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Arriving in the UK

When you arrive at the UK border (whether an air, sea or train port), there are certain things to remember to ensure that you do not experience any problems in entering the UK. You may have to present your passport and visa to a UK Border Officer. However, please be aware that you may be asked certain questions and requested to provide other documents just to confirm your reasons for coming to the UK; to study with us. 

Information for nationals of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland

From 1 January 2021, citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland will need to apply for immigration permission to enter or remain in the UK. If you are a EU/EEA/Swiss national entering the UK from 1 January 2021 to study on a degree course, you will need to make a Student visa application. Please visit our website for further details of how to do this. 

Please take this into account before travelling to the UK. Note that this does not apply to nationals of the Republic of Ireland, who will not be subject to UK immigration control.  

Student visas - when to enter the UK

If you are applying for a Student visa, it is very important that you do not travel to the UK before your Student visa is granted. This would be possible if you are a non-visa national as you could enter on your passport to visit for six months, for example, if you are a national of the USA, Canada or any EU/EEA country (as well as many others). 

The problem with doing this is that your Student visa is not 'activated' until you enter the UK after the issue date. If you enter the UK before the issue date of the Student visa, it will not be valid, and you can only stay in the UK for six months. We would not be able to register you on your course if this is found to be the case as your Student visa will not be valid. The only solution would be for you to leave the UK and re-enter on your Student visa, which would likely be expensive and inconvenient. 

If you are granted a Student entry clearance visa overseas (the vignette in your passport), you must ensure that you only enter the UK during the validity period of this visa.

If you expect to receive a digital visa (for example if you are a EU/EEA national), please also ensure that you do not travel to the UK before your Student visa is granted.

Documents required to enter the UK

You should carry all of these documents with you in your hand luggage just in case you need to evidence to a Border Force Officer why you are seeking entry to the UK. Please keep the documents very safe and do not lose them while travelling.

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • A copy of your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) - you should print the email that we send you
  • A copy of your offer letter for your course
  • Details about your accommodation if this has been arranged (for example, your tenancy agreement)
  • Covid test/vaccination details (see section above)

Questions you may be asked by the UK Border Force

You may be asked some simple questions about your studies and your stay in the UK by the Border Force Officer. Do not be alarmed if this happens. You only need to answer the questions honestly. Your documents will also help confirm the reason why you are entering the UK to study with us.

Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETAs)

Nationals of some countries will now be required to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) in order to travel to the UK, only if they do not require a UK visa to do so. Please refer to our website on this topic.  At present, this applies to nationals of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. However, further nationalities may be added to this requirement throughout 2024. Please visit the UKVI website for further information. 

An ETA is not a visa/immigration status, but permission to travel to the UK. If applicable, you may need one if you are coming to the UK as a visitor and do not need a visa to do. Note that you do not need to apply for an ETA if you have already obtained a visa to come to the UK. 

Bringing other items into the UK

There are some things that you should not bring to the UK.  We also do not recommend that you carry very large amounts of cash with you to avoid the risk of it being lost or stolen. For further advice about what things you can and can't bring to the UK, please visit the UKVI website.

Getting to Brunel University London

Many of our international students arrive at Heathrow Airport, which is the UK's largest airport. Fortunately, this is also the closest airport to Brunel University. It is less than five miles away. There are many buses that can take you to the University or it is a short taxi journey. Please visit our website for further details of how to get here. This includes details of how to travel to Brunel University from other destinations.

In September, we also offer a free Airport Welcome Service and an orientation programme. Information about this will be provided in your registration instructions.