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England Passport and Visas Information
- Citizens of other member states of the European Union do not require a passport or visa, merely an identification card, and have residency and (for the most part) working rights in the UK. Citizens of Ireland have additional rights, including being able to vote in parliamentary elections. However, citizens of Bulgaria and Romania currently need permission to work.
- Citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland have the same residency and working rights as EU citizens.
- Citizens of American Samoa, Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Bonaire, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominica, East Timor, El Salvador, Federated States of Micronesia, French Guiana, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Kiribati, Lesotho, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Namibia, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niue, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Reunion, Saba, South Korea, St Eustatius, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Maarten, St Vincent & The Grenadines, San Marino, Singapore, Swaziland, Tahiti and her Islands, Taiwan, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Tuvalu, Uruguay, United States, US Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Vatican City and Venezuela (holders of biometric passports only) require passports for entry, but do not require a visa for visits of up to 6 months in a one-year period, though require entry clearance for purposes other than visiting as a tourist or business visitor. However, the entry clearance normally prohibits one from undertaking employment or accessing public funds, such as the NHS, and it is nonextendable past the maximum permitted stay.
- Recently added as a visa exemption is a student visitor category, where a person may receive an entry clearance for the purposes of undertaking a short course of study of no more than six months, but only on the condition that the student not be seeking gainful employment or the possibility of extending their stay beyond six months. Persons not eligible to apply for entry clearance upon arrival can apply for a student visitor clearance at a British Embassy, High Commission, or Consulate, but the same restrictions apply.
- Most other countries and purposes will require a visa, which can be obtained from the nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. All UK visa applicants are required to provide biometric data (10-digit fingerprints and a biometric digital photograph) as part of the application process. You will have to go to your nearest visa application centre in person to provide your biometrics.
- All non-EU visitors should expect to be asked by the Immigration Officer upon arrival to demonstrate that they have a) a return ticket to leave the United Kingdom or sufficient funds to meet the cost of an onwards plane ticket, b) a valid address at which they will be staying in the United Kingdom and c) sufficient funds with which to support themselves during their stay. An inability to demonstrate these three basics may lead to a refusal of leave to enter or a grant of restricted leave.
- The United Kingdom has converted the previous visa categories (except for student visitor, business, tourist, transit, and a few others) into a five-tiered points-based system, meaning that you will be required to satisfy specific and non-negotiable criteria before the visa is issued. Points-based system visa fees are very high, so it may be wise to see if the purpose of your visit can be satisfied under a different, non-points based system visa.