At border control
Your passport or identity card will be checked.
- have your passport or identity card ready - remove it from a holder or wallet if you use one
- remove your sunglasses if you’re wearing them
- move through passport control together if you’re in a family
Arriving by bus or coach
You have to leave the bus when you arrive at border control.
Make sure you:
- are ready to get off the bus when you arrive
- have your travel documents ready
If you’re from an EEA country or Switzerland
You can use the EU/EEA channel to get your passport or identity card checked - this is usually faster than the other channels.
The EEA includes the EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.
You can use automatic ePassport gates at some airports if your passport has a ‘chip’ on it and you’re 12 or over. If you’re between 12 and 17, you must be accompanied by an adult.
These gates use facial recognition technology to check your identity against the photo in your passport.
If you’re from a non-EEA country
You no longer have to fill in a landing card. Your passport (and visa if you have one) will be checked at border control. You’ll usually be asked why you’re coming to the UK.
You may be able to use the automatic ePassport gates if you’re from:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- United States
You must also:
- be aged 12 or over (if you’re between 12 and 17, you must be accompanied by an adult)
- have a valid visa or a biometric residence permit
- have a valid passport for the duration of your stay
- have a passport with a ‘chip’ on it
You should follow the UK/EEA immigration lanes at border control.
When you must see a border control officer
You must see a border control officer and get a stamp in your passport if you’re from a non-EEA country and entering the UK:
- on a short term study visa up to 6 months
- with a Tier 5 Creative or Sporting certificate of sponsorship for up to 3 months (and you want to enter without a visa)
- on a permitted paid engagement
- to accompany or join your EEA family member
You cannot get a stamp if you use the ePassport gates. Without a stamp you will not be allowed to carry out the activities you came to the UK to do.
If you’ve joined the Registered Traveller service, you can use the:
- UK/EEA channels
- automatic ePassport gates if your passport has a ‘chip’
Travelling with a UK biometric residence permit
You’ll have a biometric residence permit if your fingerprints were taken when you applied.
Your fingerprints will be checked at border control - they’ll be checked against the ones stored on your visa document.
If you’re joining or travelling with an EEA or Swiss family member
You should see a border control officer instead of using the automatic ePassport gates.
If you’re refused entry
You’ll be told in writing:
- why you’ve been refused entry to the UK
- if you can appeal against the decision
- when you will be removed from the UK
You’ll usually have to leave the UK immediately.
You may be allowed into the UK temporarily (usually for up to a week) but your passport will be taken from you and you must report to immigration officers at set times.