I am a Spaniard (European citizen).

I have a flight with Ryanair, which would go Madrid-Stansted, arriving at 11:35pm, and Stansted-Stockholm, leaving the next morning.

With the whole Brexit ordeal, I am left clueless about... well, everything:

  • Do I need to do passport control? Do I need a visa? Am I allowed to leave the airport? Would I need a visa for that specifically?
  • Further, from what I've read the terminal is closed from 00:00 to 02:00.
  • What does this mean? Would I be forced to leave the airport for that time?
  • 5
    As you arrive on what is likely the last flight on the day, make sure you have an insurance that covers you if your flight is cancelled last minute or delayed to the next morning arriving after you need to check in for your second flight.
    – Willeke
    Oct 23 at 9:04

2 Answers 2


There’s a lot of information about travelling to the UK here: https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control

As a Spanish citizen you can enter the UK with a passport, which should be valid for the whole of your stay. You do not need a visa to transit in the UK (nor do you need one for tourist trips of up to 6 months).

You will need to clear Immigration and Customs on arrival, reclaim your baggage, then check in as normal in time for your onward flight. Stansted is open 24/7, according to https://www.stanstedairport.com/at-the-airport/airport-facilities/ Late night facilities may be limited https://www.sleepinginairports.net/guides/london-stansted-airport-guide.htm

  • 3
    Not that even if OP doesn’t have any checked bags, they will need to go through passport control as Stansted does not have any airside sterile transit facilities. Also check-in for a given flight often only opens somewhere between 2 and 4 hours before departure (depends on the airline and airport), so OP is likely to have to wait with their luggage landside (in the area outside security).
    – jcaron
    Oct 23 at 11:58

Do I need to do passport control?

AIUI the only airports in the UK with "airside transit" are Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester. At all others you will have to pass through passport control.

Do I need a visa?

Presently you do not need a Visa or other advance authorization to transit through the UK or to visit the UK for tourism or buisiness.

However the UK is in the process of introducing an "Electronic Travel Authorisation" similar to the US ESTA or Candian ETA. The law enabling ETAs has passed parliment, but afaict the precise details of the system (including exactly when it will be introduced) have not been confirmed yet.

Am I allowed to leave the airport?


  • This answer isn't complete; how long should the OP allow for passport control for EU citizens? 1h? 2h? 4+h? (as happened earlier in summer 2022, at LHR) Does it vary by time of day? Is there a real-time online update of immigration wait times (as there is for Canada and US)? so when you factor in retrieving baggage + walk + immigration + checkin for 2nd flight + security, how long should that take end-to-end? 4h? 6h?
    – smci
    Oct 23 at 16:59
  • @smci Those things aren’t relevant to the OP (given their long layover), but some of them could definitely be relevant to other travellers; you should consider asking them as a new question.
    – Sneftel
    Oct 26 at 17:05
  • @Sneftel: they very much are relevant to this question title as stated "I self transfer (Madrid-)Stansted(-Stockholm) being European..." and says nothing about 4+ hrs or overnight transfer. Everyone familiar with Ryanair knows that self-transfers are very risky and you have to do your homework and calculate the transfer time based on luggage, time of day, immigration system delays etc. As you may recall, earlier in 2022, passengers in British airports were abandoning their own luggage in order to make their connection. Hence they apply to this question.
    – smci
    Oct 26 at 18:56
  • @smci Hm? The OP specifically mentioned an overnight layover. While it’s nice when answers are as broadly applicable as possible, it’s also fine for them to be specific to the question being asked.
    – Sneftel
    Oct 26 at 20:19
  • @Sneftel: I specifically said the question title. Not the body. So you're saying one detail hidden in the body makes this a much less generic question. FYI Ryanair is well-known for not selling connections and doesn't care if its passengers (or their luggage) miss connections, this one has been brewing for 20 years. See What to do with overly general question titles on specific questions
    – smci
    Oct 26 at 20:45

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