Who needs a visa?

Living in Europe, Working in Europe | Entry conditions/visas, Work permit | United Kingdom

Before travelling to the UK check if you will need a visa to enter the UK to visit, for work or to study. Visa requirements differ from person to person and are based on their nationality, reason for travelling to the UK, family status, and length of stay. 

Understanding your immigration requirements is the first step to successfully applying for your visa. You must apply for and obtain a visa before travelling to the UK.

You may need a visa, depending on where you come from and what you intend to do while you are in the UK.

If you are coming to the UK for

  • employment
  • study
  • research
  • or as an entrepreneur

You will need to apply for a visa.

Further details are available on the UK Visas and Immigration's (UKVI) website.

‘Family members’ in this context include your spouse or partner, your child under-18 or your child over-18, if they’re in the UK as a dependant.

It is very likely that your family will need to apply for a visa to enter the UK. Conditions for application can vary dependent on your and your family’s nationality.

If you have a valid work or student visa, your family must also apply for a visa to join or remain with you.

If you are an EEA or Swiss national but members of your family are not, it’s likely that they will need a visa or EEA family permit to come to the UK. You may also be able to bring ‘extended’ family members (e.g. parents), who are not EEA or Swiss nationals with a family permit.

For further information and application details go to the UK Visas and Immigration website.

There are strict regulations about bringing animals into the UK. UK Visas and Immigration 's (UKVI) website offers advice on bringing animals into the UK.

If you are a national from a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland you may need to apply for the UK's points-based immigration system. This system is in effect from 1 January 2021 following Brexit.

If you have settled or pre-settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme your rights to live, study and work in the UK are unchanged and protected.

If you or your close family members started living in the UK before 1 January 2021, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme until June 2021.

Otherwise you need a visa to work, study or do business in the UK.

Irish citizens do not need to apply for a visa or to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Members of the EU: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU) but citizens of these countries have the same rights to enter and live in the United Kingdom as EU citizens.

Switzerland is neither an EU nor an EEA member but is part of the single market - this means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.

Do I need a visa for employment

If you plan to take up a job in the UK as a post-graduate or postdoctoral researcher, a lecturer, professor, or other senior-level researcher, you will need to apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa which lasts for up to 3 years, and which can be extended up to a maximum of a five years stay. Your UK employer will need to provide documentation and evidence that there is no suitable candidate already in the UK.

Do I need a visa as an entrepreneur?

If you are a researcher planning to develop a business in the UK you do not need an offer of employment but you will need to apply instead for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, depending on your career stage and whether you are applying from within or from outside the UK.