Arriving in the UK

Motorway in Surrey

When you arrive in the UK, you will need to go through passport control and customs.

Arriving at the Border

To make sure that you can pass through the UK border as quickly as possible remember the following:

  • Always keep your passport and travel documents in your hand luggage
  • Remove your passport from any cover or sleeve and have it open at the ID page
  • Take off any hat, sunglasses or headphones you are wearing.

Using the eGates

The quickest way to cross the border is via the eGates.

To use the eGates you must:

  • Have a biometric symbol on the front of your passport
  • Be a national from any of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, the USA or any of the countries that make up the EU.

If you choose to use an eGate, you will not receive a border entry stamp in your passport, so you must ensure that you bring alternate evidence to university registration to show that you entered the country during the validity period of your visa, for example a boarding pass, travel ticket, or booking confirmation. Alternatively, you can still choose to see an immigration officer.

You can’t use the eGates if:

  • You’re not from one of the countries listed above
  • You’re under 18 and not travelling with an adult
  • You don’t have a biometric passport or you’re using a national ID card to enter the UK.

If any of the above apply to you, then you’ll need to see a Border Force Officer (see below).

Seeing a Border Force Officer

If you’re not able to use the eGates or you choose not to, you’ll need to speak to a Border Force Officer. 

They’ll ask to see your passport and your visa (if you’ve got one) and they’ll ask you why you’re coming to the UK. We therefore recommend that you travel with a copy of your CAS/visa support letter/formal acceptance letter. 


After you’ve crossed the border, you need to collect your bags from the baggage hall and pass through customs. You can use the green exit ‘Nothing to declare’ as long as you aren’t bringing in an excess amount of goods or cash. If you’re unsure please check the rules on bringing goods into the UK.

Problems at passport control or customs

If you have any problems at immigration you can call: 

  • International Student Advice: +44 (0)1483 686868 (9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday)
  • University of Surrey Security: +44 (0)1483 682002 (out of hours)
  • If you are arriving as part of a Meet & Greet airport pick-up you can call the mobile phone number provided to you at registration.

Be prepared

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) provide information about what to expect when you enter the UK.