British VISAs

Despite many Brits, moaning about out of control immigration the UK has very tough immigration laws. Before applying to live in the country, you should ensure that you have all of the necessary visas and documentation required for entry, otherwise be prepared to be sent packing.

Who needs a British VISA?

If you are not a British citizen, you might need entry permission to enter the UK. The Home Office has three categories based on entry requirements:

  • Citizens of the European Union: People from one of the Unions member states do not require entry clearance to enter the UK. Citizens from Norway, Lichtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland also fall into this category. The UK has seen a massive influx of eastern Europeans over recent years.
  • Non-Visa nationals: These people only need a Visa if coming to the country to settle down of find work. This category is mostly comprised of peoples from the Commonwealth. On arrival in the UK, you will be given an entry stamp to the UK for 6 months. If you wish to extend your stay, you will need to apply to the Home Office and pay a fee.
  • Visa nationals: Must have a Visa to be granted entry.

You will also need a visa if you:

  • Are stateless (you do not have a nationality).
  • Hold a non-national travel document (a travel document which does not give you the nationality or citizenship of the country that issued it).
  • Hold a passport issued by an authority unrecognised in the UK.

How to apply for a VISA?

To apply for a Visa you will need all of the following documents:

  • A Visa application form that you can obtain for free from your nearest British embassy or you can download it from
  • A valid passport or travel documentation.
  • Two or three recent passport-sized colour photos.
  • Any supporting documents required.

Supporting documents can include:

  • A work permit.
  • Evidence of qualifications.
  • Evidence that you can support yourself and any family members, bank statements or a letter from your bank are acceptable.
  • A valid passport.

The Visa application process can be as quick as 24 hours but it also pays to ensure you apply long in advance before your move.


To become a British citizen you need to fulfil certain conditions, be aware that the rules and regulations for citizenship change on a fairly regular basis.

  • To have been a permanent resident in the UK for at least one year.
  • To have legally lived in the UK for a minimum of 5 complete years (with no more than 450 days spent abroad, and no more than 90 days on the year leading up to the application).
  • Intend to continue living in the UK.
  • Have adequate knowledge of English, Gaelic or Welsh.
  • Be of “good character” (i.e. have no criminal record).