2. Before you leave for the UK

Check what documents you’ll need to enter the UK.

You’re from an EEA country or Switzerland

You can enter the UK with either a valid passport or a national identity card issued by a EEA country. It must be valid for the whole of your stay.

You’re not from an EEA country

You must have a valid passport to enter the UK. It must be valid for the whole of your stay.

You may also need a visa, depending on which country you’re from.

Check if you need a visa to enter the UK.

You may also need a visa if you’re ‘transiting’ or travelling through the UK, eg you’re changing flights at a UK airport.

Applying for a visa

You must apply for your visa before you arrive in the UK.

Travelling with children

You may be asked at the border to prove the relationship between yourself and any children travelling with you, if you don’t seem to be the parent, eg if you have a different surname.

You can prove this with:

  • a birth or adoption certificate showing your relationship with the child
  • divorce or marriage certificates if you’re the parent but have a different surname from the child
  • a letter from the child’s parent giving permission for the child to travel with you and providing contact details, if you’re not the parent

Before you board

Your ‘carrier’ (eg airline or transport provider) will check your passport and other travel documents. They’ll send this information electronically to Border Force.

You can ask to see the information about you that’s been sent by carriers. You’ll have to pay a £10 fee.