UK Immigration | Visa Free travel to UK | Visa basics for USA, Canada, Australia and other nationals


UK visa application from USA and other similar economic countries.

VFS Global :

UK Home Office US national visa page:

In this video we discuss the following questions.

1) Do you need a UK visa?
2) If you do need a visa, what is the procedure?
3) Latest update on UK visa centers opening and resumption of services.

As you may be aware, not all nationals need a pre-approved visa to enter the UK. So what are the various categories.

The need for a UK visa depends on your nationality and also the purpose and the length of your visit. If your country has a bilateral agreement or is a wealthy nation it may be possible to travel to other countries including the UK without a visa.

There are 3 main categories of people as regards UK visa considerations:

1) EEA nationals;
2) Visa waiver nationals (including electronic waiver nationals) and;
3) Visa nationals.

EEA nationals
EEA nationals are European nationals who can visit, live, work and conduct business in the UK very much like UK nationals. This changes on 31 December 2020. They will become visa waiver nationals.

Visa waiver nationals
Visa waiver nationals, are nationals who do not need a pre-approved visa to travel to the UK for general visit. Americans and Canadians few other countries fall into this category. You are given a stamp at the airport for 6 months as a visitor.

For studies, work, settlement as a family member of a British national, you still need to apply for, and obtain a visa prior to departing for the UK.

Electronic visa waiver
Electronic visa waiver (EVW) nationals are similar to visa waiver nationals but need to apply online to get their waiver, usually issued within 24 hours. It is similar to ESTA and costs £30 ($38).

The countries benefiting from this includes:

the United Arab Emirates

An EVW lets you visit the UK for up to 6 months for tourism, business, study or medical treatment.

Visa Nationals

Visa nationals, are nationals who need a visa regardless of purpose of visit. These include almost all countries in Africa and Asia.

There are other sub-categories and special cases, such as those who hold diplomatic or service passports or are part of an approved destination status agreement such as participants in group tours organised by approved agencies in China.

For US nationals the procedure is as follows.

For short visits head to the airport as if you are heading to Canada. Make sure, if asked, you know why, where and with whom you will be for the duation of your visit. Also have evidence of funds to show genuine visit and also evidence of good ties with US to show you will indeed return after the short visit.

For other than visit, such as work, study or family settlement You must apply for, and be granted a visa before you can make your way to the UK. The same applies if you looking to visit the UK and are currently resident in the US but your nationality is that of an visa national.

To apply for a UK visa in the USA you need to:

– apply online (
– pay your fee
– book and attend your biometric appointment
– Attend an Application Support Centre (ASC)
– post your application to VFS Services USA.


Currently the VFS services offices are closed.

See the description box for updates and links. You should checkout the VFS website for latest updates too.




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