DEPARTURE AND IMMIGRATION PROCESS – UNITED KINGDOM

AIRPORT CHECK-IN: In these technologically advanced world, passengers can either check in online using the kiosk machines online or can check-in at the counter. If checking-in at the counter then passengers should provide passport, air ticket confirmation email copy to airline staff for scanning and confirmation.

BAGGAGE: Hand down your luggage to the ground staff of the airlines. The baggage will be tagged with your information and sent to the checking area. Ensure that your baggage is within the prescribed limit. If you are carrying an extra baggage than the prescribed limit then you will have to pay extra for the same. Booking baggage online prior to departure date will get you a discounted price on extra baggage.

COLLECTING BOARDING PASS: After verification of your details and handing down the baggage, you will issued a boarding pass. Retain this boarding pass along with your passport safely.

SECURITY CHECK: Present yourself for the security check with bags packed neatly. Do not carry any restricted items. Expect to be frisked as part of the procedure. Keep your passport and boarding pass throughout the process. Place your carry-on baggage along with metallic objects and electronic items in the tray assigned for electronic screening. In case if you have a metallic unit in your body (for medical purposes ex: pacemaker, artificial joint) keep a doctor’s certificate in hand for the same and inform the security officers about the same. After the security check, collect all your items and check your valuables.

IMMIGRATION CHECK: Yes at all Airports in India, passengers will have an Immigration check prior to departure. Students will be required to display passport-visa vignette page, Visa Letter, CAS/Letter of Acceptance/Enrolment letter. Immigration officer may sometimes request for more documents like your proof of funds, academic documents etc in rare cases. You will be asked simple questions like  What is your name? What is the purpose of your travel? What university are you going to attend in the UK? What course are you going to study and how long is the course? You will also be asked to look into the camera and give your biometrics.

CUSTOMS: Ensure that you are not carrying any banned/restricted items on your hand luggage. The amount of money you can carry in hand during international flight travel is strictly regulated. Ensure that you check this limit on airlines/ UK government website.

Remember, in some countries merely showing up with customs banned substances can result in prosecution. So thoroughly read the related guidelines before embarking on your journey

AIRPORT LOUNGE: After the security check, you will enter the airport lounge or waiting area, if you have more time to kill then explore discounted items and duty free items, restaurants and café. If you have very less time then head straight to your boarding gate. The boarding gate information will be displayed on the TV. Search for your Flight number and flight time to check the boarding gate. Once you get your boarding gate number, follow signs which will direct you to your specific boarding gate. For some flights, you will be transported via coach from your boarding gates.

DEPARTURE: Before boarding the plane, ensure that you have your boarding pass, passport, your important document , valuables and your hand luggage.  The boarding gate closes 10-20 minutes before departure. Some airlines will be polite enough to call for the names of passengers who are yet to board. But remember that they will not wait forever. So make sure that you are at the boarding gate on time.

TAKE OFF: Before take-off, listen to the safety instructions explained by the crew, follow all the airlines protocol especially the seat belt signs and switch off the electronic devices during the take-off and landing. Have a great flight!

IN FLIGHT: Follow the airlines protocol. If the seatbelt sign is on, make sure that you are seated with seat belt on. When the sign goes off, you are allowed to relax. If you have any issues/questions, feel free to talk with the air hostess. Get acquainted with in-flight amenities offered for your entertainment or enjoy the view whenever you can.  Few minutes before the landing, the air hostess will issue landing cards for other nationals. In case you missed collecting it, enquire about it and collect it.

TOUCHDOWN: After touchdown and before De-boarding the plane, make sure that you have got your landing card (Customs card) filled out for the post arrival immigration process. Make sure to take all your belongings with you.

IMMIGRATION: After arriving at your destination and De-Boarding the plane, you will be directed towards passport control where you will have to go through immigration process. The immigration are will have different lanes. One for nationals and passport holders of that destination and another lane for other international travellers.

So, ensure that you go to the right lane. Don’t use phones or cameras at the immigration area, officials might confiscate it if you do so. Have your documents ready like passport with Visa Page, Landing Cards, University CAS/ Acceptance Letter and Financial documents. Provide all documents requested by the border control officers. Make sure to keep your documents in order and in the hand luggage. While checking the documents, the Immigration officer will ask you few questions regarding the nature of your visit to the country. Remain calm and state the truth. Some of the commonly asked questions are:

What is your name?

What is the purpose of your visit?

What university are you going to attend?

What course are you going to study and how long is the course?

What are your plans after completing the program?

Who packed your bag(s)? Do you know what’s inside the bags?

How much cash are you carrying with you?

Do you have relatives/friends/family in the country? If yes, where do they live?

If no, where will you stay?

Is someone coming to pick you up at the Airport?

If all the above questions are answered correctly and truthfully, there will be no follow up questions and you will be cleared for entry. If you give vague answers, the officials will find you to be suspicious and could have follow up questions/interrogations.

CUSTOMS: After the Immigration, you will be moved to customs. The duty of customs is to regulate the flow of goods from abroad and to prevent any banned items/hazardous items and to identify contrabands. Normally you will be handed a landing card mid-flight or at the end of the flight. In which you will declare any goods which you are bringing along with you that is in the list of banned or restricted items or carrying more than the prescribed limit. So fill the declaration form and handover them to the customs officials. If the find any banned items which is not declared, you will be penalised for the same. 

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