I am planning to travel to India from the US via London. I am an H1 holder with a valid visa stamp.

Now instead of booking a Multicity ticket SFO->LON->BOM->SFO, I am planning to book 2 return flights: SFO<->LON and LON<->BOM, as this is much cheaper.

The only thing here is that I will need to make sure that I have enough time while coming back in London as I will need to check-out and check-in again.

Could someone please suggest if this is doable and any other complications that may arise due to my visa status? Would the US immigration be done at the London airport itself?


  • To add to the above, I will be staying in London for a week before heading out to India. – ad29185 Aug 16 at 20:50
  • According to US CBP, US pre-clearance in the British isles is only at Shannon and Dublin. So you'd have to do that when you arrive back at SFO. – Ozzy Aug 16 at 20:53
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    Be sure to have a plan for what you'll do if your flight to London is delayed so much that you miss your DYI connection on the way back. – Henning Makholm Aug 16 at 21:01
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    Do give heed to Henning's comment about late flights. You won't have an issue eastbound, as you'll be in the UK for a week. But westbound...if your flights are two hours apart (much too little, IMO), and BOM > LON flight is an hour late...you may end up having to buy a new LON > SFO ticket. If you have to transfer airports in London, your connection will have to be much longer. – David supports Monica Aug 16 at 21:54
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    You will need to allow enough time to "check out, go through immigration and check in again" even if your arriving flight is delayed by, say, six hours. What will you do if it is delayed for eight or ten hours or cancelled altogether? I don't do these kinds of itineraries anymore without an overnight stay. – phoog Aug 16 at 22:55

There are no connection guarantees

It's cheaper for a reason. If anything goes wrong with the first flight, or if you are delayed in immigration, you miss and forfeit the second flight and are stuck in the UK.

For instance, "I have onward travel" is part of how you convince UKVI that you are only transiting and not looking to immigrate. If you say "here's my onward travel" and its depart time is 20 minutes from now, she'll say "you won't make that". Now it looks like you are stuck in the UK. Now you have to convince her you have the means and will to pay top dollar for a last minute LON-SFO flight.

So your best bet, since you find visiting London appealing, is to plan a day or two stopover in London. Then if your first flight is a total snafu and they get you into London 24 hours late, you have recovery time to make the next. At this point, UKVI will hopefully be comfortable with this, since you did it once before and did leave as agreed.

  • The OP said his eastbound layover is a week,; even the grumpiest of us would say that’s enough. Westbound he has to figure out. – David supports Monica Aug 17 at 2:10
  • @David oh quite right. That's what I meant. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 17 at 2:12
  • "A day or two" -- the way I plan my unprotected connections is I always expect to be on the next flight just in case mine gets cancelled. Yes , on long haul that's usually daily but OP needs to research because some flights are rarer than a day. – chx Aug 17 at 3:05

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