Articles - Unlocking London

Student "Oyster Card" from TfL

Get discount on travel all across London if you're a full-time student...

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A picture of a TfL Oyster Card

I'd like to order an 18+ Student Oyster Photocard

Do not submit your application to TfL until you have arrived in London and are receiving teaching in person. Refer to TfL's 18+ Oyster card guidance for further information.

What is an Oyster card

You can use an Oyster card (smart card) to travel  accross Transport for London (TfL) services, including the Underground, Overground,  buses, DLR, and Riverboats. You can also use it on rail journeys that start and finish within the TfL Travel zones.

You can use an Oyster card for pay as you go travel or with a season ticket.


What is an 18+ Student Oyster Photocard? Do I need it?

If you're 18 or over, a full-time student and living in a London borough, you may be eligible for a 30% travel discount on most Transport for London (TfL) services with an 18+ Student Oyster photocard

The 18+ Student Oyster photocard can be used to purchase discounted weekly and monthly season tickets. It cannot be used for discounted pay as you go journeys.

You will need to decide if you are travelling often enough to benefit from an 18+ Student Oyster photocard

There is an application fee and the 30% discount can only be applied to travelcards or season tickets.

Some students find that it is cheaper to travel on a pay as you go basis, particularly if they are eligible for a 16-25 Railcard. Railcard discounts can be applied to off peak pay as you go journeys made using Oyster. Simply take your Oyster card and valid Railcard to a London Underground station and ask a member of staff to set the discount for you.

Transport for London (TfL) have a useful tool to help you work out the best way to pay your fares - visit what's the best ticket for me.

As transport in London has been impacted by changes due to COIVD-19 and guidelines can change, please refer to the information on

Am I eligible for an 18+ Student Oyster photocard?

You may be eligible for an 18+ Student Oyster photocard for discounted fares if you: 

  • are aged 18 or over
  • are registered on a full-time programme of study
  • are in London and have booked your campus enrolment slot
  • are living at an address in a London borough (and updated your address with the Uni too)
  • have read TfL's terms and conditions

There are some additional criteria which you can review at 18+ Student Oyster photocard

If you are under 18:

You may be able to get free and discounted travel using a 16+ Zip Oyster photocard.

If you are a part-time student:

You are not generally eligible under the terms of the 18+ Student Oyster photocard scheme unless you are in receipt of a hardship fund from the University.

If you are a part-time student and believe you qualify for an 18+ Student Oyster photocard, please contact your local campus Student Services team prior to submitting your application, by submitting an enquiry.

How do I apply for an 18+ Student Oyster photocard?

You can apply for an 18+ Student Oyster photocard on the Transport for London (TfL) website.

The application portal will open for the 2020/21 academic year on 1 September 2020, however you can only apply once you have fully enroled at Uni, and arrived in London. If you apply before this your application will be rejected.

1. Read through the information above and check your eligibility on the 18+ Student Oyster photocard  webpage. It is your responsibility to check you are eligible before submitting an application. You must also review Transport for London (TfL)'s Terms and Conditions.

2. Create an account with Transport for London (TfL)

3. Place your order.

You will need:

  • A colour, digital photo
  • Your University student number (as shown on your student card or offer letter)
  • Your programme start and end dates
  • A credit or debit card to pay the £20.00 fee
  • An active email address (we recommend using your university email address)

What happens after I have applied for my 18+ Student Oyster photocard?

1. Your application will be checked by Transport for London (TfL) before it is passed to the Student Services team at your local campus for institutional approval.

2. The Uni process all applications in the order they are received, usually within five working days.

3. Once they have approved your application, Transport for London (TfL) will post the card to you within 2 weeks 

As part of the application process, you may be asked to print a verification form which you will need to bring to the Student Services team for completion.

You can check the status of your application online.



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