Countries that allow 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:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
- Jamaica* (depending on the country of origin of the traveller)
- Norway *(1951 Convention travel documents issued by Malta, Ireland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland have visa-free access to Norway)
- Saudi Arabia
- Thailand* (depending on the country of origin of the traveller)
- Turkey (unless for official visit)
- United Kingdom
Countries that do not require visas for visitors with the Refugee Travel Document (blue) issued under the 1951 UN Convention:
- Netherlands* (depending on the country of origin of the traveller)
- San Marino
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Vatican city
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:
- Republic of Ireland
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
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.
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