Whether you want to study, visit or live in the United Kingdom, Americans need to be aware of what’s required before travelling. To top it off, Brexit makes things a little more confusing. Here’s some details on UK visa from USA and what your options are as an American.
Having a UK vacation
US citizens do not need to apply for a visa to enter the UK if they travel for tourism for stays up to six months.
If you’re coming to London for a family holiday, taking a once-in-a-lifetime road trip around the UK or attending a wedding in Edinburgh, you don’t need to apply for a visa. As long as you visit is solely for tourism and is under six months, you don’t need to apply for prior permission.
Thankfully as a tourist, you can bypass the whole confusion visa process entirely!
What documents do I need when I arrive in the UK as a tourist?
When travelling to the UK as a tourist, it’s helpful to have evidence of your flight back to the United States. This helps show the customs agent that you do not intend on overstaying your tourist visa.
You’ll also need to provide your passport and it must not expire while you intend to be in the UK.
It’s also helpful to have details about where you are going to stay while in the UK as this information will be added to your UK customs card. It also shows to the customs agent that you have planned out your vacation to the UK and are likely to be a legitimate traveller.
Want to learn more? Check out: Everything you need to know about the UK Tourist Visa 2019
Attending a UK college or university
Americans will need to apply for a Tier 4 General Student visa in order to attend higher education in the United Kingdom.
While the application process can be long and expensive, it may be your lifelong dream to attend school abroad. But wait! You can’t jump onto a plane just yet: you will need to be accepted onto a program in the UK and approved for the student visa first.
You won’t be able to come to the UK and apply for schools and the visa while you are in the country – You’ll need to get a UK visa from USA.
For more details, make sure to check out the article: UK Student Visa: What do I need to do?
Moving to the UK
Americans who want to relocate to the UK to live and work will be required to be approved for a visa first. This could be various working visas or family visas such as a Spouse visa. You will need to apply and be approved for a visa that allows you to work and live in the UK before you move.
Most UK visas applications will require certain documentation, fees and final approval before you move to the UK. You cannot relocate to the UK just because you want to. You need to be legally allowed to live and work here first.
Most visa application forms are doing through online applications. However in certain situations you may need to visit an application centre in your country. These appointments can be for interviews or to take biometric information (such as your fingerprints and photo).
After staying in the UK for a certain amount of time on a visa, you may be able to apply for settlement in the UK. However, this is only after living and working in the UK on the appropriate visas.
Want to apply for a UK visa but not sure where to start? Check out these articles for more information on various visa requirements, options and applications.
UK Visa From USA
Currently, we don’t know how Brexit will impact visas available for Americans coming to the United Kingdom. We can only speculate how things might change.
However, it’s always important to check the UK Government website before you decide to travel to the UK. If there are any changes to visas, fees or requirements, they will be posted on the UK website.