The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the United Kingdom or the UK) is a constitutional monarchy comprising much of the British Isles.
This Union is more than 300 years old and comprises four constituent countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It occupies all of the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern portion of the island of Ireland and most of the remaining British Isles. The UK is an island nation, but shares a open land border with Ireland. It neighbours several countries by sea, including France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands and Iceland.
The UK today is a diverse patchwork of native and immigrant cultures, possessing a fascinating history and dynamic modern culture, both of which remain hugely influential in the wider world. Although Britannia no longer rules the waves, the UK is still an overwhelmingly popular destination for many travellers. Its capital and largest city of London is, along with New York, often reckoned to be one of only two cities of truly global importance but many come to see quaint villages and the beautiful and quickly changing countryside.
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens do not require a visa, and can enter with either a valid national identity card or passport. They no longer have the automatic right to reside and work in the UK. Irish citizens have the automatic right of abode, while they, along with Cypriot and Maltese citizens have additional rights, including being able to vote in and stand in UK Parliamentary elections. That said, it is better to use a biometric passport, because only this document is accepted for the e-gates. Travelers entering with an identity card (even if biometric) will have to stand in the regular UK/EU queue, which can be (but not necessarily is) lengthy.