Call for paid service +44 (0)344-991-9222

Who needs a UK visitor visa?

Section Menu

show hide

If you are not a British Citizen or a citizen of an EU/EEA country, you may need a Visitor Visa before you travel to the UK. The list of countries for which a visa is needed for a visit to the UK is available below, as is the list of countries which require a visa to travel through the UK (Direct Airside Transit Visa).

Even if your country does not appear on this list, you may need a visa for other reasons, such as getting married in the UK.

You should apply for a UK visitor visa either using the UK government's online service, or at a British Embassy or Consulate in the country where you are normally and legally resident. You should plan to apply for your travel visa well in advance of your proposed travel date. Some travel visas may be processed in 24 hours, but others may take longer, especially in cases where an interview is required. The process could take up to several weeks.

Once you have a valid UK travel visa, you should be allowed entry to the UK on arrival unless your circumstances have changed, you gave false information, or you did not tell the entry clearance officer important facts when you applied for your visa. The final decision, however, rests with the immigration officer at the UK port of arrival.

Visa Nationals

If you are a citizen of one of these countries, you will normally need to apply for a UK visitor visa if you wish to visit the UK:

   
AfghanistanLaos 
AlbaniaLebanon 
AlgeriaLesotho 
AngolaLiberia 
ArmeniaLibya 
AzerbaijanMacedonia 
Bahrain*Madagascar 
BangladeshMalawi 
BelarusMali 
BeninMauritania 
BhutanMoldova 
BoliviaMongolia 
Bosnia HerzegovinaMontenegro 
Burkina FasoMorocco 
BurmaMozambique 
BurundiNepal 
CambodiaNiger 
CameroonNigeria 
Cape VerdeOman* 
Central African RepublicPakistan 
ChadPeru 
People’s Republic of ChinaPhilippines 
ColombiaQatar 
ComorosRussia 
CongoRwanda 
CubaSao Tome e Principe 
Democratic Republic of the CongoSaudi Arabia 
DjiboutiSenegal 
Dominican RepublicSerbia 
EcuadorSierra Leone 
EgyptSomalia 
Equatorial GuineaSouth Africa* 
EritreaSouth Sudan 
EthiopiaSri Lanka 
FijiSudan 
GabonSuriname 
GambiaSwaziland 
GeorgiaSyria 
GhanaTaiwan* 
GuineaTajikistan 
Guinea BissauTanzania 
GuyanaThailand 
HaitiTogo 
IndiaTunisia 
IndonesiaTurkey  
IranTurkmenistan 
IraqUganda 
Ivory CoastUkraine 
JamaicaUnited Arab Emirates 
JordanUzbekistan 
KazakhstanVenezuela 
KenyaVietnam 
Korea (North)Yemen 
KosovoZambia 
Kuwait Zimbabwe 
Kyrgyzstan

This list was last updated in July 2016.

Direct Airside Transit Visa

Citizens of the following countries need a visa in order to travel through the UK (note that there are many exceptions to this listed at the bottom of this page):

  

Afghanistan

Libya

Albania

Macedonia (former Republic of Yugoslavia)

Algeria

Malawi

Angola

Moldova

Bangladesh

Mongolia

Belarus

Nepal

Burma (Myanmar)

Nigeria

Burundi

Pakistan

Cameroon

Palestinian Territories

People’s republic of China

Rwanda

Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire)

Senegal

Congo (Brazzaville)

Serbia

Egypt

Sierra Leone

Eritrea

Somalia

Ethiopia

South Africa

Gambia

South Sudan

Ghana

Sri Lanka

Guinea

Sudan

Guinea-Bissau

Swaziland

India

Syria

Iran

Tanzania

Iraq

Turkey

Ivory Coast

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Jamaica

Uganda

Kenya

Venezuela*

Kosovo

Vietnam

Lebanon

Yemen

Lesotho

Zimbabwe

Liberia

 

This list was last updated in April 2015

*Holders of biomentric Venezuelan passports are exempt

 

Exemptions

You do not need a transit visa if you are travelling from the same UK airport on the same day and you, or a person you are traveling with, holds any of the following:

  • A valid Australian, Canadian, New Zealand or US visa. Except Syrian nationals with a US B-1 or B-2 Visitor Visa, who must still obtain a Direct Airline Transit Visa.
     
  • An expired  Australian, Canadian, New Zealand or US visa. Only if you are travelling as part of a 'reasonable journey' from the country the visa applies to, and it has been less than 6 months since you last entered that country with a valid visa. 
     
  • A valid Australian Permanent Resident Visa
     
  • A valid Canadian Permanent Resident Card issued on or after 28th June 2002
     
  • A valid New Zealand Permanent Resident Visa
     
  • A valid USA I-551 Permanent Resident Card issued on or after 21st April 1998
     
  • An expired USA I-551 Permanent Resident Card provided it is accompanied by a valid I-797 letter authorising an extension of the period of permanent residency
     
  • A valid USA I-551 Temporary Immigrant Visa
     
  • A valid standalone US Immigration Form 155A/155B attached to a brown sealed envelope
     
  • A valid common format Category D visa for entry to an EEA state or Switzerland
     
  • A valid common format residence permit issued by an EEA State pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002(1) or Switzerland
     
  • A valid biometric visa issued by the Republic of Ireland
     
  • A valid visa issued by a Schengen Area country under the approved destination status scheme. Only if you are travelling through the UK directly to a Schengen Area country.
     
  • A valid airline ticket for travel through the UK as part of a journey from a Schengen Area country. Only if it has been less than 30 days since you last entered a Schengen Area country with a valid Schengen visa. 
     
  • A diplomatic or service passport issued by the People’s Republic of China
     
  • A diplomatic or official passport issued by India
     
  • A diplomatic or official passport issued by Vietnam
     
  • A diplomatic passport issued by Turkey
     
  • A alien (non-citizen) passport issued by Latvia or Estonia 

Further information, help, and advice

Workpermit.com's team of specialists has over 25 years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK. We work with OISC registered advisers who can submit your UK visa application to the Home Office to be dealt with on the same day.

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at london@workpermit.com