Do US citizens need a visa for UK?
Well the quickest answer to this question is YES and NO.
Whether an American citizen will require a visa for the UK will strongly depend on what he or she intends to do in the UK and how long he or she intends to stay and whether he has a criminal record, or has been previously refused entry into the UK.
Each US citizen’s circumstance is different in the sense that some people might be;
- travelling to the UK as a tourist,
- some might want to go there to work,
- some might need a medical treatment
- For Study
- For business
- To visit family
- transiting through the UK
US citizens are generally referred to as non visa nationals which grants them a visa waiver status, therefore, they do not require a visa to the UK as long as they do not plan to stay for more than 6 months at a time, and they can show evidence that they plan to go back to America after 6 months has elapsed.
how long can you stay in UK with US Passport
How long you can stay in the UK with US passport is generally 6 months. But read further to see if there could be any limitation to your stay, or if you will be required to apply for a specific visa.
Medical: If you are visiting the UK for medical reasons, you will be allowed to stay up to 6 months without a visa, however, you will be required to carry along some documentation to show at the UK border so that you will be allowed entry.
Tourist: If you are visiting the UK as a tourist, you can stay up to 6 months at any given time. If you have a criminal record, be transparent about it when asked at the border as they will probably catch you out if you lie and this could cause them to refuse you entry. Before you go, speak with an immigration lawyer near you, to find out if your criminal record will affect your chances of entry into the UK, or if it will be best for you to apply for a visa.
Study: You will not need a visa to go to the UK if your study is less than 6 months, however, you will need to take your passport to the border control office to have it stamped, permitting your study. You will need to show some evidence ( e.g an acceptance letter) that you have been accepted for a course, by a UK accredited institution. You will also need to show evidence that you have enough funds to cater for your study, and also evidence to show that you intend to leave the UK after your study.
on the other hand, if your visa is longer than 6 months, you will need to apply for a visa to study in the UK.
Long stay family visit: If you are visiting a family member for less than 6 months, no visa is required, however any more than 6 months, then you must apply for the appropriate visa.
Getting married: If you plan to get married or enter into a civil partnership with a British citizen or some one who is settled/resident in the UK, then you will be required to apply for a UK marriage visa.
If you plan to live in the UK permanently with your partner, then you should apply family of a settled person visa.
UK entry requirements for us citizens
In order to avoid any issues at the border, even though you do not require a visa, you are advised to bring the below documents
- A valid travel document which will most likely be your international passport. Ensure that if you plan to stay up to 6 months, then ideally your passport should be valid for about 9 months.
- Financial documents such as your bank statement that will show that you have enough funds for your visit without having to resort to work.
- Proof of your earnings such as your payslip, a letter from your employer, etc
- Proof that you will return back to America, e.g your return flight.
- See link for more supporting documents required according to your circumstance.
Can American citizens work in the UK or do business?
An American citizen will generally need a visa to work in the UK except you have been professionally invited and even then, you will be allowed up to 1 month without a visa, but there are certain things you will be allowed to get paid for. See the list of permitted paid engagements to learn more.
You will be allowed to work for up to 3 months without a visa if your job falls under sports, arts and entertainment but you must show evidence of this.
If you plan to work on academic/ business related activities, then you will be allowed to stay up to 6 months without a visa but what you can do is limited to going for meetings,research, conferences or training.
In conclusion, when it comes to US citizen UK visa as long as you have no criminal record, then go to the UK, show evidence that you intend to go back to your country after your stay, stay for 6 months max, try not to overstay so that you will not be prevented from entering the UK in the future.