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Immigration and passports

Unless you are catching a connecting flight, your first stop will be passport control, which will be clearly signposted.

What to do at border control

There are two queues at passport control – one for European Union (EU)*, European Economic Area (EEA), British and Swiss nationals, and a second for all other nationalities.

At the passport desk a UK Border Agency officer will ask to see your passport or travel document and any supporting documentation necessary for your visit. Please remember that your passport must not expire during your visit to the United Kingdom.

For information about entry requirements into the United Kingdom, please visit the UK Border Agency website.

With tougher checks now in place at the border, you may have to wait a little longer to get into the United Kingdom, especially at peak times. The UK Border Agency uses scanners to ensure that passports, visas and other official documents are genuine. UK Border Agency officers are trained to detect forgeries and check that people have the right to enter the United Kingdom.

Stopovers in Britain

There is nowhere to sleep in the airport. If your booking includes a stopover in a local hotel, then follow the signs to Arrivals. Leave the airport via passport control, baggage reclaim and Customs, then check in as normal when it's time to continue your journey.

Please note that it is a UK Border Agency requirement that all passengers entering the UK must present themselves to Immigration at the first port of call. Therefore it is important that your passport/visa allows you entry into the UK. You can apply for a 24-hour visa on arrival. This is at the discretion of the Immigration Officer, who must be satisfied that you have a confirmed booking of onward travel within 24 hours.

* EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU) but citizens of these countries have the same rights to enter, live in and work in the United Kingdom as EU citizens.