Preparing to return to your home country after a long-term stay in the UK can
take a lot of time, so try to plan it in advance.
Check the maximum weight and size of luggage that you can take with you when
travelling home. Other belongings can be sent to your country, sold, given away
or thrown away. If you try to carry more then you are allowed, you may have
to pay excess baggage charges or use an excess baggage delivery company at the
airport, port or station; these can be expensive, and you may not have enough
time to deal with these things before the start of your journey.
See the section Life/Post
for details about sending your things back to your country using the post office
or a private delivery service.
If you do not have a car, you may want to arrange for the delivery company to
collect any large parcels from your accommodation. You will probably not be
told an exact collection time, so you may need to stay at home on that day.
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SELLING YOUR THINGS
If you do not need to take all of your things back to your home country, you
can try to sell them.
Decide how much money you will accept, and ask other students if they are interested
(especially students who have arrived recently).
You may be able to sell textbooks to your school or student's union, or
to a bookshop. Books should be up-to-date editions and should be in good condition
(they should not be marked with written notes, underlining or marks from a highlighter
pen). Some bookshops, especially ones which are near to university campuses, may
also buy second-hand textbooks. Typically they will pay about 30% of the book's
original price, or will offer 40-50% of the price as book vouchers. You can sell
any books using Amazon.co.uk
Another way of selling items is to place an advertisement on a noticeboard
used by your school (always ask for permission), your country's community in the
UK, or on local advertising boards in the window of a local newsagent or in a
supermarket. Online bulletin boards are available on many websites. You could
also place a small advertisement in your local newspaper.
If you are at a UK university check if there is a way of selling unwanted textbooks
or other things from your room to other students at the university. A student-led
organisation which you may want to use is Boso ("buy or sell online"):
You may want to try selling larger items by placing an advert in Loot (see:
Different editions are published in regions of South East England (London, Surrey
& Croydon, Essex, Kent, and Bedfordshire / Buckinghamshire / Hertfordshire)
and in North West England (Manchester and Liverpool). Some of the categories which
might be useful are: Bicycles, DVD & laser disc players & films, Fires/heaters,
Furniture, Hi-fi, Kitchens miscellaneous, Laptop/palm computers, Lights/light
fittings, Men's clothes, Mobile/car phones, Portable hi-fi, Printers/scanners,
Sports equipment, Televisions, Women's clothes.
Another way to sell is to advertise your things on an online auction website
such as eBay: http://www.ebay.co.uk.
You can sell your pay-as-you-go mobile phone, but the buyer should register
it in his/her name.
If you sell a television, you should make it clear that the buyer has to
buy his/her own TV licence (you cannot transfer your licence with the television).
You can claim a partial refund for unused quarters (3 month periods) of your TV
licence - ask your post office for details.
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GIVING AWAY / THROWING AWAY YOUR THINGS
Consider giving away or throwing away items which take up a lot of space or
which are not expensive to replace after you have returned to your home country.
Examples of such items are: food or drink, toilet paper, shampoo, towels or tea-towels,
blankets, mugs/glasses, cutlery (knives/forks/spoons), plates, pans or desk lights.
You can find a second-hand/charity shop using UpMyStreet: http://www.upmystreet.com.
Select Find My Nearest
, enter a postcode or town name, select Find
by category and choose Shopping then Second-hand and charity
shops. The nearest ones will be listed first.
If there is something which you have bought which you are not able to sell and
which is too large to throw away in the normal way, you can contact your local
council and arrange for them to collect it (there will be a charge for this service).
You will want to contact the department called "refuse collection" or
"waste management", and ask about special collections.
You can find your council using UpMyStreet: http://www.upmystreet.com.
Select Local area, enter a postcode or town name, and select My council
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Check carefully the expiry date of your passport, your UK visa and of your
If you have an open return air ticket, confirm your flight home at least a month
before you intend to travel. This is especially important at busy times of the
year (for example in the holiday periods in July, August, late March, April and
December, or at times when there is a special international event such as the
Olympics or the World Cup in that country).
If you are buying a single air ticket to return home, it may be cheaper if you
obtain it 1-3 months before travelling (see Travel/Transport/Air
for details of how to buy cheap tickets from the UK, and for information about
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TV licence refunds
If you still have more than 3 months left until your TV licence expires, you
may be able to get a refund on the unused quarters (for example, if you study
between October and June, but do not need to watch television in July, August
and September, you can claim back a quarter of the licence fee). Telephone 0870
5763763 or write to PO Box 410, TV Licencing, Bristol BS99 4HP. You will be sent
a TV Licence Refund Application Form to complete. You will need to send your TV
licence. If the quarter for which you are claiming a refund has already started
by the date that your completed application has been received, you will need to
include evidence of your move (for example: a final gas/water/electricity bill,
the tenancy agreement, or a letter from university confirming the term dates)
or of the disposal of your TV (a bill of sale or receipt).
Income tax refunds
If you have paid tax on earnings or savings, you may be able to claim some
money back (a rebate, or a taxback). If you are working for a
company with a payroll department, ask them for advice on how to do this. Otherwise,
you can contact your nearest Tax Enquiry Centre (part of the government's tax
department), which you can find by using the site: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/enq.
If you are returning to a country outside the European Union, you may be able
to reclaim VAT (value added tax) on things which you have bought in the UK in
the three months before you leave. For details, see: Life/Shopping.
If you have a UK bank account, inform the bank that you are intending to leave,
and ask to close the account if you no longer need it. If you intend to return
to the UK, you may find it more convenient to keep the account open.
Inform your landlord or host family as soon as you know when you are leaving.
If you have paid a deposit, find out when you can receive this money back (assuming
that you have paid all of your bills and have not damaged or lost anything).
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GIFTS & SOUVENIRS
If you intend to buy many souvenirs for yourself, your family or your friends,
it may be better to buy these within the last 3 months of your stay, so that you
can buy them free of value added tax. If you already have a lot of luggage, you
may wish to send the souvenirs back to your country. If you want to send them
cheaply (for example, by sea mail rather than by air mail) but would like them
to arrive before or soon after you have returned to your country, buy and send
souvenirs early (not just a few days before you leave).
Some ideas about possible souvenirs:
T-shirt/mug/pen (British, or from your university or school)
Sweets or biscuits (if you take chocolates, keep them in your hand luggage and
be careful they don't melt)
Coasters (drink mats / table mats with a British design; you could split up a
set, and give one to each friend)
Calendars (especially before the New Year)
Notebook / letter set
Paper napkins (with British design)
Specialist goods - for example: the Royal family, Shakespeare, Alice in Wonderland,
Peter Rabbit, London Transport, football team goods
Some places in central London which are recommended for buying souvenirs are:
Harrods, Liberty's, Fortnum & Mason's, Buckingham Palace shop, Past Times,
London Transport museum.
If you are travelling outside the European Union or wish to buy gifts just before
leaving, duty-free shops in airports may be a cheaper source of presents, especially
for goods which are taxed highly in the UK, such as alcohol and tobacco.
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UKCISA produce guidance notes for international students on "Preparing
to return home" at: http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/information_sheets.php.
HM Customs & Excise (customs allowances, banned items): http://www.hmce.gov.uk
Postal services: Life/Post
Plane tickets and airports: Travel/Transport/Air
Home page: Home
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© UK Student Life 2002-2009
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