UK Border Force have produced a helpful list of top tips for first time students arriving to commence their studies in the UK. These tips are designed to ensure that you are not unduly delayed when entering the UK. They are also to better prepare you for the types of documents they may ask you to present at border control.
UK Border Force want to make sure you have everything you need to get through the UK border as efficiently as possible. Follow these top tips for a smooth journey upon arrival at the UK border (passport control):
- Have your passport and visa (if applicable) ready.
- Ensure you complete a landing card (if a non EEA National).
- Have your university Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) ready if coming as a Tier 4 student. If coming as a Short Term Student have a copy of your Short Term Study letter ready.
- Keep any medical documentation, recent bank statements or other evidence of your maintenance (finances), original qualification documents, and details of where you are staying in your hand luggage, the Border Force may ask to see this information.
- Do not bring in any meat or dairy products from outside the EU.
- There are also restrictions on other food products such as 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 tobacco, alcohol and gifts you can bring in the UK. If you exceed your duty-free allowance and do not declare them, all of your items could be taken away from you.
- Never bring in counterfeit goods, illegal drugs, offensive weapons or indecent or obscene material. Some items are restricted and will require a licence or permit.
- 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.
- Never give false or misleading information (including forged or counterfeit documents).
UK Border Force top tips
Some international students are required to register with the police. If you have a Tier 4 visa valid for longer than 6 months and you are required to register with the police, it will be stamped on your visa that you must register with the police. You must do this within 7 days of arrival.
If you are required to register with the police, there is a £34 charge for the initial registration. You should take your passport, a passport-sized photograph and the fee. If you have a dependant who is also required to register with the police, they too must go in person for the initial registration.
Renewal of police registration, for example because you have extended your visa is free of charge.
You must notify the police of any change in address within 7 days. If any of the particulars detailed in your police registration certificate change (for example: immigration conditions, passport details, name, address, marital status or occupation) you must notify the police within 8 days.
If you live within the Greater London area, you should go to:
- The Overseas Visitors Records Office. Ground Floor, Brandon House, 180 Borough High Street, Borough, London. SE1 1LH (nearest underground station: Borough -Northern Line)
- Telephone number: 020 7230 1286
- There is also a recorded information line: 020 7230 1208
- The Overseas Visitors Records Office in Borough is normally open from 9.00 until 16.00 Monday to Friday.
- Students living outside the Greater London area should register with the local police force.
For more information on the Police Registration Certificate see the Home Office information here.
Registering with the Police
Before you arrive in the UK
- Apply for your visa early (if possible around 2 - 3 months before your course start date)
- Ensure that you have obtained your visa and it is all correct
- Read UEL's pre-arrival information and welcome programme for international students
- Read UKCISA's and the British Council's information
- Research and prepare your accommodation in the UK in advance (try to live close to the university as possible to avoid problems). UKCISA have some useful information on accommodation. UEL has a Residential Services team who can advise you on accommodation matters.
Arriving in the UK
- Arrive in the UK as early as possible before the start of your course and certainly before the International Student Welcome Programme. If you arrive after the start of the course, your attendance will be affected, and you may find it difficult to catch up academically. It will not be possible to enrol if you arrive after the latest enrolment date for UEL.
- Bring enough money and/or debit/credit cards to maintain you for the first few weeks until you are able to open a bank account in the UK
Whilst travelling to the UK, carry the following in your hand luggage:
- Evidence of your studies at UEL (acceptance letter/ print-out of CAS)
- Evidence of your maintenance (you should carry up to date evidence that you still meet the maintenance requirements. If you have used any of the maintenance to pay for fees or accommodation, you should also carry the receipts for these payments)
- Evidence of your academic and English language qualifications (as listed on your CAS)
Upon arrival in the UK (at the airport/port/station):
- You must complete a 'landing card' at Border Control
- Your visa should be stamped by the immigration officer
- An immigration officer could test that you have sufficient level of English
- An immigration officer may check that you still have the required maintenance funds
- If you are carrying more than £10,000 in cash, you must declare this at customs
- Do not bring prohibited items into the UK (including certain food items)
Enrolment at UEL
- Attend fully the International Student Welcome Programme, first week activities and induction programme
- Enrol promptly and register your modules on time
- Familiarise yourself with the University services and facilities
- Register with your local doctor and open a UK bank account
During your studies
- Attend all of your classes fully
- Use the help and support available to you in the University
- Submit coursework and take all assessments on time
- If you have any problems or concerns seek help and advice (see our Useful Links for further information)
- Do not break the immigration rules in any way
- Keep copies of all important documents (passport, visa, university correspondence, CAS and all completed Visa application forms and documents submitted with applications).