Foreign Entry for British Abroad

The UK Foreign Commonwealth Office has outlined passport and entry requirements as follows: You can find information on passport validity, visa information and entry requirements in the travel advice for each country under ‘entry requirements’. This advice is reviewed constantly. We can’t answer all your queries about the specific entry requirements of a country other […]

The UK Foreign Commonwealth Office has outlined passport and entry requirements as follows:

You can find information on passport validity, visa information and entry requirements in the travel advice for each country under ‘entry requirements’. This advice is reviewed constantly.

We can’t answer all your queries about the specific entry requirements of a country other than what appears in the Travel Advice. You should consult the relevant foreign embassy in the UK for information on things like:

  • Medical conditions and taking medicines into a country
  • Stamps from previous visits abroad affecting travel to new countries
  • Criminal convictions affecting entry eligibility
  • Travelling to some countries with children of whom you are not legal guardians

See the FCO list of Foreign Embassies in the UK for phone numbers and addresses.

Check the entry requirements of the country you intend to visit well in advance – some require that you have a certain amount of validity left on your passport when you travel, so you may have to apply for a new passport in time for your trip.

Some countries may also physically stamp your passport on entry and exit and they will require a minimum of two empty pages to do that. You should check this requirement before travelling, especially if your passport is quite full.

Some common questions received by the FCO include:

What are the visa requirements for the USA?

The FCO Travel Advice for the USA explains in detail the visa requirements.

US entry requirements are changing! If you’re entering the US on the Visa Waiver Programme you will need to complete an ESTA form online. More information is available on the US Embassy’s website.

The US Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) allows most British Citizen passport holders to visit the USA for up to 90 days. The types of journeys that are permissible under the VWP include general travel/tourism, certain types of business and when transiting to another country. More details on the VWP and other aspects of US immigration are available at:

If you have any doubts about whether you are eligible to enter the USA under the VWP, or about visa matters generally, you are strongly advised to contact the US Embassy in London before your travel. The Visa Information line is 0904 245 0100 (calls are charged at £1.20 per minute).

Is the passport validity the same for all members of the EU?

No – you should check each country you intend to travel to. For example you need 6 months left on your passport to enter Belgium but your passport only needs to be valid for the duration of your stay for places like Spain, Greece and France.

Do I need a passport to travel to the Republic of Ireland?

The Republic of Ireland is classed as being part of the Common Travel Area of the UK so you do not need a passport to enter. Most airlines or ferry services only require satisfactory photographic ID (i.e., your passport, driving licence, etc). We recommended that you take your passport if you have one and that you take care to read any advice the airline or ferry service give you about travelling when you book your tickets.

I have an Israeli stamp in my passport. Will it stop me from travelling to other countries?

You should contact the relevant Foreign Embassy in the UK to find out. You should also check the relevant Travel Advice page for the country you intend to visit, as this information should be mentioned there too.

Consult the FCO Travelling & Living Overseas site for the latest information.

 

Rob is editor of Business Travel Destinations. He reviews international destinations for meetings and events -- where business travelers go, the hotels where they stay and their lifestyle preferences on the road. Rob was previously the event planning guide for About.com (owned by The New York Times Company) from 2007 - 2011. His articles also appear in business travel publications and travel sites internationally.