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I am Lebanese Citizen and am planning a trip to Ireland this month. A valid Irish visa is already in hand and I am willing to reach there through the UK.

Will I need a transit visa in the UK for few hours for flight connections to Ireland?

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  • 2
    Note that while the UK and Ireland have a Common Travel Area, they don't have a Common Visa system. Nationals and Residents are covered by the CTA, but visitors are not
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Mar 18, 2014 at 9:03
  • Related: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/34106/…
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 17:54

2 Answers 2

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+50

Transit visas are not valid for transit to the Republic of Ireland (here and here). This is because, due to the CTA, you must pass through border control and enter UK territory to board the flight (I am not sure why the Visitor in Transit Visa does not apply, as it is specifically for those who need to pass through Border Control). You have two options:

  1. If your Irish Visa is biometric, you can transit without a visa (here, "you have an Irish biometric visa and an onward flight ticket to the Republic of Ireland")
  2. Otherwise, you will need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa, as neither of the Transit Visas (Visitor in Transit or Direct Airside Tranit) are valid for transit to the Republic of Ireland
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  • I believe the Visitor in Transit visa does not apply because it requires the bearer to leave the Common Travel Area within the allotted time, not just the UK.
    – phoog
    Commented May 4, 2019 at 0:41
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The GOV.UK website says:

You’ll usually need to apply for a UK standard visitor visa.

You might be eligible for ‘transit without visa’ if [...] [you] have an Irish biometric visa (marked ‘BC’ or ‘BC BIVS’ in the ‘Remarks’ section) and an onward flight ticket to the Republic of Ireland.

Furthermore, Timatic, the database used by airlines, says:

Passengers may make a landside transit if holding a valid biometric visa issued by Ireland (Rep.) endorsed "BC" or "BC BIVS" and traveling to Ireland (Rep.)

So if your Irish visa is not biometric, you need a UK Standard visitor visa (and not merely a transit visa). This is because although you will clear Irish immigration as well on arrival, from the UK's side you haven't "completely" left the country, due to the semi-open border agreement called the Common Travel Area (CTA).

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  • You should also add the reverse situation (to Ireland through the UK) to improve your answer.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 17:56
  • @JonathanReez Read the question incorrectly, and have edited the answer
    – Crazydre
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 18:12
  • I would also add the Timatic version as it's more relevant for flying.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 18:16

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