Quite a few of the Travel.SE questions on UK train travel suggest getting a railcard to reduce the cost of travel. While not all train tickets can be discounted this way (some railcards are area restricted, others only start part way through the day, others need a certain number of people to travel together), and you have to buy the railcard, for someone doing a fair bit of UK train travel they can deliver savings.

Quite a few of the railcards have restrictions, such as only being available to older people, or to young people + those in certain FTE. Some are restricted by where you live, eg this one.

Assuming you're of the right age to buy a given railcard, living in the right area (if appropriate), what about nationality? Are there any restrictions on any of the railcards which would prevent expats living in the UK from buying or using them?

  • I think this question is far too broad, as there are countless railcards available, and each has their own requirements. I have a UK rail card, and I was only there for 2 months. Other rail cards I would not apply for. Can you narrow your question to which specific rail card interests you?
    – Flimzy
    Mar 25, 2014 at 21:22
  • 1
    There's only about half a dozen possible railcards, so I'm not sure it is that broad. Based on the answers so far, it seems that (almost?) all of them have the same requirements!
    – Gagravarr
    Mar 25, 2014 at 21:25
  • Well, its pretty clear they don't have the same requirements... although none of these seem to discriminate based on nationality.
    – Flimzy
    Mar 25, 2014 at 21:28
  • OK, same (nationality) requirements as per this question anyway! They're quite different from railcards in some other countries, hence the question...
    – Gagravarr
    Mar 25, 2014 at 21:37

2 Answers 2


Railcards are not limited by nationality. They are only limited by other factors such as age, area and the time of day that you would be traveling.

For example, this is the information for the 16-25 railcard. You need a passport or drivers license but all nationalities are accepted.

  • 1
    It does not mention it on the webpage, do you know if an address in the UK is needed?
    – Vince
    Mar 19, 2014 at 16:30

I don't know about railcards which have restrictions based on your nationality. There might be restrictions based on where you are a resident, or on other criteria, like your age group, or whether you are enrolled in an educational institute or not. Note, that you might not be able to order them online, unless you have a valid UK adress, but you should be able to get any of them at a National Rail office, given you can prove your eligibility (usually your age using a valid passport or ID card). You will also need to have a passport-sized photo.

Also note that there is a special type of card, the BritRail Pass, where the eligibility criteria is that you should not be a UK resident.

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