Is there a website or some other way to find out if I need a transit visa for a short stop in the UK on my way somewhere else? Ideally this should give me the answer for all nationalities, and take into account any other visas I may have.

  • 1
    Thanks for posting the question. I have checked gov.uk/check-uk-visa , and the officer at London Heathrow airport acted exactly the same way that gov.uk advised. They let us in the country even that we had not UK visa, just because we had visa for US, and our flight was the same day – Roozbeh Zabihollahi Oct 29 '17 at 17:33
up vote 59 down vote accepted
+50

Why yes there is.

This UK government site will tell you if you need a visa to transit through the UK. You enter your nationality, destination, and any visas you already hold, and it will tell you if you need a transit visa or not. It also includes instructions for applying for one.

As a summary (but check for exceptions):

  • You must arrive and depart by air, and your outbound flight must be booked and confirmed.
  • You don't need a transit visa if you would not need a visa for a tourist visit to the UK.
  • A transit visa comes in two forms: Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) which is limited to 24 hours and you must remain 'airside' (i.e. cannot pass through immigration) and a Visitor in Transit Visa, which is valid for 48 hours and allows you to change airports (and terminals at airports where you can't do that airside).
  • You must have all the necessary documentation for your final destination, including any visas.
  • You are exempt from needing a transit visa under certain conditions. These can be found at https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa. As of 25 June 2015, the conditions are:

You might be eligible for ‘transit without visa’ if:

  • you arrive and depart by air, and
  • [you] have a confirmed onward flight that leaves on the day you arrive or before midnight on the day after you arrive, and
  • [you] have the right documents for your destination (eg a visa for that country)

One of the following must also apply:

  • you’re travelling to (or on part of a reasonable journey to) Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and have a valid visa for that country
  • you’re travelling from (or on part of a reasonable journey from) Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and have a valid visa for that country
  • you’re travelling from (or on part of a reasonable journey from) Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and it’s less than 6 months since you last entered that country with a valid entry visa
  • you have a residence permit issued by Australia or New Zealand
  • you have a common format residence permit issued by an European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland
  • you have a residence permit issued by Canada issued after 28 June 2002
  • you have a uniform format category D visa for entry to a country in the EEA or Switzerland
  • you have an Irish biometric visa and an onward flight ticket to the Republic of Ireland
  • you’re travelling from the Republic of Ireland and it’s less than 3 months since you were last given permission, on the basis of holding a valid Irish biometric visa, to land or be in Ireland
  • you have a valid USA permanent residence card issued by the USA on or after 21 April 1998
  • you have a valid USA I-551 Temporary Immigrant visa issued by the USA (a wet-ink stamp version will not be accepted)
  • you have an expired USA I-551 Permanent Residence card issued by the USA on or after 21 April 1998, with a valid I-797 letter authorising extension
  • you have a valid standalone US Immigration Form 155A/155B issued by the USA (attached to a sealed brown envelope)

You won’t be able to transit without a visa if a Border Force officer decides you don’t qualify under the immigration rules. You can apply for a transit visa before you travel if you’re unsure whether you qualify for transiting without a visa.

Beware that the exemption conditions for visa-less landside transit are slightly different from the exceptions for Direct Airside Transit.

If you need more information than is provided by this website you will need to check with your airline or contact the UKVI. The Home Office's Charging Procedures - A Guide for Carriers also provides some guidance on the subtler points of the rules (it's intended for professionals, not passengers, but does explain in great details when a visa is or is not required).

Transiting airside

In London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester, if you fly from outside the UK or Ireland and leave to another country (neither UK nor Ireland), it is possible to transit without entering the UK and going through UK Border Control, you can stay airside. There is no hotel airside, and the transit areas close overnight, so if you have an overnight stopover, you have to go through UK Border Control. There is a detailed guide available on Heathrow airport website.

Visa Seniority

People on any kind of valid UK visa that is senior to a transit visa do not need an additional visa. It means the person can transit on a category "C" (visitor), category "D" (PBS), and so on.

The policy is not available on the net. I wrote to the policy unit using my lawyer hat and got this reply...

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They are thinking about including this in the written guidance. Maybe they will, maybe they won't.

  • 3
    I removed the reference to British embassies or consulates, I don't think they offer advice or respond to visa inquiry at all. You're supposed to determine yourself if you need a visa and lodge an official application. See e.g. gov.uk/government/world/organisations/… “Staff at our High Commission, Consulates and visa application centres cannot help with any visa enquiries.” – Relaxed Jul 23 '14 at 8:39
  • It's fine. I appreciate the contributions. – DJClayworth Jul 23 '14 at 16:02
  • @DJClayworth, new rules go into effect on 1 Dec 2014 legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/2702/made – Gayot Fow Nov 21 '14 at 15:06
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    @GayotFow I don't think they would. There was some meta discussion about answers like this, and the fact that it's community wiki would mitigate any objections. And as the original author I certainly wouldn't object. It was always intended that an answer like this would be updated where necessary. However what I would recommend for now is adding a section "New legislation to come into effect December 1st" and list what the new rules state. Then in a few months we can edit again to refer only to the new rules. – DJClayworth Nov 21 '14 at 15:45
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    "a Visitor in Transit Visa, which is valid for 48 hours and allows you to change terminals or airports." It is possible as an international arrival to change terminals at LHR without going landside or through immigration. You just get on the bus. So presumably DATV would allow that. – Calchas May 14 '15 at 20:30

Please visit UK gov website: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/527411/UK_Visa_requirements_3_June_2016.pdf

Transit visa requirements are dependent on

  • your nationality
  • how long your stay is
  • are you transferring the airport

Please refer to above link for some information.

  • And if you have a visa or residence permit in certain affluent countries. Like I said, you do not need a visa to enter the UK in transit to the US even though you're Indian – Coke Mar 30 '17 at 19:10

protected by Community Apr 22 '15 at 2:40

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