Entry clearance is the technical description for obtaining a UK visa. This guide is divided into the sub categories:

  1. UK Entry clearance for visitors
  2. UK Entry clearance for Tier 2 Visa Applicants
  3. UK Entry clearance for the dependants of Tier 2 Visa Applicants
  4. UK Entry clearance for Tier 1 Investors, Tier 1 Entrepreneurs, and their dependants
  5. UK Entry clearance for Representatives of an Overseas Business
  6. Applications

UK Entry clearance for visitors

For further information please see our UK Visitor Visas section

If you wish to enter the UK as a visitor, either for business or pleasure, the first question to ask is: Do I need to get a visa in advance?

Generally, most people travelling on passports issued by Western countries do not need to obtain a visa before entering the UK as a visitor – they can simply fly (or sail) to the UK and will be granted a visit visa at the port of entry. Nationals of the countries listed below (generally referred to as visa nationals); need to obtain a visa before travelling and should apply for entry clearance at a British Embassy or Consulate in their country of citizenship or usual residence:

   
AfghanistanLaos 
AlbaniaLebanon 
AlgeriaLesotho 
AngolaLiberia 
ArmeniaLibya 
AzerbaijanMacedonia 
BahrainMadagascar 
BangladeshMalawi 
BelarusMali 
BeninMauritania 
BhutanMoldova 
BoliviaMongolia 
Bosnia HerzegovinaMontenegro 
Burkina FasoMorocco 
BurmaMozambique 
BurundiNepal 
CambodiaNiger 
CameroonNigeria 
Cape VerdeOman* 
Central African RepublicPakistan 
ChadPeru 
People’s Republic of ChinaPhilippines 
ColombiaQatar 
ComorosRussia 
CongoRwanda 
CubaSao Tome e Principe 
Democratic Republic of the CongoSaudi Arabia 
DjiboutiSenegal 
Dominican RepublicSerbia 
EcuadorSierra Leone 
EgyptSomalia 
Equatorial GuineaSouth Africa* 
EritreaSouth Sudan 
EthiopiaSri Lanka 
FijiSudan 
GabonSuriname 
GambiaSwaziland 
GeorgiaSyria 
GhanaTaiwan* 
GuineaTajikistan 
Guinea BissauTanzania 
GuyanaThailand 
HaitiTogo 
IndiaTunisia 
IndonesiaTurkey  
IranTurkmenistan 
IraqUganda 
Ivory CoastUkraine 
JamaicaUnited Arab Emirates 
JordanUzbekistan 
KazakhstanVenezuela 
KenyaVietnam 
Korea (North)Yemen 
KosovoZambia 
Kuwait Zimbabwe 
Kyrgyzstan 

This list was last updated in July 2016.

NB This list changes from time to time. Please confirm details with your local consulate before travelling.

Documents

In order to make a visa (entry clearance) application using the online service or at a British Embassy or Consulate, you will need to present:
 

  • A valid passport (or other appropriate travel documents), which must be valid for the entire length of your planned visit
  • Evidence that you have the financial means to support yourself while in the UK, such as bank statements or pay slips
  • You will also need to have you biometric data (fingerprints and a photograph) recorded at a visa application centre, such as a British Embassy or Consulate, in your country of origin

UK Entry clearance for Tier 2 Visa Applicants

For further information please see our Tier 2 Visa for Skilled Workers and our Tier 5 Visa for Temporary Workers sections

If you wish to enter the UK on a tier 2 visa for more than six months, you MUST apply for entry clearance. You only don’t require entry clearance if you are a non-visa national and will be working in the UK for less than six months; though EU/EEA nationals are exempt from this requirement. Almost every Tier 2 visa holder will need to obtain a visa before travelling and should apply for entry clearance at a British Embassy or Consulate in their country of nationality or usual residence:

In order to make an entry clearance application at a British Embassy or Consulate, you will need to present, at a minimum:

  • An application form, downloaded from the UK government’s Visa4UK website
  • The relevant fee
  • Your original tier 2 work visa
  • A valid Passport, or other appropriate travel documents
  • You will also need to have you biometric data (fingerprints and a photograph) recorded at the visa application centre
  • You may also need to present a Tuberculosis test certificate if you are from a high TB risk area

UK Entry clearance for the dependants of Tier 2 Visa Applicants

If you are the spouse or dependent child of a tier 2 visa applicant then you will also need to apply for entry clearance along with the principal applicant, if you intend to travel with them to the UK for more than six months. You will need to present the same completed form, biometric data, and fees as above, along with your passport at a British Embassy or Consulate in your country of nationality or usual residence. You will also need to provide evidence of your relationship to the main applicant, i.e. by providing a marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc.

UK Entry clearance for Tier 1 Investors, Tier 1 Entrepreneurs and their dependants

For further information please see our Tier 1 Visa for Business People, Investors and those with Exceptional Talent section

If you intend to enter the UK as a Tier 1 Investor or Entrepreneur then you need to apply for entry clearance at a British Embassy, or Consulate in your country of nationality or usual residence. You will have to submit the following documents, at the minimum:

  • An application form, downloaded from the UK government’s Visa4UK website
  • A valid Passport, or other appropriate travel documents
  • The relevant visa fee.
  • You will also need to have you biometric data (fingerprints and a photograph) recorded at the visa application centre
  • You may also need to present a Tuberculosis test certificate if you are from a high TB risk area
  • details of your investment portfolio showing that you intend to invest not less than £2,000,000 (for Tier 1 Investors) or £50,000 (for Tier 1 Entrepreneurs) in United Kingdom Government bonds or in share capital or loan capital in active and trading United Kingdom registered companies, but NOT property investment, management, or development companies.
  • You and your dependants over the age of 18 must also present a criminal record certificate for any country you or they resided in for a year or more in the last 10 years

UK Entry clearance for Representatives of an Overseas Business

For further information please see our UK Representative of an overseas business visa section

If you intend to enter the UK as a Representative of an Overseas Business then you need to apply for entry clearance at a British Embassy or Consulate in your country of nationality or usual residence. You will have to submit the following documents, at the minimum:

  • An application form, downloaded from the UK government’s Visa4UK website
  • A valid Passport, or other appropriate travel documents
  • The relevant visa fee.
  • You will also need to have you biometric data (fingerprints and a photograph) recorded at the visa application centre
  • You may also need to present a Tuberculosis test certificate if you are from a high TB risk area
  • Details of the company’s assets, accounts, and shares for the past 12 months
  • A letter confirming that the company will establish a branch or wholly owned subsidiary in the UK, in the same area of business as the parent company
  • Your employment contract, and details of your job description and salary
  • A letter confirming that you are fully familiar with the company’s operations and have full autonomy to conduct negotiations and make high level decisions on behalf of the company, without needing to consult with others in the company
  • A notarised letter stating that:
    • you will be the company’s sole representative in the UK
    • you will not undertake any business not on behalf of the company, either for themselves or a third party
    • the company has no other branch, subsidiary, or representative in the UK
    • the company will continue to be based overseas
  • UK Visa Tier Points-Based Immigration System
    • Tier 1 Visa
      • Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa
      • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
      • Tier 1 Investor Visa
    • Tier 2 Visa for Skilled Workers
      • Tier 2 General Visa
      • Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Visa
      • Tier 2 Visa Points System
      • UK Visa Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship
      • Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Application – How to apply
      • UK Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List
      • Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa
      • Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa
      • Tier 2 Visa Resident Labour Market Test
      • Tier 2 visa switching from another visa scheme
      • Tier 2 Visa Government fees from 29 March 2019
    • Tier 3 Visa – Never Implemented and discontinued
    • Tier 4 Student Visas
      • Tier 4 Visa for International Students
    • Tier 5 Visa for Temporary Workers
      • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa
      • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) visa
      • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange) visa
      • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) visa
      • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Religious Worker) visa
      • Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa
    • Who needs a UK Tier 2 Work Visa or other visa?
  • Non Tier UK Business visas
    • UK Innovator Visa
    • UK Start Up Visa
    • UK Sole Representative of an overseas business visa
    • UK Turkish Businessperson visa
  • UK Visitor Visas
    • UK Standard Visitor visa
    • UK Permitted Paid Engagement visa
    • Who needs a UK visitor visa?
  • UK Family Visas
    • UK Family of a settled person visa
      • UK Marriage visa (Family of a Settled Person Visa) tips
      • UK Fiancé visa (Family of a Settled Person Visa) tips
    • EEA Family Permit and UK Residence Card
    • UK Parent of a Tier 4 child visa
    • British Ancestry visa
    • UK Entry Clearance Guide
    • EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals Working in the UK
  • UK Permanent Residence and UK Citizenship
    • UK Permanent Residence/Indefinite Leave to Remain
    • UK Citizenship and Naturalisation – How to apply
      • Children Born Outside The UK
        • The British Nationality Act 1981
        • British Citizenship By Descent Or Otherwise
        • Children born outside the UK/qualifying territory
        • UK Children of parents in Crown and similar services
        • Children who will not be British citizens
        • List of Crown and services
      • Right of Abode (UK)
    • Long Residence in UK