Your nationality determines the specific requirements for entering the United Kingdom (UK), including whether you need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa, an Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW), or if you can travel directly to the UK without a visa. In this post, we discuss which nationalities are required to apply for entry clearance before travelling to visit the UK.
If you are a national of one of the countries on the visa national list, you will need to apply for a visa before you travel to the UK. You should do this around 2 to 3 months before you intend to travel.
The following list of nationalities require entry clearance prior to travel to the UK as a Visitor, or for any other purpose for less than six months. This list was updated on 06 July 2023 and a “*” indicates there are exceptions in the rules
- Bosnia Herzegovina
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- People’s Republic of China*
- Côte d’Ivoire (formerly Ivory Coast)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Equatorial Guinea
- Eswatini (formerly Swaziland)
- Guinea Bissau
- Korea (North)
- Myanmar (formerly Burma)
- North Macedonia (formerly Macedonia)
- São Tomé and Principe
- Saudi Arabia
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa*
- South Sudan
- Sri Lanka
- United Arab Emirates*
If you are a non-visa national planning to visit the UK for less than six months, you will not need to obtain a visa in advance.
Upon arrival at a UK airport, you can apply to the UK Border Force Officers for entry. They will stamp a visa into your passport, granting you a 6-month stay in the UK. Remember to have the necessary documentation ready to present if required, such as proof of your return flight and financial means.
EU nationals, nationals from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, the United States of America, and EU National passport holders can enjoy the convenience of using the eGates for fast automated arrival in the UK.
It’s important to note that if your country is not included in the UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) list of visa nationals, you are considered a ‘non-visa national’. While a visa is not required, it is advisable to bring documentation similar to that required for a visa application to ensure a smooth entry process. This includes having evidence of your return flight and demonstrating adequate financial resources to support yourself during your visit.
Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW)
Nationals of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates may apply for an Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) prior to travelling to the UK.
The EVW will give you a single entry permission to visit the UK for up to 6 months. It will also allow you to travel to the UK via the Republic of Ireland.
Frequently asked questions
Non-Visa nationals, such as American citizens must apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa to marry in the UK and return to the USA.