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I am an Indian citizen. I am going to study in Canada with a study-permit. I am planning to have my flight via London. I've a layover there at London for almost 9 hours. Is it wise to visit the city for 4-5 hours during the layover? Additionally do I need a Transit Visa to visit the city? or do I need a General Visitor Visa for this short-trip at London?

Edits: Arriving and departing both the flights are from London Heathrow airport.

DATV suggests that if I am heading to Canada, I don't need DATV.

Visitor in Transit Visa suggests that I can pass border control with this Visa. I may also get a Transit without Visa concession if I satisfy this three:

  • you arrive and depart by air
  • have a confirmed onward flight which leaves within 24 hours
  • have the right documents for your destination (eg a visa for that country)

And I am also heading to Canada, this also can help me to get this concession.

So, do I need a Visitor in Transit Visa to visit the city? At least website suggests that. However, I'm not sure as no one can tell it with confirmation. Hope someone helps out here.

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Would both the flight into and out of London be from the same London airport, or might you fly into one and onwards from the other? – Gagravarr May 23 '14 at 18:19
This is a combination of 2 questions:…,… – Karlson May 23 '14 at 18:20
@Gagravarr edited the question. Please see. – soham.m17 May 24 '14 at 3:25
@Karlson I read those. However, I'm not sure which Visa I should choose. If I don't even consider to leave the airport, then also do I need a Visa? If yes, which one? DATV or Visitor in Transit Visa? If I choose to leave the airport for 4-5 hours, can I choose Visitor in Transit Visa and just roam around the city and come back to the airport to board to the next flight? or will I be needing General Visitor Visa in that case? This link suggests that I may apply for Visitor in Transit Visa and can cross border control to visit the city. – soham.m17 May 24 '14 at 3:41
@soham.m17 What is assumed with regard to a transit visa is that you ONLY wish to travel to the next airport. I'm not sure, but I believe you will be asked why do you wish to leave the airport when the flight for your next destination leaves from the same airport. – Aditya Somani May 26 '14 at 1:14

If you wish to visit the city you'll definitely need a General Visitor Visa. If you do not exit the airport and do not take a domestic flight i.e. you do not cross immigration services in London, then you do not require a Transit Visa.

Since you are an Indian Citizen traveling to Canada on a valid visa, you do not need a Transit Visa if you do not leave the airport. A transit visa will be appropriate in case your next flight is on a different airport from the one in which your previous flight lands. (Eg: LHR to LGW)

If you do choose to leave the airport for "Tourist" purposes, I believe a Tourist Visa will be appropriate. Even though if your stopover is less than 24 hours, you should be technically allowed to pass border control on a Transit Visa as well, but you may be asked questions regarding why you wish to get out of the airport when your flight is from the same airport.

For more information, check the links which the others posted.

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Well it's confusing. What's the difference between airside and landside? I guess in any case, even if I don't want to leave the airport, do I need a visa? – soham.m17 May 24 '14 at 3:32
Airside is when you get off the plane, before you go through immigration. Landside is where relatives/friends might wait for you. – Mark Mayo May 24 '14 at 3:49

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