Five countries added to UK visa national list
21 July 2023
Citizens of Dominica, Honduras, Namibia, Timor-Leste (East Timor) and Vanuatu are required to apply for UK visitor visas with effect from 15:00 BST on 19 July 2023 and direct airside transit visas with effect from 20 July 2023. A four-week transition period applies for individuals who hold a confirmed travel booking arranged before this time.
The changes have been made through Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC 1715 and the Immigration (Passenger Transit Visa) (Amendment) Order 2023.
What is the impact of these changes?
Citizens of the affected countries who intend to visit or transit the UK airside on their way to a further destination must now make an application to do so. A visa is now also required for Creative Workers with engagements in the UK totalling three months or less where this was not necessary previously.
A visa fee will be payable. The fees for the most commonly used visit and transit visas are currently as set out below, but are due to rise in the near future, as confirmed in a recent Government announcement.
|Application type||Current fee (GBP)|
|Visit – short up to six months||100|
|Visit – long up to two years||376|
|Visit – long up to five years||670|
|Visit – long up to ten years||837|
|Transit visa (direct airside transit)||35|
|Transit visit visa (landside transit)||64|
The current average processing time for visitor, transit and Creative Worker visa applications is in line with the Home Office’s service standard of three weeks.
Applications will need to be made to the relevant Visa Application Centre (VAC) listed on GOV.UK. The Government has confirmed that a new VAC will be set up in Honduras to process UK visa applications, with the first appointments available from 26 July 2023.
What are the transitional arrangements?
Citizens of the affected countries may still travel to the UK without a visa if they have a travel booking that was made before 15:00 BST on 19 July 2023. They must arrive on or before 16 August 2023.
Affected individuals without an existing confirmed travel booking who were intending to travel within the next three to four weeks will need to defer their arrangements. Future visitors will need to factor visa preparation, cost and processing times into their plans.
Why have these countries been added to the visa national list?
According to a Written Ministerial Statement by the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, the countries have been added to the list for various reasons.
The Home Office has concerns about the citizenship by investment schemes operated by Dominica and Vanuatu leading to citizenship grants to individuals known to pose a risk to the UK.
Honduras and Namibia have been added to the list after the Home Office observed a significant increase in asylum claims being made at the border by citizens of these countries.
In the case of Timor-Leste, the Home Office has observed an increase in non-genuine visits by the country’s citizens, with individuals working illegally in the UK or going on to make a fraudulent application as a family member under the EU Settlement Scheme.
If you have questions about these developments, please get in touch with a member of our Immigration Team.