Visa information for the United Kingdom

Visa Information for the United Kingdom

Disclaimer: Individuals attending YMCA175 are responsible for ensuring they have all the information needed pertaining to their circumstances for travel and applicable to their nationality or country of residence and that the information submitted for the visa application and any transit visas needed to the best of their knowledge, accurate and reliable at the time of submission. YMCA Europe provides the below information as a form of guidance only.


Please contact if you have any questions or need further assistance.

We strongly advise delegates to find out if you need a visa to enter the UK as early as possible, and should a visa be required, to apply as soon as possible because the process can take up to 20 working days.  Please use this link to check if you need a visa –

How and where do I apply for my UK visa?

Go to

Select your country of nationality;

Follow the instructions on how and where to apply for your visa.

What is required to apply for a visa to the UK?

You must apply and pay online for the visa using the link at

You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application centre (VAC – see below) as part of your application. The application will not be submitted until that process has been completed. You will be able to book an appointment to provide your biometric information at the end of the online application. Find details of your nearest visa application centre using this link In those countries where there is no visa application centre, you may find a Temporary Enrolment Location is available on given days or you may need to travel to a nearby country where a visa application centre is available.  Should you live in a country where no visa application centre is available you should take account of additional timescales for biometric submission when considering when to apply.

In support of your application, you should gather evidence of your circumstances, employment, ability to meet the costs of the trip and the arrangements in the UK. More details can be found via this link to the guide to supporting documents

If you have already registered for YMCA175, we would strongly recommend that you include a copy of the registration confirmation letter together with YMCA175 invitation letter to these documents.

How do I get my visa invitation letter from YMCA175?

Visa invitation letters will be managed and processed through the registration system with which you registered for YMCA175. 

  1. You must go to and login using your email and password. If you have forgotten your password or login information please email
  2. If you are making your own accommodation arrangements, either by booking a YMCA175 hotel or elsewhere, you will need to add this information to your delegate portal before the letter of invitation can be issued.
  3. Go to the ‘request a visa’ section of your delegate portal. You may be prompted to complete relevant information that we need for the letter, such as your arrival and departure dates or passport information. 
  4. Once you have completed this information you will be able to download a digital signed letter. If you require an official letter of invitation to be sent in the post, please select this option. You will still be able to download a digital copy, but the original will be sent in the post, too. 

Please note that YMCA England & Wales, who are the event hosts for YMCA175, will be managing visa invitation letters. If you have any queries please email

Click here for checking our Frequently Asked Questions - Visa, to help find answers that we may already have answered.

All UK visa applicants are required to provide their biometric information as part of their application. This biometric information consists of scans of all your fingers and a full-face digital photograph.

In short – no. The UK Government has published guidance for inbound travellers from the EU and rest of the world post the EU exit. You can access this information here:

The key points from this advice are:

  • the UK will continue to be visa-free for EU nationals; 
  • what you need to show at the UK border will not change, even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal (EU nationals can still use ID cards in short term and e-gates when travelling on passports), 
  • in the event of a ‘no deal’ exit, EU nationals can still visit/work/study in the UK for up to 3 months, then apply for European temporary leave to remain for 36 months.

The UK Government website will continue to be updated on a regular basis and we will alert you to any significant changes.

Clearing Immigration (after arriving at Heathrow and Gatwick airports) can be faster if you are a national of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand or the USA and regularly fly in to Heathrow or Gatwick airports.

You will need to apply to join the Registered Traveller Service, please follow this link:

Once you are registered you will:

  • Be able to use ePassport gates (if you have a biometric passport)
  • Be able to use UK/EU channel (at Heathrow airport) or the special Registered Traveller lane (at Gatwick airport)
  • Not need to fill in a landing card.

It is essential to mention your actual arrival and departure dates to the UK. Visas will normally be issued from the date of travel. Changes to the validity dates of a visa after it has been printed, may not be possible and could result in additional charges.

UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) do offer priority visa services which allow you to receive your visa application decision quicker. If you choose this service, your visa application will be placed at the front of the queue once received by a UKVI decision making centre (British mission/UK). The service is optional and to use the service you will need to pay an additional fee.

Important note: This service does not imply or guarantee in any way that by using the priority service you will be successful in your visa application. All visa applicants must meet the requirements of the UK immigration rules.

We strongly suggest that you do this as soon as you can – but usually this cannot be more than three months in advance of your date of travel to the UK for YMCA175. The end to end process, until the decision is returned could take up to 20 working days. You should be aware that UK Visa & Immigration processing times start from the day you submit your biometric information.

For current processing times select your country using this link

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