Frequently Asked Questions



1.   Can my family PCS to the UK without a visa or passport?
2.   Who needs a visa?
3.   How long does the visa application process take?
4.   How much does a visa cost?
5.   Who needs a no-fee passport?
6.   How do I get a no-fee passport?
7.   Do I need a tourist passport?
8.   If I need a UK visa, can I apply for it after arriving in the UK?
9.   What is the difference between a U.S. passport and a UK visa?
10. What is the difference between an "Entry Clearance" visa and an "entry stamp?"
11. What is the difference between an "Entry Clearance" visa and a "Leave to Remain" visa?
12. How long does a visa last?
13. Do DoD contractors need a no-fee passport?
14. Who needs biometrics?
15. What is biometrics and what will they do during my appointment?
16. How do I apply for a biometrics appointment?
17. Is there a difference when applying for a UK visa from the U.S. or from another country?
18. How do I fill out my online UK visa application?
19. I am PCSing in a few weeks. Can I expedite my visa application?
20. My 18 year old dependent child is going to attend college in the UK. Does she need to get a student visa?
21. What is World Bridge?
22. My dependent is only visiting me in the UK for a few months. Does she need a visa?
23. Can my children attend off-base schools without a UK visa?
24. Can my spouse work off base without a UK visa?
25. How do I apply for an exemption vignette?

1. Can my family PCS to the UK without a visa or passport?
A valid U.S. no-fee passport is REQUIRED for military dependents, DoD civilians and eligible family members of DoD civilians BEFORE PCSing to the UK. Visas are only required for dependent children aged 21 and over at the time of arrival in the UK, and secondary dependents such as parents and parents-in-law.

2. Who needs a visa?
a. DoD civilians, DoD sponsored contractors, and eligible family members of DoD civilians and DoD sponsored contractors PCSing to the UK.
b. Military dependent children aged 21 or over at the time of arrival in the UK
c. Military secondary dependents such as parents and parents-in-law
Military members, military dependent spouses, in addition to dependent children under the age of 21 at first arrival in the UK, do NOT require visas.

3. How long does the visa application process take?
a. Depending on where you apply (within the U.S. or outside the U.S.), application processing can take 3 to 6 weeks.
b. The entire process (passport and visa) can take 8 to 12 weeks. During high volume periods such as the summer PCS months, the process can take even longer. It is imperative that you start the application as soon as you find out about your assignment.
c. Extenuating circumstances and members with atypical cases may take longer.

4. How much does a visa cost?
a. Go to http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/ and click "Where to apply." Once in the section for your specific country, follow the "Visa application fees and guides" link on the left side of the page. From there, pick "other" in the "Show me the fees for" drop down menu. The fees are listed in the "Members of armed forces and their families (non-settlement)" section. Fees are the same for military dependents, civilians, and civilian dependents.

5. Who needs a no-fee passport?
a. Military dependents, DoD civilians, and eligible family members of DoD civilians.
b. Contractors are not provided no-fee passports, but they do need a tourist passport.
c. Military members do not need a no-fee passport.
d. A valid U.S. no-fee passport (or tourist passport for DoD sponsored contractors and their eligible family members) is necessary to apply for the UK visa.

6. How do I get a no-fee passport?
a. The U.S. no-fee passport can be obtained with the aid of your nearest military installation passport office.

7. Do I need a tourist passport?
a. A tourist passport is recommended for military, military dependents, DoD civilians, and eligible family members of DoD civilians.
b. A tourist passport is required for DoD sponsored contractors and their eligible family members.

8. If I need a UK visa, can I apply for it after arriving in the UK?
a. No! If you require a UK visa, you cannot PCS to the UK without the correct UK visa. You must apply for and have received your UK visa before arriving in the UK. It is possible to be denied entry at the border or be deported if you do not have a valid UK visa when you arrive in the UK.
b. DO NOT PCS to the UK without a U.S. passport AND a UK visa if you are a DoD civilian, DoD sponsored contractor, or eligible family member of a DoD civilian or DoD sponsored contractor.

9. What is the difference between a U.S. passport and a UK visa?
a. A U.S. passport is an official U.S. document issued by the U.S. Department of State and is used for identification when traveling throughout the world and for re-entry to the US.
b. A UK visa is issued by the UK to identify the conditions and the duration of entry and stay within the UK.
c. A valid U.S. passport is required in order to obtain a UK visa. 

10. What is the difference between an "Entry Clearance" visa and an "entry stamp?"
a. Entry clearance is the official term, but the visa is commonly referred to as "entry stamp," "entry visa," "entry clearance," "entry clearance stamp," or "entry clearance visa."

11. What is the difference between an "Entry Clearance" visa and a "Leave to Remain" visa?
a. "Entry Clearance" is the official term for the visa you need to enter the UK initially. This visa is commonly referred to as "entry stamp", "entry visa", "entry clearance", "entry clearance stamp," or "entry clearance visa."
b. "Leave to Remain" is the official term for a visa extension. If your "Entry Clearance" visa expires before you are supposed to PCS out of the UK, you MUST apply for a "Leave to Remain." 

12. How long does a visa last?
a. The initial "Entry Clearance" visa should last the length of the sponsor's original tour, and is based on the DEROS. Members on extended long tours, for example, should be issued a 48 month "Entry Clearance" visa.
b. If you recently arrived in the UK and you received an incorrect length visa, visit your base's passport office to see if a corrected visa can be issued.
c. A "Leave to Remain" visa, or visa extension should last through your DEROS. 

13. Do DoD contractors need a no-fee passport?
a. No, no-fee passports are not issued to DoD contractors or their eligible family members.
b. DoD sponsored contractors and their eligible family members require a U.S. tourist passport instead of a U.S. no-fee passport.

14. Who needs biometrics?
a. DoD civilians, DoD sponsored contractors, and eligible family members of DoD civilians and DoD sponsored contractors require biometrics.
b. Military dependent children aged 21 or over at the time of arrival in the UK and secondary dependents such as parents and parents-in-law

15. What is biometrics and what will they do during my appointment?
a. Biometrics is a UK government requirement to take biometrically identifying information for some categories of individuals entering the UK. It's basically fingerprints and a picture.
b. Finger prints will be collected from each applicant with an electronic scanner. No ink, liquid or chemical will be used. Ensure fingertips are free from decorations (e.g. henna tattoos), cuts, abrasions, or other markings.
c. Photographs will be taken with a digital camera. Ensure facial cuts and bruises have healed or disappeared prior to the appointment, and understand photographs will not be taken if the applicant's face is concealed in any way (e.g. head coverings that cover part of the face, dark glasses, or face or neck coverings.

16. How do I apply for a biometrics appointment?
a. When filling out the online UK visa application, you will be prompted to make a biometric appointment. Follow the steps in the application to complete the appointment.
b. WITHIN the United States, biometric data collection is accomplished at any of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Application Support Center (ASC) locations throughout the United States. During the online visa application process, applicants are directed to a biometric scheduling website. Once an appointment is scheduled, applicants must visit the USCIS ASC where fingerscans and digital photographs will be taken.
c. OUTSIDE the United States, biometric data collection is accomplished at various locations based on the country from where you are applying. Visit www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/ and go to the "Where to apply" box. Follow the instructions to determine how and where to schedule a biometrics appointment. 

17. Is there a difference when applying for a UK visa from the U.S. or from another country?
a. Yes. The visa application process is different depending on the country from where you are applying.
b. If applying from OUTSIDE the U.S., it is best to visit your local military passport office for further instructions as the applications are the same, but the submission procedures may be different depending on the country from which you are PCSing. DO NOT mail your applications to the British Consulate in New York as they will be returned without processing. For information about the application process from most overseas countries, visit https://www.visainfoservices.com.
c. If applying from WITHIN the US (e.g. CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii or U.S. Territories such as Guam and Puerto Rico), mail  application to the British Consulate in New York. You are required to provide a fully pre-paid completed waybill and envelope for your U.S. passport and original documents to be returned to you. The Consulate will ship to U.S. addresses only. If an APO address is used, ensure the carrier can deliver to APO addresses.
d. For further information and to determine how and where to apply for a UK visa, visit www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/ and go to the "Where to apply" box. Follow the instructions to determine how and where to submit you application.
 
18. How do I fill out my online UK visa application?
a. A step by step guide to filling out your visa application when PCSing to the UK is available at http://www.mildenhall.af.mil/units/100fss/passportandvisainformation/.
b. There are different procedures for filling out the application depending on your status (military dependent or DoD civilians, DoD sponsored contractors, and eligible family members of DoD civilians and DoD sponsored contractors).
 
19. I am PCSing in a few weeks. Can I expedite my visa application?
a. For military dependents PCSing from WITHIN the US (e.g. CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii or  U.S. Territories, such as Guam and Puerto Rico), applications are already expedited. There is no need to pay the additional fee for Priority service. It is very important that you mail your applications to the correct address listed in the Foreign Clearance Guide.
b. For military dependents PCSing from OUTSIDE the U.S. and for all other applicants regardless of where you are PCSing from (inside or outside the US), Priority service can be purchased at an additional cost per application. This expedited service can be purchased at www.visainfoservices.com by selecting "Additional Services" and can be paid using Visa or MasterCard. Priority receipts must be printed and mailed with the applications. 

20. My 18 year old dependent child is going to attend college in the UK. Does she need to get a student visa?
a. Yes. Any eligible family member over the age of 18 who intends to enter the UK as a full-time student should obtain an educational visa instead of a dependent visa. The visa should be obtained under the Points Based System, Tier 4.

21. What is World Bridge?
a. World Bridge is a private company hired by the UK to process applications from many overseas locations. Instead of going to the consulate in a particular country, World Bridge takes your application, conducts biometrics, and processes it for the UK. Ultimately, however, an official from the UK will make the final entry clearance determination, and not a World Bridge employee.
b. If you are PCSing from a foreign country (not the CONUS, Hawaii, Alaska and territories such as Guam and Puerto Rico), go to https://www.visainfoservices.com for information on how to submit an application.

22. My dependent is only visiting me in the UK for a few months. Does she need a visa?
a. Individuals visiting the UK for less than 6 months do not require a visa.

23.  Can my children attend off-base schools without a UK visa?
a. Yes. Families who wish to enroll their children in off-base schools can apply for a no-fee exemption vignette that will serve the same purpose as a visa.

24.   Can my spouse work off base without a UK visa?
a. Yes. Military spouses who wish to find employment off base can apply for a no-fee exemption vignette that will serve the same purpose as a visa.

25.  How do I apply for an exemption vignette?
a. You can apply for the no-fee exemption vignette through your servicing passport office on base.