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I am a Turkish citizen holding a Green Card and living in the United States. I will be traveling from Orlando to Gatwick Airport, and from there, I will be heading to Turkey. I will have my immigrant visa stamped passport and Green Card with me. Do I need to obtain a transit visa for the 2-hour layover in the UK?

I have purchased a self-transfer ticket, and I've already checked in for the London to Istanbul leg of my journey. However, I need to go to the check-in area to have my documents verified. I'm feeling a bit anxious because I'll be traveling with different airlines. Furthermore, I will be traveling with just my backpack, so there will be no need for me to go to the baggage claim area.

Edit: Hello friends, I successfully completed the flight today without any issues, thanks to God. The main reasons were having my boarding pass ready for the flight and having my green card, of course. I hope it helps someone who reads this, and I'm grateful to everyone who responded. 🥹

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As you've noticed, UK law does not require you to have a transit visa (https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/turkey/transit/somewhere_else/yes).

I'm feeling a bit anxious because I'll be traveling with different airlines.

This is indeed the source of your potential problem. The first airline may be overly cautious and refuse to accept your assertion that you have "a confirmed onward flight" and they may refuse to let you on the plane.

Even if they believe the flight is for real, they may ask themselves what will happen if their flight is delayed by two hours or more, which is not at all uncommon. If that happens you will no longer meet the criteria for the visa exemption. Will the airline be fined in that case? They probably know better than I.

(You should also be prepared for the possibility of having to buy a same-day or next-day ticket from London to Turkey in the not-unlikely event that you miss your WizzAir flight.)

I suspect that these considerations explain what you've read in Turkish forums about connecting flights. Surely at least sometimes people are denied boarding by certain airlines because of these considerations. It's possible that some airlines would board self-transfer passengers in some circumstances, but clearly they wouldn't if the transfer time were, say, 20 minutes. The longer the time, the more likely they'd accept the passenger, but two hours is somewhat on the short side.

If you can confirm with the first airline that they will board you in these circumstances, you should be fine. If not, you should get a visa if you have time.

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  • Assuming you have a ticket, why would an airline "refuse to accept your assertion that you have a confirmed onward flight"? Commented Oct 21, 2023 at 14:52
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    @DJClayworth the possibility that the ticket is forged, perhaps, though maybe they have independent means of verifying it; I do not know. The possibility of missing the flight, on the other hand, seems a real problem, and I do not know how that works in practice. Suppose the flight departs on time and arrives two or more hours late. Is the airline fined? Does it have to spend time and effort explaining why it shouldn't be?
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 22, 2023 at 13:48
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    I tried to reach out everywhere, including the British consulate in Turkey and the airport, but I couldn't get a real answer from anyone. Therefore, to prove that my seat ticket is real, I need to take a screenshot of my flight from Turkey to America dated November 9th and my invitation and explain that it is my sister's wedding and I have to get there. It's very sad because it's ridiculous that I have to deal with so much paperwork just because of the country I was born in. So i just have to be try and see fellas.
    – Zeustira
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 21:09
  • @DavidRecallsMonica I don't think that's the airline's concern -- they're only concerned about getting fined by the UK. If the passenger complies with the criteria for the visa exemption then the airline should not be liable for a fine regardless of what happens -- just as airlines are not fined if they transport a tourist to the UK who has the right documents but never leaves.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 22:17
  • Thanks, @phoog. On reflection, I think you're right. I was thinking of a supposed sterile transit, not a visa exemption transit. I'll delete my comment. Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 22:39

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