Applying for a Schengen visa

The information on this page is indicative and not exhaustive. Interested parties should seek additional information from the Embassy or Consulate of the country of their main destination.

What is a Schengen visa?

A Schengen visa is an entry permit for a short, temporary visit of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. A Schengen visa can be obtained in the form of a single-entry visa , allowing the holder to enter the Schengen area once, or a multiple-entry visa , which is granted for several visits to the Schengen area for as long as it is valid.

The short-stay visa calculator can be used to calculate the remaining period of allowed stay. The user's guide will help you navigate the calculator with step by step instructions and practical examples.

An airport transit visa allows its holder to connect through the international transit area of an airport in the Schengen area during a stopover or a change of flights. This visa does not allow its holder to leave the international transit area of an airport.

Who needs to apply for a Schengen visa?

Certain non-EU citizens must hold a short stay visa when traveling to the Schengen area. The EU has a common list of countries whose citizens are required to hold a visa when crossing its external borders. There are national derogations from the visa requirements for certain travellers.

Some third-country nationals must also hold an airport transit visa when connecting through the international transit areas of airports located in any of the Schengen States . For citizens of certain additional countries, an airport transit visa is required when connecting through the international transit areas of airports located in some of the Schengen States . There are some categories of persons who are exempt from the requirement to hold an airport transit visa (see Article 3(5) of the Visa Code ).

Where to apply?

You must lodge the application for a Schengen visa at the Consulate of the country you intend to visit . If you intend to visit more than one Schengen States, you should apply at the Consulate of the country where you will spend the longest period of time.

If you intend to visit several Schengen States and the stays will be of equal length, you must apply at the Consulate of the first country you will visit.

As a general rule, you must apply for a Schengen visa at the Consulate with territorial competence for the country in which you legally reside.

More information for each Schengen country can be found on dedicated websites

When to apply.

The application must be submitted to the Consulate  at least 15 days before the intended journey and cannot be lodged earlier than six months prior to the start of the intended journey. You may have to book an appointment before lodging the application.

What documents are needed to apply?

  • A valid passport. The passport’s expiry date should be at least 3 months after the date of your departure from the Schengen area. In the case of multiple-entry visa, the passport’s expiry date should be at least 3 months after your departure from the last country visited.
  • A visa application form .
  • A photo in compliance with ICAO standards .
  • Medical insurance covering emergency medical, hospitalisation and repatriation (including in case of death).
  • Supporting documents relating to the purpose of your stay, evidence of financial means during your stay, your accommodation and your will to return to your home country after your stay.
  • Your fingerprints will be collected when you submit your application (exemptions exist for specific categories of applicants).
  • Additional documents can be requested by the Consulates.

How much does a visa cost?

  • 80€ for adults;
  • 40€ for children aged 6-12;
  • 35€ for applicants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus;
  • 60€ for applicants from Cabo Verde.

An additional fee may apply if you go through visa service centres , which collect applications on behalf of Consulates in some cases.

The visa fee can be waived for specific categories of applicants.

Processing time of the application

The normal processing time of a visa application is 15 days. This period may be extended to up to 45 days, if a more detailed examination of the application and/or additional documents are required.

Under certain conditions, family members of EU or EEA citizens falling under the Free Movement Directive are eligible for a free and accelerated visa procedure.

Refusal of a visa application

The decision to refuse a Schengen visa and the reasons for the refusal are transmitted to the applicant using a standard form. The decision to refuse the issuance of a visa includes the reasons on which the refusal was based, and the procedures and deadlines for submitting an appeal.

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Do I need a visa to enter the EU? Rules for UK travellers explained

By Abigail Malbon

Rome Italy  April 04 Traffic on the Via dei Fori Imperiali street in front of Colosseum in the evening Rome Italy on...

Since the  UK left the EU in January 2021 , the rules on travel have changed – but do British travellers need to have a visa to enter EU countries now? Here’s what you need to know about the current rules, and what to expect in future.

Do I need a visa to enter the EU?

At the time of writing (June 2022), if you’re travelling from the UK you will not need a visa to enter any country within the EU.

UK travellers are able to spend a maximum of 90 days in every 180 within the European Union without a visa – for longer stays, you will be required to apply for a separate visa for the country you intend to be in.

However, the rules are set to change, and UK travellers will be required to have a visa waiver to enter the EU in the future.

Will I need a visa to enter the EU in future?

Yes and no – technically it's a visa waiver. British citizens no longer enjoy the freedom of movement throughout the EU due to Brexit, and will therefore have to follow the same system that applies to residents from other countries in the world, including the  USA  and  Australia .

The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is set to come into force at the end of 2022, which means that UK travellers will need an official ETIAS visa waiver in order to visit countries within the European Union. This will apply to anyone entering or transiting through an EU country on a British passport between the ages of 18 and 70 and will cost €7. It will be required for trips of up to 90 days for both tourists and business travellers and will need to be obtained at least 96 hours before departure.

The good news is, once you have the ETIAS visa waiver it will last for three years, so you won’t need to keep renewing every time you travel; just when it runs out, or if you get a new passport.

Do I need a visa to move to an EU country?

If you’re a British citizen, yes. The type of visa you need and the application process for long stays will depend on the country’s own rules – there is no blanket long-stay visa for anyone entering from outside the EU. If you intend to move to a country within the European Union it’s best to search online for your visa options; here you will find the requirements to do so.

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Everything you need to know about travel to Europe after Brexit

Do you need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit? Here’s how the rules are looking in 2024

Huw Oliver

Way back in 2020, the UK left the EU and Brexit took effect. Since then, a hell of a lot has changed about how we travel. There’s now plenty of extra stuff to think about when planning a trip overseas to Europe (especially if it’s for longer periods). So, we ’ve rounded up all the changes to the rules that we’ll have to follow, now that we’re no longer EU citizens. Here is everything you need to know.

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You should probably check your passport

Up until January 2021, all UK citizens with a valid passport were able to travel freely throughout Europe. Now, though, you may need to renew your passport much earlier than you might think. On the day you travel, your passport must have at least six months left before it expires, or you might not be able to travel to any EU countries, or the EEA states of Iceland , Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland . (The old rules still apply for travel to Ireland.)

You can check if you need to renew your passport before travelling using this tool from the British government, and you can apply for a new one here . Make sure you renew it at least a couple of months before you’re planning to travel, as it may take several weeks to process applications in busy times (including right now).

You can no longer apply for an EHIC

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will remain valid until its expiry date, but you can no longer apply for a new one. In 2021, the UK government launched a replacement scheme, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) , which will entitle you to necessary state healthcare for free or at reduced cost in Europe and other countries with reciprocal arrangements such as Australia and New Zealand . You can apply for one on the official GHIC website .

Free mobile roaming is a thing of the past

The guarantee of free mobile roaming throughout the EU, the Schengen area and the Norway, Iceland and Liechenstein, came to an end on December 31, 2020. It ’s best to c heck with your phone operator to find out about any charges you may incur in the country you’re travelling to.

Border checks may feel a little different

At border control, you will now need to use separate lanes from EU citizens when queuing. Officials may also be more inquisitive than before, asking you to provide a return or onward ticket and prove that you have enough money for the length of your initial stay.

Your driving licence will still be valid – but you’ll need a ‘green card’ proving you have insurance too

Despite reports British drivers would soon have to apply for an ‘international driving permit’ before travelling to the Continent, according to the terms of the Brexit deal, UK licences will still be valid within the EU.

According to this advice by the Foreign Office , you do not need a ‘green card’ (proving you have car insurance cover when driving abroad) when driving in the EU. However, countries where they do apply include Albania, Azerbijan, Moldova, Türkiye and Ukraine. 

Who should apply

Find out which European countries require an ETIAS travel authorisation, who needs to apply and who is exempt.

  • ETIAS is currently not in operation and no applications are collected at this point.

European countries requiring ETIAS

These 30 European countries require visa-exempt travellers to have an ETIAS travel authorisation.

ETIAS countries

List of countries

Who needs an ETIAS travel authorisation

Nationals of any of these visa-exempt countries/territories need to apply for an ETIAS travel authorisation.

ETIAS required countries

If you come from any of these countries/territories and you plan to visit any of the 30 European countries listed above for a short-term stay , you will need an ETIAS travel authorisation.

There are specific travel document requirements for nationals of certain visa-exempt countries/territories – make sure to check if these apply to the travel document you have.

If you come from any of the visa-exempt countries/territories listed above and you are a family member of an EU citizen or of a national of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, please read this FAQ for more information about applying for an ETIAS travel authorisation.

Other categories of travellers who need an ETIAS travel authorisation

Etias for nationals of visa-required countries.

In some cases, nationals of visa-required countries may not need to apply for a visa and can travel with an ETIAS travel authorisation instead. This applies to you if you are:

Travelling to any of the European countries requiring ETIAS on a school trip

This applies only to students who are nationals of visa-required countries residing on the territory of any of these countries , Switzerland or Liechtenstein. You must be travelling together with other school pupils and be accompanied by a school teacher. Also, you must be exempt from the requirement to have a visa to enter the territory of all the European countries requiring ETIAS which you intend to visit during your trip – make sure to check which requirements apply to you . You must meet all these conditions to be eligible for an ETIAS travel authorisation.

Important: To avoid any problems at the border, before your travel, please contact the Consulates of all the countries you intend to visit to confirm that your personal situation exempts you from the obligation to have a visa.

A recognised refugee who resides in and holds a travel document issued by any of these countries or Ireland and you are not required to have a visa to enter any of the European countries requiring ETIAS you intend to visit

You must meet all these conditions to be eligible for an ETIAS travel authorisation. Make sure to check which travel requirements apply to you.

ETIAS for stateless persons

You will need an ETIAS travel authorisation if you are a stateless person who resides in and holds a travel document issued by any of these countries or Ireland and you are not required to have a visa to travel to the European countries requiring ETIAS you intend to visit

You must meet all these conditions to be eligible for an ETIAS travel authorisation. Make sure to check which travel requirements apply to you .

Who does not need an ETIAS travel authorisation

You will not need an ETIAS travel authorisation if you are:

A national of a European country requiring ETIAS
A national of any of these countries who needs a visa to travel to any of the European countries requiring ETIAS

In certain cases, nationals of the above countries may be exempt from the obligation to have a visa. In those cases, you may need an ETIAS travel authorisation instead – check the lists above whether this applies to you.

A national of the United Kingdom who is a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement

UK nationals and their family members who are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement are exempt from ETIAS: they may reside on the territory of their EU host country and travel to other European countries requiring ETIAS as long as they hold documents proving their status.

For more information, please check this website .

A national of Andorra, San Marino, Monaco, the Holy See (the Vatican City State) or Ireland
A refugee, a stateless person or a person who does not hold the nationality of any country and you reside in any of the European countries requiring ETIAS and hold a travel document issued by that country
A holder of a residence permit or a residence card issued by any European country requiring ETIAS

See here an indicative list of the relevant residence permits. Other documents authorising your stay on the territory of these countries are also accepted, if they are in line with Article 2 point 16 of Regulation (EU) 2016/399 . Please consult the issuing authority to confirm if your document meets these requirements.

A holder of a uniform visa A holder of a national long-stay visa A holder of a local border traffic permit, but only within the context of the Local Border Traffic
A holder of a diplomatic, service or special passport

This exemption applies to the nationals of countries that have concluded international agreements with the EU which allow the holders of diplomatic, service or special passports to travel without a visa. This means that nationals of the following countries can travel to these European countries both without an ETIAS travel authorisation and without a visa:

  • Armenia, Azerbaijan, China (holders of diplomatic passports only)
  • Cape Verde (holders of diplomatic and service/official passports only)
  • Belarus (holders of diplomatic biometric passports only)

Holders of diplomatic, service or special passports from other countries are also excluded from the obligation to hold an ETIAS travel authorisation. However, they may be obliged to have a visa to visit the European countries requiring ETIAS.

Before your travel, please contact the Consulates of the countries you intend to travel to, to check if you need a visa.

A member of the armed forces travelling on NATO or Partnership for Peace business, who holds an identification and individual or collective movement order provided for by the Agreement between the parties to the North Atlantic Treaty regarding the Status of their Forces.

Important: If you are travelling for private purposes for part or for the whole duration of your trip to a European country requiring ETIAS, you will need an ETIAS or a visa.

A holder of a travel document issued by intergovernmental international organisation provided for in Part 3 of Decision No 1105/2011/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council

Important note: you may still need a visa to visit the European countries requiring ETIAS. Before you travel, always check with the relevant consulates if you need one.

An intra-corporate transferee, a student or a researcher exercising your right to mobility in accordance with Directive 2014/66/EU or Directive (EU) 2016/801

Crew members

You may need an ETIAS travel authorisation if you are:

A civilian air or sea crew member on duty

Since the European countries requiring ETIAS have different requirements for air and sea crew members, before you travel, always check which requirements apply to you .

A civilian sea crew member going ashore holding a seafarer's identity document

Since the European countries requiring ETIAS countries have different requirements for sea crew members, before you travel, always check which requirements apply to you .

A crew or member of an emergency or rescue mission in the event of a disaster or an accident

Conditions for the entry and exit of members of rescue services, police, fire brigades acting in emergency situations as well as border guards crossing the border in exercise of their professional tasks are laid down by national law. The European countries requiring ETIAS may also conclude bilateral agreements with non-EU countries for these categories of persons. Before you travel, always check which requirements apply to you .

A civilian crew member of ships navigating in international inland waters

Since the European countries requiring ETIAS have different requirements for sea crew members, before you travel, always check which requirements apply to you .

Nationals of the United Kingdom

UK nationals are required to have a valid ETIAS travel authorisation if they travel to any of the European countries requiring ETIAS for a short-term stay (90 days in any 180-day period).

UK nationals who wish to stay longer must meet the entry requirements in accordance with national or EU migration law, such as holding a visa or residence permit.

ETIAS exemptions for UK nationals who are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement

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Entrepreneurs, students and tourists to benefit from new EU-GCC visa rules

T he EU's harmonisation of Schengen visa rules for GCC citizens is likely to encourage more Gulf students, entrepreneurs and tourists to visit the continent, the EU's special representative to the Gulf region, Luigi di Maio, said on Monday.

Citizens of Saudi Arabia , Bahrain and Oman are now all entitled to a five-year multiple-entry visa to the Schengen area upon their first request instead of having to initially apply for shorter visas.

This process had been granted last year to Kuwaiti and Qatari nationals. The UAE is not affected as it has a reciprocal visa-free system with the EU.

“It's an incentive to apply for a visa – it's a problem sometimes for entrepreneurs to ask many times for the same visa,” Mr di Maio said.

“It's very good for touristic flows and also a very good thing for researchers and students who want to come to Europe for their studies and internships.”

“They were already welcome and are even more welcome,” he said.

The EU's decision to enable all GCC citizens to request a multiple five-year Schengen visa came into force earlier this month and was announced by the EU Foreign Affairs Minister Josep Borrell on April 22 at the first high-level EU-GCC security forum.

The decisions to organise the forum and to introduce visa harmonisation are part of the follow-up to the EU's 2022 strategic partnership with the Gulf and a signal of warming relations.

“It is a significant step in strengthening people-to-people relations between the EU and the GCC,” Emily Tasinato, a researcher and analyst focused on politics and security in the Gulf region, told The National .

Schengen countries include all 27 EU countries except for Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania.

The National breaks down the new rules for you.

What has changed?

Multiple-entry visas allow the holder to spend 90 days at a time within the Schengen area over 180 days as many times as required. For longer stays, visitors have to request long-term visas or residency permits.

Before this week's decision to harmonise rules, varying exemptions to the 2020 EU Visa Code were in force vis-a-vis GCC countries.

In the EU Visa Code, travellers must first ask for a short-stay visa. Depending on their visa history, they may gradually be granted longer visas, starting at one year, then two years, up to a maximum of five years. This system is called a “cascade” visa regime.

There used to be different procedures for citizens of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain than the system in place for Kuwait and Qatar. Omani citizens followed a third system.

Starting in September, citizens of Qatar and Kuwait were able to directly request a five-year multiple entry visa. Before the change, they had to first ask for a one-year multiple entry visa, then a two-year visa, then a five-year visa.

Those rules also applied to Saudi and Bahraini nationals before the recent harmonisation in November 2022 and July 2023.

Omani citizens were immediately granted a two-year multiple entry visa on their first request, followed by a five-year visa.

An April 2022 request by the European Commission to grant Qataris and Kuwaitis visa-free access to Schengen was not approved by the European Parliament due to a corruption scandal allegedly involving lawmakers and Qatari and Moroccan officials.

The introduction of a general waiver for those two countries is not expected before a European election in June, said Mr Di Maio.

“We can speak about that after the formation of the new Parliament and the formation of the new Commission.”

What's the point?

Visa harmonisation represents more than just a “business dynamic,” said Mr Di Maio. It's a “political signal”, he said, responding to a question from The National . “Now all countries are synchronised at the maximum level of their access and validity of their visa.”

The decision to harmonise rules for GCC countries was based on an assessment made by European consulates related to the “very specific context of the Gulf countries,” a Commission official told The National .

This context includes “very low migratory and security risks associated with nationals of these countries” and a desire to harmonise rules for all GCC nationals, they said.

What are the financial requirements?

The visa fee is currently set at €80 ($86).

Visa issuing authorities have to check that the applicant has sufficient means of subsistence, both for the duration of the intended stay and for the return to his country of origin or residence. This applies to all visa-required countries.

The EU's decision to enable all GCC citizens to request a multiple five-year Schengen visa came into force earlier this month. Getty Images

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UK's Labour pledges 'ironclad' commitment to Ukraine during Kyiv visit

uk visit eu visa

KYIV - Britain's opposition Labour Party affirmed its "ironclad" commitment to Ukraine during a visit to Kyiv on Monday by the party's foreign and defence chiefs.

David Lammy and John Healey met Ukraine's defence minister and President Volodmyr Zelenskiy's top aide on the visit, during which they travelled to suburbs scarred by Russia's occupation early in the war and paid their respects to victims in the towns of Bucha and Irpin.

Britain's Labour Party polls well ahead of the governing Conservatives ahead of a national election expected later this year.

"If there is a change in government at the election in Britain this year, there will be no change in Britain's resolve to stand with Ukraine, to confront Russian aggression and to pursue Putin for his war crimes," Healey told Reuters.

As the war grinds through its third year, Ukraine is on the back foot after delays in foreign military aid supplies and mounting pressure from Russia on the battlefield.

Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced an increase in British support for Ukraine and said he would lift overall defence spending to 2.5% of GDP a year by 2030.

Healey said the Labour Party "matches the government's ambition on raising defence spending to 2.5%" as soon as possible, and would hold a strategic defence review in the first year Labour is in power.

Before coming to Ukraine, Lammy visited Washington, a key ally of Kyiv, that holds a presidential election in November that pits incumbent Joe Biden against former president Donald Trump.

"I am really pleased that Donald Trump seemed to signal the importance of granting that $61 billion [in Ukraine aid] and what we are hearing is that the aid is now beginning to come into Ukraine," Lammy said.

Lammy and Healey discussed air defences, longer-range fires and an upcoming Kyiv-promoted peace summit when they met Ukrainian officials, they said.

President Zelenskiy said earlier that he expects between 80 and 100 countries to attend a high-level peace summit next month in Switzerland that aims to rally support for Ukraine's vision of ending the war.

"The U.K. has a key and important partnership with Commonwealth countries and the Global South," Lammy said. "We will use all of our endeavours to support Ukraine in ensuring as many countries as possible attend the peace conference." REUTERS

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Visa and passport

Visa and passport. What should you bear in mind?

uk visit eu visa

Innovator Founder Visa – A Five Minute Explainer

Contributor

Latitude Law weblink

The Innovator Founder visa is a hybrid of the now defunct Innovator and Start-up Visas. It is now the only route for foreign entrepreneurs to enter the UK to establish a new business. It is also available to those who have significantly contributed to an existing business.

Business Idea

The business venture must be innovate, viable, and scalable. This is assessed as follows:

  • The applicant must have a genuine, original business plan that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage ( innovative ).
  • The applicant's business plan must be realistic and achievable based on the applicant's available resources ( viable ).
  • The applicant must have, or be actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business; and ( viable ).
  • There must be evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into national and international markets ( scalable ).

The applicants role in the business must be substantial. They must have either generated or made a significant contribution to the ideas in the business plan, and they must have a day-to-day role in carrying out the plan. It is permissible for an individual to have joined a business after it was registered with Companies House, providing the business had not already commenced trading. However, this necessitates additional scrutiny to show the applicant made a significant contribution to the business plan, and has not simply been added to an existing business for the purpose of facilitating investment. In short, with any application the applicant must either be the sole founder, or an instrumental member of the founding team.

Endorsement

Like its predecessors, to be granted leave under the Innovator Founder route applicants must be endorsed by government-approved endorsing bodies:

Endorsement is based on the principle that it is you [the endorsing bodies], rather than the Home Office, who are best placed to assess businesses and identify innovative business ideas and talent.

Whilst ostensibly perceptive from the Home Office, the cynical immigration practitioner may see this policy as another attempt from the Home Office to elude responsibility and accountability. As the actual visa application process is relatively straight-forward once endorsement has been secured, it is the endorsing bodies who arguably hold the power. They will decide whether an applicant's business is innovate, viable, and scalable.

There are three endorsing bodies (not counting the Global Entrepreneurs Programme (GEP), a government programme run by the Department for Business and Trade):

  • Innovator International (the trading name of Geminus Innovation)
  • UK Endorsement Services (UKES)

The Home Office provide guidance for endorsing bodies to follow when assessing a business for innovation, viability, and scalability, but the exact endorsement process and assessment of each application differs between bodies. Relevant details are set out on each body's website; all require a detailed business plan, including financial projections, and at least one interview.

An endorsing body's responsibilities do not end upon an endorsement. Applicants are required to have at least two "checkpoint meetings", before the 12 and 24-month anniversaries of their grant of permission, to demonstrate to the endorsing body that they are making progress towards their business plan. It is open to the endorsing body to withdraw endorsement at any time.

Multiple innovator founders can apply for endorsement to be co-directors of the same company, but each applicant must receive individual endorsement.

Organisations which were previously approved endorsing bodies under the Innovator and Start-up routes are still required to hold contact point meetings with individuals they previously endorsed, and to endorse applicants who are:

  • Switching from Start up to Innovator Founder.
  • Extending Innovator leave (which will become Innovator Founder leave).
  • Applying for Settlement.

Visa Application

The application itself is relatively straightforward, with some key changes from the Innovator and Start-up routes which make this route easier than its predecessors:

  • There is no longer a minimum funds requirement (previously it was set at £50,000), although the business plan still requires significant investment.
  • Applicants will be able to supplement their income by working in other employment as well as for the business they have established, provided that the other employment is sufficiently skilled - RQF level 3 or higher.
  • There are now four endorsing bodies for new applications, rather than the previous 65, answering concerns that some of the prior endorsing bodies weren't fit for purpose.

Nevertheless, the Home Office retain ultimate discretion. Even with a valid endorsement, an application can still be refused if the Home Office deem the business lacks innovation, viability, or scalability, or they doubt the genuineness of the applicant. It is important that the visa application is properly evidenced; an endorsement should not be seen as an automatic ticket to a visa.

Some FAQs answered:

  • Dependents are eligible to apply.
  • Permission is granted for three years, and there is no limit on the time a person can spend in this route.
  • Settlement is available, although the requirements to meet are fairly onerous.

A way to navigate the onerous requirements for settlement may be to later switch into the Skilled Worker route, aggregating time spent in the Innovator Founder route towards settlement in the Skilled Worker route.

If you would like to speak to one of our experts regarding an Innovator Founder visa, call us now on 0161 234 6800 or complete our online enquiry form .

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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Immigration

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  • Entering and staying in the UK
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  • Visit visa: guide to supporting documents
  • UK Visas and Immigration

Visiting the UK: guide to supporting documents

Updated 1 February 2024

uk visit eu visa

© Crown copyright 2024

This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: [email protected] .

Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.

This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visitor-visa-guide-to-supporting-documents/guide-to-supporting-documents-visiting-the-uk

To visit the UK, you need to show that you’re a genuine visitor.

You can do this by providing evidence that:

  • you’re coming to do a permitted activity – see Appendix Visitor: Permitted Activities
  • you’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit
  • you’re able to support yourself and any dependants for the duration of your trip
  • you’re able to pay for your return or onward journey and any other costs relating to your visit

Wherever possible, digital images should be taken of original documents, not copies.

If you submit a document that is not in English or Welsh, it must be accompanied by a full translation that can be independently verified by the Home Office. Each translation must contain:

  • confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document
  • the date of translation
  • the translator’s full name and signature
  • the translator’s contact details

You do not need to provide multiple copies of the same documents if you’re applying as a family or group at the same time.

If you’re applying to visit the UK as part of a Chinese tour group, you should read the specific guidance for ADS visitors .

Further information about coming to the UK as a visitor can be found in Appendix V: Visitor of the Immigration Rules and in the Visitor Guidance .

Submitting or presenting any of the documents listed below does not guarantee that your application for a visit visa or entry at the border will be successful. You should bear this in mind when making any bookings, particularly if you need to apply for a visitor visa before you travel to the UK.

1. Travel document (passport)

You must provide a valid passport or other travel document with all applications and when travelling to the UK. Your passport must have at least 1 page blank if you use it to apply for a visa.

Some passport holders may need to provide alternative evidence of their identity and nationality.

2. Demonstrating personal circumstances

If you are intending to visit the UK you will need to show that you are a genuine visitor who is coming to the UK to undertake a permitted activity, that you will leave at the end of your visit and that you have sufficient funds for yourself and any dependants to cover all reasonable costs in relation to your visit.

It is recommended that you provide information about your circumstances in your home country and details of the activity that you will be doing in the UK.

The following provides information about the types of documents that you might want to provide to help us consider your application against the Immigration Rules for Visitors ( Appendix V: Visitor ). This list is not exhaustive.

  • what you will be doing in the UK, the reason for your visit and whether any costs are being met, including any letters from inviting or sending organisations
  • a letter from your employer on company headed paper, detailing your role, salary and length of employment
  • a letter from your education provider, on headed paper, confirming your enrolment and leave of absence
  • business registration documents or recent invoices that confirm on-going self-employment
  • copies of previous passports showing evidence of travel to other countries
  • confirmation of legal residence, if you are not a national of the country in which you are applying or your right to reside there is not included in your passport
  • bank statements which detail the origin of the funds held
  • building society books which detail the origin of the funds held
  • proof of earnings, such as a letter from your employer confirming employment details (start date of employment, salary, role, company contact details)

3. If you have a sponsor

If someone else (your sponsor) is providing your travel, maintenance or accommodation you should provide evidence showing:

  • what support is being provided and whether it extends to any dependent family
  • how this support is being provided

the person supporting you has enough funds to adequately support themselves and their dependents

the relationship between you and the sponsor, for example if they’re your family member or your employer

  • the person supporting you is legally in the UK (if applicable), for example if they have a British passport or residence document

4. If you’re a child (under 18)

You should show a legal document showing the relationship between you and at least 1 of your parents or guardians, for example a birth certificate or adoption papers.

You should show a copy of the photo page of at least 1 parent’s or guardian’s passport, including their signature and passport number, if they’re not also applying for a visa.

If you have a different family name to your parent/guardian, you may be asked to provide evidence of your relationship. Evidence you can provide may include:

a birth or adoption certificate showing your relationship to your parent or guardian

a divorce or marriage certificate for your parent or guardian

4.1 If you’re not travelling with your parent or guardian

You should provide additional documents to show that your parent or guardian is aware of your travel plans and that they give you permission to enter the UK. Your application may be refused if you don’t.

You should provide a signed letter from your parent or guardian confirming your travel arrangements, including:

  • your parent or guardian’s consent for you to travel to the UK
  • who’s travelling with you – you’ll need to provide their passport number if they’re an adult
  • who’ll look after you while you’re in the UK
  • how you’ll travel to the UK
  • If your parent or guardian does not have a passport, you should provide another official document that includes their signature

5. Visiting for business purposes

  • the relationship between you and the sponsor, for example if they’re your family member or your employer)

6. Attendees of business-related events or conferences

If you are attending a business event or conference, you should provide a letter of invitation from the organiser of the event you are attending.

7. Intra-corporate visits

If you are visiting the UK to work with your UK based colleagues you should provide a letter from your employer confirming this, and if this will involve working with clients, your employer should confirm that this is not the main purpose of your visit.

8. Wet lease arrangements

If you are a pilot or cabin crew member travelling to the UK to work temporarily under a wet lease agreement, you should provide a letter from your employer confirming that you are employed by them and that a wet lease agreement is in place.

9. Visiting for training, research or paid engagements

9.1 academics coming to undertake research (12-month visa).

You should show that you’re highly qualified and working in your field at an academic or higher education institution. For example, you could provide:

  • a letter from your employer outlining the research to be undertaken
  • a letter from the UK host organisation confirming the arrangements for your research or exchange

You should check if you need a TB test .

You should check if your family members need a TB test if you’re bringing them to the UK with you.

9.2 Performers at one or more permit-free festivals

You may want to provide a letter of invitation from the organisers of each event, including the dates of your performances and details of any payments you’ll receive.

9.3 Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) test

You’ll need to provide a letter from the General Medical Council or Nursing and Midwifery Council confirming your test.

9.4 Work-related training – unpaid clinical attachments and dental observer posts

You’ll need to provide confirmation of your offer to undertake a clinical attachment or dental observer post, that it involves no treatment of patients and that you’ve not previously undertaken this activity in the UK.

You should provide an acceptance letter from your course provider confirming the details of the course.

9.6 Study – medical electives 

You must provide written confirmation from your UK Higher Education provider confirming you have been accepted to undertake an elective relevant to your course of study overseas.

9.7 Study – research placements  

You must provide confirmation from your overseas course provider that the research or research tuition is part of, or relevant to, the course you’re doing overseas.

9.8 Permitted Paid Engagements

You’ll need to provide an invitation letter showing why you’re carrying out the engagement and how long it’s for from a relevant UK-based organisation, such as:

  • a Higher Education institution
  • an organisation in the creative arts or entertainment industries
  • a sports organisation, agent or broadcaster
  • a research organisation
  • an aviation training organisation regulated by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority
  • a client, if you are a lawyer
  • the organiser of a conference or seminar confirming your invitation to speak at their event

You should provide evidence of professional status in your home country or expertise, depending on the engagement.

9.9 Lecturers or examiners

You can provide:

  • the names or details of your publications in your field of expertise
  • dates and times of lectures you’ve given in that field
  • a letter from your employer confirming where you work and your area of expertise

9.10 Entertainers/artists/sports people

  • dates and times of performances, screenings, concerts, talks, readings and exhibitions
  • details of any awards you’ve received
  • proof of recent performances

9.11 Air pilot examiners

You should provide evidence showing you’ve been invited by an approved training organisation. They must be based in the UK and regulated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority .

9.12 Lawyers

You’ll need to provide evidence that you’re a qualified lawyer, for example a practising certificate or equivalent document.

You should also show you’ve been invited to represent a client in the UK court, for example confirmation of your right to audience, or ‘temporary call’ (where required).

10. Visiting for private medical treatment

If you’re applying to visit the UK as an S2 Healthcare Visitor, you should read the specific guidance for S2 Healthcare Visitors

10.1 Private Medical Treatment

You’ll need to provide a letter written by a doctor or consultant , that includes:

  • details of the condition requiring consultation or treatment
  • estimated cost and likely duration of any treatment
  • details of where the consultation or treatment will take place.

If you are coming to the UK to receive medical treatment as part of a reciprocal healthcare arrangement between your country and the UK, you must provide an authorisation form from that country.

You should check if you need a TB test if you’re applying for an 11 month visa.

If you’re applying to extend your stay in the UK to receive private medical treatment you must show:

  • a letter explaining your medical condition from a registered medical practitioner
  • you’ve met the costs of the treatment you’ve already received

If you’re applying to extend your stay in the UK to continue receiving medical treatment as part of a reciprocal healthcare arrangement between your country and the UK, you must provide an authorisation form from that country which authorises further treatment.

10.2 Organ donors

You’ll need to provide a letter from either the lead nurse of the transplant team or a GMC-registered specialist , dated no more than 3 months before you intend to arrive in the UK, confirming:

  • you’re a confirmed match to the recipient with whom you have a genetic or close personal relationship, or you’re being tested to determine whether you are a potential donor
  • when and where the transplant or tests will take place

You should show the intended recipient is legally resident in the UK, such as a copy of their British passport or residence permit. You should provide the intended recipient’s name, nationality and date of birth if they are not legally resident in the UK and are applying for a visa at the same time.

11. Visiting for your marriage or civil partnership

You must apply for a marriage or civil partnership visitor visa to enter the UK to marry, form a civil partnership, or give notice of this.

You should provide evidence that you intend to give notice, marry or form a civil partnership during your stay, for example an appointment confirmation with a registrar or booking confirmation for your reception. If you’ve been married or in a civil partnership before, you should provide documents to show that you are free to marry or form a civil partnership.

You must be over 18.

12. Passing through the UK in transit

You should provide evidence that:

  • your outward journey from the UK has been confirmed and is within 48 hours of arrival, for example travel booking confirmation
  • you can enter the country you’re travelling to, for example a valid visa or residence permit

Further information can be found on the Visitor in Transit visa pages or in the Transit Guidance .

13. Documents you should not use as evidence

Some types of documents are less useful as evidence in visit applications. These include:

  • bank statements or letters issued more than 1 year before the date of application
  • credit card statements
  • driving licence
  • educational certificates that are not listed as required for your visa
  • evidence of car ownership
  • personal photographs
  • notarial certificates
  • business cards
  • hotel bookings
  • flight bookings (unless transiting)
  • photocopies of bank cards
  • certificates relating to leisure activities, for example sports trophies
  • travel insurance
  • sponsor’s utility bills
  • sponsor’s council tax bills

You may be asked to provide additional information by a decision maker.

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