United Kingdom Entry Requirements

The United Kingdom Entry Requirements are the set of rules that travelers to the UK must follow in order to enter the country issues-free. These entry rules specify documents that one planning to visit the UK must obtain prior to the intended trip.

One of the most important documents is a valid passport which should remain valid for at least 6 months from the planned arrival date in the UK. Moreover, nationals of some countries may also need to apply for a visa in advance of their trip to the United Kingdom.

The visa policy of the UK covers the four countries making up the United Kingdom, i.e., England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, plus the Crown dependencies of the Ilse of Man and the Channel Islands.

Depending on the traveler's nationality, their desired length of staying in the UK, as well as their purpose of travel, visa requirements may differ.

Nationals of most countries worldwide must obtain a visa for the United Kingdom at the nearest UK Visa Application Centre. These centers issue such visas as the Standard Visitor visa for the purposes of a business, tourism, medical treatment, the Marriage Visitor visa, work visas, student visas, and many more visa types for various purposes.

Citizens of around 90 different countries may enter the UK visa-free and stay there for up to 6 months. The UK offers the Electronic Visa Waiver for a few countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. This electronic travel authorization is issued entirely online.

The Government of the UK also plans to implement another type of visa waiver soon. The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) will be functioning similarly to US, Australian or Canadian systems, i.e., US ESTA, Australian ETA, or Canadian eTA.

Following Brexit and its results, the UK ETA will be one of the entry requirements for citizens of EU and Schengen Area member countries wishing to visit the United Kingdom.

The UK has recorded one of the highest numbers of Covid-related deaths worldwide, which led to multiple lockdowns in the country.

Currently, Covid-19 restrictions have been removed across the country. International arrivals no longer need to complete the Passenger Locator Form before arriving in the UK, take any coronavirus tests, or undergo quarantine upon arrival.

Please note that the Covid-19 pandemic is still ongoing. The entry requirements may change at short notice.

Who can enter the United Kingdom?

As for now, all international travelers may visit the UK without needing to meet testing or quarantine requirements regardless of their vaccination status. They must still, however, meet visa requirements.

Documents check-list for entering the UK

  • valid passport
  • valid visa (if applicable)
  • travel insurance (optional)

Testing, Vaccination, and Quarantine Requirements

Please note! The following requirements currently apply to all travelers regardless of their vaccination status.

Testing requirements

As the UK Government has dropped nearly all covid-related restrictions, tests are no longer required from visitors entering the country.

Covid tests are no longer free within the UK, except for care homes or NHS staff. They can be, however, easily purchased from all pharmacies.

Vaccination requirements

Currently, you do not have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter the UK. The entry rules for vaccinated and non-vaccinated travelers are the same.

Quarantine requirements

There is no quarantine requirement in place for arrival in the UK. Visitors with coronavirus symptoms or diagnosed with Covid-19 no longer need to self-isolate. Nevertheless, they are advised to avoid contact with infected persons for 5 days. Moreover, persons aged 18 and younger should stay at home for 3 days.

Traveling from the UK

Before leaving the UK, you should check entry requirements applicable to your next destination. In some cases, you may need to have a valid visa for the country of your planned destination or a valid Covid-19 test.

Remember to stay updated on the entry requirements, which are subject to rapid changes.

Traveling to the UK

Children should follow the same entry rules as adult travelers.

Transit through the United Kingdom

Travelers from certain countries may need to obtain a transit visa to change flights in the UK. There are two types of transit visas available for the UK:

  • Visitor in Transit Visa: its holder may pass through border control and exit the airport for up to 48 hours between connecting flights;
  • Direct Airside Tranist Visa (DATV): mandatory for certain nationals who will be transiting through the UK airport even when not passing through border control; the airports offering airside tranist are London Gatwick, London Heathrow, and Manchester.

For the UK tranist visa application, you will need to provide onward travel proof as well as permission to enter another destination after exiting the UK, e.g., a visa for that country.

Since all covid-related restrictions have been removed, there is no need to take the Covid-19 test, prove vaccination status, or meet quarantine requirements when transiting through the UK. Nevertheless, make sure to check the entry requirements for the next country on your way that you will be visiting after leaving the UK. Some countries may still require incoming travelers to meet some Covid-19 requirements.

Visa requirements

Visa-exempt countries

Nationals of certain countries are permitted to visit the United Kingdom and its Crown dependencies visa-free for a certain period of time.

Moreover, nationals of Ireland can travel to the UK and stay for an indefinite time period there under the Common Travel Area arrangement. Citizens of Commonwealth countries who can reside in the UK under the Immigration Act 1971 and Gibraltar's citizens have the same right as Irish nationals.

Until recently, nationals of all EU and EFTA countries could also enjoy the freedom of movement to the UK. However, once the transition period completes, this freedom will end.

Travelers from over 50 other countries and territories, including British Overseas Territories (not having full British citizenship), are exempt from visa requirements to enter the UK. Their visa-free stay in the UK may maximally last 6 months. Moreover, if they will be entering the UK from the territory of the Republic of Ireland, the maximum period of time they may stay visa-free in the UK are 3 months.

Visa-exempt countries list

Below, there is a full list of the countries eligible for entering the UK visa-free:

  • Andorra
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kiribati
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Malta
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Romania
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Timor-Leste
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tuvalu
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu
  • Vatican City

Electronic Visa Waiver

The UK Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) is a travel authorization issued for travelers from a few countries in the Persian Gulf. Citizens of these countries may enter the UK without a visa, but instead, they need to obtain an EVW prior to their intended trip. The EVW application can be done entirely online and requires providing some standard personal, passport, and travel information. The EVW will be digitally linked to the passport used in the online application.

The full list of countries eligible for UK EVW includes the following:

  • Bahrain
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates

UK Electronic Travel Authorization

The UK Electronic Travel Authorization is planned to be implemented in the nearest future under the visa waiver program. The plans to introduce ETA were first announced in December 2019. Since the UK left the European Union, EU citizens will no longer enjoy the freedom of movement to the UK. They will not need to apply for a visa to visit the UK. Nevertheless, they will be required to obtain an ETA prior to their trip.

The system is expected to serve as a security screening of travelers coming from visa-exempt countries and will eliminate the necessity to obtain a visa for the UK.

The UK ETA system is to function entirely online, similarly to the Electronic Visa Waiver.

UK Embassy or Consular Visa

There are around 150 different countries whose nationals need a visa for the United Kingdom obtained in advance. Depending on the particular purpose of visiting the UK, one may need different types of visas.

If someone wishes to visit the UK for leisure, business activities, or medical treatment, should apply for the UK Standard Visitor visa that enables staying in the UK for up to 6 months.

For living or working purposes in the UK, foreign visitors will need to obtain a residence card and/or work visa. There are various types of UK work visas according to the desired length of stay and performed type of work.

People who wish to get married, study in the UK, or join a family already residing and working in the UK, will also need to obtain a relevant visa.

There are different visa requirements depending on the applicant's nationality, travel purpose, and desired length of stay. For example, residents of some countries must be tested for tuberculosis for longer stay plans in the UK, including staying for 6 months or more.

If your country is included on the below list, you will need to obtain a visa for the UK and Crown dependencies:

  • Afghanistan
  • Aland Islands
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • American Samoa
  • Angola
  • Anguilla
  • Antarctica
  • Armenia
  • Aruba
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Benin
  • Bermuda
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bonaire
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Cayman Islands
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • China
  • Christmas Island
  • Cocos Islands
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Cook Islands
  • Cuba
  • Curacao
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • French Guiana
  • French Polynesia
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Ghana
  • Gibraltar
  • Greenland
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guam
  • Guernsey
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Isle of Man
  • Ivory Coast
  • Jamaica
  • Jersey
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Macedonia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Martinique
  • Mauritania
  • Mayotte
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Montserrat
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • New Caledonia
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Niue
  • Norfolk Island
  • North Korea
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Pakistan
  • Palestinian Territory
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Puerto Rico
  • Reunion
  • Russian Federation
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Barthelemy
  • Saint Helena
  • Saint Martin
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sint Maarten
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Svalbard and Jan Mayen
  • Swaziland
  • Syrian Arab Republic
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Tokelau
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United States Virgin Islands
  • Uzbekistan
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Wallis and Futuna
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Passenger Locator Form

The UK Passenger Locator Form was introduced as an additional precautionary measure amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This online health declaration was obligatory to be completed by every adult visitor entering the UK by air, sea, or land.

Thanks to the essential information provided in the PLF, the UK's authorities could track the new coronavirus cases and take appropriate measures to stop the further Covid-19 spread.

Upon completing the form, every passenger received the unique QR code that was verified upon crossing the UK border.

Currently, the country has lifted the requirement to complete the UK PLF. Nevertheless, since the Covid-19 pandemic has not yet been over, the UK authorities may anytime re-introduce the requirement to complete the PLF.

Travel Insurance

Although travel insurance for the UK is not compulsory, it is highly recommendable. There are a number of reasons why travel insurance is a good idea, even for a relatively short trip. First of all, the proper insurance can cover you in the event of an emergency, such as if you need to cancel your trip or if you need medical treatment while you're away. Moreover, comprehensive travel insurance can give you peace of mind knowing that you're covered in case something goes wrong while you're on your trip. It can help you save money in the long run by covering the cost of any unexpected expenses.

Consider choosing the insurance with Covid-19 coverage and ensure a safe trip and stay in the UK.

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