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UK Visa for Green Card Holders
U.S. permanent residents may need a UK visa for green card holders to travel to the United Kingdom, depending on their nationality and the purpose of travel. If you usually require a visa to enter the UK from your country of origin, you have to apply for one. The UK government issues a range of visa types that fit every visitor based on the purpose of entry.
In this blog post, we’ll explain the UK visa process for green card holders and help you navigate it smoothly. You’ll also learn about the documents necessary for a UK visa application.
Do Green Card Holders Need a Visa for the UK?
You may have to apply for a UK visa for green card holders to travel to London from the US, even as a green card holder. U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are citizens from UK Visa-Free countries do not need to apply for a visa when traveling for tourism or business purposes. However, the exemption is capped for stays up to six months.
Green card holders whose countries aren’t on the UK Visa-Exempt list may have to apply for a visa. Your nationality and purpose of travel are key factors in determining if you will receive a UK visa.
Everyone, including US citizens, who intend to stay in the UK for more than 180 days, must apply for a visa. The visa exemptions apply for short-term stays, during which the individual should not work.
What Type of UK Visa for Green Card Holders Do You Need?
The first step towards a successful visa application for U.S. permanent residents is to decide which type of UK visa for green card holders you need for your specific purpose of entry. The UK offers several types of visas for different purposes, including the following.
UK Work Visa
UK work visas may appeal to U.S. permanent residents that receive temporary employment opportunities in the UK. The work permit allows you to engage in legal, income-yielding activities. You may need to provide proof of employment and other supporting documents when applying for the visa.
UK Business Visitor Visa
A UK Business Visitor Visa is issued to business people who wish to invest or conduct business within the UK. The applicant must possess a valid passport from their country of origin and other supporting documents before applying. A U.S. citizen doesn’t require this visa if the visit period is less than six months.
UK Student Visa
A UK student visa type is issued to international students who wish to study within the UK. The specific student visa ranges from as short as thirty-day to long-term study visas covering the entire schooling period. You may have to provide a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) letter and other documents as proof.
UK Transit Visa
The UK government issues the Transit visa to individuals passing through the UK to their primary destination. A UK Transit Visa for green card holders is necessary for permanent residents whose country of origin isn’t on the UK Visa-Free list and who need to use the UK as a transit country. The Transit visas can either be Direct Airside Transit Visa or a Visitor in Transit Visa .
UK Family Visa
The Family Visa category allows an individual to visit family members living or working in the UK and wish to join them for more than six months as their dependents. Immigration officials may request specific supporting documents before issuing the visa.
UK Tourist Visa
If you wish to travel from the US to the UK for leisure, you can obtain a UK tourist visa. The visa is typically short-term, used for six months or less.
While travel issuance isn’t necessary, the coverage can keep your out-of-pocket costs low in case of a medical emergency. Check out Aegis Travel Insurance to find a plan that suits your travel needs.
How to Apply for a UK Visa for Green Card Holders
The application process for a UK visa for green card holders involves several steps, including choosing the correct visa type, meeting the eligibility requirements, completing the application form, paying the fee, and providing the required documents. You may also need to attend a visa appointment depending on your visa type and location.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of the steps you need to take for a successful application.
1. Pick the Right Visa Type
The first step is to pick the correct UK visa for green card holders, depending on the specific purpose of your visit to the UK. You can determine what type of visa to apply for by using a simple check provided by the immigration department.
2. Fill Out Your Online Application Form
You need to fill out an online UK visa application form. Ensure that all the information provided is factual, as any disparities in the information provided can lead to a declined application. You may also need to pay the respective visa fees .
3. Book and Attend Your Biometrics Appointment
The next step involves booking an appointment for your biometric testing. The U.S. has over 130 Application Support Centers (ASCs) that you can visit to provide your biometric information(digital photograph and fingerprinting.) At the appointment, you should carry the following:
- Your passport
- A printed out of your completely-filled application form
- A copy of your biometric application receipt
After the biometric submission, you need to find out the supporting documents required at the embassy for your UK visa for green card holders.
4. Submit Visa Application to the Embassy for Approval
After gathering all the required documents, you must mail your application to the British Consulate General office in New York to get your UK visa for green card holders. The wait time may vary depending on the visa type and the need for additional supporting documents.
Documents Needed for a UK Visa for Green Card Holders
You may have to provide additional documents for your UK visa for green card holders application. Standard application documents include:
- Current passport
- Two passport photographs
- Complete application form
- Proof of Financial Means to support your UK stay (if needed)
- Proof of Accommodation (if required)
- Detailed travel itinerary (if requested)
- UK Visa invitation letter (if applicable)
- Tuberculosis test results (if required)
You can verify with the consulate the UK visa requirements for submission to the embassy.
The Benefits of Travel Insurance for US Green Card Holders
If you are a U.S. permanent resident who wishes to travel to the UK, you may need to apply for a UK visa for green card holders. You must pick the right UK visa type, complete the online application, schedule and attend your biometric appointment, and send your application to the British Consulate.
You may need to provide supporting documents to justify your trip to the UK. While travel insurance isn’t required, coverage can protect you or your family if a medical emergency occurs. Contact Aegis Travel Insurance to get a custom quote for travel to the UK.
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Can a US green card holder travel to UK without visa: A comprehensive guide
Updated: September 8, 2023
As a US green card holder, you may wonder if you can travel to the UK without a visa. The question often comes up: can a US green card holder travel to UK without visa?
In this article, you will learn whether US green card holders require visas to travel to the UK. If a visa is required, we will discuss the application process and necessary documentation.
Can a US green card holder travel to UK without visa?
A US green card is not sufficient to travel to the UK. Those with a passport that allows visa-free entry into the UK do not require a visa. Those with a passport that requires a visa for the UK, must obtain a UK visa prior to the trip.
That being said, your green card allows you to transit via any airport in the UK. As a lawful permanent resident of the US, you do not require a UK transit visa for airside transit within the UK.
If you need to leave the airport, you may be able to do so by requesting a 24-hour entry. In order to obtain a 24-hour entry at an airport in the UK, you must be traveling to or from the US and your next flight out from the UK must be within 24 hours.
At the immigration check at the UK airport, you must present your US permanent resident status and onward boarding pass. This 24-hour entry is only available at Heathrow Airport in London.
UK visa requirements for US green card holders
As a US green card holder, the visa requirements for traveling to the UK depend on your nationality. If you hold a passport from a country that doesn’t require a visa for the UK, you do not need a visa for tourism and visiting friends and family. You can stay in the UK for up to 6 months without a visa.
If you hold a passport that requires a visa for the UK, then you will have to apply for a UK visa from the US prior to your trip to the UK
There are many VISA-FREE countries for US green card holders , but unfortunately, the UK is not one of them. You must apply for a UK visitor visa.
UK visa application for US green card holders
You can apply for your UK visa from anywhere. But I recommend applying for your UK visa from the US. As a lawful permanent resident of the United States, you will have strong ties with the US. Your chances of approval are higher and the visa processing is quicker if you apply from the US.
UK visa application is a multi-step process. You will have to fill out an online application form first. At the end of your online application, you will have to schedule a biometrics appointment at one of your nearest Application Support Centers (ASC).
You must carry your passport and ASC appointment confirmation letter for your biometric appointment. Your biometrics are taken and your ASC appointment letter will be stamped.
After your ASC appointment, you must mail your passport, application form, additional documents and a UPS return shipping label to the UK consulate in New York via VFS Global.
The processing time for UK visas in the US is about 15 working days. The processing time is 5 working days if you opt for priority processing for a fee.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can i visit uk with green card.
A US green card is not sufficient to visit the UK. You would need a passport that grants you visa-free entry into the UK or you must apply for a UK visa prior to your trip.
If your passport requires a visa for the UK, you will have to plan your UK trip much early. You must start with the UK visa process first. On successful visa application, you can plan further such as booking your flight tickets, hotels, etc.
Can US permanent residents travel to UK?
US permanent residents are nothing but US green card holders. Whether you require a visa for the UK depends on your passport.
Your US permanent resident card is not sufficient to travel to the UK especially if your passport requires a visa for the UK. Such lawful permanent residents of the US must apply for a UK visa prior to the UK trip.
Can U.S. Citizens travel to UK without visa?
Yes. US citizens can travel to the UK without a visa. US passport holders can enter and stay in the UK for up to 180 days without a visa for purposes of tourism or visiting family or friends.
Your US passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the day of arrival. You must also carry proof of return or onward ticket.
How long does it take to get a UK visa for green card holders?
The processing time for the UK visitor visa in the US is up to 15 working days. Depending on the complexity of the application and the time of the year, the processing can take even longer.
If you opt for priority processing for a fee, you may be able to get a result in just 5 working days.
The processing time is not guaranteed so you must apply for your UK visa well in advance to void any delays.
US green card holders may require a visa to travel to the UK depending on their nationality. If you hold a passport that requires a visa for the UK, then you must apply for a UK visa prior to your trip.
UK visa application is a multi-step process. You will have to fill out an online application, attend a biometric appointment and mail your passport to the UK consulate.
WRITTEN BY THIRUMAL MOTATI
Thirumal Motati is an expert in tourist visa matters. He has been traveling the world on tourist visas for more than a decade. With his expertise, he has obtained several tourist visas, including the most strenuous ones such as the US, UK, Canada, and Schengen, some of which were granted multiple times. He has also set foot inside US consulates on numerous occasions. Mr. Motati has uncovered the secrets to successful visa applications. His guidance has enabled countless individuals to obtain their visas and fulfill their travel dreams. His statements have been mentioned in publications like Yahoo, BBC, The Hindu, and Travel Zoo.
PLAN YOUR TRAVEL WITH VISA TRAVELER
I highly recommend using these websites to plan your trip. I use these websites myself to apply for my visas, book my flights and hotels and purchase my insurance.
01. Apply for your visa
You can get a verifiable flight itinerary for your visa application from Visa Reservation . Flight itineraries from Visa Reservation are valid for 2 weeks and work for all visa applications.
02. Book your fight
You can find the cheapest flight tickets using Skyscanner . Skyscanner includes all budget airlines and you are guaranteed to find the cheapest flight to your destination.
03. Book your hotel
You can book your hotel from Booking.com . Booking.com has pretty much every hotel, hostel and guesthouse from every destination.
04. Get your onward ticket
If traveling on a one-way ticket, use BestOnwardTicket to get proof of onward ticket for just $12, valid for 48 hours.
05. Purchase your insurance
You can purchase travel medical insurance for your trip from HeyMondo (for short trips + 5% discount for visa traveler readers), SafetyWing (for longer trips) or VisitorsCoverage (for US trips).
06. Get your travel SIM card
You can get an eSIM card instantly from Airalo . These eSIMs from Airalo are cheap and easy to set up. You can get connected and ready to go as soon as you land in your new destination.
07. Get your zero-fee ATM card
You can manage money internationally in over 70 currencies using Wise . With a Wise card, you can store and withdraw cash in 40 currencies with zero ATM fees.
Need more? Check out my travel resources page for the best websites to plan your trip.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER We are not affiliated with immigration, embassies or governments of any country. The content in this article is for educational and general informational purposes only, and shall not be understood or construed as, visa, immigration or legal advice. Your use of information provided in this article is solely at your own risk and you expressly agree not to rely upon any information contained in this article as a substitute for professional visa or immigration advice. Under no circumstance shall be held liable or responsible for any errors or omissions in this article or for any damage you may suffer in respect to any actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the information in this article. Please refer to our full disclaimer for further information.
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U.S. Embassy & Consulates in the United Kingdom
Social / search, lawful permanent residents (lprs).
If you are interested in applying for an immigrant or fiancé(e) visa because you want to travel to the U.S. to live there as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), click here for a list of all the available visa categories and information about how to file a petition.
If you have been living in the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and you are now in the United Kingdom, see below for the answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Important: Admission to the United States is a matter for U.S. immigration officials at the U.S. Port of Entry. No issuance can be given in advance.
The USCIS Field office in London closed permanently on July 31, 2020. LPRs living in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Switzerland who previously received assistance from USCIS London should refer to the information below.
1) Can I return to the United States with my Permanent Residence Card ("Green Card") ?
If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and you have maintained your status by being outside of the U.S. for no more than 12 months (or under 2 years if holding a Re-Entry Permit issued before departing the United States) and by maintaining an unrelinquished domicile in the U.S., you may travel to a U.S. Port of Entry to apply for admission with a valid Permanent Resident Card (‘Green Card’).
- If you entered the United States with an immigrant visa and departed before your Permanent Resident Card was issued, the stamp in your passport will act like a Permanent Resident Card for 12 months from the date of initial entry.
- This information is for guidance only. It is your responsibility to ensure that you maintain your LPR status. See the USCIS website for more information. Admission to the U.S. is a matter for U.S. immigration officials at the U.S. Port of Entry and no assurances can be given in advance.
2) My Permanent Resident Card is lost, stolen, expired, or damaged. Do I need a transportation letter/boarding foil (Form I-131A)?
If you are not in possession of your Permanent Resident Card, you may apply for a transportation boarding foil in order to facilitate boarding by the airline. A boarding foil is valid for a maximum of 30 days and for a single entry to the United States.
You may apply for a transportation boarding foil if you are an LPR and:
- You are returning from temporary international travel of less than one year and your Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card or Form I-551) has been lost, stolen or destroyed.
- You are returning from temporary international travel of less than two years and your reentry permit (Form I-327) has been lost, stolen or destroyed.
The length of your absence from the United States will be measured from the time you departed the U.S. to the time you pay the fee for filing Form I-131A.
If you are an LPR with an expired Green Card, you may not need to file apply for a boarding foil
Although regulations generally require an LPR to travel with a valid Green Card, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) policy permits a transportation carrier bound for the United States to board an LPR without carrier documentation if:
- You are an LPR with an expired Green Card that was issued with a 10-year expiration date
- You are an LPR with an expired Green Card with a two-year expiration date AND you also have a Form I-797, Notice of Action, for Form I-751 or Form I-829 to remove the conditions on your permanent resident status. The Notice of Action extends the validity of the Green Card for a specified length of time, generally one year.
We encourage you to check with your airline or vessel before applying for a boarding foil.
How to apply for a boarding foil
If you believe you have maintained your LPR status and require a boarding foil to reenter the United States, please complete and submit this contact form.
The Immigrant Visa Unit will contact you within two business days.
If you qualify to apply for a boarding foil, you will be required to complete Form I-131A , Application for Travel Document and pay a boarding foil fee. You will also be required to visit the U.S. Embassy in London and apply in person to attend a pre-scheduled interview.
Processing times will depend on the circumstances of your case and the amount of information and evidence you provide. If your application is approved, we aim to process your boarding foil within three business days.
Once issued, the transportation boarding foil will be attached to your passport page and returned to you via DX courier. The U.S Embassy is unable to accommodate a same day turnaround service.
Important: No same day appointments or same day services are available. We cannot process boarding foil requests in the evenings or on weekends, U.S. or UK public holidays, or without an appointment.
3) How long can I stay outside the United States?/What should I do if I have been outside the U.S. for longer than a year/beyond the validity period of my reentry permit?
How long can i stay outside the united states.
- U.S. law presumes that LPRs will live in the United States permanently. Therefore, remaining outside the United States for an extended period results in a loss of LPR status.
- To maintain your LPR status, you should stay out of the United States for no more than 12 months (or no more than two years with a reentry permit obtained before leaving the U.S.).
- We suggest that you plan to return to the United States well before that time in case of any unexpected travel delays.
- If you know you before you leave the United States that you will be out of the United States for an extended period, you can apply for a reentry permit through USCIS. This allows an absence from the United States of up to 24 months. It is not possible to apply for a reentry permit after you have left the United States.
- If you stay out of the U.S. for 12 months or more (or two years or more with a reentry permit), you will lose your LPR status.
- The only exception to this is U.S. Government personnel (military and direct-hire civil service employees) and their spouses and minor children. If they are LPRs, they may remain outside the United States for the duration of their official overseas assignment plus four months.
How can I return to the United States if I have lost my LPR status?
- If you want to return to the United States to live there indefinitely or permanently, click here for information about the circumstances under which a former LPR may qualify for Returning Resident status. If you do not qualify for Returning Resident status, a new immigrant visa petition will be required.
- If you want to travel to the U.S. for a visit only, you will first be required to formally abandon your LPR status by filing Form I-407. See FAQ 4 below for details.
4) How can I abandon my LPR status?/How can I file Form I-407?
How can i file form i-407 to formally abandon my lpr status.
You must submit your Form I-407 to the USCIS Eastern Forms Center. Click here to visit the USCIS website to obtain the form and information about how to submit it .
If you have questions about the status of a Form I-407 that you have already filed, please contact the USCIS Contact Center .
- Expect the processing of your Form I-407 to take several months.
- An endorsed copy of your form will be returned to you. Make sure you store the copy of Form I-407 safely. You should carry the form with you when you travel to the United States.
How can I travel to the United States after I have abandoned my LPR status?
Click here for information about nonimmigrant visas and the Visa Waiver Program.
5) I applied for a reentry permit before I left the United States. When will it be available/how can I collect it?
Please click here to contact Embassy London’s Immigrant Visa Unit to check if your reentry permit has arrived.
6) I have a question about filing taxes in the United States?/Am I required to file taxes?
- LPRs must file U.S. taxes.
- If you have questions after checking the IRS website , you may contact the IRS International Taxpayer Service Call Center in Philadelphia. Click here for contact details.
7) I am an LPR and I gave birth outside the United States. Does my child need a visa?
A child be granted Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status upon admission to the United States if all of the following criteria are met:
- The child is under the age of 2 and was born during a temporary absence of an LPR mother
- The child is accompanying an LPR parent who is traveling to the U.S. for the first time after the birth of the child, and the purpose of the parent’s travel is to resume residence in the United States
- The child’s long form birth certificate is presented at the Port of Entry
- Admission to the United States is a matter for CBP officials at the U.S. Port of Entry. Please contact CBP directly for more details .
The final determination on each individual’s eligibility for admission to the United States is a matter for the immigration officials at the U.S. Port of Entry. No assurances can be given in advance.
8) Can I have my fingerprints taken at the Embassy in connection with my USCIS application?
Due to the impact of COVID-19, we are not currently able to offer fingerprinting/biometrics appointments, and we do not have an estimated timeframe for when appointments will resume. We will update our website as soon as we can resume the service, so please keep checking regularly.
9) I'm in the U.S. military stationed overseas/a military family member/a veteran of the U.S. military. Can I file Form N-400 to apply to naturalize as a U.S. citizen?
Please see the USCIS website or call 800-375-5283 for Form N-400 filing instructions.
You can also visit this USCIS webpage for details of a dedicated email address and telephone help line for military members and their families plus veterans. If you are currently serving in the military, you can access the toll-free number through your base telephone operator or by using the Defense Switched Network (DSN).
Disclaimer – Footer This is the official website of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in The United Kingdom. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
Review -do green card holders need visa for uk, by [email protected] 3 years, introduction:.
The UK is based in Western Europe and is made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. This is bordered by the North Sea, the Pacific Ocean, and the Irish Sea. Most refugees may still stay in the UK, but it is also a wonderful place to visit. A UK visa is the compulsory permit that allows people across the globe the freedom to enter, remain indefinitely or reside permanently in British territory. You may need to display a current passport or other valid travel identification when applying. A visa is usually either a stamp you get in your passport or a certificate issued by a British consulate or embassy in your country of residence.
What are the common visa types of UK visa?
General visa types for folks traveling to the United Kingdom are below,
- Visitor Visa
- Student Visa
- Business Visitor Visa
- Tier 2 Work Visa
- Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer Visa
- Settlement Visa
- Transit Visa
Non-US citizens are eligible to apply for a UK visa in the USA?
Non-U.S. residents must obtain a valid permanent resident card (green card), a valid U.S. visa (e.g. H1B, F1) or an work permit card in order to apply.
Do Green Card Holders Need Visa for the UK?
Yes, green card holders need a visa for the UK. But some Non-US citizens are not required to apply for a UK visa. Use our visa widget to check whether you need to apply for a UK visa.
What conditions are to the applicant applying for a UK Visitor Visa?
Register under the following terms for a visitor visa to the UK:
- For vacations, tourism or a family visit
- To visit the UK for a time not exceeding six months.
- Think about leaving the UK at the end about your stay and
- Have enough money to support yourself and stay in Great Britain without working. You require any public-fund assistance.
What conditions are to the applicant applying for a UK Business Visa?
Applicants can apply for the UK business visa by the following conditions:
- Go to conferences, meetings, trade fairs or seminars
- Purchase, check descriptions of, or evaluate the products.
- Deliver goods from overseas, as a lorry driver, for example.
- Negotiate or sign treaties or trade agreements.
- Visit for interviews – including an entertainer or a sportsperson or
- Taking part in fact-finding missions, such as a journalist
- Perform as an adviser, consultant, trainer, or investigator
- Act as tour-group carriers
- Act as interpreters or translators
- Act as representatives of computer-software companies
- Perform as a representative of a foreign company
- Take part in training techniques and work practices
What conditions are to the applicant applying for a UK Student Visa or Tier 4 Visa?
You must be able to display that you have been admitted on a study course or for research time at an educational institution on the UK Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills Registry of Education and Training Providers.
What conditions are to the applicant applying for a Tier 2 Visa?
- Tier 2 General skill worker (For people who come to the United Kingdom with a job offer to fill a vacancy that cannot be filled from within the resident labor force; this category often refers to candidates who come to fill shortage occupations).
- Tier 2 Intra-company move (For workers of multi-national firms relocated to a professional job in a UK-based branch by an overseas employer of the company).
- Tier 2 Sportsperson (For the professional sportsmen and coaches whose jobs would contribute significantly to the advancement of their sport at the highest level).
- Tier 2 Minister of Religion (For those people who come to fill a vacancy as a religious minister, missionary, or leader of a religious order).
What conditions are to the applicant applying for a UK Settlement Visa?
- You aspire to settle as the wife, husband, civil partner, fiancé, fiancée, prospective civil partner, or unmarried spouse or same-sex partner of Someone who has relocated to the United Kingdom or is now ‘existing and settled’ in the United Kingdom.
- Adopted children come to follow one or both of their parents in the United Kingdom and children moving to the United Kingdom to be adopted.
- You want to live in the United Kingdom with friends who are now staying there.
What conditions are to the applicant applying for a UK Transit Visa?
If you are travelling through the United Kingdom to another final destination and are not the holder of a U.S. passport, you will need a transit visa. This refers to travel by air or by car or by sea. There are two subcategories for this form of visa:
Direct Air side transit: If you are switching planes in the very airport for fewer than 24 hours;
Visitor in Transit: all others.
How long will it going to take to get a UK Visa?
The UK Consulate aims to run a fast and efficient visa service. Last year, more than 90 percent of non-settlement cases were resolved within 24 hours. When an interview is needed, process requests for non-settlement within 15 working days, when you want to live in the UK, process your application within 12 weeks in most cases.
How long am I allowed to stay?
The last day you’re allowed to enter or be in the UK is the visa expiry day. Normally tourists to the UK can stay in the UK for up to six months at most.
What if my justification for moving to UK changes?
Usually, a visa is issued for a specific reason. When you change your reason for going to the UK, you will notify the visa office, preferably the one who gave your visa. You can be required to apply for yet another visa.
Will my UK friend or family member request to get me a visa?
UK visas can only be given at UK Overseas Entry clearance offices. If you need a visa, you’ll need to get one before moving to the UK.
What if I am refused a UK visa?
When you are denied a visa to enter the United Kingdom, the entry clearance officer must provide you with a written notice explicitly outlining the decision, and will also inform you of your appeal rights.
What are the UK visas you can apply with Click2Visas?
Apply Tourist E-Visa Single Entry to United Kingdom Tourist E-Visa Single Entry is mainly for sight-seeing and holidays. Most of these visas do not give the holder the right to work or start engaging in any business activity in the UK.
Apply Business E-visa Single Entry to United Kingdom Business E-Visa Single Entry is mostly a short-stay visa, which allows the holder to enter the UK and engage in business activities without entering the labour market of that country.
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- Entering and staying in the UK
- Visas and entry clearance
- UK visa requirements: list for carriers
- UK Visas and Immigration
UK visa requirements (accessible version)
Updated 15 November 2023
© Crown copyright 2023
This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: [email protected] .
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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-visa-requirements-list-for-carriers/uk-visa-requirements-for-international-carriers
Guidance to help carriers check their passengers’ travel documents. It lists the countries and territories of citizens who need a visa for the UK.
Nationals of countries and territories who need a visa to enter or transit the UK
- China (People’s Republic of) (2)
- Congo Dem. Republic
- Cyprus (northern part of) (3)
- El Salvador
- Eswatini (Swaziland)
- Ivory Coast
- Myanmar (Burma)
- North Macedonia
- Palestinian Territories
- Sierra Leone
- Somalia (3)
- South Africa (7)
- South Sudan
- Venezuela (non biometric)
- Vietnam (4) and (7)
Nationals of the countries and territories who need a visa to enter or transit the UK landside
- Bahrain (1, 5)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Burkina Faso
- Central African
- Dominican Republic
- Equatorial Guinea
- Indonesia (7)
- Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of)
- Kuwait (1, 5)
- Oman (1, 5)
- Sao Tome e Principe
- Saudi Arabia (5)
- United Arab Emirates (1, 5)
- Venezuela (biometric)
Airside Transit (where available)
Airside transit passengers are those who do not need to change airports and do not need to pass through the UK border. Passengers cannot transit ‘airside’ to the Republic of Ireland or anywhere within the common travel area.
Landside transit passengers are those who need or wish to pass through the UK border and enter the UK (for example, to change airport, to collect baggage or arrive at airports where no airside transfer is possible).
Transit without visa (TWOV) - airside
All visa nationals seeking to transit the United Kingdom ‘airside’ without a visa must:
- arrive and depart by air
- have a confirmed onward flight departing the same day from the same airport
- hold the correct documents for their destination (for example, a visa for that country if required)
National countries and territories who need a visa to enter or transit the UK listed above need a visa to transit ‘airside’ unless they hold one of the following:
a valid visa for entry to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA (whether or not the holder is travelling to or from these countries).
a visa for entry to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA as part of a reasonable journey from the country in respect of which the visa is held and it is less than 6 months since the holder last entered that country with a valid entry visa.
a valid permanent residence permit issued by:
- Canada, issued after 28 June 2002
- New Zealand
USA issued after 21 April 1998; or a valid US Immigrant visa endorsed with a US arrival stamp (a wet-ink/ADIT stamp version will not be accepted by UK border control); or an expired I-551 Permanent Residence card provided it is accompanied by a valid I-797 letter authorising extension; or a standalone US Immigration Form 155A/155B (attached to a sealed brown envelope)
- a valid common format residence permit issued by an EEA state or Switzerland
- a valid common format category D visa for entry to an EEA state or Switzerland
a valid Irish biometric visa endorsed BC or BC BIVS (in order to transit to a destination other than the Republic of Ireland or the Common Travel Area)
a valid Schengen Approved Destination Scheme (ADS) group tourism visa where the holder is travelling to the country that issued it
a valid airline ticket from the Schengen area; provided the holder can demonstrate they entered there no more than 30 days previously on the basis of a valid Schengen ADS visa
E-visas or e-residence permits are not acceptable unless the airline is able to verify it with the issuing country.
Transit without visa (TWOV) - landside
All visa nationals seeking to transit the United Kingdom ‘landside’ without a visa must:
- have a confirmed onward flight that departs before 23:59 the following day
National countries and territories who need a visa to enter or transit the UK listed above need a visa to transit ‘landside’ unless they hold one of the following:
a valid visa for entry to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and a valid airline ticket via the UK as part of a reasonable journey to that country
a valid visa for entry to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and a valid airline ticket via the UK as part of a reasonable journey from that country
- a visa for entry to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA as part of a reasonable journey from the country in respect of which the visa is held and it is less than 6 months since the holder last entered that country with a valid entry visa
- Australia (b)
- Canada, issued after 28 June 2002 (c)
- New Zealand (d)
- a valid Irish biometric visa endorsed BC or BC BIVS and travelling to the Republic of Ireland
- an Irish biometric visa endorsed BC or BC BIVS and travelling FROM the Republic of Ireland provided it is less than 3 months since the holder last entered there
E-visas or e-residence permits are not acceptable for landside transit.
The decision to allow a passenger to transit without a visa (TWOV) under the scheme is decided by an immigration officer at the UK border.
UK permanent residents
If a visa national is permanently resident in the UK they do not need a visa, as long as they return to the UK within 2 years of their last departure.
Passengers with the right of abode in the UK
If a visa national has a ‘certificate of entitlement to the right of abode’ label in their valid passport they do not need a visa.
Holders of non-national and refugee travel documents
If the passenger holds a refugee travel document issued by the UK they do not need a visa. If the passenger holds any other non-national or refugee travel document they need a visa to enter the UK.
Whether holders of non-national and refugee travel documents require a direct airside transit visa (DATV) depends on their original nationality, and whether they qualify for one of the exemptions listed above. Persons recognised as stateless under the 1954 UN Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons are not required to hold a DATV and may transit airside without a visa.
A seafarer travelling on duty, who is a visa national (including those in transit through the UK) does not need a visa if they hold a valid seafarer’s book issued by one of these countries which also contains a statement that it is issued under ILO108 (or convention of 1958) or ILO185, having previously ratified ILO108 (or convention of 2003):
- Antigua and Barbuda
- British Virgin Isles
- Czech Republic
- Moldova (Republic of)
- The Russian Federation
- Solomon Islands
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- United Kingdom (including the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar)
A seafarer does not need to be a national of the country that issued the document.
Please contact the relevant area, if you need further advice.
Produced by the carriers liaison section, Home Office.
(1): Holders of diplomatic and special passports do not require a visa for official visits, tourist visits or transit.
(2): Holders of diplomatic passports do not require a visa. Service passport holders may transit without a visa. Holders of a public affairs passport may not transit without a visa. Service and public affairs passport holders do not require a visa if travelling with a serving Chinese government minister on an official visit to the UK
(3): Passport not recognised by HM Government – visa should be issued on a Form for Affixing a Visa (FAV).
(4): Holders of diplomatic or official passports may transit without a visa.
(5): Holders of ordinary passports do not require a visa if they hold a valid electronic visa waiver (EVW) document.
(6): Passports that include a personal ID number on the biodata page are exempt from the visa requirement.
(7): Holders of diplomatic passports do not require a visa for official visits, tourist visits or transit.
(8): Holders may not use a B1/B2 USA visa to transit the UK.
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UK Visa Requirements for US Green Card Holders
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If you are a U.S. green card holder and you are planning a trip to the UK questions begin to arise in your mind like, can a U.S. green card holder travel to the UK without a visa? Or, what are the UK visa requirements for U.S. green card holders? If you are in these shoes you do not to be perplexed, several other people have asked similar questions in the past and have gotten answers so why shouldn’t you?
There is usually a bit of confusion when people try to distinguish between a US citizen and a U.S. green card holder. This article will help you understand the difference and also give you answers regarding whether you need a visa to travel to the UK if you have a green card. This article will also provide you with information regarding visa application fees and requirements, documents you need to submit with your visa application, etc.
It promises to be an enlightening and interesting read so join me.
Who is a U.S green card holder?
As stated earlier, most times green card holders are mistaken for citizens but on paper there is a marked difference. Simply put a U.S green card holder is someone who has traveled to the U.S. and has gained the status of permanent residence. Green card holders are immigrants who have attained lawful rights as permanent residents of the United States. This means they can work and live the United States permanently.
On the other hand, citizenship is the highest status that can be attained by an immigrant in the U.S. Attaining citizenship means the individual has all the rights to life as someone born in the U.S. Citizenship is obtained by naturalization. There are other ways an individual could attain citizenship like being born to U.S. citizens anywhere in the world. Another way is by being born anywhere in the United States. One way an individual can move from immigrant status to citizenship status is by joining the U.S. Army.
Rights of a U.S. green card holder
Before we even go ahead to discuss the UK visa requirements for a U.S. green card citizen it is wise to discuss briefly the rights of a green card holder. The first thing you notice is the individual is given a photo identification card, by the name you should know it is green in color. This is an evidence that the individual has the right to live and work in the U.S, travel in and out of the U.S., and recommend other close associates for the same status.
U.S. green card holders can however not do any of the following:
- Vote in any of the general elections.
- Leave the U.S. and stay away for unlimited periods of time.
- Cannot get the same assistance and benefits citizens can get from the U.S. government.
Do U.S. green card holders need visa to visit the UK?
This is one questions that has been asked over and over in different quarters. The truth is the UK is one of the choicest places to visit in the world, even for people resident in America. You may wonder why. It is probably because of the royal family, the palace, the beautiful holiday resorts, the business opportunities, the premier league, etc. There is usually a special visa waiver for U.S. citizens but green card holders are not that advantaged.
This means that as a U.S. green card holder you will need to apply for a visa to enter into the United Kingdom. The other question that begs to be answered is how easy the process to get the visa is? Getting your visa is usually a straightforward process. The UK however has strict check for individuals from certain countries. This means that if your birth country falls among any of such countries marked for strict observation, the process might be a bit more difficult or rigorous.
The UK has several kinds of visas which the green card holder can apply for. The application processes for all the visas are similar except for the application fees and the required documents to be submitted.
Common UK visas available to U.S. green card holders
Each country has specific kinds of visas that can be applied for by immigrants, the UK does not differ in this regard. Here the most applied for visas provided by the United Kingdom:
- Visitor visa . This is required for any U.S permanent resident currently domicile in the United States. This is applied for if the individual just wants to visit the country for a few days to a few months, especially for tourism. The individual must possess a valid U.S. green card, a valid U.S. visa, or an employment authorization card.
- Study visa . This visa is also known as a Tier 4 visa. It is usually issued to individuals who been offered provisional admission to study in any of the institutions within the United Kingdom. It is usually valid for the duration of the course and a little time is usually added as cushion. There are also student visas for short term courses, ranging from 30 days to 6 months.
- Business Visitor visa . This is usually issued to U.S. green card holders who plan to visit the United Kingdom for business purposes. The individual must possess a valid U.S. green card, and employment authorization card, and a valid U.S. visa.
- Work visa . This is usually issued to U.S. permanent residents in the even that they have been offered employment opportunities within the United Kingdom. The visa issued is usually the tier 2 visa. It is important that before selecting this visa the applicant must have received the employment letter from the employers as proof to be presented during the visa interview.
- Settlement visa . This visa is issued to individuals who plan to relocate to the United Kingdom to stay. To do this the individual must be a relative of a UK citizen or resident working and living in the United Kingdom on a permanent basis. The visa also applies to the spouses, children, parents, grandparents or dependents of a UK citizen or resident.
- Direct airside transit. Issued when you are changing planes within the same airport in a duration less than 24 hours.
- Visitor in transit. This applies to every other kind of transit.
Applying for a UK visa from the United States
So far in this article we have already established the fact that a U.S. green card holder is required to apply for and be issued a visa to gain entry into the UK. The question now is this, how can a U.S. green card holder apply for a UK visa from the United States?
The process is not as complicated as it sounds. As a matter of fact applying for a UK visa from the U.S. by a permanent resident is one of the least complicated processes ever. Here is how it can be done:
- Complete the online application form . This is the first step as it is with many other visa applications for other countries. You are required to visit the website and fill the online application form. It is important that whatever you do, you ensure that you fill the form honestly and correctly. Ensure that the information provided is exact with the information on the other documents you will be required to submit. Failure to do this means your application is automatically rejected or declined. Also ensure that you pay the visa application fees. There are several companies that can assist with the application process, should you prefer that to doing it yourself.
- A clear print out of your application form.
- A clear passport photograph which is in conformity with visa application standards.
- A clear copy of your biometric application receipt.
A few things to note about the biometric appointment is that children under the age of 5 are exempt from the digital scan of their fingers. Also you have a period of one and a half days to two weeks to submit all the required documents after the biometric capturing.
- Collect the list of required documents from the UK Embassy . Now that you are done with the biometric appointment it is important to know the exact documents you are required to present. To get this list you will need to visit the UK embassy where you are making the application in the U.S. As you know, asides the general documents to be presented, each visa has specific documents peculiar to their processes. These extra documents are required to prove your reasons for traveling to the United Kingdom.
- Post your visa application . Before posting your application ensure that your passport is still valid for at least 3 months. It is actually better if it is valid for a minimum of 6 months. The passport must also have at least a page left for stamping at the embassy. Ensure you add to the package a prepaid electronic shipping label addressed to you if you want your visa posted back to you. It is also important have such records kept for reference purposes.
Visa application can be posted to any of the following addresses, depending on whether the individual in question will be settling in the UK or not:
- Non-settlement applications should be addressed to:
UK Visas and Immigration,
British Consulate General,
845 Third Avenue,
- Settlement applications should be addressed to:
International Operations and Visas,
UK Visa fees for U.S. green card holders applying in the United States
This is one of the most asked questions about UK visas, how much are the UK visa fees? The truth about UK visas is that the fees for each visa is different from every other visa. To know the fees for the visa you plan to apply for click here .
General documents required for applying for a UK visa by U.S. green card holders
The following documents are required of U.S. green card holders when applying for a UK visa:
- A valid passport.
- Old passports if available. This is show travel history likely to make the application process easier.
- Passport photograph taken according to the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
- Proof of U.S. permanent residency. That means presentation of a valid U.S. green card.
- Proof of travel itinerary. The flight tickets and dates.
- Employment letter and a letter to show that you have been approved to go on leave, as well as the approved leave dates.
- Proof of accommodation either at by showing hotel payments or letter of invitation from a resident in the UK.
- Proof that you are able to sustain yourself financially throughout your stay in the United Kingdom.
Please note that each visa has specific requirements that must also be met before the visa application can be considered for approval.
I believe with the above information applying for a UK visa as a U.S. green holder will be way easier. Good luck.
UK Visa Requirements for US Green Card Holders © www.travelvisa.ng
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Applying from the United States
- Applying from USA
The rules and regulations around entry to the United Kingdom for foreign nationals (including American citizens) are governed by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Unlike the United States of America, the United Kingdom does not operate a ‘visa waiver programme’ and as such everyone who enters the UK (and who doesn’t have right of abode in the UK) will require a visa in order to stay in the UK.
The United States however, is included as one of the UK’s ‘designated countries’ and as such in many instances American citizens coming to the UK in a tourist or business visitor capacity will simply be able to apply for a visa upon arrival in the UK.
The UK has very precise definitions of tourism and business. American citizens seeking to enter the UK in any other capacity such as an intern (paid or unpaid), student, prospective student, spouse/fiancé/partner, parent, charity worker/religious worker, or American citizens coming to the UK to work (either paid or unpaid) or to marry, and all dependents in the preceding categories, are required to obtain UK entry clearance prior to entering the UK regardless of the duration of their stay.
Entry to the UK as a Tourist
UK Tourist Visas allow American citizens to enter the UK without the need for some of the more formal routes of immigration. Tourist visas are valid for any period of time up to a maximum of 6 months. To visit the UK in a tourist capacity you must be able to show that:
- you intend to visit the UK for no more than six months; and
- you have enough money to support yourself and live in the UK without working or needing any help from public 1funds.
Entry to the UK as Business Visitor
American business people seeking to come to the UK for short periods of time in order to carry out business related activities may be eligible to enter the UK as a Business Visitor. American citizens seeking to visit the UK as a Business Visitor should:
- be based abroad and not intend to transfer their base to the UK, even temporarily; and
- receive their salary from abroad, although it is acceptable for them to receive reasonable travel and subsistence expenses whilst in the UK; and
- not be involved in selling goods or services direct to members of the public; and
- not be replacing someone in the UK, including for temporary leave periods; and
- not be coming to the UK to do work placements or internships.
Entry to the UK for the Purpose of Marriage/Civil Partnership
If you are entering the UK for the purpose of marriage or forming a civil partnership, please see the following section of our site: ‘ UK Partner Visas for American Citizens ’.
Entry to the UK for the Purpose of Employment and Work
If you are entering the UK for the purpose of seeking employment or taking up work in the UK, you can find out more by visiting the section of our site titled ‘ UK Work Visas for American Citizens ’.
Entry to the UK for the purpose of study
If you are entering the UK for the purpose of study please see the section of our site titled ‘ US Citizens and Studying in the UK '.
Routes for Settlement in the UK as a US Citizen
There are several UK visa categories that can lead to settlement in the UK for an American citizen. These include:
- Unmarried Partner visa
- Spouse visa
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa
- Tier 1 Investor visa
- Tier 2 Work Permit
- Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer
All of the above visa categories can lead towards Indefinite Leave to Remain - an immigration status that is granted to a person who does not hold right of abode in the UK, but who has been admitted to the UK without any time limit on their stay and who is free to seek and take up employment or study in the UK without any restrictions.
Identify Cards for American citizens
Under the provisions of the Immigration (Biometric Registration) Regulations 2008, the UKBA also has begun mandatory issuance of identity cards to American citizens who apply for an extension of their stay in the United Kingdom as students or as the husbands, wives, or partners of permanent residents. Detailed information regarding UK identity cards for foreign nationals is available here .
- UK Partner Visas for US Citizens
- UK Work Visas for US Citizens
- US Citizens & Studying in the UK