Scroll down for a visa-free countries list. You’ll also find countries that issue visas at your port of entry, and yes, we also have a list of countries that require a visa for British citizens.
Why the United Kingdom?
A UK passport is still one of the most desirable passports in the world of travel. UK citizens have visa-free entry or visa-on-arrival access (including electronic travel authorization or the equivalent) to around 187 countries or territories around the world. A British passport ranks in the top 10 in amost any passport visa free countries list which means a very high mobility score granting you travel freedom throughout the world.
UK citizens with a valid passport can visit most countries visa free but …
Be clear about the visa requirements for UK citizens. Firstly, you should understand that visa-free travel rankings often include countries that issue a visa when you arrive in the country rather than obliging you to get your passport stamped before travelling. We’ll go through a list of those countries in a few paragraphs. Next please, and we do mean please, remember that visa free does not mean your passport does not have to meet any other requirements. As we’ll remind you several times, make sure your UK passport is valid for at least 6 more months before making travel plans. If not, renew it at the HM Passport office website.
Tip: Travel Warnings
With a British passport – visa free countries list
What countries can British citizens visit visa free? Here’s a list of the countries (and territories) that have visa free access for a British citizen:
- Afghanistan (please check as there is some uncertainty regarding Afghanistan)
- Angola (electronic visa)
- Antigua & Barbuda
- Australia (e-visitor)
- Belarus Brest and Grodno
- Bonaire, St. Estatius, Saba (Netherlands)
- Bosnia & Herzegovina
- British Virgin Islands
- Canada (eTA – electronic travel authorization)
- Cape Verde
- Cayman Islands
- Costa Rica
- Cook Islands
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Ethiopia (e-visa)
- Faroe Islands
- French Polynesia
- French West Indies
- Gabon (e-visa)
- Hong Kong
- India (e-visa)
- Iran Kish Island
- Isle of Man
- South Korea (eTA)
- Malaysia Sabah & Sarawat
- Margarita Island (Venezuela)
- Marshall Islands
- New Caledonia
- New Zealand (eTA)
- North Macedonia
- Northern Mariana Islands
- South Ossetia
- Pitcairn Islands
- Puerto Rico
- Saint Pierre & Miquelon
- Sint Maarten
- St Kitts & Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
- San Marino
- Sao Tome & Principe
- Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
- Saudi Arabia (visa on arrival or e-visa)
- South Africa
- Tajikistan (e-visa)
- Tanzania (visa on arrival or e-visa)
- Trinidad & Tobago
- Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
- Turks & Caicos Islands
- Uganda (e-visa)
- United States (visa waiver)
- US Virgin Islands
- Vatican City
- Wallis & Futuna
- Zambia (e-visa)
- Zimbabwe (e-visa)
If you add the 30 countries listed below (those who issue travellers a visa at the port of entry) to our visa free countries list, you come to over 187 visa free countries and territories. Remember, however, that some of these are disputed territories and are therefore not included in some lists.
Is a UK passport 6th or 16th?
Are you disappointed that a British passport is not in the top 5? Don’t be. What you need to remember is that there is little difference in ranking scores between the top countries. For example, in a respected survey like the Henley Passport Index, the 2022 ranking for the top 23 countries was:
- Japan – 193 visa free countries
- Singapore – 192 visa free countries
- South Korea – 192 visa free countries
- Germany – 190 visa free countries
- Spain – 190 visa free countries
- Finland – 189 visa free countries
- Italy – 189 visa free countries
- Luxembourg – 189 visa free countries
- Austria – 188 visa free countries
- Denmark – 188 visa free countries
- Netherlands – 188 visa free countries
- Sweden – 188 visa free countries
- France – 187 visa free countries
- Ireland – 187 visa free countries
- Portugal – 187 visa free countries
- United Kingdom – 187 visa free countries
- Belgium – 186 visa free countries
- New Zealand – 186 visa free countries
- Norway – 186 visa free countries
- Switzerland – 186 visa free countries
- United States – 186 visa free countries
- Australia – 185 visa free countries
- Canada – 185 visa free countries
As you can see, a British passport is in fact tied for 6th place. Japan is in 1st place while Singapore and South Korea are tied for 2nd. Germany and Spain are tied for 3rd while Finalnd, Italy, and Luxembourg are tied for 4th. 5th place is shared between Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, and Sweden, while the UK shares 6th place with France, Ireland, and Portugal.
UK has almost as large a visa free countries list as 1st place Japan
Most importantly, the difference between Japan and the UK is a mere 5 countries, the most notable being China which requires British passport holders to get a visa while offering Japanese citizens visa free access. In other words, UK passport holders have access to most of the world’s countries visa free or with only an electronic travel authority or a visa on arrival. So, for example, if you’ll be travelling to various countries on a cruise ship, it’s nice to know you can step ashore as a UK citizen without needing a visa in most of the ports you’ll be stopping at.
What is Visa on arrival?
It is a visa issued at your port of entry (the airport or harbour or border crossing where you enter the country). Immigration authorities will check your passport and your identity – often nowadays with biometrics – and usually also ensure you have no criminal record etc. You will normally be charged a fee and then have the visa stamped in your passport, so make sure your United Kingdom passport has blank pages available before you travel – something you should do anyway. The advantage is that you don’t have to go through the bother of obtaining your visa before you travel and it’s done at one location at your port of entry.
How many countries have a visa on arrival for UK passport holders? The following 30 countries do – some also include the option of an electronic visa:
- Bangladesh – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- Burkina Faso – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- Burundi – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- Cambodia – visa on arrival or an electronic visa for UK citizens
- Comoros – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- Indonesia – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- Iraq – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- Jordan – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- Kuwait – visa on arrival or an electronic visa for UK citizens
- Laos – visa on arrival or an electronic visa for UK citizens
- Lebanon – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- Maldives – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- Mauritania – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- Mozambique – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- Nepal – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- Palau & Papua New Guinea – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- Rwanda – visa on arrival or an electronicvisa for UK citizens
- Sierra Leone – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- Solomon Islands – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- Somalia – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- Sri Lanka – visa on arrival or ETA for UK citizens
- Tanzania – visa on arrival or an electronic visa for UK citizens
- East Timor – visa on arrival for UK citizens
- Togo, Tonga & Tuvalu – UK citizens need a visa on arrival
- United Arab Emirates – UK citizens a visa on arrival
- Zambia & Zimbabwe both require visa on arrival or an electronic visa for UK citizens
How many countries require a visa for UK citizens?
Not many countries require a visa for UK citizens, but here’s a list of countries that do require a visa. If a country is not on this list, it usually means that they have visa free access, or only require an electronic travel authority or issue you a visa when you arrive. However, you should always first check with any country you will be visiting to see what its visa requirements are for UK passport holders.
- Algeria – visa required for British passport holders
- Belarus – visa required for British passport holders
- Bhutan – visa required for British passport holders
- Cameroon – visa required for British passport holders
- Central African Republic – visa required for British passport holders
- Chad – visa required for British passport holders
- China – visa required for British passport holders
- Republic of Congo – visa required for British passport holders
- Democratic Republic of Congo – visa required for British passport holders
- Equatorial Guinea – visa required for British passport holders
- Eritrea – visa required for British passport holders
- Ghana – visa required for British passport holders
- Iran – visa required for British passport holders
- North Korea – visa required for British passport holders
- Liberia – visa required for British passport holders
- Libya – visa required for British passport holders
- Mali – British passport holders need a visa
- Nauru – British passport holders need a visa
- Niger – British passport holders need a visa
- Nigeria – British passport holders need a visa
- Russia – British passport holders need a visa
- South Sudan – British passport holders need a visa
- Sudan – British passport holders need a visa
- Syria – British passport holders need a visa
- Turkmenistan – British passport holders need a visa
- Yemen – British passport holders need a visa
How about visiting european countries?
As far as the European Union goes, while Brexit means the UK is no longer officially part of the EU, British passport holders can take advantage of the 90/180 rule which means UK citizens enjoy visa free entry to the EU for 90 days during any 180 day period. Not only that, you can divide those 90 days (as long as they’re consecutive) between any number of EU countries. For example, you can spend 14 days in France, 14 days in Italy, and finish up with a long pleasant 62-day stay on the coast of Portugal. All visa free. Or do the same with any other european countries that are members of the European union.
I need a passport valid for 6 more months? Nobody told me!
Just remember to keep in mind EU travel requirements that include having a valid passport that is due to expire within 6 or more months from the date you travel to the European Union. If your UK Passport will expire within 3 months or less, or if it is more than 10 years old, you should renew it through the website of HM passport office before travelling to European countries. Again, this is a general precaution you should always take – make sure your passport will remain valid for at least 6 more months before you travel, whether it’s by air or cruise ship, or any other means. Who wants to be turned back at the border because their supposedly valid passport only had 2 months left?
United Kingdom passport means travelling to Ireland without a visa
However, keep in mind that while Ireland is in the EU, it has its own visa requirements due to the border with Northern Ireland which is part of the UK. Ireland – along with the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey, and the Isle of Man – is part of the Common Travel Area arrangement with the UK, an arrangement which has been in place for several generations and allows citizens of all the involved Crown Dependencies and countries to travel visa free, as well as live and work in each other’s countries or dependencies.
All this and we aren’t talking about diplomatic passports
Additionally, please keep in mind that we’re talking about standard British passports, not diplomatic or service passports, nor official passports. Just the standard blue passport that any UK citizen is issued.
Don’t panic in Detroit – you have a UK passport
And remember that those 187 visa free countries for British citizens mean travel freedom for a British passport holder that is ahead of even the United States (186 visa free countries) or Canada and Australias (185 visa free countries each). Ample proof that a United Kingdom passport remains one of the world’s most desirable passports.
Shed your travel restrictions like a drunk surfer in Costa Rica
When you add all the other benefits that come with a United Kingdom passport – like world class universites and a stable, strong, and innovative economy – the passport’s very high mobility score, which means you can travel visa free to just about anywhere you please, is really the icing on the cake.
Don’t you have a United Kingdom passport?
So, is your passport valid? We’ve told you which countries require a visa. We’ve told you which offer you visa free access. Ah, you haven’t renewed your passport or you haven’t even bothered to get your first UK passport. Maybe it’s time to start. Go to our page here for more information on getting or renewing your British passport.