It is important for anyone entering Britain to comply with UK. immigration rules. Check with your local British Embassy, British High Commission or British Consulate for the latest conditions. Apart from nationals of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA), all international visitors and students should obtain some form of entry clearance.
A Visa (which is compulsory)
An Entry Certificate (which is optional but recommended)
You should apply to the British Embassy, High Commission, or Consulate in your own country. Always allow a long time for your application. Many holidays have been spoiled because a visa was not received in time.
The official UK Government website carries a list of the addresses of most British Embassy addresses and phone numbers.
They also give detailed information about visa requirements, applications and rules, and also offer online visa application forms (in PDF format which need an Acrobat reader plug-in program) which you can download, and print out.
You will also find helpful travel and health advice, and warnings about trouble-spots to avoid.
Please note that we cannot give you email advice about visa and immigration rules. Only the British Embassy in your country is able to do this.
There is also Foreign Embassies in the UK which lists many other countries embassy addresses in the UK.
We have to be honest with you, and advise that it is more difficult to obtain a visa from some countries than others. The authorities, rightly or wrongly, believe that people from some countries are likely to attempt to remain in Britain as illegal immigrants. And so, if you live in one of these countries, you may experience great difficulty in obtaining a visa. You will probably know if this applies to your country.
If your country has this difficulty, we can make a few suggestions:
1) Type or word-process all letters to the British Embassy/Consulate, and keep copies.If possible, write such letters in English. Where possible, use headed official letter paper.
2) Recommend that you have obtain a typed letter of reference from an organisation in your country. For example: a school, college, or place of work.
3) Try to obtain, if possible, a typed letter of invitation to Britain. (Where possible on 'headed' paper) from an organisation or person you wish to visit in Britain. This letter should explain what relationship the person or organisation has with you, and why they wish to sponsor your visit. (Sorry, but SOON Online Magazine is unable to be a sponsor)
4) Give full details of the length of the visit and how it is to be paid for. If possible, have available papers to back up these details.
5) Find out the name of the person in charge of visa applications at the Embassy/Consulate, and address letters to that person personally.In each case, you are hoping to show that you are a reliable person who intends to return home after your visit to Britain!You may have to have a long interview - so be sure that you have all these papers with you otherwise you may have to return later. Try and find out opening hours of the Embassy or Consulate, and also ask if there are times or days when they are not so busy.You may find it easier to make a visit to Britain as part of an official cultural exchange, or a student exchange scheme, or on a visit sponsored by your place of work.
Information about the latest immigration rules can be obtained from:
Home Office, Lunar House, Wellesley Road, Croydon CR9 2BY England
The British Council in UK, or a local office in your country (listed on their website), may also be able to give you advice.