Immigration to the UK

Visas and Passport
Last time we checked, it was still possible to travel within the UK without a passport, but if you are entering the UK from elsewhere you will require at least a passport and possibly a visa, depending upon your nationality.

Citizens of the European Union (EU) have the right to live and work in any other EU country. In practice, this means that EU citizens can travel within the EU free of any immigration controls. Citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are generally allowed to stay for six months without a visa. If you are to be accompanied by a non-EU dependant, that dependant has the automatic right to gain entry to the UK with you.

Citizens of other nations should check whether they require a Visa although as a general rule, holidaymakers (including rowing competitors not engaged on business) are usually exempt. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the British Government provides an on-line service which you can use to determine whether you require a visa to enter Britain. It is quick and simple to use. Unless you are being paid by somebody within the UK, you should not need a work permit as your stay will be transitory.

Please note: this information is correct to the best of our knowledge - if you are at all unsure of your immigration status, you must check before attempting to enter the UK.

Customs
The UK is a member of the European Union and as such its Customs rules are the same as those for any EU country. We assume that your primary purpose for visiting the UK will be to take part in a rowing-related activity and therefore we have not included the rules concerning motorcycles or antiques, for example. If you plan to bring something unusual into the country, please seek advice!

Duty must be paid on all alcohol, tobacco and related products, perfumes/aftershaves, and on all goods under six months old. If you are bringing gifts into this country, you must also pay duty.

There are strict rules governing plants and animals. Plants may only be admitted in certain circumstances and on presentation of piles of documents, so it is best not to try taking a native species as a gift for your host, for example. Animals will be subject to quarantine (35 days for birds, six months for domestic animals). Unless you are planning to move to the UK, this should dissuade you from bringing 'Spot' along with you! The UK has recently introduced a 'pet passport' scheme for the EU which effectively removes the need for quarantine, but puts in its place a series of injections, veterinary inspections, forms and signatures which take quite a long time to organise and can cost quite a lot.

It goes without saying that narcotics and the like are prohibited.

Help?
You may need assistance during your stay (if you lose your passport, for example). The British police will be happy to help with any queries you may have and will be able to tell you how to proceed. Should you wish to speak to your own embassy or consulate in the first instance, there are a number of internet sites available which provide addresses and contacts for any embassy in any country. Consult our emergency information page for details of the fire, ambulance etc. services.