Passports & Visas

This page contains information on passports & visas for foreign travel, particularly for UK citizens.

UK passport service

Obtaining or renewing a passport by post in the traditional/standard way from the UK Passport Service takes roughly 3 weeks. If you need it quicker, the UKPS can offer their 'fast-track' service (only for renewals): you arrange an appointment by telephone to visit your local passport office and the passport is sent to you within a week by first class post. This service costs roughly twice the amount of the standard service. For urgent renewal, their 'premium' service is a guaranteed same-day service. An appointment should be made by telephone and your passport will be issued within 4 hours of your meeting at your local passport office. Some post offices and other third party agents (e.g. travel agents) can usually obtain or renew your passport in two weeks for a small handling fee.
You can renew a passport up to 9 months in advance and have the remaining time added to your new passport. If you're going short-term, make sure your passport is valid for 6 months after your planned return. It's a good idea to scan your passport and have an electronic copy you can access whilst you're away if you need to (store it online somewhere or email it to yourself).
For comprehensive information on UK passports, including costs for the different services, visit the UK Identity & Passport Service website or telephone.
Website: www.ips.gov.uk
Tel: 0300 222 0000

How to find out about visa requirements

If you have a question about visa requirements, initially you can contact the travel enquiry desk at the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (Website: www.fco.gov.uk, Email: fcocorrespondence@fco.gov.uk , Tel: 020 7008 1500). You might also check the websites listed at the bottom of this page. You should also contact the Consulate or Embassy of the country you are planning to visit (the number can be found at the above FCO site). In addition, certain travel agents may be able to assist you. Find these here.

Obtaining a visa

Some countries will issue visas when you arrive in the country. For others it is necessary to obtain a visa before you travel. This may require a visit to their embassy or consulate in the UK. You must make sure you have all the documents required for application before you go (to avoid the frustration that many have been through before!). Alternatively, there are some commercial companies who can obtain your visa for you or certain travel agents may be able to obtain your visa for you. For more information on these see here.

Visas for passport holders who are not British citizens

Your national status is noted on the personal data page of your passport. If this is any of the following, you may need a visa that is not required by British citizens.

British Dependent Territories Citizen
British Overseas Citizen
British Subject
British Nationals Overseas
British Protected Person

Again, visa information for these groups can be obtained from the above sources.

N.B. Some countries will not allow you to apply for a work visa until you are in the country. Entry, therefore, is by tourist/visitors visa and this is transferred after you arrive. Take plenty of passport sized photos with you as some countries require frequent and multi-copy visa and work permit applications.

Visas for foreign nationals coming to the UK

Information for those coming to work or live in the UK from overseas can be found at www.homeoffice.gov.uk

Other websites with visa information:
(it is always worth double checking with the embassy of your destination country any of this info you find online, it is not always accurate or up-to-date)

  • Article1 Immigration Lawyers

    Article1 is a leading UK law firm specialising in immigration. Article1 assist both companies and individuals with all UK visa and immigration issues. Article1 has an established history of assisting charities, NGOs and faith bodies.
    Tel: 0203 743 1700
  • Burlow & Spencer

    At Burlow & Spencer, we understand that UK Immigration can be a stressful time for those involved. Therefore, we strive to handle your case with the core values of compassion and professionalism.
    Tel: 0845 643 9753
  • DavidsonMorris Immigration Solicitors

    Immigration solicitors DavidsonMorris help individuals and businesses with their immigration legal needs.
    Tel: 020 7494 0118
  • Embassy World

    Through this site you can look up any embassy, anywhere in the world. You can also check visa requirements worldwide.

  • First Migration

    First Migration is a UK immigration consultant which specialises in securing UK visa approvals for applicants across the world.

    Tel: 020 3178 2048
  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office

    FCO have a comprehensive list of UK embassies overseas and foreign embassies in the UK.
  • GOV.UK

    The latest and widest range of public service information from the UK government. Includes info for those planning to live abroad: UK Passport Info & Application, UK Consulates & Embassies, Immunisations, Travel Health, and Country Travel Advice.
  • Immigration and Migration

    Worldwide Visas, Immigration, Nationality & Citizenship Law Firm specialising in UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Schengen Visas and Other Countries. Head Office based in London, Canary Wharf.
    Tel: 033 3006 4506
  • Latitude Law

    Latitude Law is a firm of immigration solicitors providing invaluable specialist advice and legal representation to clients since 2007.
    Tel: 0161 234 6800
  • Lexvisa

    We are a City of London Immigration Law Firm made up of exceptional Immigration Barristers and Solicitors. Our in-house legal expertise will provide you with comprehensive UK Visa and Immigration advice. Free initial consultation.
  • OAG

    OAG has the largest list of flight schedules from around the world. The site also lists basic details of which passports are accepted and where a visa may also be required.
  • Rapid Passports

    At Rapid British Passports we provide services to corporate clients and the general public to facilitate their passport applications.
  • Visa and Migration

    We specialise exclusively in UK Immigration and Nationality Law. Call us now for an honest opinion of your case, possible costs, and available options.
    Tel: 020 3761 1901
  • Visa Bureau

    Visa Bureau is an independent immigration advisory service providing information, advice and case management to individuals, families and businesses wishing to live and work or relocate staff to America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.
  • Visaconnect

    Visaconnect specialises in immigration law; work, business, family and all temporary or permanent visas for Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
    Tel: 0207 193 2327
  • Visalogic

    We provide professional immigration advice to corporate and private clients requiring assistance with UK immigration and visas.
    Tel: 0845 270 6810
  • WM Immigration

    UK Visa and Immigration Lawyers. We provide assistance with your visa application regardless of location or country.
    Tel: 02033 222290
  • World Travel Planner Guide

    An in-depth resource about entry and visa requirements for British citizens to over 100 countries. Also includes recommended vaccines for those countries.