Arriving in the UK

Arriving in the UK

If travelling by air you will usually arrive at Birmingham, Heathrow, Gatwick, Stanstead or through regional airport such as Bristol, Exeter or Southampton. Bristol or Heathrow is the most convenient international airport for travel to Chippenham, Lackham and Trowbridge whilst Southampton or Exeter airport is convenient for travel to Salisbury. By sea, you will probably arrive at the ports of Dover, Folkestone or Harwich. It is also possible to arrive in London on the Eurostar train from Paris or Brussels through the Channel Tunnel.

First Time Student Arrivals 10 Top Tips

As part of your preparations for your studying in the UK this year, 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 through the UK border:

  1. Have your passport ready
  2. Ensure you complete a landing card (if a non EEA National)
  3. Have your university Certificate of Acceptance Studies (CAS) number ready. If you don't have a CAS number please brings details of your course of study
  4. Keep any medical documentation, recent bank statement and details of where you are staying in your hand luggage, we may ask to see this information
  5. Do not bring in any meat or dairy products from outside the EU
  6. 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)
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. Never give false or misleading information (including forged or counterfeit documents)

Follow the signs for 'Arrivals' and this will take you through to Immigration Control. There are separate channels for passengers who have UK or EU/EEA passports, and all other passport-holders. Make sure you join the right queue.

Immigration control

EU/EEA students

Be prepared to produce your valid passport or national identity card. You have the right of residence while you study and will not get a stamp in your passport.

Students with entry clearance

The length of your stay and the conditions that apply will be stated on the entry clearance sticker in your passport. Once the Immigration Officer is satisfied that the visa is valid they will stamp your passport to indicate which port you arrived at and on what date.

Students without entry clearance

Once the Immigration Officer is satisfied that you are a genuine student, they will grant you 'leave to enter' the UK in the form of a stamp in your passport. This stamp indicates how long the leave is being granted for this may be one year or for the length of your course. If you are only given one year, and your course is longer than this, you can extend your stay later if you continue to be a full-time student. The stamp also indicates what conditions are being imposed on your stay, including employment regulations.

Customs Control

Arriving in the UK
  • Exit the green channel if you are travelling from outside the European Union and have nothing to declare
  • Exit the red channel if you have goods to declare
  • Exit the blue channel if you are travelling from the European Economic Area, where luggage has already been cleared through customs control

What to declare?

The notices in the customs area will tell you if you need to declare anything you have brought into the country. You can also check with one of the customs officers before passing through customs control.

Note: Never carry anything into the UK for somebody else.


If you are carrying the required documentation, it is unlikely that you will experience any problem at immigration. However, if any problems do arise, ask the Immigration Officer to contact the Customer Services at your campus in Wiltshire College on the following number:

  • Chippenham: 01248 464 644
  • Lackham : 01249 464 466 800
  • Trowbridge : 0122 766 241
  • Salisbury : 01722 344 344

Office hour is between 9am and 5pm Monday - Friday.

Note: Try to arrive during daytime on a weekday, in case you need to phone the College for help. You may also ask to see a representative of the Immigration Advisory Service at your port of entry.

If you are refused leave to enter the UK, remember that if you obtained entry clearance prior to your arrival in the UK, and you are coming to study a course lasting more than six months, you have the right to remain in the UK while you appeal against that decision. Passengers arriving without entry clearance who are refused leave to enter are liable to be removed from the UK immediately.

Registering with the Police

On arrival your passport will be stamped by the Immigration Officer. Please check your stamp: if it reads, 'The holder is also required to register at once with the police', you must register with the police within seven days. There is a registration fee of £34. The College will advise you on the nearest police station. Two passport-size photographs are required. We recommend that you take your letter offering you a College place.

Medical requirements

You are strongly advised to have a medical check-up and any chronic illness adequately treated before you commence your studies as pre-existing conditions may not be treated free of charge. You will be attending a programme lasting more than six months and are eligible for free medical treatment on the NHS providing you register.

You should register with a local doctor as soon as possible after arriving in the UK. The college International Support Officer will be able to help you do this. For further information and advice please visit the UKCISA website on

Opening a bank account

Speak to your bank in your own country first. They can advise and tell you if they have a special relationship with a UK bank. Banks will expect to see confirmation of your financial support arrangements, passport and enrolment at College. When opening your account, ask about internet banking options, as this may be more convenient for you than traditional banking.


Britain's currency is based on pounds (£) sterling and pence with 100 pence to the £. You should bring about £150 in cash for immediate needs. Do not carry large amounts of cash. It is best to have enough money in travellers' cheques to last a month (£400) until you have opened a bank account and transferred funds to Britain. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted.

Bring evidence of the financial support you have to cover College fees and living expenses as you may be asked to show this at immigration.


Label your luggage clearly with your name and address in Wiltshire. If you do not yet know your address, mark luggage labels with your name and 'Wiltshire College" and the campus you are going to attend. You will have to carry your luggage at some point, so try to pack only as much as you can carry.


With a damp climate in Britain and varying temperatures. It's best to come prepared with some warm clothes. Wearing several layers of lightweight clothes (t-shirts, shirts, sweaters) is a good way to keep warm. You can buy a wide range of clothing at reasonable prices in the UK.

Other items you may find useful

If bringing electrical equipment with you, the voltage in the UK is 240V. You may need an adapter, which you can buy in the UK. If bringing books, remember you will have to carry them. Recommended books can be bought here in Wiltshire.

We suggest that you bring things from home (photos or posters to decorate your room) to help you feel more at home. Other useful items include an alarm clock, towels, a camera, and a supply of recent passport sized photographs.

Did you know?

The College is committed to minimising our negative impacts on the environment, maximising our positive impacts and promoting sustainability. We are developing an 'environmental management system' to ensure we are effective, and we have had our system accredited to the BS8555 Acorn scheme.