I'm an Indian national and hold a valid US F1 visa. I'll be travelling from the US to India via Heathrow and have a 23-hour layover at Heathrow airport (arrival at LHR 9:45 AM and departure 8:45 AM the next day), during which time I wish to visit London and rest at a hotel rather than staying at the airport.
I fulfill all conditions to make a land-side Transit Without Visa (TWOV) according to https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/648410/UK_Visa_requirements_Oct_2017.pdf and https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/india/transit/somewhere_else/yes. Here are the conditions that I fulfill:
- (iv) arrive and depart by air; and
- (v) have a confirmed onward flight that departs before 23:59 hrs the following day; and
- (vi) hold the correct documents for their destination (e.g. a visa for that country if required) and
- (ii) have a valid visa for entry to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and a valid airline ticket via the UK as part of a reasonable journey FROM that country.
I read at some blog that a few terminals at Heathrow airport close during night hours and therefore the passengers have no option but to go land-side during long, overnight layovers. So I'm thinking that the airport authorities might cooperate, provided the passenger fulfils all the conditions for TWOV and sounds legitimate during the landing interview.
Does any one have any experience to share on this if they were granted or denied the permission to go land-side at Heathrow Airport without having a Visitor in Transit visa but fulfilling all the above mentioned conditions?
During the landing interview, I plan to say that I wish to rest at an affordable hotel during my transit, but then an immigration officer can always ask me to stay at hotels that are present air-side at Heathrow. So what are some good things to say or present that will improve my chances of approval during the landing interview when asked about the reasons to go land-side?
(Please excuse me for a lengthy description.)