My sister and I are travelling from Amsterdam to Reykjavik, iceland with a "self-transfer" in Manchester for 3 hour. We are only bring our hand-luggage, so no need to claimed any luggage in the Manchester airport. Do I still need a transit visa for UK? And for the return, we are going to have "self-transfer" again in Gatwick Airport, with the same condition, do we need a transit visa for UK?

I read in the website https://www.gov.uk/ , I don't need transit visa if I don't pass through UK border control, but I have no idea if I need to pass through the border control to get to my next flight.

Please help if anyone have similar issue. Thank you!

  • By "self transfer" do you mean the the flights are on seperate tickets etc? I'd also be concerned that any delay on the first flight could easily see you missing the second flight.
    – CMaster
    Feb 28, 2023 at 14:59
  • 2
    What's your nationality? Do you need a visa in general to travel to the UK as a visitor?
    – Ozzy
    Feb 28, 2023 at 15:14
  • What is your citizenship and what visa or residence permit(s) do you have? There are plenty of exceptions. Also if you have a Schengen visa (rather than a residency permit or visa-free entry), is that visa a multiple-entry visa? Single and dual entry visas won’t be acceptable in your case.
    – jcaron
    Feb 28, 2023 at 16:59
  • Are you expecting to travel from Gatwick to Manchester in under 3 hours ?
    – Stewart
    Mar 1, 2023 at 16:04
  • 2
    @Stewart I think the Manchester layover is on one trip, while the Gatwick layover is on the return trip.
    – bracco23
    Mar 1, 2023 at 16:52

2 Answers 2


Airside transit (i.e. without legally entering the country in question) in the UK is only possible at London Heathrow Airport (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_the_United_Kingdom). Some nationalities need a transit visa even in such case, but that's not relevant for you, since you'll be transiting at Manchester and Gatwick airports that lack airside transit.

At all other UK airports (other than Heathrow) you'll need to pass through the UK border check. Whether or not you'll need a visa (and what type of it) depends largely on your nationality. You can also check it yourself at the above mentioned Wikipedia site.

  • 1
    Note: not passing the UK border check is not an hard rule about transfer visa. Some national needs transfer visa also if they stay in the "international area". Feb 28, 2023 at 15:13
  • 1
    @GiacomoCatenazzi you're of course right, I've edited my answer to make it clearer. Feb 28, 2023 at 15:19

You are going to need a valid visa or the airlines will not take you. A "self transfer" means that the airline to the UK is only contracted to take you there, and they will not allow you to board unless you can show them you have a valid means of entering the UK.

You typically cannot use "air side transfer" services when travelling on seperate airline tickets. You will normally need to enter the UK and travel through customs etc.

You could contact the airports to clarify this. But there is also the issue of what happens if your flight to the UK is delayed enough that you miss your onwards flight - at that point you would almost certainly have to pass UK immigration and having a visa would make this much more likley to go in a way you would like.

  • Thank you for your answer. What if we are travelling on similar airline? Do we still need a transit visa?
    – Ayu
    Feb 28, 2023 at 15:09
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    @Ayu What's a "similar airline"? But that's not important. If you're travelling on two separate tickets, you need to prove to the airline employees (when boarding the flight from Amsterdam to Manchester) that you're eligible to enter the UK. That's all what matters. Feb 28, 2023 at 15:56
  • 1
    Besides, in most UK airports you have to pass through immigration (border control) when arriving from a non UK/Ireland airport. Better fly direct or via a Schengen airport.
    – Willeke
    Feb 28, 2023 at 16:02
  • @Willeke You're right, but a direct Icelandair flight AMS - KEF or a SAS flight via Oslo udoubtedly cost MUCH more money than two separate Easyjet flights via the UK... Mar 1, 2023 at 10:10
  • Sometimes, @Johnnyjanko, convenience costs...
    – FreeMan
    Mar 1, 2023 at 18:54

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