The UK has always enjoyed a high number of both expats and tourists thanks to its diverse culture, landscape, attractions and a strong economy. The country is currently the 8th most popular tourist destination in the world. London alone has 17.4 million tourists per year and is currently ranked the 2nd most popular tourist city in the world (behind Bangkok and outranking Paris). Foreign nationals also make up 30% of the city’s cosmopolitan population.
Citizens from the EEA and the EU can freely travel to the UK with a valid national ID or a valid passport to either visit or work.
If you are neither a citizen of the EEA nor the EU and you wish to visit the UK, you need to apply for a visitor’s visa online at the British embassy or consulate in your home country.
The earliest you can apply for a visitor’s visa is three months in advance of your journey, and you will receive the decision three weeks later. The length of the approval process depends on which country you are applying from. Once your visa is approved, you can stay in England for six months.
Please note that you cannot undertake unpaid or paid work during your stay. You can, however, study for up to 30 days.
To find out how to apply for a working visa as a non-EU or EEA national please consult our working visa guide.
Good to know:
The United Kingdom is not part of the Schengen area. If you are travelling to Europe with a Schengen visa, you won't be allowed to travel to the UK unless you hold a valid visa delivered by a British consulate or British embassy. If you are travelling from Europe to Britain, you will be asked for your ID card or passport if you are an EU or EEA national or your valid visa to visit the UK if you are not an EU or EEA national.
Once you are in the UK you can travel freely within England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Attention: This information may change due to Brexit. For more information, please consult our United Kingdom Professional Visas Guide.
Home Office www.gov.uk