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Passport and Visa Information
PCSing to the UK
NOTE: Effective 28 Nov. 2015, dependent spouses of active duty military personnel being assigned to the United Kingdom, as well as their dependent children under the age of 21, are no longer required to obtain a U.K. visa. Children aged 21 or over at first arrival, or secondary dependents, such as parents or parents-in-law, MUST have a visa BEFORE arriving in the United Kingdom.
The visa application process can be complicated and time consuming. You must read all instructions and, if required, make sure you fill out the application thoroughly. The process is also different if you are applying from outside the United Sates, so please pay special attention to all instructions below.
DO NOT PCS to the UK without a US no-fee passport. Eligible family members require a US no-fee passport, which can be obtained with the aid of the nearest military installation passport office.
A UK visa is not required for stays of less than six months.
A UK visa is not required for military members PCSing to the UK. Only NATO military orders and a DoD identification is necessary to enter the UK for military members.
Although not required, it is recommended to obtain a US tourist passport in addition to the no-fee passport.
*The UK visa application website is experiencing some technical difficulties. If you receive an error message when creating an application for a minor, change the minor's birth year to a year that makes the minor over the age of 18. Once the account is accepted and created, you MUST change the birthday in the application to the correct birthday.*
Eligible family members of US Military personnel:
(1) No-fee passport required for US citizens.
(a) A US no-fee passport can be obtained with the aid of the nearest military installation passport office. Although not required, it is recommended to obtain a tourist passport in addition to the no-fee passport.
(2) As of 28 November 2015, eligible dependents of military members being assigned to duty in the UK DO NOT require visas before PCSing to the UK as they are exempt from immigration control. The term "eligible dependent" means a spouse, or a child under the age of twenty-one on the date the dependent child first enters the UK to join his/her military sponsor. See Exempt Dependents Section 1.A.3.c.(3) below and follow ALL directions.
Dependent children aged 21 or over on the date they first enter the UK will require a visa prior to entry. Secondary dependents, such as parents, parents-in-law, wards, etc., will also require visas prior to entering the UK. See Section 1.A.3.c.(4), below and follow ALL directions.
(3) The UK will permit entry without a visa for eligible dependents at the border/port of entry if they are named on the exempt dependent sponsor's PCS movement order. If eligible dependents are not named on the PCS movement order, the dependent must present additional proof of their status to the UK border agent upon arrival. The UK will recognize official documentation issued by the US Government, such as a command sponsorship letter or other verification that the dependent is accompanying a military member assigned to duty in the UK. The UK will not recognize unofficial documents, such as a letter personally written by the military sponsor. Eligible dependents must carry their no-fee passports, their military sponsor's PCS orders, and other official documentation (to include a dependant military ID card) issued by the US Government if not named on the PCS orders. Once the border agent is satisfied that the dependent meets the criteria for admission, the agent will place a stamp in his/her passport.
After arrival in the UK, the dependent may then apply to the UK Home Office for an exempt vignette. After arrival in the UK, see your servicing passport office for further instructions to obtain an exempt vignette.
Eligible dependents that arrive without the necessary documentation may be refused entry into the UK.
Dependents may apply for an exempt vignette before they arrive in the UK. This process will commence in January 2016.
A visa is not required for stays of less than six (6) months.
(4) Non-Exempt Dependents. Non-exempt dependents must apply for a UK visa using the procedures below. Depending on the application location, processing can take three (3) to six (6) weeks.
and click the "Start Now" link.
(b) To fill out the online application click "Register an Account". On the following page, provide the necessary information and choose a password. An e-mail will be sent to the address provided to complete the application. It is best to use a personal e-mail as .mil firewalls block the e-mail. Additionally, this will increase the ability to be contacted during time of PCS. If an e-mail is not received within a few minutes, check the "junk" box.
(c) Once logged onto the site, select either "Apply For Myself" or "Apply For Someone Else" from the "My Applications" page.
(i) The UK Website has been experiencing technical difficulties recently and they are making every effort to correct the site as quickly as possible. If travelers receive an error message when creating an application for a minor, change the birth year to a year that makes the minor over the age of 18. Once the account is accepted and created, travelers MUST change the birthday in the application to the correct birthday.
(d) Provide information as required.
(e) For "Reason for Visit" choose "Exempt".
(f) For "Visa Type" choose "Exempt".
(g) For "Visa Sub Type" choose "Member of UK or Visiting Forces (Dependent)" and then click on "Create Application".
(h) Click on "Go to Application" and provide required information over the next few pages. The Immigration Health Surcharge portal is being updated. If prompted, military dependents who are spouses or children should select "Dependant of an armed force who is exempt from immigration control under the immigration act 1971". A military dependent who is a secondary dependent, such as a parent or step-parent, should select "Dependant Other of exempt armed forces". An IHS reference number will be generated which travelers will need to add to their visa application.
(i) For "How long do travelers intend to stay in the UK?" enter "60 months". This is NOT an indication of member's tour length. It merely indicates the application is for a five (5) year visa.
(j) For "Date of Departure" enter RNLTD + 60 Months (ex. 31 Jul 2014 + 60 months = 31 Jul 2019).
(k) A separate online application and fee payment must be made for each eligible family member regardless of age. Pay the application fee for each application using a credit card (Visa or MasterCard only). It must be paid online.
(l) Biometrics enrollment must be completed. After completing the application online, applicants should be automatically directed to a scheduling website so they can schedule a biometrics enrollment appointment. See Section 1.A.2.v.-ee. above for more information.
(m) Submit the application(s) online, then print the application(s) for mailing or submitting in person. Whether mailing or submitting the application in person will depend on the country where applying from.
(i) Contact the travelers nearest military installations visa/passport office, if required, to schedule an appointment for mailing/submitting application.
(n) When mailing or submitting in person, provide the following items with the application(s). Failure to submit the required items will result in extensive delays in the processing of UK visa applications. Ensure a hard copy of the application is kept for travelers records.
(i) Printed application form(s).
(ii) Valid US no-fee Passport for each application. The UK can only issue one (1) visa per individual, so applicants should only submit one (1) type of passport with each application. If submitting a tourist passport and a no-fee passport for the same application, the UK will have to determine in which passport to place the visa. This will delay the process.
(iii) One (1) passport sized photograph per applicant, taken against a light background and printed on professional photographic paper. Do not use homemade printouts.
(iv) Cover letter that includes a point of contact (with telephone number and email address), member's name, relationship of eligible family members (dependents) travelling, arrival date, duration of stay in UK, UK assignment location, and address indicating where the passport/visa will be mailed. Also indicate "Member will request a 60 month UK visa for eligible family members (dependents)".
(v) Military orders naming traveler(s) as dependent(s). US Navy personnel use Transportation Authorization - DD Form 884.
(aa) Highlight assignment location, arrival date, dependent names, and dependent birthdates.
(bb) Highlight remark stating that the member will request a 60 month UK visa.
(cc) If both parents are active duty and serving tours in the UK, submit a copy of BOTH orders. Write at the top of the UK visa application form, "BOTH PARENTS ACTIVE DUTY AND SERVING TOURS IN THE UK".
(dd) Biometrics appointment confirmation receipt.
(vi) Command Sponsorship if dependent is not on the original orders bringing the Active Duty member to the UK.
(vii) For eligible family members (dependents), include legible copies of Birth Certificate(s) for dependent children and Marriage / Civil Partnership Certificate for spouses / partners. (Some Visa Application Centers require originals).
(viii) If children are from a separate relationship, include a NOTARIZED letter from the other biological parent granting permission to travel to the UK. It must demonstrate that the non-custodial parent is aware the child will be in the UK for the duration of the assignment. Submit a court order if parent has sole custody. Where no father is listed on the birth certificate, the mother of the child is assumed to have sole custody and no further documents are necessary.
(ix) If applying for eligible family members dependent children and/ or other non-spouse eligible family members (dependents) that are 21 or over at the time of application, include a letter explaining why the eligible family members (dependents) are still part of the family unit and what they will do in the UK. This should include student status, employment status, who is financially responsible for the dependent, any special needs or disabilities that exist, and activities to be undertaken in the UK. In depth evidence of current personal circumstances is required and applicants can expect to be interviewed by telephone by the assessing officer. These applications can take an additional six (6) or more weeks to process.
(x) DO NOT send copies of US passport applications.
(o) If applying from WITHIN the United States (e.g. CONUS, Alaska, Hawaii, US Territories such as Guam and Puerto Rico) select "By Mail" as the submission method. A fully pre-paid return shipping envelope (UPS or USPS) MUST be provided for the US passport and original documents to be returned. Obtaining a tracking number is highly recommended. The British Authorities will ship to US addresses only. If an APO address is used, ensure the carrier can deliver to APO addresses. Submit hardcopies to the address listed on the visa application website
(i) Military dependent applications from WITHIN the United States are processed as "Priority Service." This is the fastest service available so it is not necessary to pay for "Priority Service" to expedite these applications.
(p) If applying from OUTSIDE the United States, it is best to visit the local military passport office for further instructions as the applications are the same, but the submission procedures may be different depending on the country which PCSing from. DO NOT mail applications to the British Consulate in New York as they will be returned without processing.
(i) For further information about the application process from overseas countries, visit
US military, DoD civilians and eligible family members (i.e., command sponsored and on the travel orders) of both US military and DoD civilians are exempt from Health Care Surcharge. DoD sponsored contractors are not exempt and must pay the Health Care Surcharge.
TB Testing - Residents of the many countries, including Republic of Korea (South), are required to obtain a TB chest x-ray test if staying more than six (6) months in the UK. See special instructions for residents of South Korea. For a complete list of countries that require TB testing, refer to the UK Home Office web site:
. US military personnel are exempt from the TB test requirement. However, DoD civilian, eligible family members, DoD contractors and other personnel residing (i.e. living) in countries noted on the web site are NOT exempt and require a TB chest x-ray. The web site lists the approved testing sites in each country. US military medical TB test results will be accepted by the UK government as well. Visa application must include a certificate indicating they are TB free.
(1) Any eligible family member aged 18 or over who intends to enter the UK as a full-time student in UK higher education should obtain an educational visa instead of a dependent visa. The visa should be obtained under the Points Based System, Tier 4.
(2) For many overseas locations, the UK uses a private company (e.g. VFS.Global) to process visa applications. It is possible that travelers will be visiting a Visa Application Center operated by one (1) of these companies to complete their application and biometrics.
(3) For further information about the application process, visit
(4) Ensure the correct return address is listed on the application, as this is where the visa will be returned. If applicants need the visa mailed to a different address, use the alternate shipping address section in the application and include the address in the cover letter.
(5) Dependent Entry Approval (DEA) is a Navy process to obtain permission from an area commander to bring eligible family members (dependents) into a specific area. Information on how to obtain DEA and points of contact are available at