If you are not a British citizen, or a citizen of one of the European Economic Area (EEA) countries, you may need entry clearance before you travel to the UK.
People from certain countries, known as visa nationals, need entry clearance to enter the UK for any reason.
The visa tells the immigration officer at a UK port of arrival:
Entry clearance means permission to enter the UK, which is obtained before travelling.
Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) do not have to apply for entry clearance; however it may be useful in some circumstances to apply for a residence permit. Swiss nationals are also exempt. The countries of the EEA are:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK.
As information about visas is changing all the time, we recommend that you visit the UK Border Agency's website (www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk) for full information and updates about visas.