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The UK Immigration at the airports is very used to having large number of International students arrive in the UK and offers a warm welcome to them.  But just like in any other country, the immigration officials have to ensure that everyone who enters the UK has a legitimate reason to be here and that no immigration laws are broken.

Below is a step by step guide to pass through immigration on arrival in the UK.

  1. When you enter the terminal building, follow the signs for arrivals. These signs will lead you to the AA Immigration control/Passport Control Area 
  2. If you are transferring to another flight at the same airport, follow the signs for Flight connections/transit instead. Then at your final airport in the UK, follow the signs for arrivals.  As you approach the UKVI Immigration control/ Passport control, you will see screens and signs indicating two types of queue: one for British or EEA (European Economic Area) citizens and one for all other nationals. Make sure you join the right queue to avoid wasting time. 
  3. At some major airports, arriving passengers are also sorted by flight number as they enter the UKVI Immigration control, so you should have this number with you. You can find the flight number on your boarding pass. Keep your boarding pass with you at all times as you may need the flight number to collect your luggage. 
  4. When you reach the front of the queue (for Non-EEA nationals only), the Immigration Officer at the desk will want to see your documents such as Passport, Boarding pass, University offer letter, evidence of available funds such as bank statements/bank passbook or sponsor letter and any other documents that will allow the Immigration Officer to stamp your Entry Clearance to allow you into the UK. 
  5. You should be prepared to give your finger prints if the Immigration Officer request for it (you should have given your finger prints to obtain your Entry clearance in your home country). You should also be prepared to answer some questions about yourself, including which course you are enrolling on, the duration of the course, evidence used to obtain your offer at Staffordshire University, where will you be staying, how will you support yourself and what you intend to do whilst you are in the UK. It is important you answer these/any questions clearly and correctly.  If you answer any questions vaguely or you are not able to give correct answers the Immigration Officer has the right to detain you and do further investigations until they are satisfied that you are in the UK for the right reasons your visa was granted.
  6. Occasionally, you may be asked to undergo a brief, routine health check by the airport Doctor, which might include an X-ray. The health check will be done in a separate room and afterwards, you will be escorted back to the Immigration control queue. Don’t panic if you were asked to do this as this is a routine procedure.

The following advice explains some things you can do to help you at immigration control:

  • Make a note of a suitable UK contact including full name, address and a phone number which will be required when you complete your landing card.
  • Ensure you complete your landing card before you meet the Border Force officer in the UK
  • If you carry your passport in a protective wallet, please take it out before you present it to a Border Forcer officer.
  • Never give false or misleading information (including forged or counterfeit documents) to a Border Force officer.
  • Have your university Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) letter (and offer letter) and medical card (if you have one) in your hand luggage that you carry with you on to the aircraft.  If you don't have a CAS letter, please bring details of your course of study.
  • There are restrictions on food products that you can bring to the UK from outside the European Union, even for personal use. Restrictions apply to products made from meat, dairy, fish, eggs and honey, as well as some fruit, vegetables and plants (e.g. bulbs, seeds, cut flowers and tree bark).
  • There are also restrictions on the amount of goods such as tobacco, alcohol and gifts you can bring in the UK.  If you exceed your allowances all of your goods can be taken away from you.
  • Never bring in counterfeit goods, illegal drugs, firearms (including realistic imitations), offensive weapons (including knives) or indecent or obscene material.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the conditions of your visa including the number of hours you are allowed to work.
  • You must declare any sums of cash of £10,000 or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you are travelling from a country outside the European Union.

As long as your documents are in order, you should pass through immigration smoothly. But if you find, you need help for any reason, you should ask the Immigration Control Officer if you may telephone the International Student Support at Staffordshire University on 01782 294711 or 01782 294539.

If an International Student Advisor / Staff are not available, call the Immigration Advisory Service (IAS) for free advice on telephone number 0207 9671200 (day time Monday to Friday). If it is night time, leave a message on their emergency answer service by telephoning 02079671299.

The Immigration Advisory Service is a registered charity that can assist you with your appeal.   For more information visit: 

Once you arrive at the University, you can then contact the International Student Advisor for any additional support you need with your immigration case.