish such a guidebook, with archives dating back to as early as year 2004. Over the years, the general concept and aim of the Sotong Guide has remained the same. The guides are written by a group of seniors who have once gone through the transition phase – something which every fresher would have to go through. It is only convenient to pass on the information in the form of a compact handbook. From a short word document to a complete series of four guidebooks, the Sotong Guide has evolved tremendously over the years. We would like to thank all of you for your continuous patronage and support. Also, this series of guidebooks would not be what it is today without the active contribution of past and present members.

WHAT’S IN BOOK TWO? We hope you’ve enjoyed reading the first book of the Sotong Guide series and found the pre-departure administration details useful. Now, you’re probably excited to know what’s in the upcoming book. Before flying off to London, there will be lots of things you’ll want to bring over. But will your luggage fit everything? In the next book entitled Singapore Shopping Spree, find out exactly what you should grab before leaving Singapore, and what you should get after you arrive in London. As the living costs are somewhat higher in London than Singapore, we have prepared some information to help you maximise your baggage allowance.




GUIDE Singapore Shopping Spree



Comments or feedback? If you have wish to provide comments or feedback on this publication, send us an email at

SHARE THIS BOOK! If you have friends who will be joining you at Imperial College next year, do help us spread the word about the Sotong Guide series! ÔÔ

9 Cost of living in London 9 Things to buy and prepare – for yourself – for college – for daily living 9 Packing tips

Register Now! You should now be eagerly anticipating the start of your overseas life in London. For us to send you updates and information on any upcoming events, register with us now! ÔÔ Join the freshers’ Facebook group to get to know other freshers. ÔÔ Lastly, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries.

18 | Sotong Guide Book One

Key Information Useful Links

ÔÔ Imperial College London

ÔÔ Imperial College Singapore Society

ÔÔ Visa Application Information (Singapore) (Global)

ÔÔ Online Application for Visa

ng lia et Yi c.n en so Ch sing ic@ er fic of ns g iso en t lia Sh .ne Yi oc h gs Ko in s Jie icei .net 2@ an W soc er T g fic sin of icts im @ en Kh et er ev n c.n ur ua so as Ch ing tre Ho ic-s t@ en ev

or aj m

ee t lW e ie c.n br so Ga ing s ict@ en sid re p ce vi


et .n oc gs sin icg en r1@ Zh ce Yu offi m ts Li en ev et .n oc i gs Ru -sin ng ic Ho nt@ ew de Ch esi et pr .n oc gs g sin in cm i Si @ y r et an a .n t oc Ch re c gs se sin icYi n r@ Je ce g ffi on so W ort sp






Sotong Guide 2013 Book 1  

Download PDF:

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you