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  • myUKinfo - All you need to know about living and working in the UK
  • myUKinfo - All you need to know about living and working in the UK
  • myUKinfo - All you need to know about living and working in the UK
  • myUKinfo - All you need to know about living and working in the UK
  • myUKinfo - All you need to know about living and working in the UK
  • myUKinfo - All you need to know about living and working in the UK
  • myUKinfo - All you need to know about living and working in the UK
  • myUKinfo - All you need to know about living and working in the UK

Before Entering the UK

Here you can find information on what to do before entering the UK including if you need a visa, what documents are accepted and what to expect at the border and customs control.

Do I need a visa?

You will not need entry clearance (a visa) if you have a passport from the UK, the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland. 
 
The European Union (EU) includes:
  • Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK
The EEA includes:
  • Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway and the 27 EU countries listed above
If you do not have a passport from the UK, the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, you may need a visa (entry clearance) to come to the UK.   You will be in one of two categories:

A visa national

Visit the Home Office website see if your country is on the visa national countries list.

If your country is on this list and you are travelling to the UK, you will need a visa.  You will need to apply for a visa in a British Consulate or Embassy in your home country.   

Visit the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website to find where to apply in your own country.

If you are a visa national but are just travelling through the UK to get to another country, you may still need a transit visa or visitor in transit visa.

Visit the UK Border Agency website for more information on transit or visitor in transit visas.

A non-visa national

If your national country is not listed in the visa national list above, you are a non-visa national.
 
Non-visa nationals coming to the UK for less than six months do not need a visa unless it is a requirement of the immigration category under which you are entering.
 
Non-visa nationals coming to the UK for more than six months will need a visa. 
 
Non-visa nationals will usually also need entry clearance if they are coming to work under the Points Based System.
 
 
For additional information on whether you need a visa to enter the UK, you can visit the UK Border Agency Visa page.  There you can fill out a visa enquiry form to find out if you need a visa and what documents you need to come to the UK.

Visit the UK Border Agency website and fill out a visa enquiry form.

What documents are accepted to enter the UK?

National passports and identity cards are acceptable documents for EU and EEA citizens and national passports and visas are acceptable documents for non-European nationals.

UK Border and Customs control

If you are a national of the EU or EEA, you can use the separate EEA/EU channel, where your passport or national identity card will be checked more quickly.  If you are not a national of the EU or the EEA you will need to go through the non-EU/EEA channel to go through the border.

Visit the UK Border Agency website for more information on what to expect at the UK border (EU or EEA citizen).

If you are not a citizen of the EU or EEA you will need to fill out a landing card which you can get on the aeroplane, ferry, train, coach into the UK or at customs control.  On the landing card please list your: 
  • your flight number and what city and/or country you flew from
  • family and given names
  • birth details and gender
  • nationality and actual occupation
  • your full contact address while you are in the UK, including the post code
  • signature
If you come from certain countries and want to stay in the UK for more than six months, you may be required to have a medical examination carried out by a qualified medical inspector.

Visit the UK Border Agency website for more information on what to expect at the UK border (non-EU or EEA citizen).

If you are planning to travel into or out of the UK, there are rules about what goods you can bring with you without paying duty or value added tax (VAT).  Some items are also banned or restricted by law.
 
There are penalties for smuggling items into the UK:
  • never carry anything into the UK for someone else
  • never bring banned goods into the UK
  • if you are driving, make sure that everyone travelling with you knows which goods are banned or restricted
  • if you smuggle goods into the UK, immigration officers may seize your vehicle
  • do not smuggle an animal into the UK

Visit the UK Border Agency website for more information on what you can bring into the UK. 

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