Guidance

Visiting the UK as an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen

What you need to know about crossing the UK border and visiting the UK.

What you need to enter the UK

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen

Irish citizens can continue to enter and live in the UK.

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can travel to the UK for holidays or short trips without needing a visa. In other cases, find out if you need to apply for a visa to enter the UK.

You can cross the UK border using a valid passport which should be valid for the whole time you are in the UK.

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can continue to use the automatic ePassport gates to pass through the border on arrival.

You cannot use an EU, EEA or Swiss national ID card to enter the UK unless you:

In these cases, you can continue to use your national ID card to enter the UK until at least 31 December 2025.

If you’re waiting for a decision on your application for settled or pre-settled status

You can still use your EEA or Swiss national identity card to enter the UK if all of the following are true:

  • you’ve applied for settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man’s settlement schemes
  • you’ve been issued with confirmation your application is valid
  • you’re not applying as a joining family member

Other types of cards

British citizens can continue to use a Gibraltar identity card to travel to the UK.

Irish citizens can continue to use a passport card to travel to the UK.

You must have the correct documents to show at the UK border if you’re travelling to the UK. You cannot use any documents to enter the UK that are not listed here.

If you’re a non-EEA family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen

You need a valid national passport, and one of the following:

  • an EU Settlement Scheme family permit
  • a UK-issued EEA family permit
  • a UK-issued biometric residence card

You cannot use an Article 10 or Article 20 residence card issued by an EEA member state.

If you’re from a non-EEA country

Your passport (and visa if you have one) will be checked at border control. You’ll usually be asked why you’re coming to the UK. You can use the UK/EEA immigration lanes and the automatic ePassport gates if you’re from:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • United States

Travelling from within the Common Travel Area (CTA)

The Common Travel Area (CTA) is made up of the UK, Ireland and the Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man).

There are different document requirements if you are travelling to the UK within the CTA.

Business travel to the UK

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss Citizen travelling to the UK for a short business trip, you may not need to apply for a visa.

Under the UK’s new points-based immigration system, you can continue to visit the UK without applying for a visa. In most cases you can stay for up to 6 months. You may participate in a wide range of activities including business-related activities such as meetings, events and conferences. You may enter the UK multiple times during that period but you may not live in the UK by means of frequent or successive visits.

As a business visitor, you cannot:

  • do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person
  • do a work placement or internship
  • sell directly to the public or provide goods and services

Read more about visiting the UK on a business trip and check whether you need to apply for a visa to carry out your intended activities.

Check the Visitor Rules and see the full list of business and academic activities you can do as a visitor to the UK.

Read more about what you can do when visiting from Ireland or one of the Crown Dependencies and check whether you need to apply for a visa.

Working in the UK or sending employees to work in the UK

If you require EU, EEA or Swiss citizens to work in the UK for longer than 6 months, they need to apply for a visa. Find out more about working in the UK.

If you employ or intend to employ an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who commutes to the UK, see the guidance for frontier workers.

Trading with the UK

EU business can find out more about trading with the UK.

Commercial goods (merchandise in baggage)

You must tell customs (‘declare’) if you are bringing commercial goods into the UK in your accompanied baggage or small motor vehicle. Commercial goods are things to sell.

You need to make a full customs declaration if you are bringing commercial goods that are any of the following:

  • above the total value of £1,500 into Great Britain
  • above the total value of £873 into Northern Ireland
  • excise, restricted or controlled goods
  • weigh above 1,000 kilograms

Check the rules on merchandise in baggage.

Professional qualifications

Find out how to get your EU, EEA or Swiss qualification recognised in the UK.

Business exemptions from COVID-19 rules

You may not have to self-isolate or complete the passenger locator form even if you’ve recently travelled through or from a country or territory not on the travel corridors list. Check whether your job qualifies you for this exemption.

COVID-19 Test to Release scheme for international arrivals

If you do not qualify for a business exemption, you can pay for a COVID-19 test. If the test is negative, you can reduce your self-isolation period after international travel.

The scheme is voluntary and applies to England only.

Check which documents you need to enter the UK

In the 48 hours before you arrive in the UK from abroad you must complete a passenger locator form to give us your journey and contact details. This is part of the UK’s COVID-19 response.

Find out more about this and other documents you need to enter the UK.

School travellers entering the UK

Check our guidance for school children entering the UK as part of a school group, which covers school children who are of a non-EU, EEA or Swiss nationality.

This explains the steps leaders of school parties must take before bringing school children to the UK as part of a school group from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, if they would normally need a visa to enter the UK.

You will not be able to use the List of Travellers scheme to visit the UK from 1 October 2021.

What you can bring into the UK

Read the updated guidance on:

Bringing your pet to and from the UK

Find out about pet travel to Europe.

Bringing goods into the UK

Some rules have changed when you bring goods for your own use from the EU to the UK. Find out more about bringing goods into the UK.

Controls on cash

Individuals travelling from the EU to the UK with £10,000 or more in cash will need to make a declaration. Find out about taking cash in and out of the UK.

Healthcare in the UK

EEA and Swiss citizens visiting the UK should check the guidance on healthcare for the latest information on access to NHS healthcare.

Driving in the UK

If you have a non-UK licence

Visitors with a non-UK driving licence can drive in the UK. You do not need an international driving permit (IDP).

If your vehicle is not insured in the UK

If you have vehicle insurance issued in the EU, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland, you should carry an insurance green card or other valid proof of insurance.

To be valid, other proof of insurance must be a document issued by the vehicle insurance provider which includes the:

  • name of the insurance provider
  • number plate or other identifying particulars of the vehicle
  • period of insurance cover

Contact your vehicle insurance provider before you travel.

If your vehicle is insured in a country outside the EU, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia or Switzerland, what you’ll need to do will depend on if your country is a member of the green card system.

If your country is a member, you will need to carry a green card.

If your country is not a member, your vehicle will need UK vehicle insurance.

Using your mobile phone in the UK

How much you pay for calls, texts and mobile data in the UK and the EU will depend on your operator. Please check before you travel.

Published 31 December 2020
Last updated 4 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated information on use of ID cards to enter the UK if you're an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen.

  2. Updated information for Irish citizens travelling to the UK from Ireland or the Crown Dependencies.

  3. Those with an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen national ID card who have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme will be able to use it to enter the UK whilst they wait for the decision on their application.

  4. Added information for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 but not yet received a decision. Added guidance for Gibraltar identity card holders. Added guidance for Irish citizens.

  5. First published.