I will be travelling to Phoenix, USA via London with valid US Visa and onwards journey boarding pass with Indian Passport. I have 18+ hours layover in London. I want to know How likely is to get the 24 hours transit in London. Its a long time and I don't want just to waste it by staying at airport. I want to go to hotel to have some rest and then probably visit some places. I can see I come under "Transit without Visa concession" but I heard it depends on visa officer to allow to go out or deny. If they won't allow Will I get visa on arrival.

Also I tried to apply for Transit Visa. Its asking me Whether you want to go for sight seeing or not. I said Yes. Its saying me you have to apply for different visa. If I am going out of airport then its natural I will go for sightseeing? I just can't close my eyes and roam around. What other reasons would be there to go out? What do you guys suggest? What to do? I am totally confused.

For those of you who are saying its already answered before. Please read question carefully. Here I am trying to get the exact meaning of Visitor in Transit Visa. That's never answered here in this community.

  • Well, transit visa may only allow you to go from the airport to the airport hotel and back. So unless you arrive to LHR and travel for instance from STD, you shouldn't get yourself downtown (depends on the visa though).
    – yo'
    Nov 10, 2014 at 21:20
  • If you don't get the concession, you cannot get a visa-on-arrival (otherwise there would be very little point to the whole thing, they could just allow everyone in for a fee).
    – Relaxed
    Nov 10, 2014 at 21:20
  • @tohecz: Thanks but the hotel should be at the airport only? or it can be little away?
    – WTraveller
    Nov 10, 2014 at 21:33
  • @WTraveller Usually it's provided with your plane ticket.
    – yo'
    Nov 10, 2014 at 21:33
  • @Relaxed: lol! I mean if they process the visa on arrival not for free, just paying usual amount instead of applying way back when you didn't have plan to go out. Like if I made sudden plan to go out and stay at airport. something like that
    – WTraveller
    Nov 10, 2014 at 21:35

1 Answer 1


The UK has two kinds of transit visa. Direct Airside Transit Visa has a 24 hour limit and will not let you come through immigration - so you can't use it if you want to change airport or go sightseeing. Visitor in Transit has a 48 hour limit and allows you to go through immigration. You can use your 48 hours for sightseeing, visiting people, or anything else that it is allowed to do on a tourist visa. The difference between these two is probably the reason it asked if you 'wanted to go sightseeing'.

Most hotels are 'landside', meaning you have to go through immigration to reach them. So you would need a VIT to reach them.

As you say, you qualify for transit without visa, which has the same rules as Visitor in Transit. Theoretically the immigration official can still deny you entry, but unless you've done something wrong or are a threat to the UK it's very unlikely. You can still apply for a Visitor in Transit visa if you like.

This website gives you the qualifications for a Visitor in Transit without visa.

  • You mean if I go for Visitor in Transit Visa. It will work? or should I go for Visitor in Transit concession as I hold valid US Visa and Indian Passport. So sightseeing comes under illegal activity? Suppose my hotel is 10 miles from airport and the things that will come during that journey means I can't see them? Please clarify. Thanks
    – WTraveller
    Nov 11, 2014 at 0:48
  • And I selected Visitor in Transit Visa only, in that 'wanted to go sightseeing came and I tick marked yes. Then the system gave me error, you might want to select different visa for that. It means I can't go for sightseeing on VIT visa.
    – WTraveller
    Nov 11, 2014 at 0:53
  • I have no idea what website you were using when all this happened. I've edited m answer to try to make things clearer. Nov 11, 2014 at 4:07
  • Do you intend to go sightseeing, visit friends or family in the UK ? Yes. You have answered 'yes' to one or more or the visa selection questions. This means the visa type you have selected may not be the correct choice for your trip. Please check the guidance at ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration This error is coming when I select transit visitor visa. I am not even applying for airside visa this is Visitor in transit visa.
    – WTraveller
    Nov 11, 2014 at 5:52
  • 1
    So the final conclusion is, You don't need visa if your connecting flight is within 24 hrs and you have valid US Visa and valid connecting flight boarding pass.
    – WTraveller
    Mar 20, 2015 at 20:44

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