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.
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:
|Central African Republic||Pakistan|
|People’s Republic of China||Philippines|
|Cuba||Sao Tome e Principe|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||Saudi Arabia|
|Equatorial Guinea||South Africa*|
|Jamaica||United Arab Emirates|
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):
Macedonia (former Republic of Yugoslavia)
People’s republic of China
Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire)
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
This list was last updated in April 2015
*Holders of biomentric Venezuelan passports are exempt
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.