I am a Vietnamese traveller, without a landside transit visa, arriving at Heathrow with ongoing direct travel to the USA via Gatwick with a valid USA Visa. My ticket to the USA leaves within the transit visa exempt time limit, but I will be meeting a friend outside the Heathrow terminal and there could be a possibility that I over-extend the exempt visa time limitation.

I'm assuming I could take a later flight to the USA but what are the consequences? How do they stamp my passport in Heathrow? Can they prevent me from taking a later flight? What can they do to me? etc.

  • Assuming you are granted the transit without visa concession on arrival for your situation, if your flight goes that day or the next you're fine. Are you looking to stay longer than that?
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 7:20
  • 6
    '...over extend the exempt visa time limitation...' Or more succinctly, 'you might abscond'. They don't like it when people do that, and they will put it in their computers. They will also tell Homeland Security.
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 8:46
  • It depends on what happens when I meet my friend in Heathrow. Right now I intend to make the flight but not 100 percent sure. Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 8:49
  • Well... as long as you're flexible with your travel plans, they will not prevent you from taking a later flight. In many cases they will even help you board. But flexibility is key critical in these situations...
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 10:20
  • In what sense “could“ you take a later flight? Are you asking if it's allowed? Assuming that it is? You could also try to live illegally in the UK, stamp or no stamp…
    – Relaxed
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


If you violate your transit visa conditions you may be arrested, fined, deported removed back to your country of residence (at your expense) and your future entry to the UK (even on transit) declined. Probably no one will notice, but it is possible.

Your passport will be stamped at Heathrow.

Unless you bought a very expensive airline ticket allowing you to "no show", if you miss your scheduled onward flight the airline will cancel all travel coupons remaining on your ticket and the ticket will have zero value. You will have to buy a new ticket for all your remaining transportation at that day's prices.

If you think your ticket is flexible double check that it allows "no shows". Otherwise you must contact your airline at least an hour before the scheduled departure to inform them of the change.

  • 1
    +1, but they don't levy a fine; and they don't deport. Instead, they remove. otherwise a great answer.
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 13:55
  • 1
    @GayotFow: What is the difference between "deport" and "remove"? Commented May 11, 2015 at 14:09
  • 1
    Quite right, there is a difference: migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/briefings/… But I do not think it is material
    – Calchas
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 14:17
  • 3
    @Calchas precision gives the reader confidence that you understand the subject area, it's significant.
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 14:20

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