Immigration procedures

This section provides information about the immigration process for entry into the UK. Bear in mind that the regulations do change frequently so please check with your Celsium Personal Coordinator before starting any application.

A point to remember is that immigration regulations are updated all the time, so be prudent to check the current status with a specialist immigration provider.

General immigration information

  • To enter the UK, most foreign citizens (some Commonwealth citizens are exempt) need a visa. 

  • You will generally enter under a Tier 2 - Skilled workers with a job offer.

  • Limits and quotas do apply.

  • Visas must be granted before you travel.

  • You need to have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Immigration health surcharge

All nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) coming to the UK for longer than six months will be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). It is set at £200 per year for employees and accompanying family members, and at £150 per year for students. The IHS must be paid online for the total period of your UK visa before the visa application is made. If the application is rejected the payment is automatically refunded. 

Australian and New Zealand nationals are exempt from paying the surcharge, as are applicants applying under Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) and their accompanying family members.

Your employer may already pay the IHS on your behalf, but of not, this will form part of any immigration application we make for you.

Unrestricted applications

The following types of cases, are not subject to the quota:

  • Intra-Company Transfers

  • Tier 2 migrants extending their stay with their original employer

  • Tier 2 migrants switching to a new employer (subject to criteria)

  • Those admitted in another category of stay and switching in-country into the Tier 2 (General) category

  • Those seeking admission to fill a vacancy attracting a salary of £153,500 or more (Resident Labour Market Test is also waived – DIR/MDR level)


Passport control

This section provides information about what is expected of you when you proceed through passport control in the UK.

Remember to follow the signs and instructions at all times. Have your passport ready - remove it from a passport holder if you use one. Remove your sunglasses if you’re wearing them. Do not use mobile phones. Move through passport control together if you’re in a family.

Passport control overview

Your passport or identity card (and visa) will be checked when you arrive at a UK port or airport to make sure you’re allowed to come into the country. It must be valid for the whole of your stay.

You can enter the UK with either a valid passport or a national identity card issued by a EEA country. If you’re not from an EEA country, you must have a valid passport to enter the UK. You may also need a visa, depending on which country you’re from.

If travelling with children, you may be asked at the border to prove the relationship between yourself and any children travelling with you, if you don’t seem to be the parent, e.g. if you have a different surname. If you are unable to prove that the children you are travelling with are your children then you may be refused entry into the country. We have unfortunately seen this happen before so please ensure that you have the correct documentation with you in your travel bag and not in your suitcase, which you won't be able to collect until after passport control.

You can use automatic ePassport gates at some airports if your passport has a "chip" on it. These gates use facial recognition technology to check your identity against the photo in your passport.

If you’re from a non-EEA country:

  • Your carrier will give you a landing card - fill this in before you arrive at border control.

  • Your passport, landing card (and visa if you have one) will be checked.

  • You’ll usually be asked why you’re coming to the UK.

  • Keep documents that show the reason for your visit in your hand luggage, so you can show them if asked, e.g. your travel itinerary, work permit or university letter.

You’ll have a biometric visa 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.



This section provides information about the customs procedure and regulations in the UK.

You must co-operate fully with the authorities if you’re stopped and asked about your baggage.

Customs overview

After passport control, you will proceed to baggage reclaim to collect your luggage. Once collected, you pass through the green channel if you have nothing to "declare" or the red channel if you do.

You can bring some goods from abroad without having to pay UK tax or "duty" (customs charges), as long as they’re for your own use.

  • If you’re coming from a European Union (EU) country you can bring in an unlimited amount of most goods.

  • If you’re coming from outside the EU you can only bring in a certain amount without paying duty or tax - up to your duty-free allowance.

You must tell customs about ("declare") any other goods when you arrive at the UK border, as well as anything that’s banned or restricted in the UK. If you owe any duty or tax, you’ll usually have to pay it immediately.

If your baggage is checked

Your baggage is usually checked in front of you by a Customs officer. Customs officers keep a record of:

  • All baggage they open and check.

  • Any damage to your baggage or belongings during a check.

If your possessions are damaged during a customs check, you may be offered compensation.

Banned and restricted goods

Like other countries, there are some goods that you can’t bring into the UK - they will be seized by customs:

  • Illegal drugs

  • Offensive weapons, e.g. flick knives

  • Self-defence sprays, e.g. pepper spray and CS gas

  • Endangered animal and plant species

  • Rough diamonds

  • Indecent and obscene materials

  • Personal imports of meat and dairy products from most non-EU countries

Some goods are restricted - like firearms, explosives and ammunition. You need a special licence to bring them in to the UK.

Some food and plant products are also restricted if they:

  • Aren’t free from pests and diseases

  • Aren’t for your own use

  • Weren’t grown in the EU

If you bring goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights (eg "pirate" copies of movies or music) they may be seized and you could be prosecuted.


Police registration

You may need to register with the police if you come to the UK for longer than 6 months, extend your current leave or switch to a different visa.

You’ll be told if you need to register with the police on one of the following documents:

  • Your entry visa vignette (sticker in your passport), if you’re travelling to the UK

  • The Home Office letter that approved your application for leave

Who needs to register with the police

You must register with the police if you’re from:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Yemen.

You don’t need to register if you have dual nationality with one of these countries and a country that’s not on the list.

How to register

You must register within 7 days of arriving in the UK or, if your leave has been extended, within 7 days of getting your biometric residence permit.

If you’re in London, you must register at the Overseas Visitors Records Office if you live in an area of London covered by the Metropolitan Police.

Overseas Visitors Records Office (OVRO)
323 Borough High Street

Contact your local police station if you live in the City of London.

If you’re outside London, contact your local police station to find out where to go if you’re:


Registering with the police costs £34. You can pay at the police station.

Documents you must provide

You’ll need to take:

You may need to provide additional documents depending on your status and the police force you’re registering with. You may also have to fill in an application form before you register. Contact the police to find out.