UK visas, passports and customs

UK visas and passports

European (EU) citizens may enter the UK for an unlimited time with just a passport or national identity card.

Visitors from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand require a passport for stays up to six months, but will also have to fill in an immigration card on arrival (it will most likely be given out during your flight).

Vistors from any other country will need their passport and a visa. If you are planning to travel to the UK for anything other than a holiday, then you may also have to obtain enough ‘points’ to qualify. You can check all of the details on the UK Border Agency website.

Important: Whilst we make every effort to keep this information up-to-date, visa and passport info is always subject to change, and there are sometimes extra exceptions and restrictions. We therefore advise you to check the details directly with the UK Border Agency.

Schengen Agreement

Some EU countries belong to the Schengen Agreement, which enables visitors to enter their country without going through immigration. The UK, however, is not a member of this scheme, so citizens of Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands still need to pass through the normal immigration checks.

Going through customs

EU citizens can carry goods through customs without paying any duty, provided that the goods are for personal use. Typical amounts that might be allowed through are 3,000 cigarettes and 90 litres of wine. Customs officers are always entitled to stop you, however, and check whether the goods comply.

Vistors from any other country will have stricter limits. A typical amount is 200 cigarettes.

If you are planning on bringing in any items that customs may query (eg. food, alcohol and cigarettes), then we advise you to look up the current restrictions on the UK Border Agency website.

Important: Whilst we make every effort to keep this information up-to-date, customs info is always subject to change, and there are sometimes extra exceptions and restrictions. We therefore advise you to check the details directly with the UK Border Agency.

Claiming back Value Added Tax

Non-EU citizens can try and claim back the Value Added Tax (VAT) once they leave the UK. In order to do this, you need to buy the items from a shop operating the VAT Retail Export Scheme. You will need to ask the shop staff whether they have the relevant form, which will contain details on how to make the claim.

 
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