I am travelling from OR Tambo International, Johannesburg South Africa on Virgin Airlines on 15 December 2017, arriving at Heathrow 16 December 2017. Three hours there and then on to Cork with Aer Lingus. Can I book my bags in at Johannesburg to go straight through to Cork (although I travel with two different airlines) and do I need a in transit visitors visa at Heathrow?

Also departing 2/1/18 from Cork to Heathrow with Aer Lingus and 5 hours then I board Virgin Airlines to South Africa. Same questions.

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    If your journey to Cork is just one ticket, your luggage will be transferred for you. If you're unsure, check with Virgin. The rest of your question is dealt with by... Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 9:45

1 Answer 1


What passport are you on? I assume you are on a South African passport.

Since Ireland is a part of the Common Travel Area, my understanding is that you require a full visitors visa to enter the UK en-route to Ireland.

See https://www.gov.uk/transit-visa/visitor-in-transit-visa

This is on the Visitor in Transit Visa details page

Travel to the Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Republic of Ireland

You need to apply for another type of visitor visa if you’ll be travelling to the Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Republic of Ireland.

The issue is because Ireland is part of the Common Travel Area, the flights are seen as pseudo-domestic flights.

Some other South Africans will insist that a transit visa is all that you require. I believe that is because they hold valid residence cards.

Source: I am a South African national residing in Ireland on a valid work permit.

See attached Timaticweb Documents:

Warning for Transit Timatic Web

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