In essence immigration checks are carried out by the UK’s Border Force at all entry points into the UK, these include airports, sea ports and international railway stations.
The procedure is fairly standard, anyone arriving into the UK would be required to provide their passport and other travel related documents such as visas to the border agent who would in turn look into the documents in order to verify and permit entry.
Listed below are the formalities and steps involved in customs and immigrations clearance at Heathrow Airport:
Passport control is the first mandatory stop for all passengers arriving at Heathrow Airport. Two queues at the passport control involve one for European Union, European Economic area, British and Swiss nationals, and a second one for citizens of all the other countries. Passengers are screened for passport or travel document and any necessary supporting documents by Border Force officers. The procedure is usually carried out by scanners that also check the authenticity of other supporting documents.
For holders of e-passport, there are separate gates that open post face recognition check against the chip contained in the passport.
Passport control is followed by baggage reclaim that also houses free baggage carts in case of heavy luggage.
UK customs is located after baggage reclaim, prior to public arrivals area. The custom points are distinct in Red, Blue and Green. Direct exit is possible in case of no declarations. Passengers from European Union, in absence of declarations can use the blue exit. They are subjected to Red customs point in case of goods to be declared.
For journeys that began in non European Union nation involve exit through Red customs point in case of goods to be declared. In absence, exit is by Green customs point.
Entry or exit from the European Union with an amount exceeding €10,000 calls for its declaration to the customs.
Passengers on transit journeys are subjected to baggage tagging. However, items in hand baggage that are liable for duty must still be declared.
Owing to passenger movements in large numbers, clearing the customs and immigrations in Heathrow may get time consuming at times. Post clearance, passengers are assured of a comfortable transfer in Heathrow Airport Taxis. The services can be pre booked to avoid waiting queues and drivers also assist in luggage handling. Different categories of vehicles are available that are spacious to accommodate varying passenger numbers and luggage.