Student Immigration Service

Arriving in the UK

Things you should keep in mind when travelling to the UK with a Tier 4 or a short-term student visa.

Travelling to the UK and immigration control

When you arrive at a UK port, you should 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.

Do you need to meet a Border control officer?

Unless you obtained a visa before travelling, you must meet with an Border control officer to get the correct stamp in your passport.   

Download this document to show at Border control.

The border officer will put a stamp in your passport:

  • A date stamp if you already hold an entry clearance vignette (a sticker) in your passport
  • A short-term student 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 Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States.

 If you have a Tier 4 visa, you may 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.

You must not use airport E-gates unless you get your visa before you travel to the UK. You must meet with a Border control officer to get the correct permission to begin your studies.

If you will be in the UK as a short-term student , you must get the correct stamp in your passport or you will not be permitted to study.

Download this document to show at Border control to make sure you get a stamp in your passport. 

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.

If you are a Tier 4 student or a visa national applying for a Short-term study visa, you need to get a visa before travelling to the UK. 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 may need to evidence your date of arrival in the UK.

If you are a non-visa national and you plan to request entry as a short-term student when you arrive in the UK, you should ensure you DO NOT travel via the Republic of Ireland.  If you do not meet with UK immigration control, you will not receive the correct immigration permission to study in the UK and you will not be able to complete matriculation at the University of Edinburgh. 

Getting a Short-term student stamp

If you are a non-visa national and you are planning to enter the UK on the Short-term study visa, you must request that your passport is stamped correctly (not as a standard visitor to the UK). Make sure you present all the required supporting evidence – especially your offer letter to study at the University.

Required evidence for short-term students