Visa Requirements

This section presents some key visa requirements for British expatriates when they relocate.

British Expats: Relocating To Other EU Countries

By far, one of the biggest perks of the UK’s membership of the European Union is the fact that British citizens are entitled to relocate to other member states relatively easily. In fact, personal and business mobility are two fundamental aspects that are strongly encouraged within the Union and a Directive came into force on the 30 April 2006 which provided EU citizens with clear and concise legal rights in this regard. Directive 2004/38 asserted the fact that EU citizens were entitled to relocate to other member states as follows:

  • Right to move and reside in other EU countries for up to three months: this is applicable to all UK citizens and only a valid passport and/or identity card needs to be produced on entry into the country to satisfy this requirement. Non-EU family members are also entitled to accompany an EU citizen, but the host state may require them to obtain an official visa in addition to their passport.
  • Right to reside for more than 3 months: this is where a UK citizen would need to prove that they will be able to support themselves in the host EU state and that they will not become a financial burden. To satisfy this requirement, the UK citizen will need to show one of the following:
  1. They are a worker or self-employed; or
  2. They have sufficient resources to ensure that they do not become a financial burden on the host state and that they have sickness insurance; or
  3. They are a student with sufficient financial resources and sickness cover; or
  4. They are a family member of a UK citizen that falls within one of the three categories above.

Once a UK citizen has continually resided in the EU state for more than 5 years, they will gain the right to permanent residence. This right will also be extended to non-EU family members accompanying the host who have remained with the UK citizen throughout. This right will be lost if there has been more than 2 years absence from the host state during the 5 years.

While you will have the right to reside in any EU state, each country will have different requirements regarding how you should register your presence in the country. Expat Info Desk produces a number of relocation guides that cover cities within the EU state. Each guide contains comprehensive information about residing within the country and provides practical hints and tips for securing the right visa in a stress-free manner.

British Expats: Relocating To Countries Outside Of The EU

Entry requirements and the right to reside within specific countries vary considerably from country-to-country and state-to-state. It is always imperative that you ascertain which visa (if any) will be required to travel to the country. Often, in order to reside within another country on a permanent basis, you will need to satisfy certain criteria. Usually, this criteria places an emphasis on the financial benefit you will be able to bring to the nation and it will also evaluate any level of threat that you may pose to the security of their citizens.

For all countries outside of the EU, you will need to thoroughly research the visa requirements in advance and will need to understand the types of visas that are available and what the requirements are for qualifying for one of these. One method of finding this information is to use the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) website: This provides a convenient directory for all embassies and high commissions, plus a wealth of other vital advice and information that will be beneficial as you explore your options for relocation. Alternatively, you can use our international relocation guides, which contain full and detailed information relating to the visa requirements of popular expat destinations throughout the world.

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