New international staff
If you are not a citizen of one the European Economic Area (EEA) countries or Switzerland, you may need to apply for a visa before you are legally allowed to commence work in the UK.
Find out more about countries in the EU and EEA.
If you are unsure whether or not you need a visa, check on the UK Visas and Immigration website.
Applying for a visa can take time, so it's important to apply well in advance of when you intend to travel. Find out about visa processing times in your country.
Once you have a visa to enter the UK, you must provide us with proof of your entitlement to work in the UK and your passport/biometric card before you start work. If you don't provide us with these before your first day, you won't be able to start work on the date stated in your contract.
On or before your first day, you will need to let us know:
- your current residential address in the UK
- your phone number (landline or mobile).
If you are sponsored by the University under the Points Based System, you must update us every time your address or phone number changes.
Bringing family to the UK
If your family members are not EEA/Swiss citizens, you may be able to bring them to the UK. However, in most circumstances, there are strict conditions that you and your family will need to meet. You will have to show your family members do not need to claim welfare benefits.
Further information for those who are being sponsored by the University via Tier 2 (General) or Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) can be found via the following links:
UK immigration law is complex and getting it wrong has serious consequences. While we will always seek to support you, you should always consult a specialist adviser. To find out more, see the Citizens Advice Bureau's help with immigration problems.
While you're employed
If you are already employed by us and have obtained an extension of stay in the UK we will need to see your new biometric card when you receive it.
We will carry out a follow-up check on your passport or biometric card and will contact you when the check is needed.
Other useful information
You may want to arrange short-term accommodation before your arrival in the UK. This will give you time to look for accommodation for the longer term. You can search accommodation on the Visit Cardiff website.
Find all the information you need about what we can do to assist you with relocation.
The UK has a number of banking institutions whose requirements will differ. You will usually need to provide evidence of your identity and current proof of your UK address. If you are opening the account in person, banks will usually accept your passport as proof of your identity. Proving your address in the UK may be more difficult but the following documents may be acceptable:
- a tenancy agreement, or
- a letter from the University confirming you are employed at Cardiff University and confirming your UK address (the HR Service Centre can supply this for you on request)
- The bank may also want to see proof of your previous or permanent address in the country that you come from. Your national identity card or driving licence may be acceptable for this purpose.
The bank may ask for your written permission to get a reference about you from a bank or financial institution if you have an account in the country that you come from.
As banks' requirements vary, the documents that can be accepted may differ from bank to bank. You should contact the bank in the first instance to check and take with you as much information as you have available. Please note that they normally only accept original documents, not copies.
Please note that if you are sponsored by the University via Tier 2, your salary must be paid into an account that is in your own name.
Your salary will be paid directly into your bank account on the last banking day of the month. To ensure this happens, it is important that you provide us with your bank account details as soon as possible.
In August 2013, the government introduced new rules which mean that all employees must be auto-enrolled in a workplace pension scheme.
In the UK, national insurance is a compulsory deduction from your pay that funds the state provided pension, health benefits and other government benefits. The amount you pay is dependent on your earnings, subject to a maximum.
As an employee, you will need to have a National Insurance number (NI) number so that the UK tax authority can record your income tax payments and National Insurance Contributions.
If you have been granted a visa for more than 6 months your NI number will appear in the remarks on the reverse of your Biometric Card so there is no need for you to make a separate application to obtain one. You can enter the number on the Pay Roll Start Up Form.
Otherwise, you will need to apply for a National Insurance Number from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). You should apply for an NI number as soon as you arrive in the UK.
Once you know your NI number, you should inform the Salaries section so that they can update your records.
Income tax is a levy imposed by the government on the earnings of UK workers. It is known as Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and is applied as a percentage of 'taxable income'. Different rates apply to different levels of taxable income - the higher your income, the higher the percentage of tax is paid.
The amount you pay will be shown on your payslip. Your payslip will include a tax code which is determined by HMRC and relates directly to the amount of tax you pay. For further information about your tax code and NI deductions, you should contact the Salaries section.
You can also find more information on tax and National Insurance on the HMRC website.
If you are required to register with the Police it will be confirmed in one of the following documents: (a) your entry visa vignette (if you are travelling to the UK); (b) your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP); or (c) the Home Office Decision Letter issued to you at the time you were granted leave to remain in the UK. If you are required to register with the Police, you must do so within 7 days of arriving in the UK, or within 7 days of receipt of your Biometric Residence Permit, or within 7 days of the date of your Decision Letter. For information about registering with the Police please visit:UK visas and registering with the police.
For Cardiff University staff the registration is carried out at the 3rd Floor International Office in the Cardiff University’s Students’ Union Building (access is via Park Place, opposite the University’s Main Building).
You will need to make an appointment online by visiting the Cardiff University Police Registration page.
If you are required to register, then any extensions of stay in the UK must also be notified to the Police in the same way.
UK state schools are run by the local education authorities and are free up to the age of 16.
If your child is under 16 and will be with you in Cardiff as your dependant for more than 6 months, they should be able to go to a state school free of charge.
The state system is divided into 3 types of school:
- Nursery School (3-5 years of age)
- Primary School (5-11 years of age)
- Secondary School (11-16 years of age)
How can I find a school?
For further information and a list of the state schools in and around the Cardiff area visit Cardiff City Council.
Children for whom English is a second language
If you think your child will need support with their English Language, then this is available through Cardiff Councils' Ethnic Minority Achievement Service and children are supported in their own school. Your child's school teacher should be able to access this additional English language support for your child.
For further information on schooling in the UK you can look at the British Council's Education Information note on choosing a state funded school.
What about childcare for pre-school children?
The University Day Care Centre provides childcare for children aged 10 weeks-5 years.
Family Information Service
Cardiff Council's Family Information Service is designed to make it easy for parents to find all of the information they need about a broad range of services for children including a searchable childcare database. The Family Information Service Team are on hand to provide additional information, advice, guidance and support if you cannot find what you are looking for on their website or you need more detailed information. You can contact them on +44 (0)29 2035 1700.
For a list of private nurseries in the Cardiff area visit the Childcare website.
Childminders work form home providing childcare to children of various ages. Childminders must be registered and inspected regularly. For information go to the Welcome to Cardiff Council website.
The Government has information about bringing a pet into the UK.
International Staff Network
In October 2016, a new international staff network was launched via a staff initiative. It is designed to provide support and pragmatic advice to new arrivals through a dedicated email inbox, a regularly updated handbook, their International Staff Mentorship scheme and occasional social events.
The team members are Dr Raya Ahmed (Medicine); Dr Monika Hennemann (Modern Languages), Dr Stephen Man (Medicine), Karolina Rucinska (Engineering), Vicky Ucele (Modern Language) and Dr Carlos E. Ugalde-Loo (Engineering).
You can contact the team through the International Staff Network Yammer group or by email: