When planning a trip to Scotland some of the first things you need answered, as boring as they are, are around visas and what you need bring on your Scotland vacation. We all want to be dreaming of the Scottish hills and countryside, and perhaps drinking some whisky, not about standing in line at Passport Control!
Get this documentation right and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a great Scottish adventure, whether you’re coming to Scotland for the first time or returning!
In this post we’re going to be looking at what visa requirements you need to enter Scotland as a tourist. Read on to get your visa questions answered like ‘can I visit Scotland with UK visa?’
Note – this post is solely about tourist travel to Scotland.
Can I go to Scotland with a UK visa?
Does UK visa cover Scotland? That’s the first question that I get asked about when discussing travelling to Scotland or Edinburgh. Here’s what you need to know:
Since Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, any visa you have for the UK covers visiting Scotland too. If you’ve already got your UK visa then you’re good to travel to Scotland.
If you don’t need a visa to enter the UK, as many countries don’t, then those rules extend to Scotland as well. For example you don’t need a visa for Scotland if you’re a US citizen since they can enter the UK without one.
Documents needed to visit Scotland
If you’re planning to visit Scotland, whether as part of a wider visit to the United Kingdom or just as a visit to this country alone here are some of the documents you’ll need as a tourist:
- Valid Passport (often having 6 months of validity is recommended)
- Driving Licence if you intend to rent a car
You might also need:
- Proof of accommodation in the UK
- Proof of funds to support yourself
- Proof you’ll leave the UK – either with a return ticket or funds to buy one
- Travel insurance is also definitely recommended
While you may be lucky enough not to be asked about your intentions for your stay in Scotland, it’s imperative that you have ample funds and a plan for your time in case you are asked.
Being vague about your time in Scotland may increase suspicion from the authorities which might end in entry being denied – you’ll then always struggle to enter the UK in future. Always a good idea to be prepared.
Passport for travel to Scotland
If you’re traveling from outside of the UK then you’ll definitely need a passport for traveling to Scotland.
If you’re traveling internally from another UK country then you might find that you won’t need one, but since you’ll need ID anyway it’s a good idea to have it on hand.
FAQ about Visas for Scotland
Which countries are covered by the UK Visa?
The UK Standard Visitor Visa covers the countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. All these 4 countries make up the United Kingdom and so the visa covers them all.
Do US citizens need a Visa to travel to Scotland?
Tourists from the USA generally do NOT need a visa for stays up to 6 months.
There is no landing card to fill out anymore when you arrive, however you may be asked questions when you go through passport control.
Do Canadian citizens need a Visa to travel to Scotland?
Tourists from Canada do NOT need a visa for stays in the UK for up to 6 months.
There is no landing card to fill out anymore when you arrive, however you may be asked about your visit when you go through passport control.
Do Australian citizens need a Visa to travel to Scotland?
Tourists from Australia do NOT need a visa for stays up to 6 months in the UK, providing they meet Standard Visitor requirements.
You will not need to fill out a landing card anymore when you arrive, however you may be asked questions about your trip when you go through passport control.
Do New Zealand citizens need a Visa to travel to Scotland?
Tourists from New Zealand do NOT need a visa for stays up to 6 months in the UK, providing they meet Standard Visitor requirements.
You will not need to fill out a landing card anymore when you arrive, however you may be asked questions when you go through passport control about your trip.
Do European citizens need a Visa to travel to Scotland?
Most European citizens do not need a visa for stays up to 6 months in the UK, however it’s important to check for each individual country before travelling.
Since Brexit there is no longer any freedom of movement for European citizens and stays must be within the 6 months. You’ll need a full passport when travelling.
You may be asked questions about your trip when you go through passport control to check you have funds to stay etc.
Do I need a visa for Scotland if I have a criminal record?
You might do. It’s advised from the government that if you have a criminal record to apply for what’s known as a Standard Visa, even if your country doesn’t normally need one.
The Standard Visa costs up to £100 and is valid for 6 months.
Which countries need a visa for Scotland?
Many countries do not need visas for travelling to Scotland and the rest of the UK.
It’s always best to check up to date information and the UK government website has an online checker for you to add your details to see if you’ll need a visa to visit Scotland from your country.
Check it out here.
Can you travel to Ireland from Scotland on a UK visa?
If you need a visa for the UK and then want to travel onwards to Ireland sometimes you don’t need to then get a visa for Ireland too on their short stay visa waiver programme.
You’ll need to make sure your UK visa covers the time you’re in Ireland, you’re stay is for 90 days or less and your passport is from certain countries.
Check more information about this scheme here.
Overall you’ll find that any visa information that applies to the UK also applies to Scotland since it is a country within the United Kingdom.
For any further guidance it’s a good idea to check the official UK government website, especially since information can change quickly.
🏴 Scotland Travel FAQ 🏴
Do I need insurance for traveling to Scotland?
YES! I always recommend people take travel insurance when exploring the world!
Check Travel Insurance Master for quote comparisons from different providers.
Do I need a car for visiting Scotland?
YES – If you’re wanting to explore Scotland fully then a car is worthwhile. It will get you to all the best sights and on your own timetable
I recommend DiscoverCars to compare car rental prices in Scotland
How to book accommodation in Scotland?
For hotels I recommend Booking.com
For apartments and cottages check out VRBO
Will my phone work in Scotland?
Perhaps – it depends if you have roaming enabled and beware this can be an expensive way to use your phone.
What to pack for Scotland
Keep yourself dry be prepared for any weather is my motto for Scotland! A rain jacket and comfy shoes are a must.
See my post about what to pack for Scotland
Do I need midge spray for Scotland?
YES – if you’re traveling in the summer months to any of the west coast, highlands, islands or lochs it’s recommended.
Locals swear by Avon’s Skin So Soft!
If you’re sticking to the cities or traveling in winter, early spring or late fall then you likely won’t need it.
What’s the best guidebook for Scotland?
I really like the Lonely Planet Guidebooks
Where to get flights for Scotland
Skyscanner is my first port of call for finding cheap flights to Scotland.
Do I need a visa for Scotland?
Many countries don’t need a visa for visiting Scotland as tourists (USA, Canada, Aus, NZ and Europe) – it’s always best to check first though.