What is an Exempt Vignette?

Information about persons who can travel to the UK with an Exempt Vignette

Exempt Vignette 2017-11-24T15:42:42+00:00

This visa is for foreign nationals who want to enter into the UK for job-related activities, but are exempt from the Immigration Control, meaning that they do not need a visa to enter into the UK. Instead of a visa, they must have an exempt vignette clearance before traveling to the UK to avoid any interruption on the UK airport.

Exempt Vignette is stamped into the passport, and does not give the Right to Abode in the UK.

Courtesy Endorsement

There are two types of courtesy phrasing “diplomatic” or “official” that can be marked below or at the head of an exempt vignette, but they do not give the person any privilege or immunity despite those given by the exempt vignette.

The earliest to apply for an exempt vignette is three months before the planned travel.

Documents needed to apply for an exempt vignette:

  • A valid passport or other travel identification
  • A passport photo
  • Documents to confirm the reason for coming to the UK
  • Official letter from the ministry;
  • Official invitations;
  • Work contract;
  • Other similar

Citizens who do not need a visa to enter or stay in the UK are:

  • British nationals;
  • European Union (EU) citizens;
  • EEA and Switzerland citizens;
  • UK Overseas Countries & Territories (OCT) citizens

Citizens of these countries do not need a visa or exempt vignette for entering into the UK for stays for up to six months:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Hong Kong SAR
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • USA
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • United Arab Emirates

The citizens of the countries above must only obtain an Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) online before travelling to the UK. However, for stays longer than 6 months a visa is required. Extension of the exempt vignette can be done only through DMIOU. Exempt vignette ends the moment the diplomat ends their mission in the UK.

The Exempt Vignette is given for 5 years, or for the period of job appointment (whichever is less) – for them and their family members (not including children 18 or older).

The following persons are exempt from the UK Immigration Control:

  • Foreign royals, heads of state or heads of ex-reigning houses, who are personae gratae (welcomed) to the UK travelling officially, or privately, along with:
    • Their family members (spouses, civil partners, children younger than 18, other);
    • Their private servants;
    • Individuals traveling officially to visit the UK head of state (not journalists or businessmen);
      Note: Ex-heads of state and their family members are NOT exempt.
  • Foreign diplomatic, administrative, technical and service staff members, and career consular officers of the states recognized (accredited to the UK) along with
    • Their family members (spouses, civil partners, children younger than 18, other)
    • Children aged 18-25 (overage dependents) can be given an exempt vignette as dependent only if they are enrolled full-time in studies in the UK in a licensed Tier 4 sponsor in the Points Based System (PBS) in the UK. Their studies should finish the latest at their age 25. Their exempt vignette is given until their 25th Birthday or for the duration of studies (whichever is less).
  • Elderly parents – only if they were completely dependent on the diplomat (who is exempt of this category), and only if they have no one else to take care of beside the diplomat. To get an exempt as dependent elderly parents, they must offer:
    • Documents to confirm ownership of assets and property in the home country;
    • Documents to confirm medical situation;
    • Information about other children;
    • Information about the period being dependent of the diplomat.
      Grandchildren and other family members are NOT exempt.
  • Staff members of a diplomatic mission to the UK who took the job outside the UK. Their family members such as spouses, civil partners, children younger than 18 are also exempt. Exempt vignette is given for six months for them and their family members.
  • Diplomats travelling in transit throughout the UK to or from a country where they are accredited. Their family members such as spouses, civil partners, children younger than 18, are also exempt. The Exempt vignette is given for 6 months for them and family members.
  • Foreign government ministers (or equivalent, such as governor generals) of states (accepted in the UK) travelling to the UK officially. Exempt from a visa are also their family members spouses, civil partners, children younger than 18, other. Exempt vignette is given for 2 years for them and family members.
  • Foreign workers of international organizations located in the UK (hired out of the UK), representatives and officers of the International Organizations travelling officially. Exempt are also their family members (spouses, civil partners, children younger than 18, other);
  • Children aged 18-25 (overage dependents) can be given an exempt vignette as dependent only if they are enrolled full-time in studies in the UK in a licensed Tier 4 sponsor in the Points Based System (PBS) in the UK. Their studies should finish the latest at their age 25. Their exempt vignette is given until their 25th Birthday or for the duration of studies (whichever is less).

Exempt vignette for the personnel of international organizations in the UK hired out of the UK, is given for 5 years for them and family members (not including children 18 or older) or for the period of job appointment (whichever is less).

Exempt vignette for those in short official visits is given for the period of the visit.

  • Foreign short-term workers (interns) with International organizations, people expecting to get a short-term job (internship) at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Commonwealth Secretariat. Exempt vignette for this category is given for the period of internship contract.
  • Foreigners travelling officially as part of the official party, delegation of government ministers, or alike and foreign workers of the international organizations (civil servants, administrators, translators, other). Exempt vignette for this category is given for the period of the visit.

Reporters, businesspersons or other persons not working for the visiting state are NOT exempt.

  • Citizens of Commonwealth or UK Overseas Territories who want to enroll in a training in the UK Armed Services. Family members or other dependents of members of the armed forces are NOT exempt.
  • Members of the Commonwealth and NATO armed forces sent for service in the UK or enrolling in training courses at an army institution or at a UK firm. Exempt vignette for this category is given for the period of training or appointment. Family members or other dependents of members of the armed forces are NOT exempt.
  • Foreigners working or sent for service as a staff of an international headquarters or defense organization
  • Foreigners working in arms control under the Vienna Document 1992 and the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty 199. Exempt vignette for this category is given for 2 years.

The list of the organizations whose workers are exempt is here.

The following are NOT exempt:

  • Foreign workers of the diplomatic missions that aren’t located in the UK, travelling officially in the UK;
  • Foreign diplomatic couriers (agents);
  • Domestic servants of exempt employers;
  • Unmarried partners of exempt diplomats;
  • Dependents of Armed Force members. Not including dependents of those entering to enroll in training as armed force members.

There are no fees involved to apply for this visa.