Wales Visa and Passport | Though Wales forms an integral part of the United Kingdom, it often sits in the shadows of its high-achieving neighbours. But treat Wales as an after thought and you’ll be missing a trick.
It may be small, but Wales is resourceful, squeezing in green hills, bustling cities and colourful seaside villages, fronted by UNESCO-listed beaches. Its people are welcoming but passionate, harbouring the spirit of the iconic red dragon that adorns its national flag.
Starting at the top, the beautiful island of Anglesey (Wales’s largest island) has shot into the limelight recently thanks to the residency of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. But ask any local and they’ll tell you the island has long been revered – some North Walians still consider it to be the true heartland of Wales. Tread carefully.
Further down the mainland lies the awe-inspiring Snowdonia National Park, home to Snowdon, Wales’s highest peak, not to mention some of the best hiking trails in the British Isles. The restaurant at the summit offers album-worthy panoramas and is arguably the best spot in the country to sample Welsh oggie (a lamb and leek pasty).
To claim that the journey to the south of the country transcends time from traditional to modern Wales is overly dramatic, but there is a wisp of truth in this remark. Sleepy villages give way to modern cities and the national tongue, for the most part, slips from Welsh into English.
Here, the cities of Swansea, a stone’s throw from the surfer-strewn sands of the Gower peninsular; Newport, a modern port city emerging from its industrial roots; and Cardiff, the cosmopolitan capital, dominate the landscape and provide ample opportunities for urban adventure.
These modern cities have not abandoned their heritage, though; scattered amongst them are museums, medieval castles (Cardiff, Coch and Caerphilly to name a few) and historic sites chronicling the redundant coal mining industry, a big part of the nation’s identity.
Granted, it may lack the pulling power of its heavyweight neighbours, but Wales is a country that rewards the adventurous.
Please Note: Our visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing, We strongly recommend that you verify critical information unique to your trip with the relevant embassy before travel. See also: List of countries with Visa Application form
United Kingdom Visa and Passport Requirements
|Passport required||Return ticket required||Visa Required|
To enter the United Kingdom, a passport valid for the duration of stay is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above, except (1) EU nationals holding a valid national ID card.
EU nationals are only required to produce evidence of their EU nationality and identity in order to be admitted to any EU member state. This evidence can take the form of a valid national passport or national identity card. Either is acceptable. Possession of a return ticket, any length of validity on their document, or sufficient funds for the length of their proposed visit should not be imposed.
A passport is not required for travel between Great Britain and Ireland (an official form of identification, such as a driver’s licence, is required), Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
Passengers transiting the UK destined for the Republic of Ireland are advised to hold return tickets to avoid delay and interrogation.
In addition to EU citizens who can travel freely into the United Kingdom, nationals from 56 countries can also enter the United Kingdom for stays of up to six months without a visa for tourism purposes. The countries include Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, East Timor, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Micronesia, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu and Vatican City.
Nationals of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates can obtain an electronic visa waiver (EVW) online.
Before travelling to the United Kingdom, it is best to check the entry requirements at www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa
Nationals not requiring visas are advised to be in possession of either a return ticket or, if arriving on a one-way ticket, proof of sufficient funds to accommodate and support themselves for the duration of stay.
Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the embassy/high commission to check visa requirements for the United Kingdom.
Types and Cost
Standard Visitor visa: £89; long-term visit visa: £337 (two years); £612 (five years); £767 (10 years).
Standard Visitor visa: six months; long-term visit visa: two, five or 10 years, with a maximum stay of six months per visit.
Some nationals (but not those listed above) require a transit visa. The Direct Airside Transit visa costs £34 and allows you to change flights in the UK, but you must not pass through immigration control and must leave within 24 hours. The Visitor in Transit visa costs £62 and allows you to go through border control, but you must leave the UK within 48 hours. For both visas, you must prove you are in transit to another country. Long-term transit visas are available to frequent travellers.
Consulate (or consular section at embassy/high commission). In some countries, you can apply online. See the UK government website for details (www.gov.uk/visas-immigration).
The United Kingdom is not part of the Schengen area.
The length of time taken to process visa applications depends on the nationality of the applicant and the country where you’re applying.
If you do require a visa to visit the United Kingdom, you may be asked to provide information about your finances.
Extension of stay
If you are initially given permission to enter for three months, you may apply to UK Visas and Immigration to extend your stay to six months from your original date of entry. The fee to extend your visa is £993 is you apply by post (decision made in eight weeks) or £1,583 if you apply in person (decision usually made on the same day).
The maximum total time you can stay in the United Kingdom is six months.
Entry with pets
If bringing a pet from another EU or ‘listed’ country, your animal must have a microchip, pet passport or official third country veterinary certificate, rabies vaccination administered at least 21 days before travel, and tapeworm treatment (dogs only).
If bringing a pet from an unlisted country, your animal must have a microchip, official third country veterinary certificate, rabies vaccination, blood test taken at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination and at least three months before travel, and tapeworm treatment (dogs only).
For full details, see www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad.
Embassies and tourist offices
Telephone: (020) 7008 8438.
Address: King Charles Street, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London, SW1A 2AH,
Opening times:Mon-Fri 0930-1330.
British Embassy in the USA
Telephone: (202) 588 7800.
Address: NW, 3100 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, 20008,
Opening times:By appointment only.
United Kingdom Health Care and Vaccinations
If suddenly taken ill or involved in an accident during a visit to an EEA country or Switzerland, free or reduced-cost necessary treatment is available for European travellers – in most cases on production of a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Travellers from other countries should find out if they are covered by other reciprocal arrangements. Australia, for example, has such an agreement as long as long as citizens carry their Medicare card. Comprehensive insurance is advised for all other nationals.
The National Health Service (NHS) provides free medical treatment (at hospitals and general surgeries) to all who are ordinarily resident in the UK, but requires payment for dental treatment, prescriptions and spectacles. Immediate first aid/emergency treatment is free for all visitors, after which charges are made unless the visitor’s country has a reciprocal health agreement with the UK. Full details of individual agreements are available from the Department of Health (www.dh.gov.uk).
Food and Drink
Food within the UK is generally safe to eat, with health and safety standards monitored by various government agencies. Tap water is considered safe to drink but bottled water is widely available. If you’re camping, always boil, filter or purify water from streams.
The UK is not a risky destination but travellers should still take appropriate precautions. Summer temperatures in England rarely reach above 30°C (86°F), but on hot days there is still risk of sunstroke and it’s advisable to wear sunscreen, as well as appropriate clothing. The same goes for winters, during which weather can be very changeable. Waterproofs (or at least a strong umbrella) are mandatory at any time of year. Those hiking in the mountains should come prepared, with appropriate gear and maps if needed but the biggest danger comes from those who disregard warning signs or poor weather.
If you’re planning to walk in wooded or heath areas such as in the Scottish Highlands, it’s worth taking precautions against tick bites: ensure you wear long-sleeved tops, tuck your socks into your trousers and wear insect repellent. Ticks are known to spread Lyme disease which, although fairly rare in the UK, can affect your skin, joints, heart and nervous system. Symptoms include: a pink or red circular rash which develops around the bite up to 30 days after a person is bitten; flu-like symptoms; headaches; and muscle or joint pain. If left untreated, symptoms can become more serious.
Midges are a hiker’s and camper’s nemesis, especially in the northwest Highlands during the summer. While they’ll do no worse than cause a multitude of unbearably itchy bites, it’s definitely worth covering up and dousing yourself in insect repellent to ward off these persistent beasties.
The weather in Scotland can change in an instant. If you’re walking, skiing or climbing in the hills, it’s vital to be prepared for all weathers. It’s not at all uncommon to go for a walk on a beautifully sunny day, only to find yourself surrounded by mist and drizzle with little warning. Make sure you’re equipped with a map, compass, extra food, layers and waterproofs, and always tell someone where you’re heading before you set out. Scots and visitors alike also find themselves unexpectedly caught out by the sun – you might not need it often, but pack some sunscreen.
United Kingdom Public Holidays
New Year’s Day
Easter Monday (except Scotland)
Early May Bank Holiday
Spring Bank Holiday
Summer Bank Holiday (except Scotland)
Money and duty free for United Kingdom
Currency and Money
Pound (GBP; symbol £) = 100 pence. Notes are in denominations of £50, £20, £10 and £5. Additional bank notes issued by Scottish banks (including £1 notes) are accepted in all parts of the UK, although some smaller shops outside Scotland may prefer English banknotes. Coins are in denominations of £2 and £1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 pence.
American Express, MasterCard and Visa are all widely accepted. Cash can be obtained from a multitude of ATMs available across the country.
Cash can be obtained from a multitude of ATMs available across the country.
Widely accepted. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller’s cheques in Pounds Sterling.
Mon-Fri 0930-1630 (there may be some variations in closing times). Some banks are open Saturday morning; some all day Saturday.
There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency. However, amounts exceeding €10,000 or equivalent must be declared if travelling from or to a country outside the European Union.
Money can be exchanged in banks, exchange bureaux, some post offices and many hotels. The exchange bureaux are often open outside banking hours but charge higher commission rates. All major currencies can be exchanged.
United Kingdom duty free
Goods obtained duty and tax paid in the EU are unlimited, as long as tax was paid in the country and they are for your own use. If you bring in more than the following, customs officials are more likely to ask the reason for holding the goods:
• 800 cigarettes or 400 cigarillos or 200 cigars or 1kg of tobacco.
• 90L of still wine.
• 110L of beer.
• 10L of alcoholic beverages stronger than 22% or 20L of fortified or sparkling wine or other liqueurs up to 22%.
If you are arriving from a non-EU country, the following goods may be imported into the UK by persons over 17 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco. These can be combined provided travellers do not exceed their total tobacco allowance.
• 4L of still wine.
• 1L of alcoholic beverages stronger than 22% or 2L of fortified or sparkling wine or other liqueurs up to 22%. These can be combined provided travellers do not exceed their total alcohol allowance.
• 16L of beer.
• Other goods including souvenirs up to the value of £390 (or £270 if arriving by private plane or boat).
The Channel Islands and Gibraltar are treated as being outside of the EU for duty-free purposes.
Prohibited items include illegal drugs, offensive weapons, self-defence sprays, indecent and obscene material, counterfeit and pirated goods, and meat, dairy and other animal products from outside the EEA.
Restricted items include firearms, explosives and ammunition, live animals, endangered species, rough diamonds, and certain radio transmitters.
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