A couple of days ago a friend of mine was denied boarding on a flight from Canada to London on the grounds that she did not have a transit visa for the UK. She is a Kenyan citizen with a valid passport, and her transit time in London was about 5 hours. The airline (British Airways) claimed that she needed a transit visa for the UK.

This government web page says that holders of Kenyan passports do not need a visa for transits of less than 24 hours.

Has there been a more recent change than the 8th November listed as the date that page was updated? Does anyone have an explanation for this, other than a screw-up by BA?

  • 3
    Going through this questionnaire suggests that a transit visa is required. Probably the best way to get an authoritative answer is to contact the British embassy. It may be relevant where she was connecting to, and whether she was going to transfer airside or landside. Mar 4 '14 at 18:04

I would suggest that the page is actually an error.

If you read the Countries that allow for Transit Without Visa it includes: Afganistan, Iran, Kenya and so one but doesn't include any of the countries of the European Union, USA, Japan, Australia, New Zealand or any other countries of Commonwealth, which is at the very least odd.

I would suggest if you don't believe the questionnaire that @NateEldredge suggested you can use Star Alliance website to access Timatic which airlines use to determine whether or not you need a visa.

Generally speaking Kenyan citizens need a visa for Transit, however, if the visa for Canada is valid then they can transit through London without Visa if she stays airside and:

travelling as part of a journey FROM either Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA, provided transiting the UK less than 6 months after the date they last entered Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA with a valid visa for the respective country, even though the visa may have expired at time of transit through the UK (e.g.: JFK-LHR-DEL, JFK-CDG-LHR-DEL or JFK-LHR-CDG-DEL).

So if she meets the criteria they should have allowed her to board.

  • Unfortunately the visa exemption doesn't work. Mar 5 '14 at 3:14
  • @DJClayworth Means that they are erroring on the side of caution, which sounds like BA
    – Karlson
    Mar 5 '14 at 3:16
  • 2
    (+1) The transit without visa concession is an exception to the visa requirement to enter the UK. EU or US citizens don't qualify for it because they don't need a visa to visit the UK in the first place. That's why it makes sense for lists like these not to mention any of those countries (but Kenyan citizens do not qualify either, except under the conditions you detailed in your answer).
    – Relaxed
    May 20 '14 at 20:28

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