How long can I go to the UK without a visa?

posted 2 years ago in Travel
Post # 2
Member
1110 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

If you’re from the US you have 90 days to stay in the UK without a visa. Putting it more than 30 days will get you questioned thoroughly at Customs and Immigration, but shouldn’t be anything too horrible.

Post # 3
Member
353 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - The Fairmont, SF

I am a US citizen. Do I need a visa for the UK?

The main rule is that all non-European nationals must obtain a visa before they travel to the UK, if they want to come here for more than 6 months.

Short visits

US citizens do not require a visa if they wish to come to the UK for short visits (less than 6 months). There are, however, exceptions:

– if you come to visit in order to marry or to register a civil partnership you will require a visa

– if, during your visit, you wish to take paid employment or produce goods or services in the UK (you will need to obtain a visa under a category in the Working in the UK section on the UKBA website)”

http://ukimmigrationspecialist.com/2012/08/12/i-am-a-us-citizen-do-i-need-a-visa-for-the-uk/

I moved to the UK from the States as well, but I had an EU passport so I didn’t bother with a visa… From other Americans who’ve come to visit, I’ve heard the hardest part of coming in is waiting in the lines at the airport. 

Post # 4
Member
1110 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

You’ll also need to provide contact information for where you’re staying on your little customs form that you fill out on the plane so make sure you know where you’re staying and the phone number for the place.

Post # 5
Member
7664 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

I would have thought that you would need a general visitor visa, unless someone knows differently?

https://www.gov.uk/general-visit-visa

They’re not terribly hard to get, and not very expensive, so I don’t see the harm in applying regardless.

EDIT: Scratch that… seems like the other bees gave you better info!

Post # 6
Member
1110 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

Rachel631:  The US and the UK have visa waiver agreements meaning that unless she’s going there to marry, work, study, or immigrate she can be there for up to six months continuously without having to apply for a visa.

 

Post # 7
Member
2419 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

You’ll need a visa if you plan to stay longer than 6 months. That said, be aware that our Border Agency can be difficult at the point of entry for much shorter stays especially if it looks as if you might be planning to join family already in the UK. Be prepared to provide details of where you are staying and prepared to be interrogated about exactly why you need to stay for a longer than average tourist stay too. There are various categories of people who DO need a visa. It isn’t necessarily straightforward to work this out so I’d advise checking it out here:

http://www.usembassy.org.uk/americanservices/?cat=24

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  .
Post # 8
Member
6032 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Also be prepared to show how you intend to support yourself while you are on your extended visit. Bring a bank statement and all of your credit card statements to show that you are capable of keeping yourself housed and fed during your stay. This is much more important for longer visits. If your husband’s employer is paying for his housing then bring a copy of whatever arrangements have been made on his behalf, and something that explains what he is doing there (so that he does not come under scrutiny for working without a visa). A copy of your return travel itinerary is a big help too. 

Post # 10
Member
2419 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

RunnerBride13:  Whatever you do, don’t tell the Border Agency that you’ll be working! Even if it is remotely for your company. Only this will almost certainly get you put on the first plane back out again. My understanding is that work – even remotely and for your US based company – is illegal on a tourist entry visa.  Please check this out carefully before you arrive. Only it might be that you would be well advised to apply for the appropriate visa rather than risk immediate deportation – which would come with a ban on re-entry to the UK.

Post # 11
Member
73 posts
Worker bee

Steampunkbride:  just logged on to say this. Don’t tell them this, they won’t let you in. It creates all kinds of visa and tax issues. 

Post # 14
Member
2419 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

RunnerBride13:  That’s factually true. The visa issue isn’t a problem. The real problem is that you still have to run the gauntlet of the UK Border Agency who man the entry point to the UK. Trust me (and I say this as someone whose British son is married to a US citizen and thus all three of us travel quite frequently between the UK and the US) the UK Border Agency staff are CONSIDERABLY less pleasant than their US immigration counterparts. Which speaks volumes!

Sure, you don’t need a visa. But anyone trying to enter the UK who is clearly not the average tourist – i.e. with hotel bookings, a tour itinerary and staying for a correspondingly short period of time – will be subject to interrogation. The Border Agency, like their US counterparts are keen to ensure that visitors don’t overstay but more than that, the Border Agency are HOT, HOT, HOT, on non-entitled visitors working illegally in the UK.

What I am about to say should not be taken as condoning illegal entry to the UK but certainly these are the points you need to take on board:

1. You will be asked the purpose of your visit. A reunion with your husband and a summer vacation with him being quite acceptable and true, However, you will also be asked how you are funding this lengthy stay in the UK. They will ask, do you have a job? If so, have you arranged a leave of absence? 

2. Having a job is just an opener though because you’ll certainly be asked “How do you plan to support yourself for up to 6 months in the UK? How much money do you have in the bank (take a bank statement with you)?

3. If you answer “my husband is paying for my stay here” they will ask “Who does he work for and how much does he earn?” – be prepared to have a copy of at least one of his paychecks with you.

Also, note that the Border Agency considers that an annual salary of at least £18,000 ($30,000) is the minimum amount possible to support a couple with a spouse who is not entitled to work. 

If the answers to any questions are along the line of “that’s OK, I’m going to be working remotely”, expect to spend several hours in a cell before being put on the next plane back to the States. At your expense!

So you can see that merely not having to have a visa is absolutely no guarantee that you’ll be granted entry to the UK.

Post # 15
Member
2419 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

RunnerBride13:  PS. I can’t speak for your husband but since he must have managed to get through border control, presumably he is in the UK with the correct documentation. But I know of almost no circumstances where a non-EU national is allowed to work in the UK without the correct visa.

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