Entering the UK with a UK student visa

What is an ‘entry stamp’?

An ‘entry stamp’ is the date stamp placed in your passport by UK Border Control upon arrival in the UK.  It is an endorsement stamped in your passport on your student visa.  You should have applied for and received your visa from outside of the UK and prior to any travel.

If you have a temporary travel visa or visa vignette (sticker), the immigration official at the airport will stamp it with the date you entered the UK.  This ‘activates’ your visa and ensures that Home Office UKVI record the date, location and type of visa you used to enter the UK.

The only exception is if you are an eligible e-Gate user and have entered the UK via e-Gate (i.e., without seeing a Border Force official), see ‘Entering the UK via an e-Gate’ section below.

Why do I need to get the ‘entry stamp’ when going through the UK border?

You must check that the immigration official endorses your visa with a stamp on arrival as this is part of your immigration permission to enter the UK.  Exceptions may apply if you entered via an e-Gate.  You may not use e-Gates if you are on a “Short Term Study Visa” or for study of less than six (6) months.

Border officials should not endorse a visa vignette with an entry stamp before the visa is valid (i.e. before the start date of the temporary travel visa or visa vignette). Officials may instead offer to stamp the page opposite if you are eligible to enter with a different type of leave (for example, a Standard Visitor Visa to allow you to travel in the UK for a few weeks. You will then need to leave the UK and re-enter within the validity of your visa vignette to activate that visa).

If you enter the UK before the start date of your temporary travel/visa vignette and it is not stamped by Border Control (or, if you have entered by e-Gate and are unable to provide evidence of travel which is within the validity of your temporary travel visa/visa vignette), you will be asked to exit and re-enter the UK before you will be permitted to enroll on your course.  You are advised against attempting to enter the UK before the start date of your study visa.

If you are a non-visa national seeking to enter the UK as a tourist on arrival, the immigration official will endorse your passport with an entry stamp which confirms the date and port of arrival; this is the start date of your six month tourist grace period.

If travelling via Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands (also known as the Common Travel Area, or CTA) your student visa will not be stamped on arrival to the UK; instead you will receive a date stamp on another page in your passport.

Providing the University with a copy of your entry stamp

Students who need immigration permission to study in the UK must provide their school with copies of their passport and visa(s) as part of the online registration process. This includes a copy of the entry stamp.  As this is something which you receive on entry to the UK you will not be able to provide this in advance of your travel.  Check with your school as to how they wish the proof provided.

If you do not have an entry stamp because you entered the UK via the Common Travel Area (CTA), please upload the date stamp you received along with your boarding pass which confirms the date of arrival in the UK.

If you do not have an entry stamp because you entered the UK via an e-Gate, please upload evidence of travel such as your travel ticket/booking or boarding pass which confirms the date of your arrival in the UK.

Note:  If you applied for a visa from inside the UK (‘Leave to Remain’) you will not have a visa vignette or entry stamp inside your passport.

Entering the UK via an e-Gate

From summer 2019, nationals of the United States will be able to enter the UK using the eGate system.

Entering via an e-Gate means that your visa will not be endorsed with an entry stamp as the port is unmanned by Border Force staff.

If you choose to use an e-Gate then you may be required to provide your travel ticket/booking or boarding pass in place of an entry stamp as evidence of your arrival in the UK, if you applied for the following visas from outside of the UK:

  • Student visa
  • EEA family permit
  • Standard Visitor visa