Procedures and Regulations for UK Visa Applicants from United States of America


Certain procedures and regulations exist for people applying to the United Kingdom from the United States of America. The Embassy of the United Kingdom in the USA is located in Washington DC. A number of Consulate-Generals are also present at different parts of the USA. Applicants applying from the United States of America can apply to visit the United Kingdom for different purposes on different categories of visas (such as UK investor visa, entrepreneur programme UK, tier 1 graduate entrepreneur etc). Applicants can look up the Immigration Rules of the United Kingdom, which acts as a compilation of all laws and procedures regarding immigration in the United Kingdom. The web address of the United Kingdom embassy in the United States of America is www.gov.uk/government/world/usa.

An office of the Consulate General of the United Kingdom in the United States of America are located in the following cities:

  • New York, New York
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Houston, Texas
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Miami, Florida
  • San Francisco, California

Does an applicant who is a resident of the United States of America and who holds a passport require a visa to the United Kingdom?

  • An applicant holding residence of the United States of America and who wishes to visit the United Kingdom for a time period of less than six months or a total period of six months does not require a visa.
  • An applicant holding residence of the United States of America and applying for the UK visa for the purpose of study regarding a course that spans a time period of less than six months or a total number of six months does not require a visa.
  • An applicant holding residence of the United States of America, and who wishes to visit the United Kingdom for work purposes regarding any form of training (which can be on and off) from his / her employer, can come as a business visitor without a visa. The mode of training that the employee receives from his / her employer must include work practices that are employed in the United Kingdom.
  • If an applicant is a doctor who is qualified overseas, and possess residence of the United States of America and wishes to come to the United Kingdom to a test known as the ‘Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB)’ does not require a visa to come to the United Kingdom.
  • An applicant coming to United Kingdom for any form of diplomatic service or any form of business as a government official of the United States of America does not require a visa while applying for UK.

Which applicants applying from the United States of America require a visa if they wish to travel to the United Kingdom? 

Applicants falling within the following criteria must apply for a visa if they wish to go the United Kingdom:

  • Applicants applying from the United States of America who wish to travel to the United Kingdom, but do not possess a passport of the United States of America must apply for a visa for United Kingdom.
  • Applicants who are not citizens of the USA and wish to travel to the United Kingdom are required to apply for a UK visa.
  • Applicants that are government officials of the USA but are coming to United Kingdom for private reasons and not for business reasons must apply for a visa.
  • Applicants who might be residents of the United States of America and hold a US passport, but wish to travel to the United Kingdom for a time span that is greater than six months must apply for a visa before they can visit the United Kingdom.
  • Applicants from USA who wish to apply for a visa category not mentioned here (such as t1 entrepreneur visa, work visa etc.) must apply for a visa before they go to the United Kingdom.

How can an applicant in the United States of America apply for a visa to the United Kingdom?

Applicants who wish to visit United Kingdom for travel, tourist or other private task from the United States of America must submit their visa application on the category that they wish to travel by visiting the website www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk. All visas of the United Kingdom being processed in the United States of America are done in the city of New York at the United Kingdom Border Agency. After the applicant has successfully submitted an online application on the visa category that they wish to travel on, they must book an appointment to visit an Application Support Center (ASC) in person. The Application Support Center (ASC) is operated by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Applicants must note that it is obligatory to submit your biometric information when applying for a visa to the United Kingdom. A few categories of individuals are exempted from submitting their biometric information, but if the applicant is not exempted, they cannot have their visa applications process until this information is submit to the ASC.

Applicants applying for a visa to the United Kingdom can find the closest ASC by visiting the following web address:

www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/countries/usa/applying

What is required next by an applicant after they submit their biometric information?

After the applicant has submitted his / her biometric information, they have the choice to submit the visa application by either posting it to the Application Support Center (ASC) located in New York or through a service known as independent visa service. Applicants who are sending their visa application by mail should be advised to send it through a service where they have the ability to track their post.

Which documents does an applicant applying from the United States of America need to send when sending his/her visa application for travel to the United Kingdom?

  • Applicants applying from the United States of America for a visa to the United Kingdom must fill out their visa application form and sign it. In case the applicant has made an online application, the applicant sending his / her visa application form must sign the printout.
  • While applying for the visa the applicant must submit his / her valid passport. It is not required that an applicant have a validity of six months on the passport if he / she wishes to go to the United Kingdom but it is necessary for the passport to be valid at the time the applicant applies for the visa and should be valid when the applicant arrives at the United Kingdom.
  • The applicant applying for a visa must have a blank page on both sides of his /her passport. This is for the convenience of the Home Office so that in the case that the applicant’s visa application is granted by the United Kingdom government, the visa vignette can be pasted on the blank page of the passport.
  • The Home Office requires that the applicant submit a colored picture if they wish to apply for a visa to the United Kingdom. Applicants applying from the United States of America should note that the photograph must meet the Home Office’s criteria of a photograph being submitted.
  • Depending on the category of visa and reason on which the applicant applying for a visa to the United Kingdom from the United States of America, must submit the visa application fee.
  • The applicant should also provide any additional original documents that he / she feels is necessary to support relevant information given on the visa application form. Copies of the documents must also be submitted so that the original documents can be returned at the time a decision on the visa application is reached.
  • UK visa applicants under the points based system are required to fill and submit a self-assessment form. The self-assessment form submitted must have the applicant’s signature on them along with having a clearly mentioned date on the form.
  • The applicant should also provide any previous passports. This is to show the United Kingdom authorities an evidence of the applicant’s past travel history.
  • The applicant should also submit the biometric appointment receipt along with the visa application form. Note that the receipt being submitted must be stamped.
  • The applicant applying for travel to the United Kingdom on any visa category (such as UK investor visa, entrepreneur programme UK, tier 1 graduate entrepreneur etc.), and if is not a citizen of the United States, must submit proof of legal stay in the United States of America. This proof is needed to show that the applicant is currently staying in the United States of America within legal means. The evidence being submitted can be in the form an advance parole document, any visa that is validated on your passport or a document showing notice of approval for a United States visa. Furthermore, if the applicant is currently staying in the United States of America on a J-1 visa, the documents being submitted must also include a DS-2019. If the applicant is currently staying in the United States of America on an F-1 visa, the documents being submitted must also include an I-20.
  • If the applicant applying for a visa to the United Kingdom from the United States of America holds permanent residence in the United States and is submitting his / her permanent residence card, which is commonly referred to as the ‘green card’, then the original document does not need to be submitted. A copy can be submitted but it should be colored on both sides.