People traveling from most countries outside the European Union require a visa to enter the United Kingdom. However, legal citizens of the United States do not need a visa while visiting the United Kingdom. Medical clearance will be required if traveling from certain countries. There are differing types of visas depending on the purpose of travel and length of stay in the United Kingdom. The visa application may take some days to go through, but help and advice from immigration officials is possible either online or at one of the centers in the United Kingdom or around the world. The immigration process can be started once a visa is obtained.

Apply for a visa if you live in a country outside the United States or the European Union. Check online or with the U.K. visa application center to see whether you need medical clearance. People from certain countries have to show a certificate to show they are free from infectious tuberculosis if staying for more than six months.

Fill out the correct visa application form. There are many different types of visa for people with various circumstances. Ensure that you thoroughly explain your situation to the application staff before filling out any forms and paying a visa application fee.

Provide supporting documents. These include a passport, job offer or acceptance letter from an education organization. Documents must be translated if not written in English and must include the translator's name, date, signature and confirmation that it is an accurate translation of the original document.

Apply for a work permit if you have a visa or are a citizen of the EU or US and want to work in the United Kingdom. Students will need a study visa and an acceptance letter. You may stay in the United Kingdom for the duration of employment once a work permit is obtained. To stay permanently and become a British citizen, you would have to apply to the Home Office.

Tell the immigration application staff if any of your details change after your form has been submitted. Your circumstances may change during the application. Be honest in your application and let the authorities know your situation every step of the way.

Items you will need

  • Visa fees

  • Visa application form

  • Supporting documents

Tip

  • Make sure you understand all the questions on the visa application form. Do not leave any answers blank. Ask a member of the visa application staff if you are unsure of any of the questions.

Tip

  • Do not falsify any documents. At the least, it could result in your application being turned down; at the worst, you might be arrested by the authorities. It is better to explain that a document is lost or missing than using a falsified one.