International>International Student Advice Centre>International Welfare Advice

International Welfare Advisory Service

The International Student Advisers offer specialist advice on topics such as:

• Shopping for familiar food

Locating a suitable place of worship

Registering with a doctor

Opening a UK bank account

Registering and paying for council tax and a TV licence

Using public transport in Cardiff and also in the rest of the UK

Registering with the police, if it is a requirement for your student visa

Obtaining a National Insurance number for a part-time job

Arranging school places for your children

driving in the UK

Solving accommodation issues

We organise an exciting social programme which you are invited to take part in!

Contact us

Email: Telephone: 02920 416494

You will find the answers to many of your questions in the International Student Handbook and also in the menu below:


Social distancing

Social distancing are steps you can take to reduce very close or physical contact with other people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (Covid-19). In the UK, you will see floor or wall markings in public places to ensure that people remain a safe distance apart. You will observe social distancing in queues, shops, bars, restaurants and waiting rooms. 

What do I do if I develop symptoms of coronavirus? 

If you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • loss of or change to sense of smell or taste

You must request a coronavirus test and self-isolate at home, reducing contact with others, for at least 7 days from when your symptoms started, even if your symptoms are very mild. You must not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. If you live with others and you are the first person to develop symptoms, other household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days, even if they remain well. Teh 14 day period begins from the day when the first person in the house became ill. 

You can request a test online. Alternatively, you can apply for a test by calling the free telephone number 119 between the hours of 7am to 11pm. 

Most people who test positive for Covid-19 will only have mild symptoms. However, if you feel that you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better within 7 days, then follow the NHS guidance here. Alternatively, you can telephone NHS Wales direct on 111. For a medical emergency dial 999. 

Coronavirus test results should be available within 72 hours. If you test positive for Covid-19, you will be contacted by a contact tracer on behalf of the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service. You will be asked to provide information on who you've been in close proximity with during a period beginning up to two days before your symptoms started. 

Further information can be found here and here

The university's advice for current Cardiff Met students can be found here


Who can help me find accommodation in Cardiff?
If you are a new student looking for accommodation please email:

Cardiff Met has an Accommodation Office based on the Cyncoed campus which is open throughout the year to assist you with any accommodation queries. The Accommodation Office has very helpful and friendly staff who can assist you with queries about your halls of residence accommodation or they will be happy to advise you about living in the private sector.
This office can provide you with lists of private accommodation available to rent, suitable housing agencies to rent from and can also offer advice regarding tenancy agreements or contracts. For further information you can telephone: (029) 2041 6188 Email:


Money Matters

Registering with the Police

Please note: Police registration is currently suspended due to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak. South Wales Police have ensured the university that no students will be penalised for failing to register during these unprecedented times. 

Nationals of some countries from outside of the EU are required to register their details with the police. If you are required to register with the police, this will be stated in an email from UKVI (ATLAS) which confirms that your leave to remain (visa) has been granted. 

Students from the following countries will need to register with the police when they arrive in the UK.

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

In order to register with the police, you will need to book an appointment on the South Wales Police website

You will need to take the following documents to your appointment: 
  • Passport
  • BRP card
  • Photocopies of your passport page, entry clearance sticker and BRP (front and back)
  • 2 Passport sized photographs
  • Your student card
  • £34 cash
  • Completed Police Registration Questionnaire
  • Email from the Home Office confirming your "Leave to remain" has been granted and that you are required to "Register with the Police". If you cannot locate this email, please request it to be sent again by emailing 

Once you have registered, you will be provided with a certificate that you must keep safe as you may need it in the future. 


You will need to update your police registration certificate in the future if: 

  • You change your address
  • Change your university
  • Marriage/birth of children
  • Extend your visa
  • Are absent from the UK for a period of over 8 weeks

You will need to book another appointment to update your police registration certificate, updates are free of charge. 



How can I find an appropriate place of worship in Cardiff that suits my needs?
You will be pleased to know that Cardiff is home to many different cultures and religions.

We will be happy to introduce you to local religious groups such as the Christian Union, the Islamic Society, the Hindu Society and others. There is a large variety of places to worship in Cardiff no matter what faith you follow. We also have a Chaplian who is our advisor at Cardiff Met named Ameira Bahadur-Kutkut who will be very pleased to answer any questions you may have in this area. She will be happy to offer care and advice to students of all faiths and to those of none. Ameria is in contact with all of the city’s major faith leaders and will be happy to help you find a suitable place of worship to meet your needs.

Contact Ameira Bahadur-Kutkut at  

Are there any prayer facilities on campus that I could use?
Yes! At Cardiff Met, we are proud to have a number of facilities which are suitable spaces set aside for meditation, prayer and reflection. Details are as follows:

Chapel at Cyncoed - Based in C block, this space can be used for worship and meditation. It is a space which has flexible use with curtains to screen off areas and is usable 24 hours.

Prayer Suite at Llandaff Campus - Based in A Block on the ground floor, we have both male and female prayer rooms available for your use. These are suitable for all faiths and in the past they have proved to be particularly convenient for our Muslim students. During term time, we also have a separate hall available for Muslim Friday prayers. 

Cultural Issues


Cardiff is a multi-cultural city with a diverse range of foods available to buy to suit every dietary and cultural need e.g. Halal meats, Asian foods, Chinese foods etc.

Here are some addresses where you will find specific foods:

  • Clare Foodstore - Asian, 45-47 Clare Road

  • Shopright - Indian and Asian, 28-30 City Road

  • Vegetarian Food Studio - Asian/Vegetarian, 115-117 Penarth Road, Grangetown

  • Tudor St, Riverside has a number of Asian food Stores and Chinese supermarkets

  • Albany Halal Food Stores- Halal meats, 51 Donald St, Roath

  • Zem Zem Mini Market- Middle Eastern, 12-14 Wyverne Rd, Cathays

  • Al Sheemal Halal Foods- Middle Eastern, 15 Salisbury Rd, Cathays

There are also many restaurants and takeaways offering cuisines from across the globe in the Roath area of Cardiff - be sure to check them out! 

Large supermarket chains such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrison's also supply a wide range of products which may be similar versions of the foods you are used to eating in your home countries, so it is a good idea to visit these stores too to compare products and prices.

Please be aware that many shops in the UK tend to open at around 9.00am and close at 6.00pm Monday – Saturday; however they are usually restricted to shorter opening hours on Sundays – even 24 hour supermarkets will close at 4pm on Sundays! Always check a shop's opening times before leaving the house! 

It is also worth noting that plastic bags are not free in shops in the UK. You will be expected to pay 10p per bag, therefore, most people in the UK will take their own reusable bags when they go shopping. Save your money (and the environment!) and take your own bags! 

TV Licence

Who needs a TV licence?

The law states that you need to purchase a TV Lience to: 

  • Watch or record programmes as they're being show on TV, on any channel. 
  • Watch or stream programmes live on an online TV service (such as ITV hub, All 4, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV, Sky Go, etc.) 
  • Download or watch any BBC programmes on BBC iplayer. 

This applies to any device you use, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder. 

How do I purchase a TV Licence? 

You can purchase a TV Licence online

A standard TV Licence costs £157.50. You can pay in one payment or you can spread the cost by choosing from a range of direct debit options. Please see here for further information. 

Important: Checks are carried out and if you are found to require a TV Licence but have not purchased one, you can be fined up to £1,000. 

If you live in university halls of residence, the televisions in the kitchen areas already have a TV Licence, however, if you are watching TV in your room, you must purchase your own TV Licence. If you live in private halls of residence, please check with the accommodation staff to ensure that a licence covers any communal TVs. 

Council Tax

What is Council Tax?

The majority of adults in the UK pay Council Tax which is a tax to pay for local services based on the value of a private property. It pays for local services e.g. rubbish collection, police services, and fire brigade and is based on the value of a private property and the number of people (over 18 years of age) living there.

Do I need to pay for Council Tax?

If you live in halls of residence accommodation you will not need to pay this.

If you live in private accommodation you will not need to pay Council Tax if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • If you and everyone else in your property are full-time students 

  • You are living in the UK with your spouse and children

  • AND your spouse and children are NOT from a country in the European Economic Area

  • AND your spouse and children have been admitted to the UK as your dependants and have a visa stamp/Biometric Residence Permit stating “no recourse to public funds”

  • AND no other NON-STUDENT lives in the property

The Council's definition of a full-time student is:

The student must be studying on a course of at least 12 months in length AND they must be in attendance for at least 24 weeks a year AND the course involves at least 21 hours study, classes or work experience a week.

Please note that your council tax exemption certificate will be issued in accordance to the length of your course as specified in your offer letter. If you are a post graduate student, you will only be exempt from paying council tax during your taught modules.

The rules of Council Tax are complex and the above is a general guide. If you require further information please contact Cardiff Council on Tel: 029 2087 2087 or access the student briefing notes on the UKCISA website

Where Can I get my Student Council Tax Exemption Certificate from:

Once enrolled this is available for you to print by visiting "Essentials" on the Student Room. It will confirm the dates that you will be studying full-time at the university. This certificate will need to be submitted to your landlord or directly to Cardiff Council as soon as possible to prevent you being charged for council tax during the period that you should be exempt from this charge. Read the International Student Handbook for further guidance. 

I've printed my Student Council Tax Exemption Certificate what now?

You will need to give this letter directly to your Landlord or back to the council:

Cardiff Council
Council Tax Section
PO Box 9000
CF10 3WD

Please remember to include details of your council tax account number (if applicable), and your name and address in Cardiff.


How can I travel to university?

The University bus Met Rider service is a dedicated bus service which runs between Cardiff Met campuses and into the city centre. There are bus stops outside the Cardiff Met campuses, but at Cyncoed it is located inside the campus by the steps in front of the main reception.

Do I need a bus pass?

If you wish to travel by bus, you can either pay for your journey each time you board (you will need the correct money as change is not given) or you can buy a bus pass which will last you through the academic year. If you are going to be using the bus frequently, it will work out cheaper to buy a bus pass and the pass will not only allow you to use the dedicated university Met Rider Bus but also ALL Cardiff buses.

Planning a journey?

If you are planning a journey but are unsure which bus or train you need to use, then you might find the Traveline Cymru website very useful.

Driving in the UK​

Will I be able to drive in the UK? 
This will depend on whether you currently have a driving licence and also whether that licence is recognised as one that permits the holder to drive in the UK. For full information, please see the UKCISA 

I wish to learn to drive whilst in the UK. How do I do this?
You will first need to apply for a provisional driving licence and then you will be expected to take a series of driving lessons followed by a test. For detailed information about learning to drive and application forms for licences, please visit theDVLA website. More information about driving in Great Britain as a visitor or new resident can be found here.

Returning Home and Reverse Culture Shock

For some of you, it may be nearly time to return to your home country for good, to start or continue with your careers. Many of you may have mixed feelings about going home – you may be very excited about seeing your friends and families again in familiar surroundings but it can also be very sad leaving the UK after making so many good friends and having become used to a routine whilst you have been a student here.

We understand that this could be a very difficult and stressful time for you as you will have a lot of preparations to make before returning home. So, in order to help you, we suggest that you take a look at the guidance notes in the link below. 

Reverse Culture Shock

Before you came to the UK, you probably expected that you would need time to get used to the language, the different foods, the weather and new ways of doing things. Many students are surprised to find that they also need a period of adjustment when they return to their home country. Although you may think that it will be easy to go back to familiar relationships and patterns of behaviour, you may have some difficulty settling back in and need time to adjust. This is called reverse culture shock. Please be aware of reverse culture shock, but do not worry about it. Concentrate on enjoying the positive aspects of being back home, such as being with friends and family, and re-discovering your own country. More information about reverse culture shock can be found on the UKCISA website