Visitor immigration routes
In April 2015 new visitor immigration rules, named Appendix V, came in to operation. The previous 15 categories were streamlined into four visitor routes which reflect the planned UK activities.
- Standard Visitor visa
- Marriage Visitor visa
- Permitted Paid Engagement visa
- Visa to pass through the UK in transit
An additional route for Visiting Researchers may be Tier 5 (GAE).
Who needs a visa?
This will depend on the nationality of the person travelling.
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals do not currently require a visa to visit the UK.
Non visa nationals do not need to apply for Entry Clearance before travelling to the UK if the visit is 6 months or less undertaking some business and academic activities. Entry Clearance will be granted upon arrival at the UK border and documentation may be required to evidence that the Standard Visit visa requirements have been met. Non visa nationals visiting for more than 6 months must obtain Entry Clearance before travelling to the UK.
Visa nationals must apply for Entry Clearance before travelling to the UK.
Before travelling to the UK, visitors are advised to use the Home Office visa self-assessment tool.
Can visitors use a Schengen visa?
No. The UK is not a member of the Schengen Travel area.
Important Home Office changes
ePassport gates, which were previously only open to UK and EEA nationals, have been expanded to allow travellers from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and United states to use the gates. Although this provides a faster route through the border, it has caused issues for some travellers who are not granted the correct leave, or who arrive earlier than their Entry Clearance allows.
Visitors are encourage to check if they are eligible to use the eGates and if the correct Entry Clearance would be granted.
Where Entry Clearance has been obtained before travelling to the UK, it is important the visitor does not arrive before the leave to enter start date.