You can apply for an exempt vignette if you don’t normally need a visa to work in the UK because you’re exempt from immigration control.

It can help you avoid delays when you enter the UK, but you don’t have to have one.

Eligibility

You can apply if you’re:

  • a diplomat, or working for a diplomatic mission in the UK, and you were outside the UK when offered the post
  • an overseas government minister on official business, or travelling with one as part of your job
  • a member of Commonwealth or Overseas Territories armed forces posted in the UK or training in the UK
  • a head of state, or working for a head of state (eg on a state visit)
  • exempt from immigration control for any other reason

Some family members might also be able to get an exempt vignette.

Apply for an exempt vignette

There is a section in the visa application form for requesting an exempt vignette. You must fill in the relevant visa application online and book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre.

The earliest date you can apply is 3 months before you enter the UK.

Applications are free. You should get a decision within 3 weeks.

The exempt vignette will be added into your passport for you to show when you enter the UK.

Documents you need

You’ll need to provide:

  • a current passport or other travel identification
  • a passport photo
  • evidence that you’re coming to the UK as part of your job (if relevant), eg a letter from a UK or foreign ministry

Cuba and North Korea

You can’t apply online if you’re from Cuba or North Korea.

Download the forms and guidance.

Read the instructions for: