Unlike many other countries in Europe, the United Kingdom is not part of the Schengen Agreement. This means that anyone who needs a visa will need to get one specifically for the UK – in other words, if foreign visitors have a Schengen Visa, they will not be able to travel to the UK with this. All citizens of EU countries do not need a visa to enter the UK, and they can stay as long as they like – they are also permitted to work.
There is a common travel area between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, meaning that there is no real border controls. Spot checks do happen though and tourists to the Republic of Ireland need to also have a visa for the UK if they wish to enter this territory – the same applies going the opposite way as well.
Citizens of the following countries can enter the UK without a visa and stay for a period of up to six months:
- New Zealand
- United States
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- Costa Rica
- East Timor
There are also a number of other countries that are listed under this scheme. In order to be eligible for this waiver of the visa, the person must be coming to the UK purely for tourist activities. If people
wish to come for purposes other than tourism they will usually need to enquire at the nearest British Embassy.
Anyone entering the UK from countries where a passport is required will need to make sure that this is valid for at least 90 days beyond the last day of their trip.