The United Kingdom rigidly enforces its immigration law. Before arrival make sure you have all the necessary visas and documents, otherwise you will not be admitted to the territory of the UK. This section will inform you about what documents you need.
Who needs a visa?
If you are not a citizen of the UK you might need an entry permit in order to enter its territory. The United Kingdom Home Office (the office dealing with migration and security) splits immigrants into three groups on the basis of which conditions of entering the UK are determined.
- Citizens of the European Economic Area: they are exempted from the requirements of having UK entry permit. EEA includes all the Member States of the European Union and also Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Citizens of Switzerland also belong to this group.
- Citizens who do not need visas: they are required to have an entry permit only if they intend to work or settle in the UK permanently. This category applies primarily to all the citizens of the Commonwealth.
- Citizens who need visas: they are required to have visas regardless of the entry purpose.
You also need visa, if:
- you are stateless person.
- the document which warrants you to travel abroad does not state your nationality nor citizenship.
- your passport has been issued by institution unknown to the UK administration.
If citizens of following states intend to stay in the UK for longer than six month, they are required to have visas: Australia, Canada, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, the South African Republic, South Korea and the United States.
UK spouse VISA – Here you can get to know about different types of entry permits.
Visas are issued for periods of no longer than six month. If you intend to stay for longer, you will have to leave the UK territory and apply for a visa again. If you want to leave during your stay and return later, the best solution would be to apply for a multiple entry visa. With a single entry visa you will have to apply for a new one every time.
Where you can apply for a UK visa?
Visas, entry permits and other documents have to be obtained prior to arrival. Applying for a visa while already being in the UK is not possible and can result in entry refusal.
You can apply for a visa in every diplomatic mission of the UK, based on your country of origin.
How to apply for a UK visa?
- visa application form (available free of charge in every UK abroad post or you can download one from ukvisas.gov.uk)
- valid passport or travel document
- two or three passport sized colour photographs (45mm x 35mm)
- the visa fee (can be covered in local currency)
- additional documents varied by a type of visa you are applying for.
- work permit
- letter of acceptance issued by an university
- other evidence of your qualifications (diplomas, certifications, references from employers)
- proof of sufficient financial means to stay in the UK (e.g. bank declaration)
The visa process can be finished within 24 hours but you should be prepared for longer time of awaiting. If you need to arrive to the UK on a specific date, you should start your application process sooner.