As a US green card holder, you may wonder if you can travel to the UK without a visa. The question often comes up: can a US green card holder travel to UK without visa?
In this article, you will learn whether US green card holders require visas to travel to the UK. If a visa is required, we will discuss the application process and necessary documentation.
Can a US green card holder travel to UK without visa?
A US green card is not sufficient to travel to the UK. Those with a passport that allows visa-free entry into the UK do not require a visa. Those with a passport that requires a visa for the UK, must obtain a UK visa prior to the trip.
That being said, your green card allows you to transit via any airport in the UK. As a lawful permanent resident of the US, you do not require a UK transit visa for airside transit within the UK.
If you need to leave the airport, you may be able to do so by requesting a 24-hour entry. In order to obtain a 24-hour entry at an airport in the UK, you must be traveling to or from the US and your next flight out from the UK must be within 24 hours.
At the immigration check at the UK airport, you must present your US permanent resident status and onward boarding pass. This 24-hour entry is only available at Heathrow Airport in London.
UK visa requirements for US green card holders
As a US green card holder, the visa requirements for traveling to the UK depend on your nationality. If you hold a passport from a country that doesn’t require a visa for the UK, you do not need a visa for tourism and visiting friends and family. You can stay in the UK for up to 6 months without a visa.
If you hold a passport that requires a visa for the UK, then you will have to apply for a UK visa from the US prior to your trip to the UK
There are many VISA-FREE countries for US green card holders, but unfortunately, the UK is not one of them. You must apply for a UK visitor visa.
UK visa application for US green card holders
You can apply for your UK visa from anywhere. But I recommend applying for your UK visa from the US. As a lawful permanent resident of the United States, you will have strong ties with the US. Your chances of approval are higher and the visa processing is quicker if you apply from the US.
UK visa application is a multi-step process. You will have to fill out an online application form first. At the end of your online application, you will have to schedule a biometrics appointment at one of your nearest Application Support Centers (ASC).
You must carry your passport and ASC appointment confirmation letter for your biometric appointment. Your biometrics are taken and your ASC appointment letter will be stamped.
After your ASC appointment, you must mail your passport, application form, additional documents and a UPS return shipping label to the UK consulate in New York via VFS Global.
The processing time for UK visas in the US is about 15 working days. The processing time is 5 working days if you opt for priority processing for a fee.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I visit UK with green card?
A US green card is not sufficient to visit the UK. You would need a passport that grants you visa-free entry into the UK or you must apply for a UK visa prior to your trip.
If your passport requires a visa for the UK, you will have to plan your UK trip much early. You must start with the UK visa process first. On successful visa application, you can plan further such as booking your flight tickets, hotels, etc.
Can US permanent residents travel to UK?
US permanent residents are nothing but US green card holders. Whether you require a visa for the UK depends on your passport.
Your US permanent resident card is not sufficient to travel to the UK especially if your passport requires a visa for the UK. Such lawful permanent residents of the US must apply for a UK visa prior to the UK trip.
Can U.S. Citizens travel to UK without visa?
Yes. US citizens can travel to the UK without a visa. US passport holders can enter and stay in the UK for up to 180 days without a visa for purposes of tourism or visiting family or friends.
Your US passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the day of arrival. You must also carry proof of return or onward ticket.
How long does it take to get a UK visa for green card holders?
The processing time for the UK visitor visa in the US is up to 15 working days. Depending on the complexity of the application and the time of the year, the processing can take even longer.
If you opt for priority processing for a fee, you may be able to get a result in just 5 working days.
The processing time is not guaranteed so you must apply for your UK visa well in advance to void any delays.
US green card holders may require a visa to travel to the UK depending on their nationality. If you hold a passport that requires a visa for the UK, then you must apply for a UK visa prior to your trip.
UK visa application is a multi-step process. You will have to fill out an online application, attend a biometric appointment and mail your passport to the UK consulate.