18 plus student oyster photocard graphic

Benefits and eligibility

Get 30% off the price of adult-rate Travelcards and Bus & Tram Pass season tickets.

If you're 18 or over, live at a London address during term time and in full-time education, or on a mandatory work placement in London, you may be eligible for an 18+ Student Oyster photocard.

If you're 18 and live in London you may still be eligible for a Zip 16+ Oyster photocard which offers half price travel on rail services and free travel on buses.

To apply, you must be enrolled:

  • With a school, college or university that's registered on the TfL scheme and
  • On a mandatory work placement in London or
  • On an eligible full-time or part-time course

Can I get one?

To get an 18+ Student Oyster photocard you must be:

  • A student aged 18 or over
  • Living at a London address during term time
  • Enrolled with a participating school, college or university that's registered on the TfL scheme

You must also be one of the following:

  • Enrolled on a full-time course including at least 15 tuition-led and/or structured learning hours a week (with attendance at scheduled classes being Monday to Friday only and not including evening classes) over a minimum of 14 weeks on the same course
  • Receiving NHS bursary money* as a full-time student
  • A full-time postgraduate student (for example, studying or writing up for 15 or more hours a week)
  • A full-time student registered and studying on a higher education course with an education establishment not registered on the scheme, but on mandatory work placement in London for at least 14 weeks. You must still be under the pastoral care of your education establishment
  • A sabbatical officer
  • Enrolled on a part-time course lasting a period of at least 14 weeks and either:
    • A part-time student receiving NHS bursary money* or
    • A part-time postgraduate student receiving financial help from your education establishment's hardship fund

*You must provide your school, college or university with satisfactory evidence of your sponsorship before they can validate your application.     

If your school, college or university is outside Greater London, but you live in Greater London during term time and travel regularly to and from there, you may still be eligible for this photocard.

You are not eligible if:

  • You're getting paid for on-the-job training
  • You live outside Greater London during term time

18+ Student Oyster photocard terms and conditions.

How much do I save?

If you have an 18+ Student Oyster photocard, you will save 30% off the price of adult-rate Travelcards and Bus & Tram Pass season tickets.

If you live near your school, college or university, or only make a few journeys, you might not need a Travelcard or Bus & Tram Pass. Instead, you might be better off using pay as you go at the adult rate.

If you have a 16-25 Railcard, you can add the discount to your 18+ Student Oyster photocard to get a 34% discount on off-peak pay as you go fares and off-peak daily caps on Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London.

How do I apply?

You can apply for your 18+ Student Oyster photocard online. You'll need:

  • A colour, digital photo*
  • Your student, enrolment ID from your school, college or university
  • A London address
  • A valid debit or credit card to pay the £20 administration fee
  • An active, valid email address

* A colour, digital photo must be:

  • A full face photo of the applicant's head and shoulders with your full face clearly visible
  • A true likeness of you

You should not be wearing anything that covers your head unless it is consistently worn for religious or medical reasons.

If your photo doesn't meet these guidelines, your application will be rejected.

Once you've fully enrolled with your school, college or university and have got your enrolment number, you can apply up to four weeks before your course start date, or on your 18th birthday. Applications received before these dates will be rejected.

If you're on a course that's longer than one year, you can get a photocard valid for the length of your course, or up to three years, whichever is sooner.

An Oyster photocard account will be set up for you when you apply and you can use it to check the progress of your application and correct any mistakes.

Application status

If you give us your mobile phone number when you apply, we'll text you when your 18+ Student Oyster photocard is on its way.

You can check the status of your application by:

  • Signing in to your Oyster photocard account
  • Texting the application reference number to 07624 809 330 - you'll then receive a response from our SMS service (standard network charges apply and can vary considerably, so please check with your mobile service provider)

Late card delivery

If you've haven't received your photocard within two weeks, check your application status.

How do I use it?

You can use your 18+ Student Oyster photocard once you've added a Travelcard or Bus & Tram Pass season ticket, or when you've added credit to pay as you go. Pay as you go fares are charged at the adult rate.

Touching in and out

Remember to touch in and out on the yellow card readers so we know where your journey starts and ends and can charge you the right fare if you're using pay as you go. It's slightly different for each type of transport. Find out more about touching in and out.

Buying tickets and topping up

You can top up your pay as you go credit and buy Travelcards for your 18+ Student Oyster photocard online. You can only do this via your 18+ Student Oyster photocard account. If you try to buy a Travelcard via a contactless and Oyster account, you will be charged the full adult price.

You can also buy discounted Travelcards at Oyster Ticket Stops, Tube stations, Visitor Centres and some National Rail stations.

You can buy discounted Bus & Tram Passes at Oyster Ticket Stops, Tube stations and Visitor Centres. They can't be bought online.

You cannot currently use your 18+ Student Oyster photocard with the TfL Oyster app.

Expiry date

  • Your 18+ Student Oyster photocard will expire on your course end date
  • We will be informed by your school, college or university if you're no longer eligible or your course end dates have changed. This may lead to your 18+ Student Oyster photocard being stopped
  • If your course is longer than three academic years, and you have told us in your application, we will send you a new photocard free of charge
  • Continued use of your 18+ Student Oyster photocard means that you agree and accept the terms and conditions of the scheme
  • You can read the 18+ Student Oyster photocard terms and conditions at any time by signing into your Oyster photocard account

Lost, stolen or damaged cards

Find out what to do if your 18+ student Oyster photocard is lost, stolen, damaged or stops working.

Work placements

If you're a student coming to London to do a full-time work placement for a minimum of 14 weeks and your school, college or university isn't part of the scheme, you may be able to get an 18+ Student Oyster photocard.

First, fill in the online form, then upload your photo and pay the £20 administration fee. In the course dates section, enter the start and end date of your placement in London.

You will need:

  • Your enrolment ID from your education establishment
  • Your work placement start and end dates
  • A colour digital photo to upload
  • A valid, active email address
  • A valid debit or credit card to pay the £20 administration fee

Your colour, digital photo must be:

  • A true likeness of you
  • A full face photo of your head and shoulders with your full face clearly visible

You should not be wearing anything that covers your head unless it is consistently worn for medical or religious reasons.

If your photo doesn't meet these guidelines, it will be rejected.

Once you've completed your application, ask your school, college or university to complete and send us a letter that must:

  • Be on your school, college or university's letter-headed paper
  • Confirm you are enrolled on a full-time course consisting of at least 15 tuition-led or structured learning hours a week, for at least 14 weeks
  • Provide details of your placement and its start and end dates
  • Be signed by a person in authority (for example, the registrar, bursar, university secretary or head of student services)

The letter must be sent to:

Transport for London
Admail 4121
London SW1P 1AT

It can take up to two weeks to process your application after we have received your letter and completed application.

If you don't complete your application form correctly or your letter doesn't contain all the information we need, your application will be rejected.

Schools, colleges and universities

In London

For your students to apply for an 18+ Student Oyster photocard, you'll need to register with us first unless the students are on a work placement.

Read the full terms and conditions for education establishments below to check whether your education establishment is eligible to join the scheme. Education establishments are responsible for ensuring that they and their students are eligible for the scheme and aware of the terms and conditions before signing up. There is a non-refundable registration fee of £25.

If your students are coming to London on mandatory work placements they might also be able to apply. Please see the full terms and conditions for education establishments offering work placements below. 

Outside London

You may be able to register on the scheme if you have eligible students who live in London during term time and regularly commute to and from your school, college or university.

Call 0343 222 1234 (TfL call charges) for more information on how to register.