Arriving in the UK

Before Travelling To The UK

Read the UKVI's top tips for students. They can be downloaded from this link. They are in the folder "Final Artwork" and give very useful advice.

More useful information on arriving in the UK can be found here.  Please also see the Guide to faster travel through the UK Border.

UKVI have also provided us with some very useful tips for you to follow to try to help your journey run smoothly. The steps can reduce your wait considerably. For further information of border control and the use of e-passport gates, please watch the video or see here.

Please note - If you are a non-visa national seeking entry as a Short-Term Student at your port of entry to the UK, you must not use the e-passport gates. Instead, you must ensure that you see a Border Force officer at passport control.

Top Tips From Our Students

• Carry a pen in your hand luggage - this will help you fill in your landing card
• If you do not understand an immigration or custom officer's question, explain this to them and ask if they can repeat it so you can understand; don't pretend to understand a question.
• You may need a £1 coin to get a luggage cart in the baggage area
• Bankers drafts to pay for tuition, accommodation fees etc. may need to be declared at customs

Peak travel dates:

  • Summer vacation University of Sheffield 10/6/18-17/9/18
  • Autumn half term holidays for schools around the UK 22/10/18-2/11/18
  • Christmas vacation University of Sheffield 16/12/18-13/1/19
  • Spring half term holidays for schools around the UK 18/2/19-1/3/19
  • Easter vacation 7/4/19-28/4/19

If you are an existing student at The University of Sheffield and you are returning to the UK after a trip abroad please read the section below.

Students whose current visa is still valid and is either:

  • an entry clearance visa granted outside the UK (not at their port of entry to the UK) OR
  • a visa that was granted in the UK and the valid from and valid to dates on the most recent extension of the visa are more than 6 months apart  


  • You have not left the UK for a continuous period of more than 2 years

These students should not encounter problems when returning to the UK if they are still studying their course. You should request a Certificate of Student Status from SSiD to carry in your hand luggage to show that you are still a registered student at the University. Immigration Officers may ask you questions to ensure your circumstances have not changed since your visa was granted.

Before returning to the UK, all returning students are advised to check their email accounts for correspondence from the Home Office. In the event that you have received email notification that your student leave has been cancelled/postponed and if so you are strongly advised not to travel, but instead to contact your nearest British Diplomatic mission immediately for advice and assistance.

If your circumstances are different to those above please see if the following applies to you:

  • My most recent visa was granted in the UK but the most recent extension was valid for less than 6 months- As you have travelled outside the UK and the Common Travel Area, the Home Office may consider your leave to have lapsed (no longer be valid). You should apply for a new visa in your home country before returning to the UK.
  • I have completed my course and left the UK but my Tier 4 visa is still valid and I want to use it to return for graduation - Our understanding is that UKVI have briefed Border Force Officers that a graduation ceremony is a permitted activity for students who have completed their course successfully, hold a valid Tier 4 visa and wish to return to the UK for the purpose of attending that graduation ceremony. Please note that Border Force Officers reserve the right to question you on whether you are actually returning to the UK for the purpose that you disclose to them. It is very important that you carry evidence in your hand luggage that clearly shows your purpose for returning to the UK (e.g graduation invitation letter, confirmation that you have passed your course, return ticket to home country)

If you have concerns about entering the UK for graduation using your Tier 4 visa after you complete your course, you can apply for a standard visitor visa from overseas. If you require information on inviting your family to apply as visitors, please see the Student Advice Centre's pages.

  • I have a Student Visitor Visa that was granted at my port of entry to the UK - This visa will no longer be valid after you leave the UK, so you will need to apply for a new visa to be readmitted. If you are a non-visa national and intend to apply for your visa at your port of entry you will need all the relevant documents needed for your application. However we strongly advise all students to apply for entry clearance in this category. See here for more details.
  • My visa was initially valid for more than 6 months. However, I have received confirmation from the Home Office to confirm that they have curtailed my visa - If there is 6 months or less remaining on your visa following the Home Office's curtailment of your visa, if you leave the UK the visa will no longer be valid so you will need to apply for a new visa to return to the UK.