The end of the free movement period within the European Union (EU) occurred on 31 December 2020, and there are new provisions for EU nationals. Irish citizens can continue to enter, reside, and work freely in the UK.

UK Visa application process

New immigration avenues for applications to work, live, and study in the UK have opened. Visa applications and payments should be made online where possible.

You will be required to supply your biometric information upon application. The procedure is as follows:

EU, EAEU, and Swiss nationals:

  1. For most visas, you will submit a digital photo of your face using a smartphone app.
  2. You will not be required to provide fingerprints.
  3. You must submit your photo at an overseas visa application centre for specific routes.

Non-EU citizens

You will continue submitting fingerprints and a photograph at the overseas visa application centre.

Skilled workers

The points-based system offers a pathway for skilled individuals with a job offer from an employer sponsor that has been approved.

The job you are offered must have a minimum required skill level of RQF3 (equivalent to A). Additionally, you must be able to speak English and be provided with a minimum income by your sponsor. This will be higher than the general salary threshold of £25,600 or the market rate for your position.

If you earn less than this, but not less than £20,480, you may still be eligible by “trading” points on specified traits for your salary. For instance, you may be eligible if you have a job offer in a shortage occupation or a PhD relevant to the position.

Employers have no universal means of recruiting at or near the minimum wage.

If you want to sponsor migrants under the skilled worker route, you should apply for a migrant sponsor licence immediately.

Global Talent Scheme

The global talent scheme is open to EU, EEA, and Switzerland nationals. It permits highly qualified scientists and researchers to enter the UK without an employment offer.

Graduate students and graduates from abroad

EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals now have greater access to student visas. You may apply for a visa to study in the UK if you:

  • Have been offered a course placement
  • Can speak, read, write, and comprehend English
  • Have sufficient funds to maintain yourself and pay for your education

A new graduation visa is available to international students who have graduated from a British university.

Visiting Britain

EU, EEA, and Swiss people, as well as other non-visa nationals, do not need a visa to enter the UK for stays of up to six months. All migrants wishing to enter the UK for other purposes (such as work or study) must apply in advance for entrance clearance.

Before travelling to the UK as a tourist, you must verify your eligibility under the visitor immigration regulations.

Getting married

To travel to the UK to get married or register a civil partnership, you must apply for a marriage Visitor Visa.

If you or your family is from the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, you are eligible for certain benefits.

You may need a marriage Visitor visa to visit the UK to get married or register a civil partnership.

EU, EEA, and Swiss residents residing in the UK as of 31 December 2020.

If you or a family member moved to the UK before 31 December 2020, you might be eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme for free.

The application deadline was 30 June 2021 for the majority of applicants, but you may still apply if either:

  • If you have a later deadline, such as if you’re joining a family member who was residing in the UK as of 31 December 2020.
  • You have “reasonable grounds” for being unable to apply by 30 June 2021, such as being ill or a victim of domestic violence.

Entering the UK

With a biometric chip in their passports, citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United States of America, Singapore, and South Korea can continue to use EPassport gates to cross the border upon arrival. ePassport gates are also available to EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens.

From 1 October 2021, you will not be able to use an EU, EEA, or Swiss national ID card to visit the UK unless you:

  • Possess a status of settled or pre-settled under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Have applied for the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 but have not yet received a response
  • Have an EU Settlement Scheme family permit
  • Have a permit for frontier workers
  • Are an S2 Healthcare Guest
  • Are a citizen of Switzerland and possess a Service Provider from Switzerland visa.

You may continue to use your national ID card to enter the UK until at least 31 December 2025.

Establishing UK immigration status

EU citizens

Citizens of the EU, EEA, and Switzerland should use the web tool to view their immigration status and demonstrate it.

Employers have access to guidance on conducting right-to-work checks on EU citizens and their family members in the UK.

Non-EU citizens

Non-EU nationals may continue to utilize a physical document to demonstrate their immigration status.

Those having a valid, current Biometric Residence Permit, Biometric Residence Card, or EU Settlement Scheme status can also use an online tool to demonstrate their rights.

Visa Applicationsinformation centre

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