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What to expect when arriving in the UK

We understand how daunting it can be to arrive in a new country to study. We have put together this guide to help students understand what to expect when they touchdown at a UK airport.

Immigration Control

If you are aged 16 or under, you may not be allowed to leave immigration until the person meeting you has been found. If you have booked a taxi transfer, make sure you have the information with you.

You should be ready to show all your school and visa application documents to the Border Force Officer if asked.

Use of eGates: 

If you are a citizen of an EU country, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the USA, you will normally be able to use the eGates on arrival. Instead of a visa stamp or vignette, you will be required to show your flight ticket or boarding pass on arrival at the school. You will be allowed to study for up to 6 months.

Should you have any questions regarding the use of eGates or immigration control, please contact our Immigration Compliance Team at catsglobalschools.com

Baggage Reclaim

After passport control, follow the arrival signs to the baggage reclaim area and check the information screens to find the correct carousel.


When you reach Customs, you may be interviewed by a Customs Official. They might ask you some basic questions, such as ‘Where is your School?’ and ‘Why do you want to study in the UK?’ or questions about your luggage and what you are bringing into the UK. UK customs officers also routinely check bags. 

You will need to walk down one of two exits or ‘channels’: the red or green channel. For more information on items that need to be declared – please see https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control

Students who have nothing to declare use the Green Channel

Students who have anything to declare, use the Red Channel

If you are bringing a bank draft or cheque for School fees of over £10,000 then you must go through the Red Channel to declare it. For this reason, it is easier to pay fees by bank transfer before you come. 

Taxi Pickup

If you arranged with us for a taxi to meet you, you will find your driver in the Arrivals area as you leave Customs. The driver holds a board showing their passenger’s name. Look out for your name or The CATS Cambridge logo. If you cannot see your name go to Airport Information, ask them to help you find your driver. Wait there until your driver arrives.

If you run into difficulties, contact us on our emergency phone number +44 01223 942789