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When an Algerian citizen in France on a French tourist visa wishes to visit the UK, entering and leaving by Eurostar, must he apply for a UK tourist visa?

If so, should he apply 3 months before (as if flying from Algeria to the UK) or is the UK tourist visa issued without prior application when he shows his French visa and Algerian passport to the UKVI at the railway station in Paris?

I am wondering whether he would have the option of deciding on the spur of the moment to get a train from Paris to London for a few days, or whether because of UK immigration laws his trip would need to be planned months in advance and at the cost of a second visa.

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    There is no such thing as a French tourist visa, only Schengen short-stay visas now (many of them issued by France, obviously). – Relaxed Aug 21 '15 at 20:51
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An Algerian national needs to apply for a visa in order to enter the UK, even if they have a French visa and even if they are taking the Eurostar.

You will not be able to show the UKVI people your visa at the rail station, or even at the border. On the bright side, the application doesn't take three months to process; it's more like a week. You can apply online at the UKVI visa portal. If you have a clean history and otherwise qualify, you will be able to access the various opportunities to upgrade your application to priority status. That will cost over and above the GBP 83 for the basic application fee.

The downside is that since you are in France, you probably do not have all the requisite evidence to hand. It's something to consider before applying.

For your last question: no, the 'spur of the moment' option isn't available to those travelling on an Algerian passport.

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There is a super-priority visa service to get a decision within 24 hours (for a – steep – fee), which is as close as it gets to ‘spur of the moment’.

On the other hand, simply showing up at the border is not possible, Algerian citizens need a visa and they need to apply for it in advance, even if it only means the day before. Even Algerians who reside in France (as opposed to simply visit on a Schengen visa) aren't exempt from this.

Formally, the requirements are exactly the same in any case, paying for priority service, living in France or holding a French visa does not make any difference in this respect and you still must provide all the documentation you would have to provide if you were flying directly from Algeria.

As far as I know, the only exception is for spouses of EU citizens, under some conditions.

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    @pnuts The fee is GBP 600. But that's very cheap if you compare it to the super-premium service you will pay to extend your stay once you are in the UK. For GBP 7000, you don't even need to go to the visa centre, they come to you. – Relaxed Aug 21 '15 at 21:17
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    @pnuts afaict there is a big difference legally between using an official priority service and paying an overworked/underpaid official under the table to prioritise your request. – Peter Green Feb 8 '17 at 8:46
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As @Gayot has pointed out, you can apply from the British Embassy in Paris, guideline here. From two experiences with the visa processing centre, it can take anything from five to twenty plus days. I am also a third country national resident in France and whether you are resident in France or not does not remove the British visa requirement.

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    No. A person can apply for a UK visitor visa at any UK visa issuing post. It's stated in the rules (Appendix V, part 2). – Gayot Fow Aug 28 '15 at 14:55
  • Thank you for pointing that out; the wording in the guideline when I applied in Paris left it unclear whether they translate resident the same way the French translate resident i.e. exclusion of any short stay visa. GuidanceECB05: Where to apply, the policy, leaves nothing in doubt, you are correct. Should I delete my incorrect answer? – Galaxy Aug 28 '15 at 23:37
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    Please keep the answer. It simply needs to be changed a bit. One more vote and you can access the comment feature (which was your original intention). Just change it, add a link or two and ping me when you're ready :) – Gayot Fow Aug 28 '15 at 23:58

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