If you’re planning on coming to Scotland to live, work, study, visit or invest then it’s important to make sure you have the right information. Currently, decisions around visas and immigration are reserved to the UK Government - so make sure you bear this in mind when considering your options.

Scotland has a well-earned reputation for providing an incredibly warm and open welcome to everyone who chooses to come here. In fact, this welcome is so good, that some just never want to leave, and really, we can’t blame them.

If you're visiting for tourism or short business trips it’s sometimes possible to travel without a visa. However, anyone who is not British or Irish will usually need a visa for longer visits to Scotland including coming for work or to study.

Check out the information below for more advice on what you will need when planning your journey.

Moving To Scotland

Stunning scenery, vibrant culture, cutting edge innovation and a world-renowned reputation for providing a warm, friendly and open welcome to everyone...no wonder you're thinking of moving to Scotland.

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EU Citizens

Scotland - as part of the UK - formally left the European Union  on 1 January 2021. However, while our relationship might be changing, EU nationals are still just as welcome as they've ever been.

If you are an EU, EEA, Swiss citizens and their family members who lived in Scotland before the end of December 2020, you can apply for settled status through the EU settlement scheme. The EU Settlement Scheme closed on 30 June 2021 but for further information, including if you can make a late application, please visit Help and Advice for EU citizens in Scotland or Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

Find out more about the EU Settlement Scheme

Find out whether or not you need a visa at gov.uk

Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas)

The Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa route was launched on 31 January 2021 and enables British National (Overseas) citizens ordinarily resident in Hong Kong, and their immediate family members, to study or work in the UK without needing to meet additional criteria. You can find out more about this visa route using the Scotland Welcome Pack for British Nationals (Overseas) from Hong Kong. We hope this guide provides you with some assistance in building a new life for you and your family in Scotland. This guide contains useful information about accessing that support, such as advice for finding housing, employment and a school for your children. 

The Scottish Hong Kong Welcome Hub is an online resource intended for people from Hong Kong arriving in Scotland. The information on this website will help you settle in Scotland and feel welcome in your new community. The hub covers everything from housing to education, employment, healthcare and more and is available in both English and Traditional Chinese characters.


Scotland will do everything in our power to provide you with the warmest welcome. People who ordinarily live in Ukraine will be able to access NHS services at no charge on the same basis as people living in Scotland. People who have fled Ukraine are now able to access services such as maternity care, mental health services and treatment for specific conditions at no charge while they remain here.

Find out more about support for Ukrainians in Scotland

Moreover, JustRight Scotland, a charity founded by human rights lawyers, offer free, confidential legal advice to Ukrainians and their family members who are seeking safety in Scotland. You can access the service by either:

Telephone: 0800 995 6045

Tuesday from 2pm to 5pm (UK time)

Thursday from 10am to 1pm (UK time)

Email: ukraine@justrightscotland.org.uk

EU Exit

Scotland – as part of the UK – has left the European Union, but while our relationship might be changing, EU citizens are still just as welcome as they’ve ever been! Find out how the latest changes might affect you.

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Moving to Scotland from outside the UK and Ireland

From America and Canada to China, Australia and everywhere in between, Scotland welcomes people from every corner of the globe, every day. The good news is, with the right visa, you can come and join them!

The type of visa that you require will depend on a number of different factors and there are several different types of visa you can apply for. You must remember to apply for your documentation before you travel to Scotland, as you can be refused entry if you do not have the required papers.

Find out if you require a visa at gov.uk

Bringing your Family

Moving to Scotland is an incredibly exciting opportunity and we know that you may want to share that adventure with your family. It’s important to organise the visas and permits for your partner and your children before they arrive to help them settle into their new life easily.

Find out more about bringing your family to Scotland at SDI (Scottish Development International).

Acquiring Citizenship

As Scotland is part of the UK, there is no separate Scottish citizenship as an alternative to UK citizenship and the Scottish Government has no control over the operation of the immigration system.

Find out about British citizenship

Visiting Scotland

From crumbling castles to pristine beaches, jaw-dropping landscapes to bustling city centres, you’ll never be stuck for something to do on a trip to Scotland. With so many things to choose between its important to make sure you have your documentation sorted out so you can hit the ground running.

More on passports, visas and customs on Visitscotland.com

Studying in Scotland

If you’re from outside the UK, you may need a visa to study in Scotland. It’s extremely important to make sure that you have the correct type of visa while you’re studying in Scotland. There are several different categories that will depend on the type of course you’re studying, your age and how long you plan to stay in the country.

Find out more about student visas

Investing in Scotland

Now is the perfect time to invest in Scotland, with a massive range of opportunities across the country in all our key growth sectors. Scotland is also the most successful part of the UK for spin-out creations, highlighting our commitment to investing in new and emerging ideas.

Find out about business visas in Scotland

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