Do you need a passport to go to Scotland?

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If you’re traveling around the UK at any point you’re going to be passing through a number of counties since the UK includes 4 different ones: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

One of the questions I got asked a lot was whether you need a passport to go to Scotland. It’s a good question and the answer will depend on where you’re traveling from.

In short, if you’re flying from overseas then yes you do need a passport. If you’re travelling internally in the UK then you don’t need one, although you might need some form of identification. An exception to this is ferries to Northern Ireland.

uk passports on table

While Scotland is it’s own country, it’s part of the United Kingdom when it comes to international travel and as such it’s treated as a whole with the rest of the UK.

If you’re a citizen of the UK then you can travel freely around which includes traveling to Scotland.

Do you need a passport when flying to Scotland?

Flying in to Scotland is a little bit of a more formal way of travelling than other options.

If you’re traveling to Scotland from overseas then you will definitely need an in date passport. Often having 6 months of date is preferable and sometimes a visa is needed for Scotland. It’s worth checking for your individual circumstances and entry requirements.

Traveling to Scotland by plane from other airports located in the UK, such as London, is still classed as an internal flight. Internal flight passengers do NOT need a passport.

Most airlines will require you to have some form of photo identification before boarding and many people will use a passport for that. You could also use a driving licence (with photo), ID card or similar.

It’s always worth checking with the airline before heading to the airport as to what they will require.

FAQ about flying to Scotland

What ID do you need to fly to Scotland?

The identification documents you’ll need will depend on where your flight originates from.

If the flight is an domestic UK flight then you may be able to just use a provisional or full driving licence that has a picture of you.

If the flight is an international flight then you will need a valid passport.

Do you need passport to fly to Scotland from England

A flight between Scotland and England is classed as a domestic flight and you will need ID to travel but not necessarily a passport.

A valid full or provisional driving licence is also accepted for ID requirements.

How long does passport need to be valid for travel to Scotland?

In order to visit Scotland your passport must be valid for the entire duration of your trip.

It’s often a good idea to make sure you have at least 3-6 months left on your passport before traveling so consider renewing if you’re getting close!

Can I travel to Scotland with an expired passport?

You can only travel to Scotland with an expired passport as ID if the flight is a domestic one.

Always check with your flight operator before traveling that this is accepted.

Do you need a passport to go to Scotland from Wales

Wales is a part of the United Kingdom, as is Scotland, so any flights between the two countries are classed as domestic and you will not need a passport.

You will need some for of ID to fly so a passport could still be useful.

If you’re driving between the two you will not need any ID or a passport.

Can i fly to Scotland without a passport?

You can fly to Scotland without a passport if you’re on a domestic flight such as from England, Wales or elsewhere in Scotland.

You will need ID to fly on a domestic flight. You can use an expired passport (up to 5 years expired often), a driving licence or photo ID.

If you’re flying internationally you will need a passport, even if you’re a UK resident.

How to get to Scotland from London

There’s a lot of ways you might like to get from London to Scotland. Flights are frequent between London and quite a few Scottish airports but you may also wish to consider train, bus or car.

Sign at Scotland border on road
Scotland border on A1 main road on the East coast by Berwick

Traveling to Scotland overland by train or car – do you need a passport at the border?

So flights are a little different as I mentioned. They have much more strict security and need to know who is flying so ID is almost always needed. But what if you’re traveling to Scotland from England by train? Or in a car or bus?

I’ve done this route so many times over the years and you’ll be pleased to know that there is no need for showing passports at the border between England and Scotland. In fact there is no border control at all between the two countries.

As you drive north, or south, you’ll see a sign that welcomes you to the country and that is all. No fanfare, no stops, no checks. In fact it’s very similar to driving across states in the US.

There might be a piper though – depends which road you cross the border at! I like to cross on the A68 road, there’s a very nice ceremonial rock to get your photo taken at. Often you’ll find a piper there and with the wonderful views it’s a very nice border crossing. Still no passport checks though!

Scotland England border

Do you need a passport on the ferry between Northern Ireland and Scotland?

This one is a little bit different. Northern Ireland and Scotland are both technically in the UK but the ferries that travel between them have different rules.

If you’re a UK or Ireland citizen then you don’t need a passport at all but would need some form of identification. This is due to the common travel rules between the two countries.

If you’re do not have a UK or Ireland passport then you will need to have a passport. (Source)

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 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

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.

If you need a SIM for use in Scotland I recommend GiffGaff which you can get and set up before traveling.

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.

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Kirsty Bartholomew

Kirsty Bartholomew has been getting lost around the world for over 30 years and writing about it for 10 of those. She loves to help people explore her favourite places in Scotland, England and beyond. She cannot stay away from historical sites.

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