The UK's withdrawal from the EU on 29 March 2019 means that information in this section is liable to change; it's important to check the current regulations before travel.
Travellers arriving in the UK from EU countries don't have to pay tax or duty on goods for personal use, and can bring in as much EU duty-paid alcohol and tobacco as they like. However, if you bring in more than the following, you'll probably be asked some questions:
- 800 cigarettes
- 1kg of tobacco
- 10L of spirits
- 90L of wine
- 110L of beer
Travellers from outside the EU can bring in, duty free:
- 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco
- 16L of beer
- 4L of nonsparkling wine
- 1L of spirits or 2L of fortified wine or sparkling wine
- £390 worth of all other goods, including perfume, gifts and souvenirs
Anything over this limit must be declared to customs officers on arrival. Check www.gov.uk/duty-free-goods for further details, and for information on reclaiming VAT on items purchased in the UK by non-EU residents.
Generally not needed for stays of up to six months. The UK is not a member of the Schengen Area.
- If you're a citizen of the EEA (European Economic Area) nations or Switzerland, you don't need a visa to enter or work in Britain – you can enter using your national identity card.
- Visa regulations are always subject to change, which is especially likely after Britain's exit from the EU on 29 March 2019, so it's essential to check before leaving home.
- Currently, if you're a citizen of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, the US and several other countries, you can stay for up to six months (no visa required) but are not allowed to work.
- Nationals of many countries, including South Africa, will need to obtain a visa: for more info, see www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration.
- The Youth Mobility Scheme, for Australian, Canadian, Japanese, Hong Kong, Monégasque, New Zealand, South Korean and Taiwanese citizens aged 18 to 31, allows working visits of up to two years but must be applied for in advance.
- Commonwealth citizens with a UK-born parent may be eligible for a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode, which entitles them to live and work in the UK.
- Commonwealth citizens with a UK-born grandparent could qualify for a UK Ancestry Employment Certificate, allowing them to work full time for up to five years in the UK.
- British immigration authorities have always been tough; dress neatly and carry proof that you have sufficient funds with which to support yourself. A credit card and/or an onward ticket will help.