Countries that allow visa-free travel with Refugee Travel Documents

Countries that allow visa-free travel with Refugee Travel Documents

visa free travel with refugee travel documents

Please note that the information below changes regularly. For example, the UK leaving the EU may change the ability to travel visa-free to European countries. Therefore, you should always check the visa requirements of your country of destination before you travel.

This question comes up when you are considering travelling to one of the European or Schengen Countries or another country. Once you have obtained refugee status, you may wonder where you can travel without the need for a visa.

If you are a holder of a Refugee Travel Document issued by the United Kingdom under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, you can travel visa-free to a lot of countries. Different countries have their own travel restrictions and require you to have a visa even for short term visits like tourism, even if you have a Refugee Travel Document.

When you are travelling, you will need to make sure that you carry your valid UK residence permit confirming your refugee status together with the Refugee Travel Document.

NOTE: This list is subject to changes at any time. We recommend double-checking information on the current visa requirements with the embassy of your country of destination before making any travel arrangements or you can start an application with IaM and we can check for you.

IaM is not liable for any immigration or other difficulties you may encounter based on the information on this page.

For countries with official sources, there will be a hyperlink, which will be highlighted in orange and underlined. You can click on it to view more information.

Countries that require visas for visitors with the Refugee Travel Document (blue) issued under the 1951 UN Convention:


Countries that do not require visas for visitors with the Refugee Travel Document (blue) issued under the 1951 UN Convention:

European countries that require a visa to travel with a travel document:

European countries that you can travel visa free with a travel document:

List of countries that DO NOT ALLOW ENTRANCE for the visitors with the Refugee Travel Document (blue) issued under the 1951 UN Convention:

List of countries that issue travel documents:

All the above countries issue refugee travel documents in one form or another. They allow you to leave the country that issued them and return with the same documents. Some countries allow you to travel to other countries without the need for a visa. Whereas, you may need to obtain a visa for other countries. These arrangements are usually due to agreements between countries.

Please note that in some instances, you may lose your refugee status if you travel to the country from which you sought refuge. You will need to check with the country that issued your travel documents.

Getting a Travel Visa

A travel visa is an official document, usually stamped or affixed into the bearer’s passport, that grants the right to legally enter, remain within, or leave a foreign country. A Schengen visa, for example, allows you to travel to any of the Schengen countries as well as other non-Schengen countries that allow travellers to enter their countries with a Schengen visa.

Travellers without a valid travel visa will be refused entry into a country. And, if the individual enters the country through illegal means and is later discovered, may be punished and deported.

How to Apply for a Visa

Each country has their own processes for applying for a visa. Generally, you will need to fill in an application form and submit any requirements that the consulate or embassy asks for, and some even require you to appear for an interview.

There are many factors that could add to your visa being approved or rejected by the consulate, and many find the process of applying for a visa stressful for this reason. You can choose to do this on your own, or get a service like IaM to help you either make the application or check the application that you filled out yourself.

If you want to make your own visa application to any of the Schengen countries, check out our blog posts for our detailed guides:


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Do you have a refugee travel document and plan on travelling? Comment below.

IaM can help with your visa application to the United States, the UK & other countries

If you need help with a US visa, a UK Visa, or visa to Europe, including help with appointment booking obligations, IaM can help. For more information and advice on US immigration, UK immigration law and US visa applications or if you need any help or assistance please, reach out to your Visa Coordinator at IaM.

51 Responses

  1. Mns Dall says:

    Great article
    Very informative
    Just one suggestion in title if you can add UK

  2. Hardy Singh says:

    Hello,
    Can I still travel to these countries visa free with a refugee travel document after brexit?
    Thanks

  3. Agnes says:

    Can I still travel to Malta with a refugee travel document from the UK without a visa? I have contacted the relevant embassies but have not had any replies yet.

  4. Omar says:

    Hi , thank you for this helpful article but can you please confirm about Turkey and Tunisia as I can see them in countries DO NOT require visas for the visitors with the Refugee Travel Document (blue) issued under the 1951 UN Convention.
    do you have any link to show this new update I checked Turkish official website and I think they still ask Refugee travel document holders to apply for visa.
    please let me know!

    many thanks

  5. Juan says:

    Hi, I been in Portugal in June 21, could I still travel to Portugal with my travel document from UK? Thank you very much.

  6. K Ahmed says:

    Has anyone with refugee travel document indeed travelled to USA WITHOUT a visa or do we actually need a visa to get in?

  7. Sarook says:

    My first inquiry: HI, my UK Refugee Travel Documents will expire in 14/11/2021 (that is bit less than 3 months from now). Can I still use it to travel to Europe (Greece or Lithuania)?

    My second inquiry: about a week ago I contacted Lithuania (by email) asking if I could visit Lithuania using my Refugee Travel Document (above) visa-free. They confirmed that I COULD! However, in the list above Lithuania is under the “Countries that REQUIRE visas for visitors with the Refugee Travel Document (blue) issued under the 1951 UN Convention”. Can you explain how this works please?

    • Chesca, IaM Client Services says:

      You need to make sure that your travel document is valid if you plan to travel. As we have put up in the notice, these restrictions can change at any time so we recommend you check with the embassy.

  8. Mazlum says:

    I hold a UN Convention Refugee Travel Document issued in the UK, and I am preparing to visit a country that does not require visa from me. I wonder if I need to present my Biographic Residency Permit Card (BRP) at the custom alonsige the travel document?

  9. Daniel says:

    Hello, I have a blue passport (1951) issued by Belgium, I live with in Brussels, I would like to go to south Africa, I would like to know if I need or apply for a visa to go there some days of vacation?.. Thanks

  10. Baba says:

    Just been to the Portugal Consulate, Refugees now need a Visa to travel to Portugal.

  11. Jalal says:

    Hi I have Uk travel document (black) I want travel Eastern Europe do I need visa or just buy ticket and travel also if not which country accept it ?

  12. EDUART DOMI says:

    Do I Require visa with UK travel Document and biometric card for Portugal? I am Albanian citizen, but I reside in the UK.

  13. You forgot to mention Canada in your list of countries that issue travel documents. Here’s the details about how to get a Canadian travel document: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/canadian-passports/travel-documents-non-canadians.html

  14. Traveller1 says:

    Hi,
    Anyone been able to travel to Italy recently?
    I tried to go from Birmingham to Milan with Ryanair and they denied me boarding even though I printed embassy website and consulate email confirming that visa is not required.
    Ryanair’s handling agent at Birmingham Airport, Swissport use IATA TravelCentre to check for visas

  15. George says:

    Hi I am a Zimbabwean national who holds a UK refugee travel document and I just wanted to check if South Africa definitely does not require a visa as the last time a friend travelled there about ten years ago they did require one. At that time it did state that we needed one on their website but this is no longer stated so am guessing this has changed.
    Checked with the embassy but referred me to vfs global.

  16. George says:

    Regarding my earlier enquiry just got an email from VFS global South Africa desk and the agent stated that a visa would need to be applied for prior to travel if I hold a UK refugee travel document as a Zimbabwean national.

  17. Bibiche says:

    Hi , I have a uk travel document the Convention of 28 july 1951 and i wanted to check if i need a visa to travel to belguim. Thanks

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