As of 1 January 2014, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates passport holders have been able to apply to visit the UK for up to 6 months (for tourism, business or study purposes) with an electronic visa waiver (EVW).
The EVW is accessed online, and offers a free, fast and simple alternative to applying for a visit visa. Each EVW document is, however, only valid for a single entry to the UK, and an EVW cannot be used to:
- study or stay in the UK for more than six months;
- work; or
- get married or register a civil partnership in the UK.
The EVW may be applied for up to 3 months before the travel date, and it must be completed at least 48 hours before departure to the UK. A paper copy of the EVW must be presented at the departure port (air, sea or train) and again on arrival in the UK, together with a current valid passport. The EVW document will replace the requirement to complete a landing card on arrival. Electronic copies on phones, tablets or personal computers will not be accepted.
How to apply
The EVW form is available at www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk. You first need to register with your personal details and then log in. The web site provides the option of either applying for a visa or an EVW for those eligible. If completing an EVW, details must be provided on:
- your port of departure, including time, date and plane/train/ship number
- your arrival in the UK, including time and date; and
- your departure from the UK including time, date and plane/train/ship number
The personal details on the EVW form must exactly match those shown in the passport you use to travel to the UK. On the EVW form you must specify details of your journey to the UK. If you are visiting the UK as part of a multi-leg trip, you must include details of the last leg of your journey to the UK. If you leave the UK and want to re-enter, you will need a separate EVW for that journey.
Once an EVW form is successfully submitted, you must complete the signature and declaration sections. You will receive confirmation that the form has been submitted by email which contains a link to the EVW document which you can save and print immediately or at a later date. You must take a printed copy with you when you depart.
Each visitor needs to complete a new EVW form for each visit to the UK including children.
The alternative to travelling on an EVW
If you are a frequent visitor to the UK, travel at short notice or want to re-enter the UK multiple times as part of the same trip you may prefer to choose to travel on a visit visa to meet your needs. Visit visas are available for durations of up to ten years. The UK government strongly advise you to apply for a visa before travelling to the UK if you have:
- unspent criminal convictions in any country, including the UK
- previously been refused entry, deported or otherwise removed from the UK
- breached the terms of any previous entry to the UK – for example, by working illegally or staying in the UK after permission to stay expired
- previously refused a visa on last application; or been warned by a UK Immigration official that you should obtain a visa before travelling to the UK
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