New Tuberculosis Testing for China, Hong Kong, Macau

26 Nov 13


IMPACT – Medium

What are the changes? Beginning on Dec. 31, the United Kingdom will require all long-term visa applicants from China, Hong Kong and Macau to undergo tuberculosis testing.

What does the change mean? Residents of China, Hong Kong and Macau applying for visas to the U.K. for more than six months must be tested.

  • Implementation timeframe: Dec. 31, 2013.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visas valid for longer than six months, including work, study, settlement, and fiancé(e) visas.
  • Who is affected: Residents of China, Hong Kong and Macau applying for long-term visas.
  • Impact on processing times: No impact on processing times, but the tests add a step to overall preparation time for applications.
  • Next steps: Obtain tuberculosis screening from all designated applicants.

Background: Over the past year, the U.K. has phased in several dozen countries requiring TB screening for long-term visas, and recently added 10 countries in October.

Under current rules for residents of China, Hong Kong and Macau, TB testing is only required for applicants wishing to settle in the U.K. As of Dec. 31, those applying to stay in the U.K. for more than six months, including employees and students, must present a TB clearance certificate. Those planning to stay for six months or less do not need to get a TB test, but applicants seeking a six-month fiancé(e) visa must get tested.

Applicants must go to a clinic approved by the U.K. Home Office and undergo a chest x-ray. Those who test negative will get a TB certificate. Those who are diagnosed with TB will not get a certificate and will receive a referral letter for treatment that can take up to six months to complete. Applicants cannot apply for a U.K. visa until they can prove they are free of the disease.

The U.K. Home Office publishes a list of approved clinics in each country on its website.

BAL Analysis: To avoid delays in processing, employers and sponsors should plan well in advance to get TB clearance certificates from employees, students or assignees from the designated areas for stays in the U.K. lasting longer than six months.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact

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