Health (TB) screening
Applicants for UK visas valid for longer than six months in certain countries now require a certificate to show that they are free from infectious pulmonary tuberculosis (TB).
The Government has implemented a programme to screen people applying to enter the UK for more than six months for tuberculosis. The initiative is part of the Government's Five Year Strategy for Asylum and Immigration. Testing has begun in the following countries:
- Ghana (which also takes applications from Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo and Niger ),
- Kenya (which also take applications from residents of Eritrea, Somalia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda (visitor applications) and Tanzania),
- Sudan, and
- Thailand (which also takes applications from Cambodia and Laos).
This programme is part of our ‘firm but fair’ policy on immigration and will benefit the UK’s public health by preventing the entry into the UK of infectious tuberculosis sufferers until they have been successfully treated. It will also support the Department of Health’s Tuberculosis Action Plan. The programme also has advantages for applicants who may benefit from and early diagnosis of TB. Host countries will also benefit from earlier detection of individuals with the disease.
Screening generates information about infectious tuberculosis among travellers to the UK and helps us to better understand the effect of migration on tuberculosis in the UK. We will also be looking at ways to share data about tuberculosis rates with host countries to inform their own public health programmes.
A further benefit of the programme is that successful applicants will no longer need to undergo medical inspection on arrival in the UK before being allowed to enter the country. This can be a time consuming process but can be avoided if those coming to the UK carry their screening certificate in their hand luggage to present to an immigration officer on arrival in the UK.
To help applicants, their sponsors and others with an interest in the UK's entry clearance operations overseas, we have prepared two sets of questions and answers (Q&A) which we hope will provide answers to most of the questions that this scheme will raise:
Health screening: general Q&A
Health screening: Q&A for applicants
Use the links below to find out more about visa application process in countries where the health screening programme has started.