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Visiting the United Kingdom

Visiting the United Kingdom

Visitors are able to come to the United Kingdom for up to 180 days at any one time to undertake a wide range of permitted activities. For example, visitors can attend conferences and meetings, attend interviews, gather information for their work overseas, give and receive training in most circumstances.

Some nationals, known as “Visa nationals”, require visas before they travel to the United Kingdom, for example those from China, India or South Africa. Applications for visitor visas are made at a local visa application centre and a vignette is placed into the passport.

From 1 January 2021, EEA nationals will be classified as non-visa nationals, joining other countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia. EEA nationals will therefore not be required to obtain a visa before they travel to the United Kingdom to visit. Instead, they will simply be able to travel to the United Kingdom and apply on arrival for entry as a visitor, either by presenting their passports to an Immigration Officer or by going through the e-gates at the border.

Visitors will now be able to undertake a course of study with an accredited institution for up to 6 months. Recreational courses for leisure can be undertaken for up to 30 days. 

It is important to note that visitors are not permitted to undertake any work or long-term study in the United Kingdom, beyond certain permitted activities, while holding this status. Visitors are also prohibited from using the visitor route to reside in the UK long term.