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Flying to the UK

What to expect when arriving in the UK

Immigration control

If you are aged 16 or under, you may not be allowed to leave immigration until the person meeting you has been found. If you have booked a taxi transfer, make sure you have the information with you.

You should be ready to show all your college and visa application documents to the Border Force Officer is asked.

Use of eGates: If you are a citizen of an EU country, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the USA, you will normally be able to use the eGates on arrival. Instead of a visa stamp or vignette, you will be required to show your flight ticket or boarding pass on arrival at the college. You will be allowed to study for up to 6 months.

Should you have any questions regarding the use of eGates or immigration control, please contact our Immigration Compliance Team at

Baggage reclaim

After passport control, follow the arrival signs to the baggage reclaim area and check the information screens to find the correct carousel.


When you reach Customs, you may be interviewed by a Customs Official to ensure you are a genuine student in the UK. They will ask you some basic questions, such as ‘Where is your College?’ and ‘Why do you want to study in the UK?’

You will need to walk down one of three channels at Customs:

Students from European countries should use the Blue Channel

Students from all other countries should use the Green Channel

Students who have anything to declare, use the Red Channel

If you are bringing a bank draft or cheque for College fees of over £8,800 then you must go through the Red Channel and declare it. For this reason, it is easier to pay fees by bank transfer before you come. If you are unsure whether you should use the Red Channel please visit - www.visitbritain. 

Arranged a taxi?

If you arranged for a taxi to meet you, you will find your driver in the Arrivals area as you leave Customs. The driver holds a board showing their passenger’s name. Look out for your name or the CATS logo. If you cannot see your name go to Airport Information, ask them to help you find your driver. Wait there until your driver arrives.

Travelling to the UK, COVID-19 aspects

Travelling to the UK – Under 18

If you are travelling to the UK on a Student or Child Student Visa you are classified as an “Ordinary Resident”, this means that if you are under 18 (and not from a Red List Country) you will not need to quarantine upon your arrival.

You will need to:

Travelling to the UK – Over 18

If you are aged 18 or over you will need to provide evidence of being fully vaccinated. Please refer to the guidance here to see which vaccines are approved and the evidence that will be required from arrivals. If you are fully vaccinated will not need to quarantine upon your arrival.

You will need to:         

If you are not fully vaccinated then you will need to:

Arrivals from Red List Countries             

Please read the guidance here relating to those students travelling to the UK from a small number of Red List countries. There are special measures in place for those with a Student or Child Student visa who are under 18 only, so please contact our admissions team if you are travelling from or have been in a Red List country with 10 days of your arrival in the UK.

COVID-19 related questions

What does the induction programme look like under quarantine conditions?

Every student will receive a one-to-one welcome on campus and an online induction. It will include:

  • A virtual tour of the campus
  • After online testing, students will have a one-to-one online Academic Counselling session.
  • A meeting with students’ Personal Tutor Group in the UK.
  • A health & wellbeing learning module with an explanation of procedures we will follow to stay safe in the College
  • Social activities to begin to create a community
  • Physical activities (where students can social distance).

What does the induction programme look like for students that do not need to quarantine?

Students will follow the standard face-to-face induction programme as outlined in the Pre-arrival section for each centre.

What activities will be in place for students arriving before the official start of term?

During this period groups will begin to be established. Students will be encouraged to make friends with both new and returning students but will also be given time to unpack and adjust to being away from their families.

What will face-to-face teaching and life on campus look like?

Face-to-face lessons will be delivered alongside heightened cleaning regimes. Currently we are expecting classes to be delivered this January as normal without the need for social distancing. In line with UK Government Guidance, there may be restrictions on Exeats and time permitted off campus at evenings and weekends.

What will happen when students arrive at the airport?

As long as students have provided flight information well in advance of their arrival, we will have a team member waiting for students in the airport arrivals hall. The team member will have a sign so students can identify them. They will, adhering to social distancing, help students with bags and escort them to their private transfer, directly to the school.

Can parents or guardians accompany students?

Although we are restricting access to visitors, parents are able to come on site if they are able to let us know in advance and provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival.

Visitors, including parents, will not be permitted into the Boarding Houses. We will take care of all visitors in a dedicated area at the school, with refreshments on offer, while the student in their care settles into their new home before confirming their wellbeing prior to their departure.

Can a friend collect students from the airport and come into campus?

Students can be collected by a friend or family member, but they will need to follow the visitor policy.

How will students be greeted on campus?

Students will be welcomed by a member of the team who will review their medical questionnaire, which will need to be completed in advance of arrival. If students are with parents there will be time to say farewell before students given a tour of their new home with us. We will then make sure students call parents to let them know they are settled.

Will students be required to quarantine?

Students who are fully vaccinated in line with UK Gov requirements will not be required to quarantine upon arrival. We encourage students to check UK Government website for the latest guidance: Students needing to quarantine who live within our accommodation will be able to do so safely within college residences. Where possible, if students arrive on or before Sunday 9th January we will attempt to keep these students in a cluster together to create a small household. Arrivals after that point will need to remain in their rooms for their quarantine. All meals will be delivered and time provided daily to exercise outside.

Students in quarantine will receive an online induction to the college prior to joining their personal tutor groups and lessons which will be streamed before they are able to join their classmates face-to-face.

January start dates for quarantining students

Classes start on Monday 10th January. The boarding houses will be open on arrival weekend from 4pm on Friday 7th January to welcome arriving students. We would recommend new students plan to arrive in the college residence over the course of the weekend of Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th January so they are settled ready for the college induction programme to start from Monday 10th January.

Students that are unable to arrive by the 10th January should contact for advice and support.

Can students quarantine off campus before they start their face to face term-time studies?

Students are welcome to quarantine in the UK for 10 days off campus prior to the start of term. Details will need to be provided in advance and testing will be required upon their arrival in College.

Do I need to quarantine if my flight has a stopover in a red list country?

Students who have been in a country or territory on the red list in the 10 days before arriving in England will need to quarantine.

What if I'm traveling from a red list country, do I still need to quarantine?

If you’ve been in a red list country in the last 10 days before arriving in the UK, you will need to quarantine.

What vaccines are accepted in the UK?

Guidance for accepted vaccines can be found on the government website: