My relative is planning to visit US from Bombay to Atlanta via Heathrow (London). He holds Indian passport with B1/B2 visitor visa.

On return trip to India, there is layover of 11 hours.

Question is what kind of visa is needed, so he could step out of airport and visit places around and come back on same day to catch return flight.

Any insight would be of great help

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    The person does not propose to transit the UK, but to visit the UK, so the duplicate does not apply here. Sep 11, 2016 at 0:39
  • Yeah, not a dupe. @NateEldredge
    – Fiksdal
    Sep 11, 2016 at 6:49
  • note that very unfortunately Emirates don't fly to Atlanta yet. If it works for you consider taking Emirates (i.e. through Dubai), and then on to NYC (or perhaps Orlando). It's remarkably cheap to fly BOM -> NYC (ie via Dubai), you save a small fortune over Atlanta.
    – Fattie
    Sep 11, 2016 at 8:56
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    @JoeBlow yeah, nothing to do in London at all. Other than Windsor Castle which is a short bus journey from Heathrow. Or a trip into the centre, which is a 45 minute tube journey - and from there you have the Natual History Museum, which is free, the Science Museum, which is free, the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is free, the Tate Modern, which is free, the National Gallery, which is free, the British Museum, which is free, the Museum of London, which is free... Plenty to do in London that doesnt cost any money. Whats your problem with London?
    – user29788
    Sep 11, 2016 at 9:28

2 Answers 2


For the proposed visit, you will need a Standard Visitor visa.

While it is possible for people holding a US visa to request leave to enter the UK to transit the UK landside, without holding a visa, V 7.5(a) of the immigration rules requires that in this circumstance, the reason for entering the UK is to transit.

V 7.5 An applicant must satisfy the decision maker that they:

(a) are genuinely in transit to another country outside the common travel area, meaning the main purpose of their visit is to transit the UK and that the applicant is taking a reasonable transit route; and

Because you are not changing airports in the UK, nor do you need to collect luggage landside and check in to the next flight as on separate tickets, it's not necessary to leave the transit area of the airport in order for you to complete the transit. The main purpose of leaving the airport -- as you have described -- is sightseeing. Thus, you will need the Standard Visitor visa.

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    Conceivably, could one readjust one's travel arrangements so that it was necessary to go landside, and then take advantage of this to see the city? Sep 11, 2016 at 6:51
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    @NateEldredge Yes, one could conceivably do that, but that pretty much requires separate tickets, and that has its own set of risks. Sep 11, 2016 at 6:56

I believe that a landside transit visa will be sufficient. A transit visa will suffice if the MAIN reason for the visit is to transit through the UK. It does not have to be the only reason, and you may do other things. If the visitor would plausibly not have changed his route if there had been no visit opportunity that would be a clear indication that the transit is the main purpose.

You confused things by writing about "getting back on the return flight". I'll assume you meant the onward flight, I.e. that he arrives from Atlanta, stops at Heathrow and gets on a plane to Mumbai.

You still have to comply with the rest of the rules of the visa, especially about time limits.

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