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Visas for Scotland

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Do you need a visa to travel to Scotland? Which is the most appropriate visa for you? Find out in this article.

As a multicultural country, Scotland is very open towards expatriates. But before moving there, it is best to inquire on relating conditions and formalities. Nationals of some countries may require a visa, depending on their country of origin and on the purpose of their stay in the country. European Union nationals, on the other hand, are exempted from the visa requirement, regardless of the duration and purpose of their stay.

Non-European nationals

Below is an overview of the different types of visas available for Scotland along with relating conditions. For information on tourist and short stay visas, please refer to the United Kingdom's official portal.

Entrepreneur visa

The entrepreneur visa is intended for foreign nationals who wish to invest at least £ 200,000 in an existing company in Scotland or in the UK, or who are planning to set up a company. The company must provide at least two full-time jobs or several part-time jobs whereby working hours will be equal to those of two full-time jobs.

However, make sure to inquire about the initial capital beforehand. In some cases, you may have to invest only £ 50,000.

 Useful link:

Entrepreneur visa www.gov.uk/tier-1-entrepreneur

Investor visa

The investor visa is intended for foreign nationals who are planning to invest at least £ 2 million in Scotland.

 Useful link:

Investor visa www.gov.uk/tier-1-investor

General visa

The general visa is intended for foreign nationals who have been hired in Scotland and whose employer accept to be their sponsor, provided they have skills that are not available in the country and within the European Economic Area.

In this case, the employer will have to pass a specific test known as the “Resident Labour Market” so as to prove that no person with the referred qualifications and skills was available in Scotland and within the EEA.

 Useful link:

Tier 2 General visa www.gov.uk/tier-2-general

UK Ancestry visa

The UK Ancestry visa is intended for foreign nationals:

  • coming from Commonwealth countries
  • who are less than 17 years old
  • having at least one grand parent born in the UK, on the Isle of Man, in the Channel Islands before March 31, 1922
  • who are planning to work
  • and having sufficient means to support themselves financially during their stay in Scotland.

 Useful link:

UK Ancestry visa www.gov.uk/ancestry-visa

Youth Mobility Scheme

The Youth Mobility Scheme is intended to nationals of some countries, who are between 18 and 30 years old and who have at least £ 1,890 or an equal amount in their bank account. Unlike the UK Ancestry visa, the Youth Mobility Scheme cannot be issued by ancestry.

 Useful link:

Youth Mobility Scheme www.gov.uk/tier-5-youth-mobility

Student visa

The student visa is intended for students having secured a seat in an approved higher education institution in Scotland. The institution will then sponsor the student in obtaining his visa. Note that conditions and requirements vary from one country to another.

 Useful link:

Study in Scotland www.studyinscotland.org
Student visa www.gov.uk/government/publications

European nationals

As mentioned above, European Union and Swiss nationals do not require a visa to live and work in Scotland. More clearly, it applies to nationals of the following countries:

Austria - Belgium - Bulgaria - Cyprus - Czech Republic - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - France - Germany - Greece - Hungary - Iceland - Ireland - Italy - Liechtenstein - Lithuania - Luxembourg - Malta - Netherlands - Norway - Poland - Portugal - Romania - Slovakia - Slovenia - Spain - Sweden - UK.

Croatian nationals

Croatian nationals, for their part, have to apply for a specific work permit at the Home Office provided they comply with certain conditions.

 Useful link:

Croatian nationals www.gov.uk/croatian-national

 Useful links:

Expat.com – Information on Visas for Scotland Forum 
TalentScotland – Visas www.talentscotland.com

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