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I am an Indian citizen, living in the US on a H1B. I am transiting through the UK. My bags will be checked through, I don't need to change airports, and all I need to do is change terminals in Heathrow, so I will not pass through immigration/border control. I am traveling to India.

Why do other questions on this site such as Is there a way to find out if I need a transit visa for a layover in the UK? not answer my question? Because I found an additional UK government document (see below) which appears to provide conflicting information to a UK government website. Any 'straight-from-the-horse's-mouth' experiences would be super valuable.

In trying to find out if I need a transit visa, I got the following list of conditions from the UK consulate website, meeting any of which would mean that I will not require a visa.

  1. are travelling to Canada, New Zealand or the USA and have a valid visa for that country (does not apply)

  2. are travelling from Canada, New Zealand or the USA and it’s less than 6 months since you last entered that country with a valid entry visa (This is what my query is about, see below)

  3. are travelling to or from Australia and you have an Australian visa sticker in your passport - Australian e-visas and paper confirmation slips aren’t accepted by UK border control (does not apply)

  4. have a valid US permanent residence card issued on or after 21 April 1998 (or an I-797 extension letter issued by the Bureau of Citizenship if it’s expired) (I do have I-797, but I don't have a permanent residence card either expired or unexpired)

  5. have a valid Canadian permanent resident card issued on or after 28 June 2002 (does not apply)

  6. have a valid uniform format category D visa for entry to a state in the European Economic Area (EEA) (does not apply)

  7. have a valid uniform format residence permit issued by an EEA state (does not apply)

Now my query about 2) - I have a valid US visa, but its been more than 6 months since I last entered the country. So it appears that this shouldn't apply either. However, the rule seems absurd, since I can just go out of the country and come back (take a trip to Canada/Mexico etc), and that would make this rule applicable to me? So, I want to know if anyone here knows what is the interpretation of this rule in practice.

I found a PDF doc on the UK government website - https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/327281/UK_Visa_requirements_July_2014__2_.pdf.

This doc lists an additional rule to the ones above -

..unless they are in possession of one of the following documents

b) a valid visa for entry to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the United States of America and a valid airline ticket for travel via the United Kingdom as part of a journey from the country in respect of which the visa is held to another country or territory

The document was updated in July 2014, so is relatively recent. Now, I am thoroughly confused.

  • You could simply call the UK consulate and ask. Can't get closer to the horse than that. – Burhan Khalid Nov 17 '14 at 8:00
  • In practice you will get down from your plane, go through Flight Connections, take a bus to another terminal if necessary, pick up your next boarding pass if you haven't already got it, go through departure security, and get up on your next plane. Visas are very rarely checked airside. But if you don't have it and lightning strikes, you could be in trouble... Yes, technically by the rules published there, you do need the DATV. But you'll likely get by without it. – Michael Hampton Nov 18 '14 at 21:02
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The UK government is in the midst of porting their entire content into the gov.uk framework and UKVI is a part of that migration. Additionally, UKVI are revising large portions of their guidance, notably the Immigration Directorate Instructions and their entry clearance guidance. As a result, it's natural to expect some of the pages to be out-of-sync or missing altogether.

I do not know which consular site you found, but if the information conflicts with the gov.uk site, it's advisable to consider the gov.uk site as higher quality and more up-to-date. They are applying very rigorous quality control procedures for content on gov.uk.

The page you linked to (i.e., on the gov.uk site) is for airlines who are bringing people into the UK, and not necessarily for individuals. It's what airline staff will use to determine if you qualify to board the flight. It should be fully sync'd with other content on the gov.uk site.

So to answer your question, you should use the individual's page at https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa to determine if you need a Transit Visa as your primary source of information. Use the airline page for any additional information you might need. And avoid using the consular page if comparable information exists on the gov.uk site.

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I was in a similar conundrum last year. I travelled to SFO via LHR in Nov 2013, and was worried about the same thing. It isn't a problem. They will allow you to transit via Heathrow as long as the flight from India to London and from London to the US is on the same ticket.

My trip was even more complicated: I went from India to Paris, via LHR, and from Paris to SFO, via LHR. I didn't require a transit visa for any of these sojourns through Heathrow, since all these flights were on the same ticket, and my final destination was the US (for which I had a valid visa).

  • your case is covered by #1 in the quoted material. However the question-asker is travelling from the US, not to it as you were. The question-asker needs clarification on item #2 in the quoted material. – Kate Gregory Nov 17 '14 at 18:26

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