I am flying from Seattle to Mumbai with stops at Vancouver and Heathrow.

I am aware of the new regulations effective from the December 1, 2014 (News Article) . According to this news article, I am trying to understand if I am exempt based on this rule - "you are travelling from (or on part of a reasonable journey from) Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and it is less than 6 months since you last entered that country with a valid entry visa."

I entered the US three years ago so that's out of the way. Although, I will be entering Canada on my way to Heathrow. I change flights at Vancouver but I do not leave the airport. And this happens hours before I enter Heathrow. Does that count under the rule stated above?

Update1 : I found this and called Heathrow airport Terminal 1. A lady answered and I asked her this question. She said I should be good as long as I have a valid US visa. I'm not sure if I can take her word for that though. Also, she said that I would still be airside even if I had to change terminals. I will only have to go landside if I had to pick up my checked in luggage.

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    @gayot-fow - this question looks like your territory of knowledge – Mark Mayo Dec 4 '14 at 3:23
  • @pnuts I would clear immigration and check in my bags when I board at Seattle. My bags are taken care of all the way to Mumbai. I don't see why I would go landside. Please correct me if I'm missing something. – ThatsWhatSheSaid Dec 4 '14 at 3:34
  • @pnuts But I might have to change terminals at Heathrow to catch my connecting flight. I can't do that without going landside, can I? – ThatsWhatSheSaid Dec 4 '14 at 3:54
  • @pnuts I was a student for a major portion of those 3 years, so no, I don't have any of those documents other than a valid visa. Also yes, my connecting flight is 3 and a half hours after arrival so I'm good on that condition. I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "Since the acceptable Canadian visa is sometimes (not always!) referred to as "entry" I fear a transit visa may not count." Can you please elaborate? – ThatsWhatSheSaid Dec 4 '14 at 4:27

The UKVI news article you refer to is poorly worded and does not appear to reflect the current state of play with respect to transit visas anyway. It's not in sync with new rules.

The part you are asking about actually reads...

50C. The visa national must also:

(i) be 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; or

(ii) be travelling from (or on part of a reasonable journey from) Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and it is less than 6 months since he last entered that country with a valid entry visa; or

This is an OR condition which is clear enough when you read the source, despite what the guidance says. The precise definition is given on pages 11 and 12 of the formal Statement of Changes which is here https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/364371/hc-693.pdf

And the instrument itself is here http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/2702/pdfs/uksi_20142702_en.pdf

Note that the Statement and the Instrument sync up with what the lady told you when you called LHR T1...

For reference purposes, I use the most recent guidance they put on the web last Monday, which is here https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/381070/Transiting_the_UK_v11_0_EXT.pdf

Because of these situations where a rule change takes time for the guidance to 'catch up', it is emphatically recommended to carry a print-out of the legislation if you plan to benefit from carrying an exemption document.

Final note: the link you gave in your 'update' leads to a poster (with red and black text and a British flag) meant to hang on the wall for airline personnel to read. It is meant to be used along with the accompanying booklet. Using the poster by itself may lead to undesirable results.

  • @gayot-fow Any particular reason why you removed "Based upon what you wrote, your exemption document is your US visa. " from your original answer? – ThatsWhatSheSaid Dec 4 '14 at 6:40
  • @ThatsWhatSheSaid, if somebody has two documents there's no governing rule over which is senior when only one is required. – Gayot Fow Dec 4 '14 at 7:25
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    @pnuts, I'm guessing that the lady was reading from the Instrument directly. – Gayot Fow Dec 4 '14 at 7:33
  • @pnuts, I admire your optimism, but expect to see lots of angry people getting delayed or detained. TAKE PRINT OUTS :) – Gayot Fow Dec 4 '14 at 17:13
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    @pnuts, the Instrument is the 'boss'. Next comes the Statement. The courts have already confirmed that their guidance and web articles have no legal standing whatever. Read Colin Yeo's article on the Pankina case here freemovement.org.uk/pankina-upheld-by-supreme-court So UKVI can write whatever they want. – Gayot Fow Dec 4 '14 at 20:58

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