All About the Visa Requirements for Brits
Visa requirements for British citizens encompass all the rules and regulations put in place by each country worldwide for those wishing to visit with a UK passport.
A visa is essentially a document certifying that you fulfil the requirements to gain entry into a country. Obtaining this pass generally entails filling out an application form, providing a set of documents, and paying a fee.
What you need to provide and pay depends on the country you wish to visit, your nationality as well as the purpose of your trip. This is because the entry requirements are likely to vary depending on whether you are visiting for tourism, business, to study or work in the country. Therefore, before you set off on any journey, you must first find out what the specific visa requirements for UK nationals are.
UK Passport Joint 7th-Strongest in the World
With this in mind, the British passport is a great passport to have when it comes to travelling, since it allows visa-free, eVisa or Visa on Arrival (VoA) access to 185 countries worldwide, earning it joint-7th place on the Henley Passport Index.
On top of this, the World Tourism Organization recently ran a study, which concluded that the British passport is the best passport to have in the world when it comes to global freedom of movement. What more could you ask for?
On this page, we will look into the different entry policies you may come across. This includes which countries require a visa for UK citizens, where you can get a VoA and which are the UK passport visa-free countries.
What’s more, regardless of the type of document you may or may not need to get to visit a country, you will need to have a passport valid for the entire duration of your trip. In many cases, your passport must be valid for several additional months beyond that date. Most countries also check that you have at least 2 blank pages in your passport for exit and entry stamps, and a visa if required.
It’s worth mentioning that we are referring to ordinary British passports here, while diplomatic, official, and service passports may enjoy additional exemptions when travelling abroad. Read on to learn all about the visa requirements for UK citizens!
- 1 How Many British Passport Visa-Free Countries Are There?
- 2 Where Can British Passport Holders Travel Without a Visa?
- 3 Visa Requirements for British Citizens: Visa on Arrival (VoA)
- 4 Embassy or Consulate Visas Required for UK Citizens
- 5 Countries Where a Visa Is Not Permitted
- 6 Countries with Upcoming New Visas in 2022
How Many British Passport Visa-Free Countries Are There?
There are around 185 UK passport visa-free countries, while just 30 countries require British citizens to get a visa from the embassy. This is why the UK passport is considered such a great one for travelling.
To better understand why the British passport ranks so highly, we must first look into the main categories of entry policies you will come across:
- Visa-exempt: This means that you will not need to get a visa to visit this country, and you can travel there with just your passport.
- Visa on Arrival: In this case, you would obtain your visa as soon as you arrive in the country. A border official will check your passport and may ask for additional documents before they issue you with a VoA.
- e-Visa: This type of document is becoming increasingly popular around the world, as it allows you to obtain a visa online without the hassle of visiting an embassy in person. All you need to do is submit your application online, and you will receive your travel pass by email.
- Embassy Visa: This is the most time-consuming entry document there is, as you must go to an embassy or consulate in person to submit the relevant forms and documents.
Popular Destinations to Visit With a British Passport
If you are looking for a little inspiration, here’s a list of popular destinations you can visit on a British passport, with all the information you need to know about entering the country. Just click on the links to find out more:
Where Can British Passport Holders Travel Without a Visa?
Here is the full list of visa-free countries for British passport holders:
|Aland Islands||Albania||American Samoa|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Argentina||Armenia|
|Bonaire||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Botswana|
|Brazil||British Indian Ocean Territory||British Virgin Islands|
|Brunei Darussalam||Bulgaria||Cayman Islands|
|Central African Republic||Chile||Christmas Island|
|Cook Islands||Costa Rica||Croatia|
|El Salvador||Equatorial Guinea||Estonia|
|Falkland Islands||Faroe Islands||Federated States of Micronesia|
|French Guiana||French Polynesia||Gambia|
|Ireland||Isle of Man||Israel|
|Northern Mariana Islands||Norway||Palau|
|Poland||Portugal||Republic of Cyprus|
|Saint Helena||Saint Kitts and Nevis||Saint Lucia|
|Saint Martin||Saint Pierre and Miquelon||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Solomon Islands||Somalia||South Africa|
|South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands||Spain||Suriname|
|Svalbard and Jan Mayen||Swaziland (Eswatini)||Sweden|
|Tonga||Trinidad and Tobago||Tunisia|
|Turkey||Turks and Caicos Islands||Tuvalu|
|Ukraine||United Arab Emirates||Uruguay|
|Venezuela||Wallis and Futuna|
With visa-free countries for British passport holders, it means you won’t need to get any kind of travel pass to enter the country if you are visiting for tourism or to see friends and family. However, it’s still important to check the requirements to enter the country, as you may need to show additional documents, such as return flight tickets, along with a valid passport.
Also, the length of stay permitted varies from country to country. You can expect it to be between 30 days and 6 months, except for Lesotho which grants UK visitors just 14 days and Vietnam which grants 15 days visa-free.
If you wish to stay longer than the days granted to British citizens, you will need to apply for a visa either before you leave the UK or when you are already in the country.
Meanwhile, Ireland is part of the Common Travel Area along with mainland Britain and the islands of Guernsey, Jersey, and the Isle of Man. This means that British citizens can move around freely in this area.
With such a long list of countries you can visit so easily, you are spoiled for choice! But don’t forget that if you are travelling to one of these countries for other purposes such as work or study, you will need to obtain the relevant visa.
For further information regarding British passport visa-free countries, you can follow this link.
Visa Requirements for British Citizens: Visa on Arrival (VoA)
Here’s the list of countries offering a VoA to British passport holders:
|Burkina Faso||Comoros Islands||Guinea-Bissau|
|Papua New Guinea||Samoa||Soloman Islands|
|United Arab Emirates||Zimbabwe|
To explain the visa requirements for British citizens with the VoA, this is also great news for your travel plans. This is because you won’t need to submit any applications before you travel; you will simply get the document as you arrive in the country.
In most cases, you will get it right after you land at the airport from the designated border control desks. Look out for a paper form to fill out. Once you have completed the form, you can present it to the border officials along with your passport. Often the form is also handed out by the flight attendant on the plane before you land, in which case we recommend filling it out right away to speed up the process when you arrive.
In addition to your passport, you may be asked a few questions regarding your trip or to present other documents such as return flight tickets. As such, don’t forget to check the specific VoA requirements for your destination. In most cases, you will be granted a VoA with no trouble, but you may need to queue for a while to get one.
Just like with visa-exempt destinations for UK citizens, the length of stay for a VoA varies from country to country. Generally, the stay permitted is between 30 days and 6 months, except for Togo which grants UK visitors just 7 days.
Embassy or Consulate Visas Required for UK Citizens
Here’s the list of which countries require a visa for UK citizens:
|Cuba||Democratic Republic of the Congo||Eritrea|
|Russian Federation||Sudan||Syrian Arab Republic|
The embassy visa has the most complex visa requirements for UK citizens. Luckily for Brits, only 30 countries require a travel permit of this kind.
If you wish to travel to a destination that requires this type of authorisation, you will need to submit your application in person at the nearest diplomatic mission of the destination, either an embassy or consulate. When you submit your application you will also leave your passport, which you will need to collect once the travel document has been approved.
Embassy Visas Normally Require More Supporting Documentation
To get this travel pass, you generally need to provide additional documents compared with a VoA or eVisa. These documents may include accommodation bookings, a bank statement and passport photographs. Once approved, the pass is stamped directly onto a page of your passport, which is why you must have at least 2 blank pages in your passport for this type of travel pass.
To facilitate the process, some embassies offer the option of applying by post and returning your passport with the visa in it by post as well. This saves you 2 trips to the embassy.
Meanwhile, other embassies allow you to complete part of your application online to speed up the process. To find out whether this is an option for you, it’s best to contact the embassy of the country you wish to visit or check their website for more detailed information.
Moreover, if you require this type of document, it’s best to apply well in advance of your departure date, as it can take several weeks for your application to be processed.
Countries Where a Visa Is Not Permitted
If you have a British passport, you will be pleased to know that there are currently no countries off-limit for you. Nonetheless, it’s important to note that if you have a different type of British passport, such as British Nationals Overseas, British Overseas Territories Citizens and British Protected Persons, the entry requirements may differ from those of a standard British passport.
In addition, if you have travelled to Israel and have an Israeli stamp in your passport, you will not be allowed to enter Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, or Yemen. Luckily, since 2013 Israeli authorities have largely stopped stamping passports for this reason.
Countries with Upcoming New Visas in 2022
Following Brexit, British citizens lost the right to move freely around the EU. instead, since January 2021, you have visa-free entry for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
However, from 2022, the new ETIAS system will slowly take over, under which, countries that previously enjoyed visa-free access to the EU will now need to get an ETIAS to enter the EU’s Schengen Area.
The ETIAS is a simple document, much like the American ESTA and the Canadian eTA, that can be obtained online by filling out a short form. Its principal purpose is to allow authorities to pre-screen travellers entering the Schengen zone.