The United Kingdom Passenger Locator Form allows health officials in the UK to track who is entering the country, what their COVID-19 status is, and whether they are following the required COVID-19 protocols.
The form also allows the government to contact people already in the UK if someone they traveled with develops COVID-19 or if they get exposed while they are in the UK. The health form is easy to fill out and makes travel during COVID times safer for everyone.
The United Kingdom has a visa waiver for travelers from Bahrain Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.
Until the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020, the United Kingdom (U.K.) was a member of the European Union and allowed free travel to all EEA, Swiss, and E.U. nationals.
As per the upcoming changes in the entry policy of the United Kingdom, the country will mandate digital travel authorization for all visa-exempt travelers before they enter the country. It is being seen as the most significant overhaul of the U.K.’s border control regulations in many years. According to the changes being made in the UK visa policy, citizens of the following countries can enter the nation without prior scrutiny:
The countries mentioned above, along with some other countries, will all be obligated to apply for and pay for Electronic Travel Authorisation. The plan is anticipated to be entirely implemented by the end of 2024. Exemptions from this program will be given to holders of British and Irish passports, individuals with settled status in the U.K., and those possessing "permission to live, work, or study."
The U.K. government asserts that the ETA scheme will enhance border security, drawing parallels to similar systems employed by nations like the United States of America and Canada. Under the present rules, the U.K. has admitted to needing more accurate data concerning the number of individuals entering and departing the country. Although the price of the ETA is yet to be confirmed, it will likely be on par with those of similar programs.
Foreigners who wish to visit the United Kingdom to work, study, or for tourism purposes will require a UK visa, depending on their nationality. All travelers intending to visit the country must obtain a visa for the U.K. unless they are from visa-exempt nations.
The following individuals are allowed to enter the U.K., the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands without a visa :
Mandatory tuberculosis testing is required for a long-term UK visa. Individuals planning to enter the U.K. but not eligible for any of the visa exemptions are required to apply for a visa beforehand through a designated visa application center for the UK visa application. All incoming visitors (if eligible) are required to apply for the UK visa by creating an online account. The exception to this rule is citizens of North Korea, who are obligated to apply in person at the British Embassy. The process entails filling in an application form, paying the requisite fee, and attending a scheduled appointment at a visa application center.
Family members of the European Union., EEA and Swiss citizens who are not protected by any of the visa exemptions can apply for an EEA Family Permit, free of charge, as an alternative to a visa for the U.K.
Applicants applying for most types of UK visas, including a visitor’s visa and an EEA Family Permit, must submit biometric identifiers, consisting of all fingerprints and a digital facial image, as part of the visa application process. However, diplomats, foreign government ministers and officials, and members of Commonwealth Forces are excluded from this requirement.
Those who have received a new passport and are merely seeking a transfer of their visa vignette from their old passport to the new one are also exempted from re-submitting biometric identifiers. The same exemption applies to applicants traveling directly to the Channel Islands or Gibraltar without passing through the U.K. or the Isle of Man.
When children’s biometric identifiers are collected, they must be accompanied by an adult. The gathered biometric identifiers may be shared with foreign governments and are destroyed ten years after the last date a person’s fingerprints and a digital facial image were captured. Most visa decisions for the United Kingdom are made within a 3-week timeframe.
Visas for the United Kingdom come in various types to cater to different purposes and needs. Travelers may need to apply for different UK visas for the purpose of their visit, such as
For those intending to study in the U.K., Student visas for courses, degrees, and independent schools are accessible. The types of study visas for the U.K. include the standard Student visa and the Child Student visa. Individuals can also apply for a Short-term study visa to study English in the U.K. It is worth noting that if a student’s education provider loses their sponsor license, there are measures in place through the UK visa sponsorship management system.
Individuals who wish to visit the U.K. for tourism, business, or a short stay (up to 6 months), as well as airport transit, have several options. These include the Standard Visitor visa, the visa for a Permitted Paid Engagement, the transit visa for the U.K., and the Marriage Visitor visa. An electronic visa waiver is also available to enter the U.K. There is a specific visa for Chinese tour groups.
Work visas for the U.K. are many, covering situations like Skilled Worker visas, Graduate visas, and various other work conditions, including the right to work. Some popular work visas include Health and Care Worker and Skilled Worker visas. There are also visas one can apply for without a job offer, like the British National (Overseas) visa, the Graduate visa, the Youth Mobility Scheme visa, the India Young Professionals Scheme visa, and more. For those seeking to work in the U.K. for an overseas employer, there are numerous options like the Senior or Specialist Worker visa and the Overseas Domestic Worker visa, among others.
The Start-up visa and Innovator Founder visa are available for individuals wishing to start a business. Other work visas and permits like the International Sportsperson and Minister of Religion visas are also available.
Family members intending to join their relatives in the U.K. can opt for Partner, spouse, dependent, and family member visas and permits.
For E.U., EEA, and Swiss citizens, the Settled and pre-settled status, E.U. Settlement Scheme family permit, and Frontier Worker permit are available.
UK Visa for Ukrainians
Ukrainians and their families can apply for a Ukraine Family Scheme visa, Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme visa, and Homes for Ukraine.
Commonwealth citizens and British nationals (overseas) can apply for the BNO visa, right of abode, or U.K. Ancestry visa. Individuals looking to live permanently in the U.K. can explore ways to settle in the U.K., apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), and investigate routes to British citizenship. Those seeking protection or asylum can claim asylum as a refugee and access the asylum process and support. Appeals against a visa, settlement, or asylum decision can be made for immigration appeals and status problems. For traveling to the U.K., provisions are made for moving belongings, going through customs, and addressing tax issues.
To visit the U.K., an individual must demonstrate that they are a genuine visitor. This can be achieved by providing evidence of the following aspects:
With the exception of passports, all documents can be original, scanned, or photocopied. Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a complete translation that the Home Office can independently confirm. Each translation should include the translator’s confirmation that it’s an accurate translation of the original document, the translation date, the translator’s full name and signature, and the translator’s contact information.
Multiple copies of the same documents are unnecessary if applying as a family or group. Specific guidance for ADS visitors should be read if the application is being made to visit the U.K. as part of a Chinese tour group.
It is important to understand that submitting or presenting any of the documents listed below does not ensure a successful visa application for a U.K. visitor visa or entry at the border. Therefore, any bookings, particularly those requiring a visitor visa application for the U.K., should be made with caution. The document requirements for different purposes are as follows:
A legal document showing the relationship between the child and at least one of their parents or guardians should be shown. A copy of the photo page of at least one parent’s or guardian’s passport should also be shown unless they apply for a visa. If the parent or guardian has no passport, another official document with their signature should be provided.
If the Child is not Traveling with their Parent or Guardian
Travelers may need to provide additional documents showing that the parent or guardian is aware of the child’s travel plans and has permitted them to enter the U.K. should be provided.
Evidence must be provided showing the support, how it’s being provided, the relationship between the individual and the sponsor, and the sponsor’s legal status in the U.K.
Individuals are required to apply for a marriage or civil partnership visitor visa to enter the U.K. for the purpose of marriage, forming a civil partnership, or giving notice of either unless they are from the E.U., EEA, or Switzerland. After July 1, 2021, E.U., EEA, and Swiss nationals are also required to apply for this visa.
Evidence of intent to give notice, marry or form a civil partnership should be provided, such as an appointment confirmation with a registrar or booking confirmation for the reception. If an individual has previously been married or in a civil partnership, documents demonstrating their eligibility to marry or form a civil partnership should be provided. Individuals must be over 18 years old.
Evidence should be provided that confirms the following:
For the UK visa, certain types of documents are less useful as evidence in visit applications. These include:
Bank statements or letters issued more than one year before the date of application
Individuals may be asked to provide additional information by the UK visa decision-making authorities.
An applicant interested in obtaining a UK visa can apply and pay for most visas online. If there are dependants who wish to accompany the applicant to the U.K., each person will need to submit an individual application and pay the required visa fee separately.
Individuals can apply for a visa for the United Kindom in the following timeframe:
Settlement applications may take up to 6 months to process. They must be approved before the applicant arrives in the U.K. If granted permission to settle in the U.K., the applicant must travel before this permission expires.
The applicant may be able to pay for a faster decision on the UK visa application, depending on the following:
If the applicant wishes to amend something in their application after submission, they must contact the embassy of the United Kingdom for guidance.
Each visa type carries a fee, which varies depending on the type of UK. visa applied for. The fee is the same for each family member who applies to accompany the applicant to the U.K.
A UK visa for single or multiple visits spanning up to 6 months is priced at 95 Pound Sterling (117.85 USD). A multiple-entry visitor’s visa for the U.K. with a validity of 2 years costs 361 Pound Sterling (447.82 USD). A visa for the United Kingdom, valid for five years, costs 655 Pound Sterling (812.52 USD), and another UK Visa valid for ten years costs 822 Pound Sterling (1019.69 USD).
However, for certain common travel purposes, Chinese citizens can obtain a 2-year, multiple-entry visitor’s visa for the United Kingdom at a reduced cost of 95 Pound Sterling (117.85 USD).
Individuals applying for a UK visa may face some challenges with respect to the UK visa application. Foreign applicants must ensure that the information on the visa form is not inaccurate. Applicants must have a valid passport with a validity of at least six months, and two blank pages on the passport are necessary. Individuals applying for a UK visa must establish strong ties to their home country, or their visa application may get rejected.
Some tips for foreigners applying for a UK visa are as follows:
The applicant will need to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of the application process if:
It is possible to apply for a UK visa on behalf of another person. This could be, for example, a relative abroad without access to a computer or a child who needs help to apply independently. The applicant or their parent/guardian (if under 18) must grant permission for this. Remember, the applicant’s details should be entered into the UK visa form, not those of the person assisting with the application.
If the applicant is coming to the U.K. for more than six months, they may need to take a T.B. test for the visa application. The applicant should check whether a T.B. test is required. If required, a certificate showing the applicant does not have a T.B. must be provided with the UK visa application.
According to the UK visa policy, travelers may be able to extend their visas in the United Kingdom if they are in the country for less than six months. They can extend the UK visa for up to six months. Travelers must note that they will only be allowed to stay in the United Kingdom for six more months only if they are receiving medical treatment.
If the applicant wishes to amend their application after submission, they should contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The applicant can appeal to cancel their visa application. A refund of the application fee will only be provided if UKVI has not begun processing the application.
Hence, navigating the U.K. entry policy can be challenging if a foreigner is not aware of a visa type best suited for an individual based on the individual’s circumstances. Therefore, it is recommended that interested applicants contact the Embassy of the United Kingdom to learn more about the UK visa requirements and application process.