Visiting the UK after Brexit

What you'll need to do to visit the UK after the UK leaves the EU, including whether you'll need to apply for a visa.

Published 5 March 2019 by the UK Government

From: UK Visas and Immigration, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Department for Transport, Border Force

Full information found on the gov.uk website. All information correct as of 11.03.2019.

All external links to the gov.uk webpages are not translated. For further information or assistance please contact your in market B2B.

What you’ll need to enter the UK

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, what you’ll need to enter the UK will not change until 2021.

Find out if you’ll need to apply for a visa to enter the UK.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal

If you’re an Irish citizen, you’ll be able to enter the UK without a visa, as you can now. You’ll be able to work or study while you’re here.

You’ll be able to enter the UK without a visa if you’re a citizen of any other EU or EEA country, or Switzerland. You’ll be able to work or study while you’re here.

The government is proposing to end free movement, but this is still subject to approval by Parliament. Once free movement has ended, if you’re a citizen of any other EU or EEA country, or Switzerland, you’ll still be able to enter the UK without a visa but only for up to 3 months. Check back here for updates and find out what you’ll need to do to come to the UK for longer than 3 months.

In other cases, find out if you’ll need to apply for a visa to enter the UK.

Staying in the UK for longer than 3 months if there's no Brexit Deal

Leaving the EU with a deal remains the government’s top priority. This has not changed. However, a responsible government must plan for every eventuality, including a no deal scenario.

The arrangements described here will also apply to citizens of Switzerland arriving after exit in a no deal scenario.

After the UK leaves the EU, if there is no Brexit deal, EEA and Swiss citizens will be able to enter the UK as they do now (for an interim period).

However, following the end of free movement and before the UK’s new skills-based immigration system begins in 2021, you will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain to stay longer than 3 months.

You do not need to apply for any immigration status or visa if you do not intend to stay in the UK for more than 3 months.

EEA and Swiss citizens who arrive before the UK leaves the EU will still be able to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.

Rights and status

European Temporary Leave to Remain will allow EEA and Swiss citizens arriving in the UK after 29 March 2019 to live, work and study in the UK if there’s no Brexit deal.

EEA and Swiss citizens who are granted European Temporary Leave to Remain will be able to stay in the UK for 36 months from the date it is granted. European Temporary Leave to Remain will be a temporary, non-extendable immigration status. It will not give indefinite leave to remain (ILR), lead to status under the EU Settlement Scheme or make EEA and Swiss citizens eligible to stay in the UK indefinitely.

If EEA and Swiss citizens want to stay in the UK for more than 36 months, they will need to apply for an immigration status under the new immigration system, which will come into effect from 1 January 2021. Those who do not qualify will need to leave the UK when their European Temporary Leave to Remain expires.

Who will need to apply?

You’ll need to apply if you:

  • are an EEA or Swiss citizen and
  • arrive in the UK after the UK leaves the EU and
  • want to stay in the UK for more than 3 months

You’ll not be eligible if you are a serious or persistent criminal or a threat to national security.

Irish citizens will not need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain. They’ll continue to have the right to enter and live in the UK under Common Travel Area arrangements.

Family members of EEA or Swiss citizens

Non-EEA or Swiss citizen close family members of EEA or Swiss citizens living in the UK will need to apply for a family permit before accompanying or joining them in the UK.

How to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain

You’ll need to apply within 3 months of arriving in the UK.

The application will be online. You’ll need to prove your identity and declare any criminal convictions during your application.

If you are living in the UK before the UK leaves the EU

If you’re an EEA or Swiss citizen who enters the UK before the UK leaves the EU, you’re eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. EEA or Swiss citizens and their families will be able to remain in the UK indefinitely if they are granted settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you’re an EEA or Swiss citizen who arrives in the UK after 29 March 2019 but were previously living in the UK before 29 March 2019, you can also apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

What you need to show at the UK border

What you need to show at the UK border will not change, even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

You’ll need to show a valid passport or national identity card if you’re a citizen of either:

  • an EU country
  • Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland

You can use automatic ePassport gates at some airports if your passport has a ‘chip’ on it and you’re 12 or over. Using the ePassport gates is usually faster.

If you’re not a citizen of one of these countries, you’ll need to show a valid passport.

You can still enter the UK using a passport which expires in less than 6 months.

Find out how to get through border checks as quickly as possible.

At border control

Your passport or identity card will be checked.

You must:

  • have your passport or identity card ready – remove it from a holder or wallet if you use one
  • remove your sunglasses if you’re wearing them
  • move through passport control together if you’re in a family

Arriving by bus or coach

You have to leave the bus when you arrive at border control.

Make sure you:

  • are ready to get off the bus when you arrive
  • have your travel documents ready

Read the guidance for school parties and groups coming to the UK by coach.

You’re from an EEA country and Switzerland

You can use the EU/EEA channel to get your passport or identity card checked – this is usually faster than the other channels.

You can use automatic ePassport gates at some airports if your passport has a ‘chip’ on it and you’re 12 or over. If you’re between 12 and 17, you must be accompanied by an adult.

These gates use facial recognition technology to check your identity against the photo in your passport.

You’re from a non-EEA country

Your carrier will give you a landing card – fill this in before you arrive at border control.

Your passport, landing card (and visa if you have one) will be checked.

You’ll usually be asked why you’re coming to the UK.

Keep documents that show the reason for your visit in your hand luggage, so you can show them if asked, for example your travel itinerary, work permit or university letter.

Registered Travellers

If you’ve joined the Registered Traveller service, you can use the:

  • UK/EEA channels
  • automatic ePassport gates if your passport has a ‘chip’

You will not need a landing card at some UK airports.

Travelling with a UK biometric visa

You’ll have a biometric visa if your fingerprints were taken when you applied.

Your fingerprints will be checked at border control – they’ll be checked against the ones stored on your visa document.

If you’re refused entry

You’ll be told in writing:

  • why you’ve been refused entry to the UK
  • if you can appeal against the decision
  • when you will be removed from the UK

You’ll usually have to leave the UK immediately.

You may be allowed into the UK temporarily (usually for up to a week) but your passport will be taken from you and you must report to immigration officers at set times.

Driving in the UK

If you have a non-UK licence

How you can drive in the UK will not change after Brexit.

Find out if you can use your licence to drive in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

If your vehicle is not insured in the UK

You’ll need to carry an insurance ‘green card’ if all of the following apply:

  • your vehicle is insured in an EU or EEA country
  • the UK leaves the EU without a deal
  • the UK leaves the EU with no agreement in place on driving without a green card

Check back here for updates on whether there’s an agreement on driving without a green card.

If your vehicle is insured in a country that’s not in the EU or EEA, what you’ll need to do will depend on if your country is a member of the green card system.

If your country is a member, you’ll need to carry a green card.

If your country is not a member, your vehicle will need UK vehicle insurance.

What you can bring into the UK

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be changes to:

There will not be any changes to:

Bringing your pet to and from the UK

The rules for taking pets from the UK to EU countries will change if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. Your pet may need to have a blood test to prove it has been effectively vaccinated against rabies.

Find out more about getting the blood test and what documents you need to carry when travelling with your pet.

There will not be any changes to how you bring pets:

  • to the UK from the EU
  • to or from countries that aren’t in the EU

Using your mobile phone in the UK

You’ll pay the same for calls, texts and mobile data in the UK and the EU if both of the following apply:

  • the UK leaves the EU with a deal
  • you have a SIM card issued by an EU mobile phone network

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, or you have a SIM card issued by a mobile phone network outside the EU, how much you’ll pay will depend on your mobile network.

Flights protected in no deal Brexit scenario

The government has also confirmed that flights will be protected in a no deal Brexit scenario.

The UK government has set out detailed plans confirming protection for flights in a no deal scenario. EU no deal aviation regulation is also about to be finalised to ensure UK airlines can continue to operate to Europe and contingency measures provide industry and contingency measures provide industry and holidaymakers with the certainty they need and ensure flights will continue after 29 March 2019. Read more.

Information for other nationals

From June 2019, citizens of the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea will be permitted to use e-gates at UK airports and at Eurostar terminals. This will significantly reduce queues and improve the flow of passengers and the overall experience at the UK border

Landing cards will also begin to be abolished from June 2019. This will reduce bureaucracy for travellers and speed up the processing of passengers on arrival in the UK

The UK Government announced two new deals, in November 2018, between the UK and Canada and the United States to ensure transatlantic flights will continue between North America and the UK following Brexit.

Please check the UK government website for the latest advice.