Quick Visa Facts
There is no UK remote work visa, but most digital nomads wishing to visit London and the UK should be able to continue their overseas employment while in the UK on a Standard Visitor Visa.
UK Digital Nomad Visa
Digital Nomad Visas, or DNVs, are a relatively new class of visas aimed at attracting remote workers from around the world. Countries allow remote workers that meet minimum income requirements and have a stable income coming from a source outside of the country to live in their country for a fixed period while continuing their remote work.
Most digital nomad visas are for a period of one to two years and come with other benefits, such as not paying local taxes. The purpose of these visas is to boost the economy by encouraging relatively wealthy individuals to spend locally.
The United Kingdom does not currently offer a digital nomad UK visa, and there has been no indication that a remote work visa UK is planned for the near future. Considering the UK government is currently trying to reduce net migration with new visa restrictions, a new UK nomad visa does not seem likely in the coming years.
Many nearby European countries do offer digital nomad visas, including Portugal, Spain, and Greece. But since the United Kingdom is no longer part of the European Union, these visas do not offer access to the UK.
However, the UK has a generous tourist visa scheme, known as the Standard Visitor Visa, which allows individuals from most countries to stay in the UK for up to six months. Local work is prohibited. There are also several other longer-term UK visas that some digital nomads may qualify for.
Who Needs a Visa to Live in the UK as a Digital Nomad?
Unless you are a British citizen or British national, you need a visa to live and work in the UK. You can visit on a tourist visa for up to six months, which allows remote working from the UK for international companies.
Citizens of some countries are known as non-visa nationals and can receive this tourist visa on arrival without making a previous online application.
If You Are a United States Citizen?
United States citizens can arrive in the UK as a tourist without applying for a visa in advance and stay for up to six months. US citizens cannot work in the UK without an appropriate visa. However, US citizens wishing to work remotely in the UK for foreign companies or clients are not explicitly denied their ability to continue working remotely on a UK tourist visa.
If You Are an EU Citizen?
EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens also do not need to apply for a tourist visa in advance to visit the UK and will receive authorization at border control. You can stay for up to six months but cannot work for any UK companies.
If You Are a US Green Card Holder?
Your US Green Card does not affect your ability to travel to the UK. You must apply for a visa based on your nationality.
If You Are a Citizen from Canada, Australia, or New Zealand?
Citizens of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand also do not need to apply for a tourist visa in advance to visit the UK and are eligible to stay for up to six months on arrival. Citizens under the age of 30, or 35 in the case of New Zealand, are also eligible to apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa that will allow them to live and work in the UK for up to two years.
Types of UK Visas for Digital Nomads
There is no specific digital nomad visa UK, but the Standard Visitor Visa is generous in that it lets foreigners stay in the UK for up to six months. There are several longer visas available that some digital nomads may be eligible for. Details of all these visas are given below.
Standard Visitor Visa
The Standard Visitor Visa for the UK is their regular tourist visa, and it can enable you to stay in the country for up to six months. While you are not permitted to work for a UK company while in the country on this visa, there are no specific conditions prohibiting remote work for companies and clients in other countries.
If your purpose is to visit the UK as a tourist while continuing to work remotely, you should be eligible for this visa as long as you can prove that you have the funds to support yourself during your stay and that you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visa by purchasing a return or onward ticket.
You should apply for the visa online up to three months before traveling via the UK digital visa scheme. Citizens of some countries, such as the United States, Canada, and Australia, do not need to apply for a visa in advance and can receive it upon entry.
The Standard Visitor Visa is for six months and has a £100 application fee. You can apply for the visa for a longer period, of two, five, or ten years, but you can only stay in the UK for six months per visit, and then spend six months outside of the country before returning.
Young Mobility Scheme Visa
The Young Mobility Scheme Visa allows young professionals between the ages of 18 and 30 (or up to 35 if you are from New Zealand) to live and work in the UK for up to two years. This means that you can continue to work remotely, find work in the UK, or pursue a combination of the two.
It is only open to citizens from certain countries. Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Monaco, San Marino, and Iceland can apply for the visa at any time.
Citizens of Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan must first apply through a ballot scheme held twice a year that reduces the number of applicants. If you are chosen via the ballot, you then have 30 days to submit your visa application.
There is a separate ballot scheme for young professionals from India that works in the same way.
The visa application fee is £259, and you are also required to pay a healthcare surcharge upfront with your visa, which costs £470 per year pro rata. You must also show that you have £2,530 in personal savings to support yourself during your initial months in the UK.
High Potential Individual Visa
The HPI visa is a new visa that extends the standard UK graduate visa, which allows international graduates of UK universities to stay in the UK for a period after studying, to graduates from some universities around the world.
You must have graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree, Postgraduate Degree, or PhD within the last five from an approved university, the list of which is updated annually.
The current list is available here and includes big American universities such as Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, and CalTech, the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland in Australia, McGill, the University of Toronto, and the University of British Columbia in Canada, plus several Chinese, Japanese, and Singaporean universities.
The list also includes the Paris Sciences et Lettres in France, the Technical University of Munich in Germany, the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and both EPFL and ETH Zurich in Switzerland.
To apply successfully, you must also be able to show that you have a good knowledge of English and at least £1,270 in savings to support yourself when you arrive in the UK.
In addition to the £715 application fee, there is a charge of £210 for Ecctis to check your qualification, and you must pay the UK healthcare surcharge, which is £624 per year pro rata.
Most digital nomads will not be able to apply for a UK work visa since it requires securing a job offer from a UK company that is willing to sponsor your application. However, there are a few UK work visa strands that may appeal to some digital nomads.
Scale-Up Work Visa
The Scale-Up Work Visa is designed to help UK start-ups secure the talent that they need to grow and has a much lower threshold than many other work visas. As a worker, you need a job offer from a qualifying start-up that is for at least six months, but you will be offered a full two-year visa when you accept the job.
You will have to complete your contract with the start-up company, but you are then free to live and work in the UK for a full two years. There is a £715 application fee, and you must pay the UK healthcare surcharge.
The Start-Up Visa is aimed at individuals who want to create their own start-up based in the UK. The visa is granted for two years, and you are free to live and work in the UK while developing your business. The catch is that your business idea must be endorsed by a UK higher education institution or an approved business organization as new, innovative, and viable.
It costs £378 to apply for the Start-Up Visa from outside the UK, and you must pay the UK healthcare charge upfront.
The Innovator Visa works on more or less the same principles as the Start-Up Visa, and while the Start-Up Visa is non-renewable, you can move into the Innovator Visa. The same business idea approval is required, but the criteria are stricter than for the Start-Up Visa and you will need to show significant progress in developing your business.
This visa is granted for three years in the first instance and is renewable. It costs £1,036 to apply from outside the UK and you must pay the UK healthcare surcharge.
Global Talent Visa
The Global Talent Visa is open to individuals who have won prizes for their excellence in the areas of academia and research, arts and culture, or digital technology. A full list of the eligible prizes is available here.
If you are eligible for this visa, you can stay in the UK for up to five years in the first instance, and it is renewable. But after five years you will be eligible for permanent residence. While in the UK you are free to work, study, or start your own business.
There is a £456 fee required to apply for endorsement, and a £167 visa application fee which is payable if you are endorsed. You will also be required to pay the UK healthcare charge.
UK Visa Eligibility Requirements
Eligibility requirements for UK visas depend on the specific visa applied for, but there are some general requirements for visas lasting longer than six months.
Proof of Financial Resources
Most UK visas that are issued for longer than six months require that you prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself when you initially arrive in the UK. This can range from £1,270 to £2,530 in your bank account.
If you will be applying to bring dependents, you will need to show that you have an additional £285 for your partner, £315 for your first dependent child, and £200 for each subsequent dependent child.
The funds must be available in your bank account for at least 28 days in a row, and day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for your visa. Acceptable evidence includes bank statements, building society passbooks, certificates of deposit, or a letter from your bank or building society.
Proof of English Knowledge
Many UK visas require that you prove your knowledge of English, usually to at least a level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
If you come from an English-speaking country you are not required to provide evidence, otherwise, you should have a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English or pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT).
UK Healthcare Surcharge
Anyone who travels to the UK on a long-term visa must pay the Healthcare Surcharge to support the National Health Service (NHS). In return, you get access to healthcare as though you were a citizen. This means that most health services are free, but you will still need to pay for dental care and some prescriptions.
The surcharge is payable when you make your visa application, and it will be refunded to you if you are unsuccessful.
The fee is £624 per person per year paid on a pro-rata basis. There is a discount for those under 18 and some visas, such as the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa, which lowers the fee to £470 per year.
Partners and Dependents
Except for the Standard Visitor Visa and the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa, you can apply to bring your partner and dependents to the UK with you. Your partner is usually able to work with few restrictions.
The UK recognizes partners as your husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner if you can prove a relationship of at least two years. Children under 18 are considered dependent, but children over 16 must continue to be financially dependent on you.
In all cases, you will need to pay a separate visa application fee and healthcare surcharge for each individual.
How to Apply for a UK Visa as a Digital Nomad
All UK visas should be applied for online via the UK visa web portal.
You may also need to prove your identity as part of your visa application. This will require either making an appointment for your biometrics to be taken at a visa application center, or you may be able to use the UK Immigration: ID Check smartphone app. You will be directed to what process to use and how to make an appointment as part of the online application.
How Long to Apply for a UK Visa?
The processing time for a visa application depends on the type of visa but is usually about three weeks.
What If Your UK Digital Nomad Visa Is Denied?
If your visa request is rejected, you will be provided with information on the reason it was rejected in the accompanying letter from the Home Office.
If you believe that there has been an error in the processing of your application, you can apply for an administrative review. This will trigger the Home Office to re-examine the documents that you submitted to pick up on any errors. This will usually take up to 28 days.
If you made a mistake in your application, you can correct it and reapply, but you must also pay a new application fee.
If you think that the case worker that worked on your application made mistakes, you can also appeal the decision on the basis that they have breached UK immigration laws. You have 28 days to file your appeal and then eight weeks to prepare and file your case.
In some exceptional circumstances, you can be banned from applying for a UK visa for the next ten years when rejected. But this usually requires that you actively lied or provided misleading information on your visa application.
Living in the UK as a Digital Nomad
The UK is a small but highly diverse country. Its big cities such as London, Manchester, and Birmingham are melting pots for people and cultures from around the world, while you don’t have to drive far to find quaint English villages that look like they belong in a Jane Austen novel.
While the United Kingdom is known for its overcast days, the rain results in a lush green landscape. There are plenty of parks, so even the city feels green. The summer is characterized by long, warm, sunny days and a holiday atmosphere.
While the UK economy has suffered post-Brexit and post-pandemic, it is still thriving. London is a major international city where you can find pretty much anything. But beware of high rents and high electricity prices.
As a UK digital nomad in London, you can expect to find diverse and welcoming communities and thriving spaces for digital nomads and entrepreneurs. While small villages are less diverse, these small communities tend to have a vibrant social and cultural life.
Attractions and Best Places to Visit in the UK
The capital has a rich history evident as you walk the streets and a thriving international culture that is home to innovative fashion brands, internationally famous restaurants, and prestigious art galleries. London is the best place for museums, palaces, shopping, eating, and culture.
The Scottish capital mixes an old town dominated by Edinburgh Castle and cobbled streets that hide a rich history and a new town with modern businesses and shopping. Set in the green rolling hills, it is a beautiful city, and a gateway to the Scottish countryside of highlands, lakes, and whiskey distilleries.
Belfast is the largest city in Northern Ireland and a reflection of the unique and sometimes tragic history of the small country. A highly walkable city, explore its cathedral, historic shopping market, and incredible street art that pays homage to the city’s bloody past.
The capital of Wales is known for its passion for Rugby and seaside culture. Home of both a 2,000-year-old castle and the Doctor Who Museum. History and innovation merge seamlessly in this welcoming town.
Arguably the world’s oldest university, the town is often considered an open-air museum with historical buildings and the world’s first museum! It is also not far from Blenheim Palace, the famous former home of Winston Churchill.
Digital Nomad Hotspots
Benefits of Working in the UK as a Digital Nomad
The UK offers many benefits for digital nomads wishing to call the country home for a while.
While you have to pay a hefty healthcare surcharge when entering the UK, this pays for a comprehensive National Healthcare Service that provides universal health care. While, like most national health services, underfunding can cause long waiting times, it is generally considered one of the best health systems in the world.
London has long been one of those cities at the center of the world, and this has made the UK a pioneer in many things, including arts, culture, and sports. Those looking for inspiration and partners won’t have to look far in the UK.
Despite anti-immigration protests that make a splash in the news, the United Kingdom is a very diverse country and is overwhelmingly welcoming to people from around the world. The multicultural nature of the UK is one of its best-selling points.
While the UK is not part of the European Union and visitors will need to apply for a separate Schengen Area visa to travel there, London is a travel hotspot and Heathrow Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. There are plenty of opportunities for affordable city breaks.
There are, of course, disadvantages to be aware of before heading to the UK!
It has a high cost of living and is considered by some measures to be more expensive than the United States and Canada as a place to live.
The weather can be gray much of the time, but when the sun comes out people take advantage of it. Summer in the UK can be magical.
Cost of Living in the UK
The UK has a fairly high cost of living that individuals on international salaries should be prepared for.
The median average salary for all employees in the UK is just £33,000 ($41,917), though this is higher in London at £41,866 ($53,178). However, statisticians suggest that this is high because of the number of high earners in the UK. They estimate a more plausible annual average salary of £26,484 ($33,640). This means a salary of £2,207 ($2,803) per month.
Expatistan estimates that this is almost exactly what a single person needs to live in the UK each month.
A room in a shared London flat might cost an individual around £800 ($1,016) per month, while a rental house almost anywhere else in the country might cost £1,000-£1,400 ($1,270-$1,778). On top of that, utilities for an individual are around £125 ($160) per month, with an additional £25 ($32) per month for a basic internet connection.
Meanwhile, you can expect to pay £15 ($19) for lunch out, and £60 ($75) for an evening meal for two before drinks. Beers can cost anywhere from £4-£6 ($5-$8) for a pint. Prices are about 25% high in London. Meanwhile, while London transport is excellent, it costs £200-£300 ($250-$380) for a monthly London travel card depending on how far you live from the center.
Digital Nomad Essentials
- Internet Speeds: av. 86.5 Mbps, 91% of homes have fiber broadband
- Time Zone: GMT
- Socket Type: Type G 230V and 50 Hz
- Phone/Sim: Vodafone and Virgin
United Kingdom for Digital Nomads
While the UK does not currently offer a digital nomad visa for England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, its generous tourist visa conditions mean that digital nomads can stay in the UK for up to six months, and there are a variety of other potential visa options for digital nomads that want to stay longer.
The UK offers an excellent quality of life and is an inspiring and diverse place to live. But digital nomads should be aware of the high cost of living before setting their sites on the UK as their next digital nomad destination.
FAQs About UK Digital Nomad Visa
Does the UK Have a Digital Nomad Visa?
There is currently no United Kingdom Digital Nomad Visa and current political trends around migration suggest that one should not be expected soon. However, the UK does offer a generous six-month tourist visa, and working remotely on a tourist visa UK is possible. There are also several longer-term visas available that many digital nomads may qualify for, such as the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa and the High Potential Individual Visa.
What Is the Length of the UK Standard Visitor Visa?
The UK Standard Visitor Visa allows foreigners to stay in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland for up to six months, but they cannot work for any UK employer while in the country and must leave at the end of the visa period.
Will You Get a Refund for Your Visa Application If You Are Denied?
Visa application fees for all UK visas are non-refundable and you will not receive a refund if your visa is denied. However, you must pay the UK healthcare surcharge for the proposed length of your visa when you apply. If your application is denied, this amount will be refunded to you.
How Much Money Do You Need Per Month in the UK?
It is estimated that you need approximately £2,200 per month to live as a single person in the UK, and should budget an extra 25% if you intend to live in London, which is the most expensive city in the country.
Is There a Digital Nomad Community in the United Kingdom?
Despite there being no Digital Nomad Visa UK, there is a strong digital nomad and entrepreneurial community in the UK. You will find many coworking spaces, innovation incubators, and start-up hubs across the country, as well as a diverse international community.
Which of the UK’s Neighboring Countries Issue Visas for Digital Nomads?
Can You Work Remotely on a UK Tourist Visa?
The conditions of the UK tourist visa do not specifically prohibit remote working and only state that visa holders cannot work for a UK-based employer while in the country on that visa. For this reason, digital nomads should be able to continue working remotely for their international employers while on a Standard Visitor Visa in the UK.
Plenty of remote job options for digital nomads are available on our site.
I Want to Ask Another Question!
Do you still have questions about the UK digital nomad visa and how to apply? Get in touch!