Passing through Border Control
When you travel to the UK, it’s very important to remember to carry all entry documents in your hand luggage. If you have a student visa, speak to a Border Force official and get your passport stamped at the border.
Your passport will be checked along with your documents, and you may be asked a few questions as you pass through immigration, about yourself and your intentions during and after completion of your course.
You may also be asked whether your financial circumstances have changed since you applied for your student visa. You may be asked to prove this with a bank statement or sponsor’s letter.
You may also be asked to prove that you have a definite place at ARU London, so always carry your university offer letter/CAS statement and recent bank statements/evidence of a loan/scholarship in your hand luggage/on your phone.
You may also be asked where you will be living while in the UK, so we recommend that you arrange your accommodation before you leave your home country.
When you arrive at the UK border you will find there are long queues at passport control, so make sure you have some water. We would always recommend that you are polite and patient, especially as you may have to wait a long time.
When the Border Force officer has checked your documents, and is satisfied that you are a genuine student, you will get a stamp in your passport (visa holders only) and will be allowed to pass through to baggage reclaim and customs.
Do check that your passport has been stamped before you leave border control.
Take a look at the UK Border Force's top ten tips to help you get through the border easily (PDF).
When can I arrive in the UK?
Don't arrive in the UK too early. You can only enter the UK with a student visa after your visa has started. Check the visa start date in your passport or the e-mail you received from the UKVI.
Entering via the eGates
Some (not all) students may be able to use an eGate to enter the UK, which is sometimes quicker than standing in the queue to see a border guard.
An eGate is an electronic passport control that will read biometric information from your passport chip and use facial recognition technology to identify you.
You can use the eGates to enter the UK in the following circumstances:
- You have a modern passport with a biometric chip.
- You're a citizen of the UK, the EU, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, or the USA.
- You're not travelling with a child under the age of 12.
If you are eligible to use the eGates to enter the UK, your passport will not be stamped. This means that you will not have an official record of the date that you entered the UK, so it is often better to speak to a Border Force official and get an entry stamp.
Otherwise, you will need to keep evidence of your date of entry to the UK – for example, your flight ticket and boarding pass – throughout your time in the UK, as you may need to refer to it in the future.
In case you need to phone ARU London for assistance, try to arrive during daytime, on a weekday and during university opening hours.
Once you have collected your luggage you, will have to join a queue for clearance through customs. This will either be the green channel if you have ‘nothing to declare,’ the red channel if you have ‘goods to declare’, or the blue channel if you have arrived from an airport within the European Economic Area and have settled or pre-settled status.
If you are travelling to the UK from a country outside the European Union and are carrying 10,000 Euros or more in cash, banker's draft, or cheque of any kind (about £7,500 in pounds sterling, or equivalent in other currencies) you will need to declare this at customs.
A penalty of up to £5,000 can be imposed if you do not make this declaration, or give incorrect or incomplete information.
If you are carrying more than the permitted duty-free or tax-free allowances or any prohibited goods, you must pass through the red channel.
In addition, there are some goods that are restricted or banned from entering the UK, including controlled drugs, self-defence sprays, offensive weapons, certain food and plant products, and personal imports of meat and dairy products from non-EU countries.
Always pack your luggage yourself, never agree to carry anything into the UK for anybody else, and never leave your luggage unattended.