21

Is there an easy way to find out whether a given airport is equipped for passengers to connect between two international flights without passing through the host country's border controls?

Of course one can ask a question here about a particular airport and hope someone who knows it comes by, but that is inconvenient to wait for when one is just in the middle of evaluating proposals from a flight search engine and needs to verify which of them would require additional visas.

The websites of airports themselves tend to be surprisingly unhelpful about this. Presumably the airport operators think it is obvious whether they have airside transit or not (we're the hub for XYZ Airlines, so of course we do / nobody connects here, so of course we don't / we're in the US, so of course we don't).

Wikipedia's articles about each airport are occasionally useful, but coverage is erratic.

Is there a database somewhere? Or someone who is collecting this information in particular?

[In contrast, it is usually reasonably well-publicized whether some nationalities need airside transit visas at airports that have airside transit, just not which exact airports that is.]

  • 1
    As far as I know, apart from the US most other countries' airports do airside Transit Without Visa (TWOV) as standard (unless you're a passport holder of specific countries who need airside transit visas). – Ankur Banerjee Dec 21 '15 at 14:25
  • The exceptions are well known (e.g. DUB and ANC). – Michael Hampton Dec 21 '15 at 14:28
  • 1
    @AnkurBanerjee: In general large airports do. Smaller airports that are mainly served by domestic routes and the occasional international fights to vacation destinations generally don't. Whether medium-sized airports do is hard to find out. – Henning Makholm Dec 21 '15 at 14:30
  • For example, suppose due to a freak combination of campaign fares a search engine came up with a connection from Istanbul to London via Billund (BLL). Would one need a Schengen visa for that? The BLL website doesn't say so explicitly, but the terminal maps I can find seem to suggest that one can't avoid the Schengen immigration there. Still it's the second largest airport in Denmark, so perhaps the maps don't show everything ... – Henning Makholm Dec 21 '15 at 14:55
  • 1
    In some countries (e.g., Germany), the authorities have a list of airports with transit facilities. This does not seem to be the case for Denmark, however... – fkraiem Dec 21 '15 at 16:08
11
+50

It's not the most user friendly solution, but it's the best and most accurate information ever, it is TIMATIC.

There is no user interface, so we're going to use the web service via the link. We're going to use KLM's user, many Wikipedia pages link that, so I will assume it's fine. I also know some of the parameters via the reservation system which uses TIMATIC, so after a bit testing it turns out to be the same, here how's the link going to look like:

www.timaticweb.com/cgi-bin/tim_website_client.cgi?SpecData=1&VISA=&page=visa&NA=SA&TR=LHR&DE=IAD&AR=00&PASSTYPES=PASS&user=KLMB2C&subuser=KLMB2C

Parameters

  • NA: Nationality, use two letter country codes.
  • TR: Transit airport, use three letter IATA airport codes.
  • DE: Destination, use three letter IATA airport codes.

The result will be comprehensive, something like:

TWOV (Transit Without Visa):
Visa required, except for Nationals of Saudi Arabia holding confirmed onward tickets making an airside transit at London

Gatwick (LGW), London Heathrow (LHR) or Manchester (MAN) on the same calendar day to a third country (excluding Ireland (Rep.)). The following conditions must be complied with:

  • passenger must arrive and depart by air; and
  • passenger only intends to transit through the United Kingdom; and
  • passenger must hold all documents required for the next destination; and
  • passenger must not leave the transit area.
  • OR: Visa required, except for Passengers holding confirmed onward tickets passing through United Kingdom immigration to make a

landside transit to a third country on a flight that departs before 23:59 the next day. The following conditions must be

complied with:

  • passenger must arrive and depart by air; and
  • passenger must have no purpose in entering the United Kingdom other than to pass through in transit; and
  • passenger must hold all documents required for the next destination; and
    ......
    ......
  • That looks very interesting, +1. Unfortunately it doesn't seem like it actually knows the information in general. I tried asking about a Russian citizen going to London via either CPH (which has TWOW), BLL (which may or may not have it, but my guess is no) or RNN (which I'm positive doesn't). In each case it showed me the same generic text for "transit through Denmark". – Henning Makholm Dec 21 '15 at 19:26
  • 1
    @HenningMakholm The part where it says: "Visa required, except for Holders of onward tickets transiting" indicated it has airside transit. – Nean Der Thal Dec 21 '15 at 19:29
  • x @Heidel: But it says so even for connecting airports that I'm sure don't have it. I've been through RNN; the terminal is quite small and there's no place for a hypothetical transiting passenger to wait between arriving and departing, without going through passport control. – Henning Makholm Dec 21 '15 at 19:31
  • and BLL has an airside transit. – Nean Der Thal Dec 21 '15 at 19:31
  • 2
    perhaps because no route ever used by airlines to transit through that airport. I have tested it with a few known transit airports and the results were always accurate, places I have been to and i know about personally.. doing further testing now.. – Nean Der Thal Dec 21 '15 at 19:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.