The United Kingdom Immigration Process and Departure


• 27 / 02 / 2019

The United Kingdom Immigration Process and Departure

Embarking on a journey to the United Kingdom, whether for study, work, or leisure, is an exciting endeavour that requires careful planning and preparation. From obtaining the necessary visas to navigating customs and immigration procedures, understanding the intricacies of the immigration process is essential for a smooth and hassle-free experience. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the steps involved in immigrating to and departing from the United Kingdom.

AIRPORT CHECK-IN: In this technologically advanced world, passengers can either check in online using the kiosk machines or can check in at the counter. If checking in at the counter then passengers should provide a passport, and air ticket confirmation email copy to airline staff for scanning and confirmation.

BAGGAGE: Hand down your luggage to the ground staff of the airline. The baggage will be tagged with your information and sent to the checking area. Ensure that your baggage is within the prescribed limit. If you are carrying extra baggage than the prescribed limit then you will have to pay extra for the same. Booking baggage online before the departure date will get you a discounted price on extra baggage.

COLLECTING BOARDING PASS: After verification of your details and handing down the baggage, you will be issued a boarding pass. Retain this boarding pass along with your passport safely.

SECURITY CHECK: Present yourself for the security check with bags packed neatly. Do not carry any restricted items. Expect to be frisked as part of the procedure. Keep your passport and boarding pass throughout the process. Place your carry-on baggage along with metallic objects and electronic items in the tray assigned for electronic screening. In case you have a metallic unit in your body (for medical purposes ex: pacemaker, or artificial joint) keep a doctor’s certificate in hand for the same and inform the security officers about the same. After the security check, collect all your items and check your valuables.

IMMIGRATION CHECK: Yes at all Airports in India, passengers will have an Immigration check before departure. Students will be required to display a passport-visa vignette page, Visa Letter, CAS/Letter of Acceptance/Enrolment letter. An immigration officer may sometimes request more documents like your proof of funds, academic documents, etc in rare cases. You will be asked simple questions like  What is your name? What is the purpose of your travel? What university are you going to attend in the UK? What course are you going to study and how long is the course? You will also be asked to look into the camera and give your biometrics.

CUSTOMS: Ensure that you are not carrying any banned/restricted items on your hand luggage. The amount of money you can carry in hand during international flight travel is strictly regulated. Ensure that you check this limit on airlines/ UK government websites.

Remember, in some countries merely showing up with customs-banned substances can result in prosecution. So thoroughly read the related guidelines before embarking on your journey

AIRPORT LOUNGE: After the security check, you will enter the airport lounge or waiting area, if you have more time to kill then explore discounted items and duty-free items, restaurants, and café. If you have very less time then head straight to your boarding gate. The boarding gate information will be displayed on the TV. Search for your Flight number and flight time to check the boarding gate. Once you get your boarding gate number, follow the signs which will direct you to your specific boarding gate. For some flights, you will be transported via coach from your boarding gates.

DEPARTURE: Before boarding the plane, ensure that you have your boarding pass, passport, important document, valuables, and hand luggage.  The boarding gate closes 10-20 minutes before departure. Some airlines will be polite enough to call for the names of passengers who are yet to board. But remember that they will not wait forever. So make sure that you are at the boarding gate on time.

TAKE OFF: Before take-off, listen to the safety instructions explained by the crew, follow all the airline's protocols, especially the seat belt signs, and switch off the electronic devices during the take-off and landing. Have a great flight!

IN FLIGHT: Follow the airline's protocol. If the seatbelt sign is on, make sure that you are seated with your seat belt on. When the sign goes off, you are allowed to relax. If you have any issues/questions, feel free to talk with the air hostess. Get acquainted with in-flight amenities offered for your entertainment or enjoy the view whenever you can.  A few minutes before the landing, the air hostess will issue landing cards for other nationals. In case you missed collecting it, enquire about it and collect it.

TOUCHDOWN: After touchdown and before De-boarding the plane, make sure that you have got your landing card (Customs card) filled out for the post-arrival immigration process. Make sure to take all your belongings with you.

IMMIGRATION: After arriving at your destination and De-Boarding the plane, you will be directed towards passport control where you will have to go through the immigration process. The immigration area will have different lanes. One for nationals and passport holders of that destination and another lane for other international travelers.

So, ensure that you go to the right lane. Don’t use phones or cameras in the immigration area, officials might confiscate them if you do so. Have your documents ready like a passport with Visa Page, Landing Cards, University CAS/ Acceptance Letter, and Financial documents. Provide all documents requested by the border control officers. Make sure to keep your documents in order and hand luggage. While checking the documents, the Immigration officer will ask you a few questions regarding the nature of your visit to the country. Remain calm and state the truth. Some of the commonly asked questions are:


What is your name?

What is the purpose of your visit?

What university are you going to attend?

What course are you going to study and how long is the course?

What are your plans after completing the program?

Who packed your bag(s)? Do you know what’s inside the bags?

How much cash are you carrying with you?

Do you have relatives/friends/family in the country? If yes, where do they live?

If not, where will you stay?

Is someone coming to pick you up at the Airport?

If all the above questions are answered correctly and truthfully, there will be no follow-up questions and you will be cleared for entry. If you give vague answers, the officials will find you to be suspicious and could have follow-up questions/interrogations.

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