Information for non-visa nationals
This page contains information about travelling to the UK if you do not need a visa.
This page is for nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA). If you are a national of an EEA country, or you want to come to the UK as a family member of an EEA national, the European nationals section explains your rights to live and work in the UK.
All non-European nationals must obtain a visa before they travel to the UK, if they want to come here for more than 6 months.
Nationals of some countries can normally visit the UK for 6 months or less without a visa. These people are called 'non-visa nationals'.
Are you a non-visa national?
You are a non-visa national if you are:
- a national or citizen of any country that is not listed under 'More information' below; or
- a British overseas territories citizen;
- a British overseas citizen;
- a British national (overseas);
- a British protected person; or
- a British subject.
Should you apply for a visa?
Our Do you need a visa? questionnaire can help you find out whether you must obtain a visa before you visit the UK.
Even if you are a non-visa national, you will need a visa if you want to carry out some activities during your visit. These activities include:
- getting married or registering a civil partnership;
- studying a course that includes a work placement or internship - you will need to obtain a Tier 4 visa as described in the Studying in the UK section; and
- taking paid employment or producing goods or services in the UK - you will need to obtain a visa under a category in the Working in the UK section (or the Studying in the UK section if you want to work while you are a student here).
The Visiting the UK section describes the different categories of visitor, and what visitors in each category can and cannot do while they are here.
We strongly advise that you apply for a visa before travelling to the UK if:
- you have any unspent criminal convictions in any country, including the UK;
- you have previously been refused entry, deported or otherwise removed from the UK;
- you have breached the terms of any previous entry to the UK (for example, by working illegally or staying here after your permission to stay expired);
- you have previously applied for a visa and been refused; or
- you have been warned by a UK official that you should obtain a visa before you travel to the UK.
You may not be allowed to enter the UK if you do not have a visa.
You can find out how to apply for a visa in your country using our Country finder.
Travelling to the UK without a visa
You do not normally need a visa to come to the UK as a visitor for up to 6 months if you are a non-visa national, but you are not guaranteed entry into the UK.
When you arrive at the UK border, you must satisfy a Border Force officer that you meet the requirements of your visitor category. You might need to show the officer some documents to support your request to enter the UK. To find out about the requirements for different visitor categories, and the types of document that you should show, see the Visiting the UK section.
The Border Force officer will assess you on your individual merits, and will decide whether your account of your reasons for travelling to the UK is reasonable and credible. Please do not feel intimidated when the officer asks you questions - this is part of the process to ensure that only genuine travellers can enter the UK.
For more information about what will happen at the UK border, see the Arriving at the UK border pages.
Are you a visa national?
Nationals or citizens of the following countries and territorial entities are known as 'visa nationals':
- Bosnia Herzegovina
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- People's Republic of China (unless they hold a passport issued by Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or Macao Special Administrative Region)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Dominican Republic
- Equatorial Guinea
- Guinea Bissau
- Ivory Coast
- Korea (North)
- Palestinian Territories
- Republic of South Sudan
- Republic of Sudan
- Sao Tome e Principe
- Saudi Arabia
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- Taiwan (unless they hold a Taiwan passport which includes the number of the identification card issued by the competent authority in Taiwan)
- United Arab Emirates
- Vatican City
- Venezuela (unless they hold a Venezuelan passport which contains biometric information held in an electronic chip)
- The territories formerly comprising the socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The European Economic Area (EEA) consists of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Although Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU), their citizens have the same rights as EU citizens to enter, live in and work in the UK.
A non-visa national is a national or citizen of any country that is NOT listed in Appendix 1 of the immigration rules (nationals of countries listed in Appendix 1 are visa nationals). A non-visa national does not need a visa to come to the United Kingdom for less than six months, unless it is a requirement of the immigration category under which they are entering. A non-visa national coming to the United Kingdom for more than six months will need a visa.