1

My daughter is a South African national and flew with BA via London to the USA. She did not need a transit visa (DATV) due to holding a valid USA J1 visa for this trip.

Her J1 visa expires on 30 Nov, BUT she is validly staying on in the USA until 29 Dec on the 30-day Grace Period allowed by the USA for J1 visas – so she is technically still validly in the USA until 30 Dec.

Her BA return flight via London is on 29/30 Dec and we did not get a DATV for this either as we thought that (as per Section 2.6 of the GOV.UK document under exemptions) as she is now on a valid return trip via the UK less than 6 months since she entered the USA with a valid visa, that she did not need one.

Is anyone able to confirm what the correct status is regarding a DATV for her return trip. She is now obviously already in the USA so can she apply for a UK transit visa whilst in the USA (not her country of permanent residence)?

MANY thanks for any advice.

13

1 Answer 1

1

Timatic (one of the databases used by airlines to check what documents are required) states that for a transit via the UK:

TWOV (Transit Without Visa):

(…)

Nationals of South Africa transiting through London (LHR) with a confirmed onward ticket for a flight to a third country on the same calendar day. They must:

  • have a used, valid or expired visa issued by Australia, Canada, New Zealand or USA, and
  • be arriving from the country that issued the visa within 6 months after last entry, and
  • stay in the international transit area of the airport, and
  • have documents required for the next destination.

(…)

Nationals of South Africa making a landside transit with a confirmed onward ticket for a flight to a third country that departs before 23:59 the next day. They must:

  • have a used, valid or expired visa issued by Australia, Canada, New Zealand or USA, and
  • be arriving from the country that issued the visa within 6 months after last entry, and
  • clear immigration, and
  • have documents required for the next destination.

(…)

So she can transit via the UK without a UK visa either:

  • airside (do not cross border control) at LHR for a flight the same calendar day
  • or landside (cross border control, e.g. to stay at a hotel overnight or even to visit London) for a flight that departs before 23:59 the next day (this really includes the first case),

provided:

  • she has a used, valid or expired visa issued by the US
  • and she arrives from the US within 6 months after last entry

Which I understand is her case (just make sure she last entered the US in July or later).

Traveldoc (another such database) has different wording:

Transit visa is not required for passengers transiting land-side, provided the passenger holds a confirmed onward ticket to depart the United Kingdom by air before the end of the next calendar day, holds one of the following exemption documents (electronic visas or residence permits are not accepted) and complies with any conditions specified:

  • Visa issued by Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the United States, provided the passenger is travelling to or from one of these countries. If the visa is used or has expired, the passenger must be returning from that country and have entered the country using a valid visa no more than 6 months ago.

Which means the same thing (the airside transit the same day is implicitly included).

2
  • Question says "return flight" so I wouldn't think rules for "ticket for a flight to a third country" apply. Wouldn't "third country" be "to anywhere except Great Britain or South Africa"?
    – Ben Voigt
    Aug 17, 2023 at 18:27
  • @BenVoigt it’s a connecting flight, and we are talking about transit. So the third country is “a country other than the UK” (like all rules which ask for either a return ticket on an onward ticket to a third country).
    – jcaron
    Aug 17, 2023 at 19:07

You must log in to answer this question.

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