Visiting the UK / Visa

Information for WWOOFers from EEA Countries and Switzerland

IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO VISIT THE UK AS A WWOOFER YOU MUST READTHIS INFORMATION CAREFULLY. PEOPLE DO GET TURNED AWAY FROM ENTRY POINTS INTO THE UK, SO IT IS ESSENTIAL YOU UNDERSTAND THE RULES

The UK is no longer a member of the EU. As a result EEA nationals and Swiss citizens can no longer enter the UK to live and work under the ‘free movement’ arrangements which previously applied. WWOOFers travelling from an EU or EEA country, or Switzerland, are now subject to the same entry rules as those arriving from the rest of the world. On 1st October 2021 the rules changed and passports are now required to enter the UK (see further https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visiting-the-uk-as-an-eu-eea-or-swiss-citizen). Identity Cards are not a valid substitute.

Irish citizens please note, these requirements and the following information does not apply. Free entry without documents and restrictions into the UK continues under the terms of the Common Travel Area.

IMPORTANT: 

  • The main reason for your trip to the UK must be tourism, not volunteering as a WWOOFer
  • As a tourist you can stay in the UK for a maximum period of six months
  • You do not need a visa to enter the UK as a tourist unless you are from certain countries. Further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa
  • Under UK immigration rules volunteering as a WWOOFer is a ‘Permitted Activity’ but under the rules, you should not volunteer for more than 30 days during your visit
  • It may help at the UK border if you have a return or onward travel ticket showing how and when you’ll leave the UK
  • It is your responsibility to understand the rules and how they relate to your visit to the UK. The full set of Immigration Rules is here Immigration Rules

If Border Force Officers query your visit politely remind them that volunteering is a ‘Permitted Activity’ for up to 30 days. Don’t assume that everyone working at the UK border knows the details of all the rules. If necessary request officers check the Rules relating to Permitted Activities at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-visitor-permitted-activities and the specific section headed Volunteering that states: 

“A visitor may undertake incidental volunteering (i.e. the main purpose of the visit is not to volunteer), provided it lasts no more than 30 days in total and is for a charity that is registered with either the Charity Commission for England and Wales; the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland; or the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.”

 WWOOF UK is a registered charity in England (no. 1126220) and Scotland (SCO45524). When staying with a host you will be volunteering under the auspices of and in accordance with the guidelines of WWOOF UK. Hosts are also members of WWOOF UK and will be following the guidelines of WWOOF UK. You are visiting them as part of a learning and cultural exchange as set down in the charitable objectives of WWOOF UK.

 You may wish to print out the section above and have it with you to show Border Force officers who are unfamiliar with the rules relating to volunteering or WWOOFing.

Visas and Other Restrictions

If you intend to stay in the UK for longer than six months, are visiting for some reasons other than tourism and permitted activities, or are from certain countries, it will be necessary to obtain a visa before coming to the UK.

 Unfortunately, neither WWOOF staff nor WWOOF hosts can help with obtaining visas. Each country has different visa requirements and it would be impossible for us to help individual volunteers regarding their own particular needs. We have added as much immigration information above as we can. However it is ultimately your responsibility to determine the correct requirements for your visit, depending on the country you are coming from. In particular pledge remember:

  • WWOOF offers advice only. We cannot be responsible for any problems you may experience with immigration.
  • WWOOF is not a work agency, nor should it be seen as providing a long term solution to meeting housing/employment needs
  • WWOOF is not paid work: it is an informal cultural and learning exchange. You should not join WWOOF in the expectation of obtaining paid work in the UK

Important Requirements

1) Your primary reason for visiting UK is to travel and do tourist activities, however

WWOOFing is also an informal learning experience:
WWOOFers live with their hosts as guests receiving food and accommodation. Your time WWOOFing with a host family or other group will include lots of hands-on learning as you find out about ecological growing and sustainable ways of living and, if you’re not a native speaker, improve your English language skills

WWOOFing is a partnership based on mutual trust and respect. WWOOFers (visitors) live with the host as a guest, sharing in a cultural exchange for limited periods of time. In their leisure time, when not volunteering, WWOOFers participate in tourist activities both on their own and along with the host.

2) If questioned by a Border Force officer be very polite and answer all questions truthfully

Don’t be nervous as you have nothing to be nervous about. Note: Border officials can – and have – demanded mobile phones and have checked emails to identify who you have been contacting. They also may go through all your belongings, including any documents you may be carrying. It’s important that all electronic and print records you may have do not give the officers any cause to suspect the reasons you’ve given for visiting the UK are incorrect.

3) You have enough money

You may be asked to demonstrate you have enough money or access to funds to cover all your expenses while in UK including travel costs.It’s important that you can easily show this if asked to do so.

4) You have a ticket to return home or to another non-UK destination

Member feature – Kristin, volunteer

Member feature – Kristin, volunteer

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Member Feature – Cornish Lavender, host

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