It's very important you have the right documents when you arrive at a UK airport. As you are entering as a new student you will need to be prepared to answer some simple questions about your studies and where you will be staying.
This page will guide you through what to expect when you enter the UK and explain what you can and cannot bring through customs.
This page was last updated on 11 August 2023 at 09:37 (GMT)
Your safety and health is very important when you're travelling, especially following the Covid-19 pandemic. Here are our top tips:
- Check the current rules or guidance for your country, airline and the airports you will travel through – there may be policies on where you should wear a mask and the distance to keep from other travellers.
- Wash or sanitise your hands thoroughly after touching any surfaces, especially the trays in airport security – our research has shown that these pick up more germs than any other surface in the airport.
Arriving at a UK airport
This is a list of things to be aware of and things to have with you when you arrive. For more detailed information, you can visit the UK Border Force website.
- Accommodation details - have the address and phone number in your hand luggage. You will need this to complete your landing card.
- Landing card - complete this before you meet the Immigration Officer in the UK if you are a non EEA national. Landing cards are given to you on the aircraft before you arrive.
- Passport - have your passport ready to give to the Immigration Officer.
- Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) - have a printed copy of your CAS in your hand luggage. If you do not have your CAS, have a printed copy of your offer letter to show details of your course.
- Documents - keep important documents in your hand luggage. These include bank, medical, and accommodation documents. Border Force might ask to see them.
- Border Force - it is normal to be asked simple questions about your travel to the UK.
- Forged or misleading information - never give false documents to an Immigration Officer.
- If you will be arriving to start your course in September, you may find there are dedicated student lanes at some UK airports so watch out for these when you arrive
Please ensure that you:
- do not bring any meat or dairy products from outside the EU; there are restrictions on traditional medicines, food products and some fruit, vegetables and plants (including bulbs, seeds, cut flowers, tree bark)
- do not bring endangered plants or animals, such as ivory, skins, hides and shells and products made from them
- check the restrictions on the amount of goods you can bring in to the UK such as tobacco, alcohol and gifts; if you exceed your allowances, all of your goods can be taken away from you
- never bring counterfeit goods, illegal drugs, firearms (including realistic imitations), offensive weapons (including knives) or indecent or obscene material
- declare any sums of cash of 10,000 Euros or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you are travelling from a country outside the EU
UK Visa and Immigration website
Airport eGates and passport stamps
When you come through border control at the airport, a border control officer will stamp your passport. This stamp shows your date of entry into the UK, so it is required for registration at the university if you are entering with a student visa.
Travellers from some countries (Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA) are likely to be directed to electronic passport gates (eGates or ePassport gates) which are also used by UK, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens.
UK government guidance
European students will require a visa, unless you have already registered as a ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ UK resident under the EU Settlement Scheme. Find information on our help with your visa web pages.
Irish citizens have the right to travel, live, work and study in the UK under the UK-Ireland Common Travel Area arrangements. These rights are not affected by Brexit, and you won't need to apply for a visa or the EU Settlement Scheme.