In this article you will discover what are the main requirements and documentation to enter British territory. However, if your next destination is London, you may also be interested in visiting the article Visa and documentation to travel to London.
Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.
The documentation necessary to enter the United Kingdom will depend on our country of origin. This, in turn, depends on two main criteria: if our country of origin belongs to the European Union (EU) or not. Taking into account this division, some papers or others will be required of us.
In any case, wherever you come from, that is, whether you need a visa or not, it is absolutely essential that you carry the passport o I.D (DNI or the Identity Card. in English), because they will ask for it when you arrive at the UK border, both by land, sea or air. This passport or DNI will have to remain in force during the time that your stay will last.
Apart from these two documents, in Customs We will have to declare, once again depending on our origin, any of the following items:
- Any item authorized by Duty Free or tax free.
- Dangerous, prohibited or restricted goods.
- Products or services that you plan to sell in English territory.
- More than € 10.000 or its equivalent in other currencies in cash if your country of origin does not belong to the EU.
In the following sections, we mention the specific documentation necessary according to the origin of the tourist.
EEA member countries
Foreigners whose nationality corresponds to a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEE), in English European Economic Area (EEA), they can enter England only by presenting their valid passport or their National Identity Document (DNI) issued by a member country of the EEA. Either of the two will have to be in force for the entire duration of the stay.
Below we show a list with all the countries belonging to the EU and, therefore, to the EEA:
- A: Austria and Germany.
- B: Belgium and Bulgaria.
- C: Croatia.
- D: Denmark.
- E: Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
- F: Finland and France.
- G: Greece.
- H: Hungary.
- I: Ireland and Italy.
- L: Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg.
- M: Malta.
- P: Netherlands, Poland and Portugal.
- R: Romania and United Kingdom.
- S: Sweden.
Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway
The European Economic Area (EEA) includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, which allows them to be part of the EU single market.
For its part, Switzerland is not part of either the EU or the EEA, but it is included in the single market, which means that Swiss nationals have the same rights as any national from an EEA member country to live and work in the UK.
Citizens of non-EU and non-EEA countries must have, as mentioned below, a valid passport to enter the United Kingdom, which, in addition, must remain valid throughout the period of your stay. Also, depending on your country of origin, you will need a visa or not. In the next section, titled Visa, we list which countries require a visa and which do not, as well as what type of visa will be required in each case.
As mentioned above, non-EEA countries may or may not require a Visa, depending on the country and the agreements it has with the United Kingdom. In the sections shown below, all the existing options are collected. However, some citizens must take into account the following concepts:
- Schengen area: It is worth mentioning that the United Kingdom, although it is a EU member country, however, has a Schengen option clause and has its own visa policy.
- Common Travel Area (CTA): it also belongs to the CTA, a passport-free zone that encompasses the islands of Ireland, Great Britain, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. This means that internal borders are subject to minimal or even no border controls and, therefore, can be crossed normally by any Irish or British citizen who is in possession of their ID.
- Airside transit (airport transit): the concept of Airside Transit refers to those passengers who do not need to change airports or transit across the UK border. It should be noted that you cannot travel in modality air side towards Ireland or any other area of the CTA. The price is £ 30.
- landside transit (direct transit): the concept of Landside Transit refers to those passengers who need or wish to cross the border of the United Kingdom and enter English territory (eg change airports, collect luggage or arrive at airports where the airside transit). Its cost is £ 30.
Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
El Visa Waiver Program o Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a program implemented by the US that guarantees entry to the United States without the need for a Visa for those citizens whose country of origin participates in the VWP. In the UK, from 9 December 2013, foreigners from the countries listed below can obtain an Electronic Authorization to Travel (EVW) Electronic Visa Waiver) and enter England by presenting said document:
- United Arab Emirates
Nationals from any of the countries listed below are exempt of the need to present a visa to enter England when your stay does not exceed 6 months (in the case of the Republic of Ireland, this period is reduced to 3 months):
- A: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina and Australia.
- B: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brazil and Brunei.
- C: Canada, Chile, South Korea, Vatican City and Costa Rica.
- D: Dominican.
- E: El Salvador, Federated States of Micronesia and the United States of America.
- G: Grenada and Guatemala.
- H: Honduras and Hong Kong.
- I: Israel, Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands.
- J: Japan.
- K: Kiribati.
- M: Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico and Monaco.
- N: Namibia, New Zealand and Nicaragua.
- P: Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea and Paraguay.
- S: Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles and Singapore.
- T: East Timor, Taiwan, Tonga and Tuvalu.
- U: Uruguay.
- V: Vanuatu.
It should be noted that the reason why Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Solomon Islands, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, United Kingdom, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Tuvalu are exempt from the need to present a visa to enter the United Kingdom is because they are the 16 sovereign states that make up the Commonwealth of Nations (Commonwealth of nations), of which the Head of State is Queen isabel II.
Countries that need Visa
First, we will list the countries that They need a Visa regardless of the way they access to England, that is, either via direct transit or airport transit:
- A: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria and Angola.
- B: Bangladesh, Belarus, Burma and Burundi.
- C: Cameroon, China, Congo, Cyprus (northern area) and Ivory Coast.
- E: Egypt, Eritrea and Ethiopia.
- G: Gambia, Ghana, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.
- I: India, Iran and Iraq.
- J: Jamaica.
- K: Kenya and Kosovo.
- L: Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia and Libya.
- M: Malawi, Moldova and Mongolia.
- N: Nepal and Nigeria.
- P: Pakistan.
- R: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Macedonia and Rwanda.
- S: Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Syria.
- T: Palestinian Territories, Tanzania and Turkey.
- U: Ugandan.
- V: Venezuela and Vietnam.
- Y: Yemen.
- Z: Zimbabwe.
And below are the countries whose citizens must apply for a Visa in order to enter the UK via direct transit (Landside Transit.):
- A: Azerbaijan, Armenia and Saudi Arabia.
- B: Bahrain, Butao, Burkina Faso, Benin and Bolivia.
- C: Cambodia, Chad, Comoros, Colombia and Cuba.
- E: Ecuador
- G: Georgia, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Guyana.
- H: Haiti.
- I: Indonesian.
- J: Jordan.
- K: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Kuwait.
- L: Laos.
- M: Madagascar, Mozambique, Mali, Mauritania and Morocco.
- N: Niger.
- P: Peru.
- R: Russia, Central African Republic and Dominican Republic.
- S: Sao Tome and Principe, Suriname,
- T: Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo and Tunisia.
- U: Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
- Y: Djibouti.
Countries previously classified as countries whose citizens are required to present a visa to enter England are exempt of said obligation when traveling via airport transit (airside transit) if they have any of the following documents:
- Visa valid to enter Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the United States (whether the holder travels to or from those countries).
- Visa to enter Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the United States as part of a trip, within reason, from the country in question for which the visa is held, provided that less than 6 months have passed since the holder You last entered that country on a valid entry visa.
- Valid permanent residence permit issued by one of these countries: Australia, Canada (issued after 28/06/2002), New Zealand, United States (issued after 21/04/1998).
- USA Temporary Immigrant Visa I551 from the United States (those that are wet ink or contain a Adit Stamp.).
- Permanent Residence Permit type I-551 even if it is expired as long as it is accompanied by a letter I-797 authorizing an extension.
- Separate United States Immigration Form 155A / 155B (along with a sealed brown envelope).
- Valid common residence permit issued by any EEA country or Switzerland.
- Common visa (category D) valid for entry to the EEA or Switzerland.
- Irish biometric visa endorsed BC or BC BIVS when traveling to a destination other than Ireland or that is not part of the CTA.
- Tourism group visa valid under the Schengen Approved Destination Regime (ADS), as long as the holder travels to the issuing country.
- Valid airline ticket purchased in a country belonging to the Schengen Area, as long as the holder can demonstrate that he entered that country less than 30 days ago based on a valid Schengen visa of the ADS type.
For the cases of Landside Transit. o direct transit, the documents cited below exempt the interested party from the need for a visa:
- Visa valid to enter Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the United States and a valid airline ticket for a route that passes through the United Kingdom during the journey, within reason, to any of the above countries.
- A valid visa to enter Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the United States and a valid airline ticket for a route that passes through the United Kingdom during the journey, within reason, from any of the above countries.
- Entry visa to Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the United States to travel, within a reasonable trip, from the country from which the visa has been issued as long as less than 6 months have passed since the holder last entered in the destination country.
- Valid Residence Permit issued by Australia, Canada (issued after 28/06/2002) and New Zealand.
- Valid Residence Permit issued by the United States (issued after 21/04/1998).
- USA Temporary Immigrant Visa USA I551 (those with wet ink or Adit Stamp. will not be accepted).
- Permanent Residence Permit type I-551 even if it has expired as long as it is accompanied by a letter I-797 authorizing an extension.
- Independent United States Immigration Form 155A / 155B (in sealed brown envelope).
- Valid common residence permit issued by a country of the European Economic Area or Switzerland.
- Common visa (category D) valid for entry to the EEA or Switzerland.
- Irish Biometric Visa BC or BC BIVS when destination is the Republic of Ireland.
- Irish biometric visa BC or BC BIVS with departure from the Republic of Ireland as long as less than 3 months have passed since the last time the holder entered that country.
Types of visa
Depending on the reason for which we travel to England, we will have to apply for one type of visa or another if we come from a country for which there is an obligation to apply for a Visa. The most common is to need a standard visitor visa or Standard Visitor Visa, when it comes to a tourist trip. In other cases, other types will be required that you can find in the following sections.
This category includes all tourist visas, as well as short-stay ones. With this, there are a total of 6 different visas that are listed below:
- Marriage visit visa (Marriage Visitor Visa): to contrer marriage or formalize a civil union in English territory. It can be requested three months before departure to the UK. It costs £ 85 and is valid for 6 months from your entry into England. It is for individual use.
- Paternity visa level 4 (Parent of a Tier 4 child visa): required when a child attends an independent fee-free day at a UK school. It can be requested up to 3 months in advance. The cost is £ 324. It can last between 6 and 12 months.
- Permission visa for paid temporary contract (Permitted Paid Engagement visa): aimed at those foreigners who wish to enter British territory to carry out a temporary paid work activity. Admission to the point visa system is not required. The cost is £ 85 and the duration is 1 month.
- Standard Visitor Visa (Standard visitor visa): this is the most common visa if your trip is for tourism. This visa is requested when the trip is for leisure, such as for vacations, or to visit a family member or friend (s). Also for business, participate in a sporting or artistic event, or to receive medical treatment. Its duration is a maximum of 6 months. In case it is to receive medical treatment, it can be extended up to 11 months. There is also the possibility to apply for a long-term visa. The prices are: £ 85 (6 months), £ 324 (1-2 years), £ 588 (5 years) and £ 737 (10 years).
- Visa for groups from China (Visit the UK in a Chinese tour group): aimed at groups of tourists (minimum 5 people) of Chinese origin. The maximum duration is 30 days. The visit must be operated by an agency that is under the approved destination regime of the tourism agreement between the EU and China.
If your trip to England is not for tourist purposes and, instead, it is for work and academic purposes, in that case you will have to apply for one of the visas enabled for either of these two purposes. There are multiple visas when it comes to labor migration, among them, to entrepreneurs (Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa) or for investors (Tier 1 Investor Visa).
It should also be noted the type of visa called Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa, intended for the mobility of people between 18 and 30 years old who wish to work in the United Kingdom for a maximum period of 2 years. To apply for this visa, a minimum financial solvency of £ 1.890 must be demonstrated. Its price is £ 225.
The influx of foreign citizens who decide to travel to the United Kingdom to carry out English courses It has not stopped growing in recent years. If this is your case and you come from one of the countries listed above in the section Countries that need Visa, we recommend you take a look at the three types of student visa that exist:
- Short-term student visa (Short term study visa): it can be requested when you are going to take a short course in the United Kingdom. If requested for 6 months, the price is £ 85, and if it is for 11 months, the cost will be £ 162. It can be requested up to 3 months in advance.
- Child student visa (Tier 4 Child student visa): aimed at minors between 4 and 17 years old. To apply for this visa, the consent of the parent or legal guardian must be presented. In addition, you must have a study place and have sufficient financial solvency to cover the expenses derived from the stay. The cost is £ 322 and the duration varies according to the age range: under 16 to 6 years (extendable up to 4 months) and between 16-17 years up to 3 years (extendable up to 4 months).
- General student visa (Tier 4 General student visa): aimed at students aged 16 or over who demonstrate that they have knowledge of both written and oral English and have the financial solvency to cover all the expenses derived from their stay. The cost is £ 322.
Becoming a British citizen allows you to participate both in the public life of the United Kingdom and to be, ultimately, full citizen. If you obtain citizenship, you will therefore obtain the British passport.
There are two way By which you can get British nationality: either renounce our current nationality or apply for dual citizenship. This choice is not free, but depends on our country of origin, since many countries do not allow dual citizenship or renounce it.
Therefore, it is advisable to contact the Embassy or consulate of the country of which we currently have nationality.
The following list lists the personal requirements necessary to complete the naturalization process:
- Being in full mental faculties, that is, having the ability to make your own decisions.
- Possess the capacity to fulfill the duties and obligations in accordance with the British code. This requirement includes paying taxes and not having a criminal record or pending convictions.
- Continue to reside in the UK.
- Approve the Life in the UK Test. Those under 18 years of age and those over 65 are exempt from this test. In this exam, the level of English language and knowledge about the socio-cultural environment are assessed.
Documents to be submitted
You must fill in the application form AN, which you can access directly by clicking this link. The cost is £ 906 and, if done as a couple, £ 1.652. Also, the ceremony (compulsory), costs £ 80.
In addition, along with the application, you will have to present the following documents:
- Proof of identity: passport or ID of your country of origin.
- Life in the UK's Notification Pass: document that shows that you have approved the Life in the UK Test.
- Application for residency reasonsIf you have applied because you have lived in British territory for a continuous period of 5 years, then you will have to present the documents that prove it.
- Application as husband / wife or partner of a British citizen: in this case, you will have to present the passport, the couple's birth or naturalization certificate and the marriage or civil union certificate.
Immunizations and medical tests
To enter the UK no vaccine is required in particular, since there is no major health risk.
However, it is necessary for citizens from the countries listed below to pass a series of medical tests to rule out a possible case of tuberculosis:
- A: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
- B: Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burma and Burundi.
- C: Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, China, Congo, Ivory Coast, North Korea and South Korea.
- E: Ecuador, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Federated States of Micronesia.
- F: Philippines.
- G: Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Guyana.
- H: Haiti and Hong Kong.
- I: India, Indonesia, Iraq, Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands.
- K: Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati and Kyrgyzstan.
- L: Laos, Lesotho and Liberia.
- M: Macao, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco and Mozambique.
- N: Namibia, Nepal, Niger and Nigeria.
- P: Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea and Peru.
- R: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Russia and Rwanda.
- S: São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Somalia, South Africa and Sudan.
- T: East Timor, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Turkmenistan and Tuvalu.
- U: Uganda, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
- V: Vanuatu and Vietnam.
- Z: Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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