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Do You Need a Visa to Visit the UK?

Travelers Today       By    David Thompson

Updated: Sep 28, 2021 11:02 AM EDT

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Do You Need a Visa to Visit the UK?

(Photo: Image by Adam Derewecki from Pixabay)

The United Kingdom is a beautiful place to visit and a popular tourist destination around the world. If you plan to visit the UK for tourism, you will almost certainly need to apply for a visa. Check UK visa types.

There are a few circumstances where you don't need a visa. Still, the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration recommends that you gather the necessary documentation to prove that you are eligible to visit the UK.

Do I need a visa to visit the UK?

Some may need a visa to visit the United Kingdom. Visit the UK Visas and Immigration website to find out if you need a visa to visit the UK and how to apply, or check with your local British Embassy or other diplomatic representatives prior your travel.

The rules change on a regular basis, so make sure you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. The UK Visas and Immigration website has information on visitor visas and how to apply for one.

Visitors are only permitted to enter the country for a limited time. If you intend to stay in London for an extended period, consult the UK Visas and Immigration website for visa regulations and additional information.

Do I need a visa to visit the UK from a European Union country?

Following the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union, visa-free travel to and from the United Kingdom remains available to EEA and Swiss citizens until at least 2021.

To enter the UK, you must present the proper documentation at the UK border.

EU, EEA, or Swiss Citizen

  • Citizens of Ireland can continue to enter and live in the UK as they do now.
  • EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens can still travel to the UK for holidays or short trips without a visa - only bring a valid passport with you.
  • From 1 October 2021, you won't be able to enter the UK using your EEA or Swiss national ID card.
  • If you already have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme and meet a few other criteria, you can use your national ID card to enter the UK until at least 31 December 2025.

Non-EEA family members of an EEA or Swiss Citizen

  • You can enter the UK with the same documents until at least 2021. More information on documentation requirements can be found here.

UK Visa-free countries

This is the list of UK Visa-free countries:

  • EU/EFTA Member States
  • Andorra
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominica
  • East Timor
  • El Salvador
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Kiribati
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Monaco
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tuvalu
  • United States of America
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu
  • Vatican City

Please note:

  • You can only stay for three months if you enter from Ireland, not six.
  • Even if you are not required to have a visa, you must bring the necessary documents for the UK visa application to show to immigration officers.
  • You don't require a visa if you have a valid Venezuelan biometric passport with an electronic chip.
  • Citizens of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE can also apply for an electronic visa waiver (EVW) instead of a visa.

Do I need a Transit-Visa for the UK?

If you usually require a visa to enter the United Kingdom as a tourist, you will also require a Transit-Visa.

There are two kinds of transit visas for the UK, and the requirements vary depending on your nationality:

Visitor in Transit-Visa

This visa is required if you intend to pass through British border control but leave the country within 48 hours. If you are from a country, which usually requires UK visitor visas, you will need a Visitor in Transit Visa.

Direct Airside Transit-Visa

This visa is required if you change flights in a UK airport but will not pass through British border control.

Note: If you have a valid visa from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the United States of America, a transit visa is not required.

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