I've a 11 hour layover at LHR airport. Land on 2nd June 10:25 AM and departing at 9:20 PM. I'm an Indian passport holder, not sure whether I can go out to see any nearest places/ City. Is Transit Visa available at the Airport, If yes what documents are required and how much is the cost for it? How far is the Downtown from Airport? How much would it cost to take a cab to downtown? Is public transit available?

Can some one help me out :)

ThanX Avinash

  • @JoErNanO OP holds an Indian passport; he must have Indian nationality. – phoog May 14 '15 at 16:45
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    Where in London do you want to go? London doesn't have a "Downtown". The city centre is just a business district which is centred around Bank. You are probably referring to Soho (or somewhere close to Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus) – EdmundYeung99 May 14 '15 at 23:25
  • The Tube map might be useful to you bbc.co.uk/london/travel/downloads/tube_map.html and you can use a contactless payment card for public transport – EdmundYeung99 May 14 '15 at 23:27

You will need a Visitor in Transit Visa to leave the airport since you are not from the EU or Switzerland.

As @Hilmar mentioned in his answer, the Heathrow Express is by far your best option for quickly getting into London, and then back to the airport again.

  • What about transit without visa if, for example, OP is traveling to the US or Canada and has a visa for that country? – phoog May 14 '15 at 16:48
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    For sightseeing though, the Heathrow Express doesn't get you anywhere all that helpful and is expensive. Probably better to take the Piccadilly line, which does pass by many of the main tourist spots and is almost as quick when you factor in the change – Gagravarr May 14 '15 at 18:02
  • @phoog OP's question is about the UK. Where he goes after that should have no effect on his ability to get the transit visa. – Matthew Herbst May 14 '15 at 19:28
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    @MatthewHerbst the UK will waive the transit visa requirement for travelers who are "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" (among many other circumstances). – phoog May 14 '15 at 19:54
  • Heathrow Express is by far the quickest option, but also one of the most expensive options. FYI Heathrow Express to Paddington takes 15min and it takes a further 15 minutes to reach Oxford Circus via Tube. Taking the Tube (Piccadilly Line) from Heathrow would cost around £5 but take 1 hour to reach Piccadilly Circus direct. – EdmundYeung99 May 14 '15 at 23:32

I don't know about the documents. By far the quickest way to get to town is the Heathrow Express https://www.heathrowexpress.com/. Leaves at Terminal 1/2/3, 4, and 5 goes non-stop to Paddington station. You can plan journey on public transport here http://www.tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey/ . Trip from airport to most places in central London will be about an hour or thereabouts.

I'd recommend Underground and trains over cars and cabs since London traffic is a mess. I had once a car from Heathrow to Soho Sqaure and it took about twice as long as public transportation would have been.

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    I would use the journey planner to see how to leave Heathrow - the Underground goes to interesting parts of London but Paddington takes time to get to these interesting places – mmmmmm May 14 '15 at 15:58

It is not possible to know for certain whether you need a visa because we do not know where you are traveling or why. There are many circumstances under which you might be eligible for transit without a visa. If you do not want to pay the visa application fee just for a short trip to London, you might prefer to risk being accepted under these terms (from https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/india/transit/yes):

Transiting without a visa

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

  • you arrive and depart by air
  • have a confirmed onward flight that leaves on the day you arrive or before midnight on the day after you arrive
  • 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.

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