Student Immigration Service

Arriving in the UK

Things you should keep in mind when travelling to the UK with a Student visa or standard visitor visa.

Important information for new students

If your programme requires you to obtain a Student visa, you should ensure you obtain it before you travel. 

If you enter the UK without having obtained a Student visa, you will not be able to complete your University of Edinburgh registration, and to start your studies with us. 

Please note, if you enter the UK without having obtained a Student visa, you will not be able to make your application from within the UK. Switching to a Student visa can only be done in very specific circumstances. 

If you decide to do this anyway, you will be required to return to your country of nationality (or of ordinary residence) to make a Student visa application.

Student visa: can I apply from the UK

Travelling to the UK and immigration control

When you arrive at a UK port, you may meet with a border control officer who will check your passport and UK immigration permission. Border control officers may also ask you to present documents relating to your studies (your CAS or unconditional offer letter), your finances (bank statements) and your accommodation. We recommend that you carry this evidence in your hand luggage.

The border officer will place one of the following in your passport: 

  • A date stamp if you already hold an entry clearance vignette (a sticker) in your passport

  • A standard visitor stamp if you are a non-visa national studying at the University of Edinburgh for 6 months or less

Arriving via E-gates

UK airports are now operating E-gates for nationals of the European Economic Area, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States.

 If you are a national of one of the above countries, you can use e-Gates but we recommend that you keep your boarding passes or travel itinerary in a safe place as you will need to evidence your date of arrival in the UK.

Travelling via the Republic of Ireland

The UK and the Republic of Ireland are part of a Common Travel Area (CTA); the CTA streamlines arrival to the UK from the Republic of Ireland for most travellers because there is no immigration control between the two countries.

You need to get a visa before travelling to the UK if you are applying under the Student route or if you are a visa national applying under the standard visitor route.  If you have obtained a visa from your home country, you can travel via the Republic of Ireland. We recommend that you keep your boarding passes or travel itinerary in a safe place as you will need to evidence your date of arrival in the UK.

If you are a non-visa national and enter the UK via the Republic of Ireland without having secured a visa, you will be given permission to be in the UK for six months from you date of entry to the UK . You will be able to study but employment (paid or unpaid) will not be permitted. We recommend that you keep your boarding passes or travel itinerary in a safe place as you will need to evidence your date of arrival un the UK.

UKCISA: Entering via the Republic of Ireland 

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Travelling to the UK