I have a Philippine passport but currently residing in the United States as a greencard holder. I am travelling to Norway with a Shengen visa but I have a 23 hour layover in London Heathrow. And I plan to meet a friend and do a little bit of sightseeing. I don’t have enough time to apply for a Transit visa due to time restraint, is it possible to get one when I arrived at the airport?

1 Answer 1


You cannot get a visa at the airport, but you seem to qualify for the landside Transit Without Visa scheme. This is open for you since you hold a valid permanent residence permit issued by the United States, and you leave by air on the next day after you arrive.

To use this scheme, simply join the immigration line for non-EU/EEA/Swiss passports, and explain to the Immigration Officer that you're in transit. You'll want to have your green card ready too.

You'll need to convince the IO that you are "genuinely in transit to another country" and "genuinely intend and [are] able to" take your onward flight the next day. So be prepared that you might have to explain e.g. what you're going to Norway for. But overall that's just the same kind of burden-of-persuasion that visa-free visitors need to meet.

See the formal conditions in paragraphs V7.6 through V7.9 of the Immigration Rules.

  • 2
    But don't mention your friend and sightseeing at immigration, if you can avoid it, just your 23 hour layover and onward flight. Jun 13, 2019 at 16:38
  • Should i say i will just be checking in at a hotel?
    – Christine
    Jun 13, 2019 at 23:03
  • 2
    @Christine: Neither sightseeing nor meeting a friend are unreasonable ways to pass your time during a long layover, and there's no reason why they'd want you not to do that. I think what Michael Hampton is saying is that you should not give the impression that either of those is your purpose for having the layover in the first place. Unless you're specifically asked how you're going to pass the time, there's no need for you to say anything other than "in transit until my connection leaves tomorrow". Jun 13, 2019 at 23:12
  • Thank you very much for making it clear, I really appreciate your help.
    – Christine
    Jun 14, 2019 at 5:03
  • You can also have trouble boarding your flight in the US if you do not have the correct visa. Although this answer is mostly true, it is up to the airlines to verify your visa and they use Timatic and only it. I showed American Airlines V7.6 through V7.9 of the Immigration Rules and the AA boarding agents DID NOT CARE, they only care about Timatic rules because they can be fined if you are denied entry to the UK. The American Airlines company is not willing to take the risk of allowing passengers to "transit without a visa" in LHR, so good luck finding an airlines in the USA that allows it.
    – AussieJoe
    Sep 9, 2020 at 17:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .