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With visa-free travel often being touted as a benefit of UK residency visas, it begs the question, which countries can UK residents travel to? Whilst UK citizenship affords visa-free access to over 180 different nations worldwide, UK residency is somewhat more restrictive. With that being said, a person with permanent residency in the UK, depending on the passport they have, will still be able to access an additional 34 countries and territories. The different types of access can be split into 3 categories; visa-free access, visa-free access for certain nationalities; and visa on arrival/eVisa. If global mobility is important to you and your family, ‘which countries can UK residents travel to?’ is an important question to ask.
Which countries can UK residents travel to visa free?
There are 16 countries/territories that permit visa-free access to individuals holding a UK visa, regardless of their nationality. These countries include; Mexico (180 days), Panama (90 days), Anguilla (90 days), Bermuda (30 days), Bonaire (90 days), British Virgin Isles (180 days), Curaçao (30 days), Dominican Republic (30 days), Sint Maarten (30 days), Turks and Caicos (90 days), Albania (90 days), Georgia (90 days), Gibraltar, (180 days), Montenegro (30 days), North Macedonia (15 days), Serbia (90 days).
Whilst all of these countries listed provide visa-free access irrespective of nationality, some have certain restrictions. Some stipulate that the individual must have a certain type of visa, must have proof of funds for their stay, or must have used their UK visa at least once. It is important to talk to a professional who can talk you through each country’s specific requirements before you visit.
Countries with visa free access for certain nationalities
Although UK passport holders can enjoy visa-free entry to these countries, it is important to remember that this benefit only applies to certain nationalities.
Aruba (180 days), Bahamas (30 days), Jamaica (30 days) Peru (180 days), Ireland (90 days), Philippines (14 days), and South Korea (30 days) all allow UK visa holders access to their country, providing they hold a passport from an approved country. It is advised you check prior to travel if you are eligible to travel visa-free, as well as to see if there are any other restrictions.
Countries with visa on arrival/eVisa
Visa on arrival provides relatively hassle-free travel as there is no need for visitors to apply beforehand. However, they can be an unpleasant experience for some, with long wait times and tedious bureaucracy. As such many countries now offer eVisa’s. An eVisa is a visa that travellers can apply to online prior to their arrival. This means visitors do not have to wait to get a visa at border control.
Countries that offer visa-free/eVisa’s for UK residency holders include; Turkey (30 days), Oman (30 days), Qatar (30 days), Saudi Arabia (90 days), UAE (14 days), Antigua & Barbuda (30 days), and Armenia (120 days). For Taiwan, whilst UK residents are exempt from getting a visa, those wishing to visit Taiwan will need to apply for ROC Travel Authorisation Certificate. This is free, valid for 90 days, and allows for multiple entries.
Visa free countries for British citizens
So these are the countries you can visit whilst having UK residency. However, a lot of individuals that apply for UK residency do so with the aim of getting British citizenship. Therefore the next big question is where can UK citizens travel to? A UK passport is one of the strongest in the world. Ranking 7th in the world in terms of global mobility, it allows holders access to 185 countries. This includes the USA, Canada, the Schengen Area, and Singapore, amongst many other countries.
How can you get British citizenship?
Whether you already have British residency, or maybe it is something that you are looking to obtain in the future, you might be wondering what the process is of getting British citizenship. Before getting citizenship, you must first apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). To be eligible for this visa, you must have lived continuously in the UK for at least 3-5 years. Alongside your ILR application, you will have to submit a lot of evidence regarding your life in the UK.
Whilst applicants can apply for British citizenship themselves, it can be a complex process. Determining what needs to be submitted and when can be a challenge. It’s recommended to have a consultation with an expert advisor who can assist you with the application. Upon receiving ILR and lived in the UK for 5 years, you will be able to apply for UK citizenship. Provided you speak English proficiently, and you pass the ‘Life in the UK’ test, you can apply for UK citizenship.
At Bridgeway Trust, not only do we help you with the initial visa but give you support whilst you are in the UK. From your first consultation, right up until you become a British citizen we will guide you. For more information about which countries UK residents can travel to or other information regarding UK residency and the benefits that come with it, contact us today to book a free consultation with one of our expert advisors.