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Tips, documentation and requirements to travel to United Kingdom

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 want to visit 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.

Entry Requirements

The documentation required 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. Given this division, some papers or others will be required.

In any case, where you come from, that is, whether you need a visa or not, it is absolutely essential that you carry the passport or I.D (DNI or the identity card in English), because they will ask you when you arrive at the UK border, both by land and sea or by air. This passport or ID will have to remain in force for the duration of your stay.

Apart from these two documents, in customs We will have to declare, once again depending on our origin, any of the following articles:

  • Any item with authorization from 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.

Basic documentation to enter England

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 some EEA member country. Either one will have to be in effect for the entire duration of the stay.

Below we show a list of all the countries belonging to the EU and, therefore, to the EEA:

  • TO: Austria and Germany.
  • B: Belgium and Bulgaria.
  • C: Croatia
  • D: Denmark
  • AND: Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
  • F: Finland and France.
  • G: Greece
  • H: Hungary
  • I: Ireland and Italy.
  • L: Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg.
  • M: Malt.
  • P: Netherlands, Poland and Portugal.
  • R: Romania and United Kingdom.
  • S: Sweden.
Member countries of the European Economic Area (EEA)

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 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.

Europe map

Non-EEA countries

Citizens of non-EU or EEA countries must have, as mentioned below, a valid passport to enter the United Kingdom, which must also remain in force during the entire period of your stay. Also, depending on your country of origin, you will need a visa or not. In the next section, titled VisaWe list which countries require a visa and which do not, as well as what type of visa will be required in each case.

Visa

As mentioned above, non-EEA countries may require a Visa or not, depending on the country and the agreements it has with the United Kingdom. In the sections shown below, all existing options are listed. However, some citizens must take into account the following concepts:

  • Schengen area: It is worth mentioning that the United Kingdom, although an EU member country, has, however, an option clause in the Schengen Area and has its own visa policy.
  • Common Travel Area (CTA): In addition, it 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 the internal borders are subject to the minimum border controls or even to none 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 It refers to those passengers who do not need to change airports or transit through the UK border. It should be noted that you cannot travel in modality airside to 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, pick up luggage or arrive at airports where it is not allowed airside transit). Its cost is £ 30.
Is England part of the Schengen Area?

Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

He Visa Waiver Program or Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a program implemented by the USA. which guarantees entry to the United States without a Visa for those citizens whose country of origin participates in the VWP. In the United Kingdom, as of December 9, 2013, foreigners from the countries mentioned below can obtain an electronic travel authorization (EVW). Electronic Visa Waiver) and enter England presenting this document:

  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • United Arab Emirates
Map of the Arabian Peninsula

Visa exemption

Nationals from any of the countries listed below are exempt of the need to present a visa for entry into England when your stay does not exceed 6 months (in the case of the Republic of Ireland, this period is reduced to 3 months):

  • TO: 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: Dominica.
  • AND: El Salvador, Federated States of Micronesia and 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.
  • OR: Uruguay.
  • V: Vanuatu.

It should be taken into account 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 because it is the 16 sovereign states that form the Commonwealth of Nations (Commonwealth of Nations), of which Queen Elizabeth II is head of state.

Superimposed states that form the Commonwealth of Nations

Countries that need a 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:

  • TO: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria and Angola.
  • B: Bangladesh, Belarus, Burma and Burundi.
  • C: Cameroon, China, Congo, Cyprus (northern zone) and Ivory Coast.
  • AND: 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.
  • OR: Uganda.
  • V: Venezuela and Vietnam.
  • Y: Yemen.
  • Z: Zimbabwe.
Countries that need a Visa to enter England

And then the countries whose citizens must apply for a Visa to enter the United Kingdom are listed via direct transit (landside transit):

  • TO: Azerbaijan, Armenia and Saudi Arabia.
  • B: Bahrain, Butao, Burkina Faso, Benin and Bolivia.
  • C: Cambodia, Chad, Comoros, Colombia and Cuba.
  • AND: Ecuador.
  • G: Georgia, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Guyana.
  • H: Haiti.
  • I: Indonesia.
  • 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.
  • OR: Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
  • Y: Djibouti.
  • Z: Zambia.

Exceptions

Airport transit

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 said visa is held, provided that it has been less than 6 months since the holder He entered that country for the last time with a valid entry visa.
  • Valid permanent residence permit issued by any of these countries: Australia, Canada (issue after 06/28/2002), New Zealand, United States (issue after 04/21/1998).
  • USA I551 Temporary Immigrant Visa 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 an I-797 letter authorizing an extension.
  • Independent U.S. Immigration Form type 155A / 155B (along with a sealed brown envelope).
  • Valid common residence permit issued by some 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 not part of the CTA.
  • Valid tourist group visa in Schengen Approved Destination Regime (ADS), as long as the holder travels to the issuing country.
  • Valid plane ticket purchased in a country belonging to the Schengen Area, as long as the holder can prove that he entered that country less than 30 days ago based on a valid Schengen visa of the ADS type.
Valid visa from Canada, Australia, New Zealand or United States

Direct transit

For cases of landside transit or 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 plane ticket for a route that passes through the United Kingdom during the journey, within reason, to any of the above countries.
  • Visa valid to enter Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the United States and a valid plane ticket for a route that passes through the United Kingdom during the journey, within reason, from any of the previous countries.
  • Visa for entry to Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the United States to travel, within a reasonable trip, from the country from which the visa was issued as long as less than 6 months have passed since the holder last entered in the country of destination
  • Valid residence permit issued by Australia, Canada (issuance after 06/28/2002) and New Zealand.
  • Valid residence permit issued by the United States (issuance after 04/21/1998).
  • USA I551 Temporary Immigrant Visa from the USA (wet ink or ADIT stamp will not be accepted).
  • Permanent Residence Permit type I-551 although it has expired as long as it is accompanied by an I-797 letter authorizing an extension.
  • Independent US Immigration Form type 155A / 155B (in a brown sealed envelope).
  • Valid common residence permit issued by any 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 the destination is the Republic of Ireland.
  • BC or BC BIVS Irish biometric visa 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.

Visa types

Depending on the reason we travel to England, we will have to apply for one type of visa or another if we come from a country where 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 is a tourist trip. In other cases, other types that you can find in the following sections will be required.

Visa to travel to England (United Kingdom)

Visitor Visa

Within this category all tourist visas are included, 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 enter into marriage or formalize a civil union in English territory. It can be requested three months before departure to the United Kingdom. Its price amounts to £ 85 and is valid for 6 months from your entry into England. It is for individual use.
  • Level 4 paternity visa (Parent of a Tier 4 child visa): Required when a child attends an independent day free of fees at any school in the United Kingdom. It can be requested up to 3 months in advance. The cost amounts to £ 324. It can last between 6 and 12 months.
  • Visa permit for paid temporary contract (Permitted Paid Engagement visa): addressed to those foreigners who wish to enter British territory to carry out a temporary paid work activity. No admission to the point visa system is necessary. The cost is £ 85 and its 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 holidays, or to visit a family member or friend (s). Also for business, participate in a sporting or artistic event, or to receive some medical treatment. Its duration is a maximum of 6 months. In case it is for medical treatment, it can be extended up to 11 months. There is also the possibility of applying for a long-term visa. 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 in the approved destination regime of the agreement on tourism between the EU and China.
Bath, Somerset County, England

Work visa

If your trip to England is not for tourism purposes and, instead, it is for work and academic purposes, in that case you will have to apply for any of the visas authorized for either of these two purposes. There are multiple visas when it comes to labor migration, including for 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 persons between 18 and 30 years of age who wish to work in the United Kingdom for a maximum period of 2 years. To apply for this visa, a minimum economic solvency of £ 1,890 must be demonstrated. Its price is £ 225.

You can find a list with all types of Working Visa Existing (British English only) by clicking this link.

Labor migration to England

Student Visa

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 any of the countries listed above in the section Countries that need a VisaWe 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.
  • Children's student visa (Tier 4 Child student visa): aimed at minors between 4 and 17 years old. To apply for this visa, parental or legal guardian consent must be submitted. In addition, you must have a place of study 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 16 years of age or older who demonstrate knowledge of English both in writing and oral and have financial solvency to cover all expenses arising from their stay. The cost is £ 322.
Opportunities to study in England

Naturalization

Becoming a British citizen allows you to participate in both the public life of the United Kingdom and, in short, full citizen. If you obtain citizenship, you will therefore obtain the British passport.

exist two way whereby you can get British citizenship: 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 the consulate from the country of which we currently have the nationality.

Get the British passport

Personal requirements

The following list lists the personal requirements necessary to carry out the naturalization process:

  • Being in full mental faculties, that is, possessing the ability to make one's own decisions.
  • Possess the ability 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 United Kingdom.
  • Approve the Life in the UK Test. Those under the age of 18 and those over 65 are exempt from undergoing this test. In this exam the level in English and the knowledge about the socio-cultural environment are assessed.

Documentation to present

You must fill in the AN request form, which you can access directly by clicking this link. The cost is £ 906 and, if done as a couple, £ 1,652. Also, the ceremony (mandatory), costs £ 80.

In addition, along with the application, you will have to submit the following documents:

  • Proof of identity: passport or ID of your country of origin.
  • Life in the UK’s Notification Pass: document proving that you have approved the Life in the UK Test.
  • Application for reasons of residence: If you have made the request 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.
How to obtain British nationality

Vaccines and medical tests

To enter the United Kingdom no vaccine is required specifically, since there is no major health risk.

However, it is necessary that citizens from the countries listed below pass a series of medical tests to rule out a possible case of tuberculosis:

  • TO: 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.
  • AND: 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, Kyribati 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: Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Somalia, South Africa and Sudan.
  • T: East Timor, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Turkmenistan and Tuvalu.
  • OR: Uganda, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
  • V: Vanuatu and Vietnam.
  • Z: Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Tests to detect tuberculosis

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