A United Kingdom passport is revered throughout the world and is much sought after. It gives its bearer the ability to travel to 139 countries visa-free, such is its strength. The UK ranks at No. 6 in the list of the most powerful passports worldwide, sharing this place with the USA and Norway.
Moreover, the list of countries that welcome British citizens visa-free continues to increase. Holding a valid UK passport with free entry to roam around so much of the world is a major benefit for UK citizens. Find the full list of visa-free countries for Brits below, plus how long you can visit for!
In the meantime, for countries that do still require eVisas (Electronic Visas) for Brits, we at Byevisa are happy to assist, advise and process your application on your behalf.
- 1 What Are the Visa-Free Countries for UK Citizens?
- 2 What Should I Know About the ‘Visa-Free Countries for UK’ Rules?
- 3 How Long Can UK Passport Holders Stay in the Visa-Free Countries?
- 4 I Have Heard of the EU’s ETIAS Waiver – Do These Count as ‘Visa-Free’ Countries?
- 5 What Countries are Visa-Free for UK Citizens Vs Passport Holders?
- 6 What Countries Can I Travel to If I Have a UK ILR?
- 7 How Many Countries Are Still Restrictive on Visa Applications From the UK?
What Are the Visa-Free Countries for UK Citizens?
The list of visa-free countries for UK citizens seems all but endless.
The following list encompasses countries to visit for the purposes of tourism and business. Countries are listed alphabetically, followed by the length of validity allowed per visit, in days unless stated otherwise.
Countries not on the list will require either an e-Visa, a Visa on Arrival (a VoA, which you apply for upon arrival in your destination) or even a traditional embassy/consulate visa.
If you require an alternative visa unrelated to tourism or business, such as a permanent resident visa, it is wise to check with the embassy or consulate of that country. This is to ensure that you comply with all the entry and documentation requirements.
Validity (Days, Unless Stated Otherwise)
|Antigua and Barbuda||180|
|Aruba||30, extendable up to 180|
|Austria||90 in 180|
|Bahamas||21, extendable up to 8 months|
|Belgium||90 in 180|
|Bonaire; St. Eustatius and Saba||90 in 180|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||90|
|Brazil||90, can be extended for another 90|
|British Virgin Islands||6 months|
|Cape Verde Islands||30|
|Colombia||90, extendable for a total of 180|
|Cyprus||90 in 180|
|Czech Republic||90 in 180|
|Denmark||90 in 180|
|Estonia||90 in 180|
|Finland||90 in 180|
|France||90 in 180|
|French West Indies|
|Germany||90 in 180|
|Gibraltar||British citizens have right of abode in Gibraltar|
|Greece||90 in 180|
|Greenland||90 in 180|
|Hong Kong (SAR China)||180|
|Hungary||90 in 180|
|Iceland||90 in 180|
|Ireland||90 in 180|
|Italy||90 in 180|
|Japan||90, can be extended once|
|Latvia||90 in 180|
|Liechtenstein||90 in 180|
|Lithuania||90 in 180|
|Luxembourg||90 in 180|
|Macao (SAR China)||180|
|Malta||90 in 180|
|Mayotte||Freedom of movement, must hold a valid ID|
|Moldova||90 in 180|
|Monaco||90 in 180|
|Namibia||90 in a calendar year|
|Netherlands||90 in 180|
|Northern Mariana Islands|
|Norway||90 in 180|
|Peru||90 to 183|
|Poland||90 in 180|
|Portugal||90 in 180|
|Reunion||Freedom of movement, must hold a valid ID|
|Romania||90 in 180|
|Sao Tome and Principe||15|
|Slovakia||90 in 180|
|Slovenia||90 in 180|
|Spain||90 in 180|
|Kitts and Nevis||90|
|Vincent and the Grenadines||30|
|Sweden||90 in 180|
|Switzerland||90 in 180|
|Thailand||30, if arriving by land|
|Trinidad and Tobago|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||90|
|Ukraine||90 in 180|
|Vatican City||90 in 180|
What Should I Know About the ‘Visa-Free Countries for UK’ Rules?
Usually, ‘visa-free’ means that you only require a valid passport to enter, and your passport won’t be stamped when you arrive at customs. Nonetheless, in certain countries, you may be asked to present additional documents to enter.
For example, member states of the EU currently only require Brits to hold a passport to visit. However, other countries could require you to hold other documentation such as:
- Valid travel insurance with proof, like a copy of the policy, for instance.
- Proof of booked accommodation such as a hotel confirmation. If you have pre-paid, then you may also use a receipt of payment, clearly stating the hotel or booking agency.
- Proof that you are able to support yourself financially for the duration of your stay.
- Vaccination certificates, if a particular country has diseases that are quite common or that have regular outbreaks. Moreover, we suggest that you check the health advice for your destination, especially if it’s further afield.
- Should one parent be travelling with their child but without the other parent, a signed and notarised document from the absent parent may be necessary to allow the child to travel. Documents can be issued or notarised by the following in the UK:
- Bank or building society official.
- Minister of religion.
- Doctor/dentist (who has known you for at least 2 years).
- Chartered accountant
- Solicitor or notary.
- Teacher or lecturer.
The best option is normally a solicitor or judge in the UK legal system.
How Long Can UK Passport Holders Stay in the Visa-Free Countries?
In the above list of visa-free countries that UK citizens can visit, you will see the current length of stay permissible in the second column. If in doubt, contact us for up-to-date information on the permitted length of stay or entry requirements for your destination, as these can occasionally change.
In some instances, UK passport holders can extend their visas whilst in-country, as we also show in the list above. For many destinations, the extension allows for visits of up to 180 days, although a few nations permit extended trips of up to 1 year from the date of entry.
Of course, to ensure your trip goes smoothly, it is wise never to extend your stay over and above the local rules.
I Have Heard of the EU’s ETIAS Waiver – Do These Count as ‘Visa-Free’ Countries?
The EU’s ETIAS stands for ‘European Travel Information and Authorisation System’. Technically, this is not a visa, but rather a visa waiver, similar to the USA’s ESTA.
This EU electronic travel pass will be obligatory to visit Schengen Zone countries from 2022/3. Prior to this, an entry permit was not required for Europe for nationalities such as the UK, USA, Australia, Canada and Japan, among others.
Although the ETIAS is a waiver rather than a full visa, it’s not ‘free’ in the sense that it is expected to cost 7 EUR to purchase online, plus a processing fee. For complete information, see our detailed ETIAS Countries and Eligibility section.
The Schengen Area countries that UK passport-holders will need an ETIAS to visit are as follows:
|Croatia (*)||Ireland (*)||Republic of Cyprus (*)|
* Currently pending
What Countries are Visa-Free for UK Citizens Vs Passport Holders?
Being a UK citizen is not quite the same legally as being a passport holder, but fortunately, in terms of the ‘visa-free’ list, it rates as having the same benefits.
If you were born in Great Britain, or either of your parents were, then you may be considered a British citizen. If you’re in any doubt, you can check the UK government’s Check British Citizenship page to verify this, especially if you do not yet have a British passport.
Since 1981 and the British Citizens Act, the rules have changed as the years have gone on, so much so that whether you’re a British citizen may depend on the year you were born.
Prior to 1981, all those born in Great Britain were considered citizens. If you are a legalised citizen (you can apply for citizenship after a minimum of 1 year), you will be afforded the same rights, although it may take up to 6 months to attain this.
Again, if you’re in doubt, it’s worth checking, particularly if you want the full ability to travel as a Brit without too much additional paperwork.
What Countries Can I Travel to If I Have a UK ILR?
A UK ILR, or an ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ permit, entitles you to travel to all countries as if you were a UK passport holder, including the ones listed above. If a country asks for other documentation to enter, you must still comply with these requirements.
In terms of the ILR, ‘indefinite’ means exactly that, as there are no longer any time limits to its validity.
Meanwhile, if you are not yet a UK passport holder, a BRP (Biometric Resident’s Permit) is another useful form of identification. This can be attained with any visa that is recognised by the UK.
A BRP permit will confirm your identity (fingerprints etc) and allows you to stay here, work or study here (as long as you hold an appropriate visa), plus exit and enter freely. If you exit and do not return for 2 years or more, you will need to reapply to update your information.
How Many Countries Are Still Restrictive on Visa Applications From the UK?
A total of 34 countries currently have stricter visa requirements for Brits. These are:
|Burundi||Cameroon||Central African Republic|
|Chad||China||Congo (Dem. Rep.)|
|Congo (Rep.)||Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)||Cuba|
|Nigeria||North Korea||Russian Federation|
|Saudi Arabia||Sierra Leone||South Sudan|
To learn the visa rules for these destinations, speak to the nearest embassy or consulate.
So to sum up, UK passport holders can visit a vast variety of nations visa-free. This makes travelling abroad a cinch, whether you’re visiting Barbados, South Africa, Turkey, or a long list of other countries, compared to if you had to apply for a travel pass in advance!
Of course, though, whether you hold a UK passport or another form of ID, it is worth double-checking the maximum length of stay you’re permitted. In addition, it’s a good idea to confirm the validity of your passport or other ID before making your travel plans.
Similarly, countries can sometimes change their entry rules, including for UK passport holders, so these are also worth confirming in advance. Feel free to get in touch to confirm the visa requirements for where you’re planning to visit.
The world now seems to be a much smaller place, with the option to travel more freely than ever before. Visa-free access for Brits makes going abroad a lot easier without the rigmarole of paperwork. Enjoy!