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January 23, 2009


Traveling to the United Kingdom? Check UK Visa Requirements First!

As the major overhaul of the United Kingdom’s immigration rules continues, more Americans may find they require a visa, or entry clearance, as well as a work permit, to enter the country. These changes affect, but are not limited to, spouses/fiancés/partners/children of UK citizens, students (current, future, and prospective), interns, and business people. If you fall into one of these categories and do not have a visa from a UK consulate prior to traveling, you will not be allowed to enter the United Kingdom. UK immigration authorities can hold you in a detention facility until the next available flight back to the United States. The U.S. Embassy cannot interfere with or influence the decisions of UK immigration authorities. If you are denied entry, you may also face a 10-year ban from re-entering the United Kingdom.

UK Gate Image Photo: ## OP## on Flickr

Please remind your family and friends visiting the United Kingdom to check with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) before traveling, or to consult with the nearest British consulate in the United States for information. The UKBA website is: The website for the British consulates in the United States is:

Note: The U.S. Embassy cannot definitively answer questions regarding entry requirements into the U.K. For an answer to your questions regarding U.K. visas or U.K. entry requirements, please contact the U.K. Border Agency.

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  1. beth antonius
    Feb 19 2009

    when is the US going to join the youth mobility scheme to enable US students to work temporarily in the UK?

  2. Chris Brazel
    Feb 24 2009

    I am in the UK on an academic visitor’s visa, which will expire in May.
    Can I return to the UK this summer as a tourist (on just my regular US passport)?

    • American Citizen Services
      Feb 24 2009

      The U.S. Embassy cannot definitively answer questions regarding entry requirements into the U.K. For an answer to your questions, please contact the U.K. Border Agency.

  3. Amanda G
    Mar 3 2009

    I understand that you cannot give a definative answer on the US joining the Youth Mobility Scheme, but could you at least say if they are looking favorable?

  4. Neil
    Mar 8 2009

    Will the US join in the youth mobility scheme? Why is it so difficult to reach an agreement for the youth to get an amazing opportunity! Any places to read progress, updates on this situation? Thanks

    • American Citizen Services
      Mar 12 2009

      Each country adopts laws and regulations that permit foreign nationals to enter their country for specific purposes. Recent changes in the United Kingdom visa scheme no longer permits U.S. nationals to seek employment opportunities as they had done in the past. The United States provides a number of exchange opportunities for U.K nationals to come to the United States but the United States has not been authorized to participate in the United Kingdom Youth Mobility Scheme.

      We have been working very closely with officials from United Kingdom on this matter for the last several months and are hopeful that an understanding concerning continued exchange opportunities for nationals of both countries will be reached.

      We hope you find this information is helpful to you.

  5. rj bales
    Jul 21 2009

    I am an American citizen who came to the UK to visit on a regular 6-month entry clearance given to any tourist. While here I met a British citizen and now we wish to marry, less than a month before I have to leave the country. It is too late under the new UK laws to try to get married here due to all the requirements and time considerations involved, therefore we have decided to leave together to the US to get married in Las Vegas with the intention of returning to the UK to settle.

    What is required for me, as an American Citizen newly married to a UK citizen to re-enter the UK?

    My impression from reading different sites on the internet is that after the marriage ceremoney and after obtaining a certified marriage certificate, we have to register it at the UK Consulate in Las Angelas and that we must ask permission there for me to re-enter and that IF they are convinced of our sincerity and intentions, they will authorize me to enter on a probationary basis?

    Any help, advice or insight into the situation is much appreciated. We have visited the UK Broder Agency website and find it difficult to understand the verbiage at times.


  6. JPancholi
    Sep 25 2009

    I am a US citizen and have a project management opportunity in UK on fixed one year contract basis, but UK company requires existing work permit and Visa. Is it too difficult to obtain working visa for UK that big corporations are shying away from cumbersome work?

    • American Citizen Services
      Sep 28 2009

      Unfortunately, the U.S. Embassy cannot definitely answer questions regarding UK visas.

  7. KSowah
    Jan 18 2010


    I’m an American citizen studying at a London University on my school’s study abroad program. Initally I cam here for only 4 months, so I entered as a student visitor. Now I have extended to a full year study abroad student instead of just term 1. So, I need a Student Visa. In short, where does a US citizen obtain a UK visa, when already in the UK?

    Thanks in advance

  8. matt
    Jan 20 2010

    hey im a young uk national wishing to travel and work in the united states in the near future what Youth Mobility Schemes dose the united states offer to uk nationals could you point me in the right direction for more infomation.

    • American Citizen Services
      Jan 21 2010

      This blog is for American Citizen Services. Questions regarding visas to the U.S. cannot be answered here. For information regarding visas, you will need to visit our website at or call our live-operator service on +44 (0)9042-450-100 from within the UK (calls to this line are charged at £1.20/min from BT landlines; some mobile and network providers may charge more).

  9. Paul Rooney
    Jan 21 2010

    Dear Sir, I was offered a job with BHP Billiton. I went through a lengthy application process. Now they want me to pay a UK entry clearance fee of 890.00 GBP to a supposed reciever with the Metro Police. The MPS advised me of fraud, and told me to contact your office. I can not call you on my cell phone, and I want to file a report with you because they now have copies of my identification. Please contact me as soon as possible. Thank you, Paul Rooney

    • American Citizen Services
      Feb 4 2010

      Paul – this sounds like many of the financial scams that we are contacted about every day at the Embassy. Unfortunately, as we are not a law enforcement agency, we are unable to take any action against the perpetrators. For more information on who and how to report this, please visit our website at

  10. bello sylvester
    Feb 23 2010

    sir/madam,i am a nigerian would like to know the requirement of a leave visas to united kingdom..thank you.

    • American Citizen Services
      Mar 1 2010

      Bello – Questions regarding UK visas should be directed to the UK Border Agency. Their website can be found at

  11. Rebecca
    Mar 1 2010

    i have been issued a tier 4 student visa for the UK which is valid starting from march 26, however my flight arrives there march 10th. can i enter the UK as a visitor with my passport as I am a US citizen and then leave and reenter the UK on the 26th to activate my tier 4 student status?

    • American Citizen Services
      Mar 4 2010

      Rebecca – We regret that we are unable to answer questions on visa requirements for the United Kingdom. Questions regarding UK visas should be directed to the UK Border Agency. Their website can be found at

  12. Jenny
    Apr 4 2010


    I have an opportunity to study with a professional flautist in London. He is the principle flautist of the BBC Symphony and teaches at the Royal Academy of Music. He has agreed to take me on as a student for a period of 4-6 months. I cannot, however, afford to study with him and live in London without finding some sort of employment. I am a recent graduate (May 2009) from undergrad where I earned a Bachelor’s degree. I do not qualify for the Tier 5 Highly Skilled Migrant Worker Visa, as I do not have a Master’s degree or PhD and did not earn enough money to earn points there. I am too late to apply for BUNAC, and do not have an internship offer. I have been contacting people regarding possible work situations and sponsorships, but am finding it quite complicated. Do you have any suggestions as to any more resources I could try? This is an opportunity of a lifetime to study with such a highly regarded artist, and for this reason, I would like to make it happen somehow. I know you cannot answer definitive questions about visas and permits, but do you have any suggestions for me?

    Thank you, Jenny

    • American Citizen Services
      Apr 9 2010

      Jenny – we suggest that you visit the website of the UK Border Agency (UKBA). They have information about working in the UK and entering the UK as a student .

  13. Ashley
    Jul 5 2010

    I am writing to inquire about the procedure for going through customs in the US with my husband. I am an American citizen, and he is British. Because we will be married by the time we fly back to the US, can we go through immigration together if we provide a marriage certificate, or will we still have to go through seperate lines? Thank you so much.

    • American Citizen Services
      Jul 7 2010

      Ashley – as you are unable to transmit citizenship through marriage, your husband’s nationality will be unaffected by your marriage and, as such, he will be required to follow immigration procedures when entering the United States.

  14. Ashley
    Aug 3 2010

    I am a US citizen hoping to work in the UK. Am I able to get a working holiday visa, if so for how long and what are requirements? I realize that I am not eligible for the Youth Mobility one, but what other options would I have? I would be pursuing music over there with my band (one member of which is English, the other is Australian and can get the Youth Mobility has no problem), so I would need more than a holiday. Please help?

    • American Citizen Services
      Aug 5 2010

      Ashley – if you have a question regarding entry requirements for the United Kingdom, you should contact the UK Border Agency for more information.

  15. Omar Rivero
    Oct 26 2010

    Hi, I am an American citizen and I just concluded a semester of study here in the UK, and my VISA expires in one week. Last week I did an interview with a big bank and they are interested in hiring me, but they do not wish to spend the money/time in securing me a Visa through a tier 2 sponsorship. They advised me to try and gain permission to work in the UK on my own…. what are my options? I just got a Master in Management and have no previous work experience. Is the US in the Youth Mobility Scheme?

    • AmericanCitizenServices
      Nov 3 2010

      Omar – if you wish to remain in the UK and work, you should contact the UK Border Agency for information.

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