A group of royal guards march towards Buckingham Palace in London, England.

Arriving in the UK

Thoughts from Alanna…

Once you’ve received your brand new visa, you have to actually arrive in the UK. I was nervous. Again. Can you see a pattern?

A tired girl sitting on an airplane waiting to disembark.

After a delayed flight and a sleepless night from Canada to England… get me off this plane!

What if they don’t believe me? What if I forgot something and I get turned away at the border? What if something’s wrong with my visa?

This is stupid. Stop.

When you land (both the first time and any other time) you need to fill out an immigration landing card just like every other non-EU/UK person. You’ll get this on the plane so make sure to bring a pen and fill it out while you’re flying.

Once landed, you’ll line-up with all non-EU/UK people (again, as normal) to see an immigration officer.

When they call you up, you’ll need to provide your passport and landing card and let them know you’re arriving for the first time on your Tier 5 visa. They’ll ask to scan your fingers to make sure they match their records. You won’t have your Biometric Residence Permit yet, so they may remind you that you’ll need to pick it up as soon as possible. Once you have this card, guard it with your life! It shows you’re allowed to live and work in the UK and has your photo and signature. It’s great as photo ID if you don’t get a UK driving license.

I was asked a few questions by the officer, (did I have a job lined up, whereabouts would I be living, etc). That was it. All over. I walked through and onto my new adventure!

When you return back to the UK from holidays or trips home, you’ll need to present your Biometrics Residence Permit along with your landing card and passport. They’ll ask a few questions (or not), scan your fingers and off you go. I was worried that they might think I would stay in the UK, since I didn’t have any return flights booked to Canada. This isn’t the case until you’re nearing the very end of your visa.

You’ve survived! Now get some proper breakfast and get moving!