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Home for the holidays: Visa advice

Three students walking through Manchester Airport

5 December 2014

Planning to go home for the holidays?

If you have a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK (see Student visas), coming back to the UK after the Christmas break shouldn’t be a problem – provided you remember to pack the right documents!

Here’s our guide to making sure your return to the UK goes smoothly.

Checklist: Essential documents

Make sure you have the following documents to re-enter the UK. It’s also a good idea to keep photocopies of them, in case any go missing or there’s a problem.

  • Your passport or equivalent travel document.
  • An up-to-date registration letter from your university, school or college. This will need to confirm that you’re still a full-time student at a recognised institution (find out more about recognised institutions in Student visas).
  • Evidence that you have enough money to support yourself and any dependants (e.g. children aged under 18 – see Bringing your family), such as a bank statement from within the last three months.
  • If you’re travelling outside the official university, college or school holiday period, you may also need written consent from your academic department to travel.

Depending on the country you’re from and the type of visa you have, you may also need:

Remember – at the airport, baggage reclaim comes after the passport checks, so you will need to pack these documents in your hand luggage.

When to seek advice

There shouldn’t be a problem coming back to the UK as long as you meet these requirements:

  • The last time you were given permission to stay in the UK was for a period of more than six months.
  • You are re-entering the UK before the validity of your entry document (e.g. visa) runs out (often three or six months before the expiry date).
  • Your circumstances (e.g. the course you are on, your financial status) have not changed since your visa or other entry document was issued.

If you’re worried that you don’t meet all these, ask the International Office at your university, college or school for advice.

I sent my passport in to change my visa and haven’t got it back yet. What shall I do?

If you’ve sent your passport to the Home Office for a correction and are waiting for it to be returned, contact your International Office. The adviser there may be able to arrange for your passport to be returned for the limited time of the holiday period.

If you’ve applied for a new visa and still have your old one or one that’s close to its expiry date, make sure you bring documents that confirm your application.

If you need to submit your passport for correction but haven’t yet, and you’re planning to leave the UK for a holiday, the UK government advises that you wait until after the New Year, provided you still have enough leave to enter the UK.

More information