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I am Iranian and I have Irish visa. I am going to Cork from Tehran. I will have one stop in LHR London Heathrow airport for 7 hours. Do I need any type of visa to stay in airport in London? Could I leave the airport in these 7 hours?

There is another flight that needs changing airport in London (LTN London Luton to LHR London Heathrow). Could I use this flight?

I found some similar questions but I couldn't get the exact answer.

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What kind of Irish Visa do you have? –  Aditya Somani May 29 at 7:48

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Fortunately the UK website is quite comprehensive and useful in this case. If you wish to leave the airport i.e you exit out of the airport (in this case to travel to another airport), this is called a Landside transit. You will need a visa in order to do so i.e for the LTN to LHR transit.

As pointed out by @AndreyChernyakhovskiy, unfortunately the case of Ireland is a little bit more complicated than you would imagine. This is due to the CTA or Common Travel Area agreement. Underneath CTA, the flights leaving from British Airports to Ireland are considered short-haul international flights.

Thus, they depart from the domestic terminal instead. In order to do this you will need a landside transit visa. More information can be found on the Heathrow Airport website and the Gatwick Airport website which clearly state this information as well.

If you were an Iranian Citizen traveling to Ireland somehow without passing thru border control i.e doing an airside transit, this link would have applied to you.

One thing to note here is the exemptions. You would have been exempted from the visa if you were to have:

a valid uniform format category D visa for entry to a state in the European Economic Area (EEA)

Ireland counts as a state in the EEA and thus if you have a category D visa for Ireland (i.e a long stay visa) , you don't not need a Direct Airside Transit Visa for the UK.

In all other cases, otherwise you will need a landside visa and as far as I can see, the only way to get to Ireland from the UK involves passing thru border control at the airport.

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Excellent and complete. Thanks –  Mojtaba May 29 at 8:17
    
@Mojtaba Not a problem. :D –  Aditya Somani May 29 at 8:21
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@AdityaSomani, "then this also means that the OP should technically not require any immigration in Ireland" - that is not so. AFAIK, all passengers arriving at Dublin airport have to undergo passport control - even if they arrive from Kerry! –  Andrey Chernyakhovskiy May 29 at 9:53
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Oh! It means although I have Long stay Irish visa (D), I can't go Ireland via England because I should change terminal in Heathrow airport. OK? –  Mojtaba May 29 at 10:27
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@Mojtaba the link I pasted says you can be exempted even if you cross Border Control. Please read all the information carefully. –  rsanchez May 29 at 13:39

You will generally need a visa, whether you stay airside (don't leave the transit area of the airport) or go landside (go through passport check, e.g. to collect your bags or leave the airport).

There are exemptions (to the direct airside transit visa requirement) and you could then also apply for a transit without visa concession (to go landside) but only if your Irish visa is a long-stay visa or if you have a residence permit for Ireland (so basically if you are going to reside there for some time, not merely visit).

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Due to the CTA, travel to Ireland counts as domestic for immigration purposes, so you'll still have to clear immigration no matter what (landside or airside) - it'll be the same process as X -> London -> eg Newcastle –  Gagravarr May 29 at 13:29

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