Passport or Visa requirements when PCSing to the United Kingdom

Think moving to the United Kingdom with military orders means that your dependents don't need passports and visas? Think again! All dependents must have a valid passport and visa in order to enter the United Kingdom. Failure to have these may likely result in the deportation of the dependents at the airport.

Who Does Not Need a Passport or Visa?

Military members on official business may travel with his or her military ID card and travel orders; a passport or visa is not required.

Who Needs a Passport and Visa?

· U.S. Government civilians
· DoD sponsored contractors
· All dependents

What Is a Visa?

A visa is a stamp or impression which is placed on a page of a valid passport by a foreign embassy or consulate. The visa grants permission, as of the date it is issued, to the applicant to enter or remain in the country for a specific period of time.

What Type of Visa is Required?

All dependents, U.S. Government civilians, and DoD sponsored contractors are subject to immigration control. If they are traveling to the United Kingdom for a period of more than 6 months they must first obtain an entry clearance visa. This stamp must be obtained from a British consulate designated for the area in which you live. The entry clearance stamp will normally be valid for the period of time the sponsor is assigned to duty in the United Kingdom (to coincide with the sponsor's orders). If circumstances change after entry into the United Kingdom and the sponsor's tour is extended, dependents who intend to remain in the United Kingdom beyond their entry clearance visa time period will be required to apply for a leave to remain visa stamp. That process takes place here in the United Kingdom and is administered by the British Home Office.

How Long Does the Process Take?

The process of obtaining a passport and visa can take three months or more to complete.

Where Can I Find More Information on Passport and Visa Requirements?

More detailed information may be found on the DoD Foreign Clearance Guide at as well as on the Military Homefront website at

Moving to the United Kingdom is a time-consuming process with many things to keep in mind. Please be sure to plan ahead and ensure that all dependents, US Government civilians, and DoD sponsored contractors have a valid passport and visa before leaving the United States or they risk being deported at the airport. A little planning now will save a lot of headache later.