International students
  1. My Country
  2. Living in London
  3. Visa & immigration
  4. Exchange & Study Abroad Programme
  5. Pathway programmes
  6. Pre-arrival Guide
  7. International Students Guide
  1. Arriving in the UK
International students

Arriving in the UK

Immigration control

When you are arriving at Heathrow or another international airport in the UK, you will have to go through the UK Border Force (immigration and customs control). There are usually two main queues: one for European Economic Area and Swiss nationals, and one for everyone else. Make sure you join the correct queue. A Border Force Officer will look at your passport and check your Visa/Entry Clearance. If you are a Tier 4 student, you must show the 30-day vignette (sticker) in your passport with the Home Office decision letter. Please allow at least an hour to go through the UK Border Force. Please make sure you carry your passport and visa, CAS statement from City, University of London and your bank statement or sponsor letter in your hand luggage, which might be asked to check by an UK Border Force Officer. When you enter (or re-enter) the UK with Tier 4 immigration permission, the Border Force Officer must be satisfied that you speak English at the required level, without needing an interpreter.

Before leaving Immigration Control, check that the Border Force Officer has put a date stamp (if you had a Visa or Entry Clearance) in your passport; or (if you are a non-visa national coming for a course of less than six months and do not have Entry Clearance) check that you have been stamped in as a 'Student Visitor'. After immigration control, you will be  able to collect your baggage. At most airports baggage is unloaded on to one of a number of moving belts ('carousels') in the baggage collection area. Look for your flight number and the name of the place your flight departed from on the screens, or above the carousels, and wait for each item of your baggage to appear. If any item does not come through, find a representative of the airline you travelled on and fill in a lost baggage form.

Customs

When you have found all your baggage you must pass through Customs Control. Join the queue for either 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 Union (EU) where you have already cleared all your baggage through Customs Control. Even if you pass through the green channel a Customs Officer can ask you to open your baggage for checking.

If you are travelling to the UK from a country outside the European Union and are carrying the equivalent of 10,000 Euros or more in any currency (in cash, banker's draft or cheque of any kind) you will be required to declare this at Customs Control. There is an information leaflet about declaring cash on the HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs) website. Please note that a very large fine can be imposed if you do not make this declaration, or provide incorrect or incomplete information.

If you are not sure about what you can bring into the UK you should check with the British Embassy or High Commission in your home country before travelling to the UK. Before you contact them, you can obtain some very basic information from this leaflet.  Normally, you should not bring food into the UK. Many of the foods you usually eat at home can easily be found in UK shops. See this leaflet for more information. You might also want to look at the UK Border Force's 10 Top Tips for passing through Immigration and Customs control on arrival in the UK.

From London airports to Central London

Please note that there will be no Airport Meet & Greet service at Heathrow airport this September. Please check the Travel Information page to help you plan your journey from London airports to City, University of London.