Visiting the UK: A Guide for EU, EEA, and Swiss Citizens

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Exploring the UK as an EU, EEA, or Swiss Citizen

Are you an EU, European Economic Area (EEA), or Swiss citizen planning to visit the UK? Good news! You can travel to the UK for holidays or short trips without needing a visa. However, there are a few essential things you need to keep in mind to ensure a smooth journey.

What You Need to Enter the UK

If you’re an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen, you can enter the UK using a valid passport that remains valid throughout your stay. The automatic ePassport gates are available for use by EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens when crossing the UK border.

However, please note that you cannot use an EU, EEA, or Swiss national ID card to enter the UK unless you fall under specific categories, such as having settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, holding an EU Settlement Scheme family permit, or having a frontier worker permit.

Non-EEA Family Members of EU, EEA, or Swiss Citizens

If you’re a non-EEA family member of an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen, you’ll need a valid national passport and one of the following documents:

  • EU Settlement Scheme family permit
  • UK-issued EEA family permit
  • UK-issued biometric residence card

Please note that Article 10 or Article 20 residence cards issued by an EEA member state cannot be used for entry to the UK.

Travelling from a Non-EEA Country

If you’re coming from a non-EEA country, your passport (and visa, if applicable) will be checked at the UK border. You’ll usually be asked about the purpose of your visit. However, citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States can use the UK/EEA immigration lanes and the automatic ePassport gates.

Common Travel Area (CTA) Travel

If you’re travelling from within the Common Travel Area (CTA), which includes the UK, Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man, there may be different document requirements. Make sure to check the specific requirements for entering the UK within the CTA.

Business Travel to the UK

For EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens visiting the UK on a short business trip, you may not need to apply for a visa. The UK’s new points-based immigration system allows you to visit the UK for up to 6 months without a visa, participating in various business-related activities such as meetings, events, and conferences. However, it is important to note that as a business visitor, you are not allowed to do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person, do a work placement or internship, or sell directly to the public or provide goods and services.

Make sure to read more about visiting the UK on a business trip and check whether you need to apply for a visa based on the specific activities you plan to carry out.

Working, Trading, and Bringing Goods to the UK

If you’re an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen planning to work in the UK for longer than 6 months, you’ll need to apply for a visa. There are specific guidelines and requirements for employers and employees, so it’s essential to find out more about working in the UK and the specific rules that apply to your situation.

EU businesses interested in trading with the UK can also find more information and guidance on the requirements for trade.

Moreover, if you’re bringing commercial goods into the UK in your accompanied baggage or small motor vehicle, there are certain rules and declaration requirements. Make sure to check the specific guidelines for bringing goods into the UK.

Other Considerations

Professional Qualifications

If you have professional qualifications from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, and you want to work in the UK, find out how to get your qualifications recognized in the UK.

School Travelers Entering the UK

If you’re part of a school trip from France, you can visit the UK using the France-UK school trip travel information form. This allows children who are EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens to enter with their national identity card instead of a passport. Children from other countries may also be eligible to enter without a visa, even if they would normally require one.

For schools in other countries, all schoolchildren need a passport to visit the UK. Non-EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen children may also require a visa. Make sure to check if a visa is required for your trip.

What You Can Bring into the UK

Before your visit, familiarize yourself with the updated guidance on specific items, such as bringing horses, endangered plants and animals, pets, and other goods into the UK. It’s crucial to comply with the regulations and declarations required for these specific items.

Healthcare, Driving, and Mobile Phone Usage

For EEA and Swiss citizens, it’s essential to check the latest guidance on healthcare, driving in the UK with a non-UK license, and using your mobile phone to avoid any surprises or limitations during your stay.

The UK is a diverse and exciting destination to explore, with a rich history, vibrant cities, and breathtaking landscapes. Whether you’re visiting for business or pleasure, make sure to plan your trip accordingly and have all the necessary documents and information to make your visit hassle-free. Enjoy your time in the UK!

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