I have a friend who is in London, and I am traveling from Canada to India, and I have a layover of 14 hrs in LHR. so can he come inside the airport and we could go for a coffee.

I have a valid Canadian work permit and am travelling to my Home Country; my friend has a UK study visa.

If I have to apply for a UK transit visa, what's the process, how much it will cost, and how long will it take?

  • More information is needed to answer. Do you have one airline ticket for both flights (US > UK > India), or two tickets (one for US > UK, and another for UK > India)? What airline(s) are involved? Will you have checked luggage? What time of day is your US > UK flight scheduled to arrive at LHR, and what time of day is your UK > India flight scheduled to depart LHR? Dec 3, 2022 at 22:54
  • 5
    Your friend won't be able to enter the secure area of the airport in order to meet you, so the question is if you can pass immigration and leave the secure area to meet him. (There are coffee shops in the public area of the airport, or you could hop on the tube and go somewhere else) Holders of Canadian visas do not need a visa to transit the UK when going to or from Canada but I don't know if you can take advantage of this merely because you want to leave the airport on a trip when it's not necessary for you to do so.
    – mlc
    Dec 3, 2022 at 23:19
  • 1
    @mlc Holders of Canadian visas do not need a visa to transit, but the itinerary must also meet the second bullet point on the page you cite regarding time of arrival and departure. It's not clear from the question if the OP's itinerary qualifies. Dec 4, 2022 at 3:38
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    People living in the UK can not enter the secure area of an airport unless they fly from said airport. If your friend goes on an international holiday leaving from the same terminal around the time you leave, it might be possible to meet.
    – Willeke
    Dec 4, 2022 at 9:38
  • Doesn't need to be international. Some of the less reputable Concorde Room cardholders will book an evening Avios flight to Manchester, spend the day in the CCR, then cancel their flight and use the shuttle to join the arrivals stream back through border control. I wouldn't recommend that strategy to a visa national though.
    – Calchas
    Dec 14, 2022 at 13:22

2 Answers 2


Unless you travel from the airport you can not enter the secure area of a London airport. And that goes for most airports worldwide.

You can follow this link to find out whether you need a visa. (It also given in a comment by @mlc, and has filled out some information which is based on what is given in the question but might not be right. as it is filled out it gives that you need a visa.)

An option to meet is for your friend to book a journey leaving on an international journey from the same terminal (or an other and you switching terminals) at the time you are in that terminal. This depends on your friend being able to leave and re-enter the UK and having the money for an international travel.
Some people claim that you can book a refundable ticket, check in, pass through security, meet with someone, leave the airport without travel and claim the money from the ticket. I would not do this myself but you will find people claiming it is possible.

  • No need for it to be international. Any flight departing the terminal will suffice. It is possible to leave T5 -- either ask and eventually after much cross examination you will be escorted out, or take the train to T5C, wait on board until it transmogrifies into the arrival train, and you're dumped back at passport control. I wouldn't do this without a UK passport or indefinite leave to remain.
    – Calchas
    Jan 1 at 23:48
  • Nor OP nor the friend has a UK passport and it is likely OP needs a visa to pass into the UK, so I doubt your ask and be let out will work for them.
    – Willeke
    Jan 2 at 0:20

If you have enough time between planes and have a visa or are from a country that doesn't need one, you can leave the secure area and do anything your time permits.  But, that time will have to include however long it takes Border Force to decide to let you in.

  • He's got fourteen hours!
    – Calchas
    Dec 14, 2022 at 13:25
  • But the next reader with a similar question might have two hours..
    – WGroleau
    Dec 14, 2022 at 17:30

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