Do You Need A Passport To Go To Scotland?

Close-up of a dark-coloured passport next to an aeroplane window, with the lettering "passport" in focus

Do You Need A Passport To Go To Scotland?

Much like any other country, a passport is required if you’re travelling internationally into Scotland. If you’re travelling from within the UK (that’s England, Wales, or Northern Ireland) by plane, train, road, or ferry, you don’t need a passport to enter Scotland. 

Let’s take a closer look at the exact requirements for entry to Scotland depending on how you’re travelling, what type of passport you have, and where you’re coming from.

Do You Need A Passport To Travel To Scotland?

You’ll almost always need a passport if travelling internationally into Scotland, whether by plane, ferry, or train. Those from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein may be able to travel on an identity card instead of a passport. At the time of writing, you can do this if you: 

  • have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man’s settlement schemes
  • have an EU Settlement Scheme family permit, or the equivalent from Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man
  • have a Frontier Worker permit
  • are an S2 Healthcare Visitor
  • are a Swiss national and have a Service Provider from Switzerland visa

Check the latest rules on the UK government website before travelling to ensure this is still a valid option. 

From any other country, you’ll need a passport to enter Scotland, but there are no specific requirements on how long it needs to be valid for. Many countries require passports to be valid for three or six months after the planned date of travel home, but this is not the case for the UK, including Scotland. However, it’s worth checking with your country of departure and the airline you’re travelling with if your passport is short on date, as they may have their own requirements for you to return home.

Do Children Need A Passport to Visit Scotland?

Yes, just like adults, children of all ages need a valid passport to travel to Scotland, unless they’re travelling from within the UK. Babies can no longer travel on their parents’ passports and require their own, regardless of their age.

Can You Travel To Scotland Without A Passport?

Unless you’re travelling from within the UK or meet one of the exceptions above for travelling on a European ID card, you cannot travel to Scotland without a passport. The only other exception is using a Gibraltar identity card, if you have one. 

Can You Fly To Scotland Without A Passport?

The above rules apply for air travel, meaning the only time you can fly to Scotland without a passport is if you are flying from elsewhere in the UK or qualify to use a European identity card or Gibraltar identity card. 

Do I Need a Passport To Fly To Scotland From England?

If you’re visiting both Scotland and England on your trip, you’ll be wondering if you can fly from England to Scotland without a passport. The good news is that you can, BUT you will likely still need some photographic ID. 

A valid driving licence, full or provisional, is a good choice, as is a national identity card.

Do You Need A Passport To Drive To Scotland?

You don’t need a passport when entering any part of Scotland by road from England. The only time I’d recommend taking a passport when driving to Scotland is if you’re taking a ferry from Dublin, Ireland. Although some say you don’t technically need one, you will definitely need some form of photo identification, and a passport will cover all bases, just in case. 

Here’s a quick recap on when you need a passport or not to get into Scotland:

a blue checklist showing whether or not you need a passport to visit scotland, depending on where you're travelling from

Do You Need A Visa To Travel To Scotland?

You might need a visa when coming to Scotland; it all depends on where you’re travelling from, what passport you hold, and why you’re coming to Scotland. It’s best to check on the UK government’s website; there’s a quick form you can fill in that will tell you if you need a visa and which type.

Remember, if you are visiting on a specific type of visa, there will be certain activities you cannot do. For example, you can’t work if you’re on a tourist visa.

How much it costs depends on the type and duration of the visa. Again, I’d recommend checking the cost of a visa on before applying.

There are a few groups who don’t need a visa to visit Scotland. Those from other parts of the UK can travel freely to Scotland, as can Irish citizens. Those from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland don’t need a visa as long as they’re staying for no more than 6 months and are travelling only as a visitor.

How do I apply for a visa?

Head to to check if you need a visa and to start applying. Applying for a visa online is easy, but you’ll need quite a few things during your application:

  • Two photographs
  • A valid passport
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Proof of funds to cover the cost of your stay
  • An itinerary showing what you will be doing during your stay
  • Tuberculosis (TB) test results
  • Biometric information (fingerprints and a photograph taken in the visa application centre)

Some applicants will also need a UK cover letter or a UK visa invitation letter. If your documents are not in English or Welsh, you will also need a certified translation of them. Once you submit the application, you’ll also need to pay the appropriate fee and have proof of the payment.

Students or those travelling for work will also need documents confirming their status.

Those under 18 will also need a birth or adoption certificate. If travelling without a parent, minors will also need a signed letter from their parents confirming who will accompany them on their trip. Under 18s must also bring a copy of their parent’s passport details page.

How long does the UK visa application take?

You can’t apply for a Standard Visitor Visa more than 3 months before your trip to the UK. However, it can take up to 3 weeks for your application to be processed, so it’s worth applying as soon as possible, for your own peace of mind.

Other Documents Required for Travel to Scotland

Other than your ID, you might also need an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) to enter Scotland. As the name suggests, it’s an electronic document that’s linked to your passport. It gives holders permission to travel to the UK.

You won’t need an ETA if: 

  • You already have a visa 
  • You have permission to live, work, and study in the UK 
  • You are a British or Irish citizen

You will need one if: 

  • You have a layover at a UK airport, even if you’re not crossing border control 
  • You’re visiting for up to 6 months for tourism, visiting family or friends, working, or studying 
  • You’re visiting for up to 3 months under the Creative Worker visa concession

What to Expect at Border Control 

UK Border Control is much like any other country; you’ll have to have your ID and other documents ready to be checked, and be prepared to answer some questions about the purpose of your visit. 

Be prepared to declare certain goods at customs, too, including: 

  • Over €10,000 (or equivalent) in cash
  • Alcohol or tobacco products that exceed the allowed duty-free limit 
  • Gifts or electronics that exceed the allowed duty-free limit
  • Meat, honey, or dairy from outside the EU 

There are also items you can’t bring into the UK at all, and these will be seized at customs. Some of these include:

  • Controlled substances
  • Weapons
  • Indecent material
  • Counterfeit goods

You can read more here about what is and isn’t allowed through UK Customs.

Requirements for Traveling to Scotland With Pets

If you’re bringing your dog, cat, or ferret into Scotland, they must be vaccinated against rabies. Scotland, and the rest of the UK, has been free from rabies for over 100 years. Rabies vaccines are not as effective in younger animals, so your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before having the vaccine to be allowed into the UK.

Pets must also be microchipped and hold a valid pet passport or third country veterinary health certificate.

Dogs also need to treated against tapeworm before your visit (unless travelling from Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway).

You can’t bring in more than 5 pets at once unless it’s for a competition, and guide dogs and assistance dogs must also follow the above rules.

Some pets might also need a blood test before coming to the UK, depending on where you’re arriving from. For the most up-to-date information on bringing your pet to the UK, it’s worth checking the UK Government’s guides.

A Last Word…

There you have it; everything you need to know about travel documents for getting into Scotland. To recap:

  • You generally need a passport to arrive in Scotland from outwith the UK
  • You don’t need any ID when travelling by rail or road from within the UK
  • You need photographic ID, but not necessarily a passport, when flying to Scotland from within the UK
  • Some nationalities and visit purposes may require a visa

Keep an eye on the latest from the official UK government website for full information about arriving in the UK.


Can I travel to Scotland with a driving licence?

Yes, provided you’re travelling from within the UK. Even if you are flying, you can still enter Scotland with just your driving licence as identification. Your driving licence must have a photograph and be in date to be accepted as valid ID, but both full and provisional licenses are accepted. 

Can you travel from England to Scotland without a visa?

Yes, you’re free to travel between all parts of the UK without a visa, whether by road, air, or rail. 

If you need a visa to enter the UK (see above), this will be valid in all parts of the UK. So, if you fly from your home country into England with the visa, you can then travel onwards to Scotland on the same visa.

Do I need a passport to fly to Scotland with Ryanair?

Ryanair operates a similar policy to most other airlines—a passport is needed to travel to Scotland from outwith the UK, but not from within it. Following Brexit, travellers visiting the UK, including Scotland, require a passport to fly with Ryanair, even if they reside in a Schengen area country. 

The only time you won’t need a passport to fly to Scotland with Ryanair is if your flight originates within the UK. In this case, passengers aged 16 and over can use any valid photo ID. Children under 16 don’t require any ID if they are travelling with an adult aged 16 or over.

Can I travel to Scotland with an expired passport?

Interestingly, yes, there are times when you can use an expired passport to travel to Scotland. If you are flying from Ireland or within the UK to Scotland, you can use an expired passport for identification. However, it must be recent enough to be recognisable as yours. Some airlines allow passports expired by up to 5 years to be used on domestic flights.

What should I do if I lose my passport in Scotland?

If you cannot get home because you’ve lost your passport, you’ll usually be able to apply for an emergency travel document. It will be valid for your journey home only, in most cases.

You should also cancel your passport and apply for a replacement as soon as possible. Visit your home country’s government website to find out more, depending on where you are from.

You can also report your missing passport to the local police in Scotland; having a police report can help you quickly apply for a new passport to replace the lost one. You can also visit your home country’s embassy in the UK if you need further assistance.

Do I need travel insurance for my trip to Scotland?

Although Scotland has free healthcare for residents, visitors may be required to pay for healthcare. So, it’s worth taking out travel insurance before your visit.

According to NHS Inform, if you need medical treatment in Scotland, you will usually be asked for:

  • your passport or national identity card
  • documents showing where you live that prove you are registered for work or receive health care in your own country

If you cannot provide these, you will have to pay for any treatment given. The exception is when emergency care is required; the treatment will be given first and proof of identity and residency will be asked for later.

Owner and author at Scotland in a Week, born and raised in Scotland. Emily has travelled extensively across the country and is eager to share her knowledge with everyone planning a trip to this magical country.

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