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Are you intending to transit via the UK?

We have made some recent changes to our transit visa requirements.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

UK Visas
UK Visas

From 1 December, the law is changing so you will now need a valid exemption document, listed below, or a UK visitor in transit visa if you need to transit landside in the UK. For example if you arrive at one airport and leave from another or you need to pass through border control to collect your luggage for your connecting flight you will no longer be able to do that with just a valid onward ticket.

General changes to the Transit Rules

There is no change for airside transit (where you do not enter the UK through border control). You will still not need a visa to transit the UK.

To transit landside through the UK from 1 December you will need to either:

Apply for a visitor in transit visa www.gov.uk/transit-visa

Or

Fulfill all the following criteria:

  • you arrive and depart by air
  • have a confirmed onward flight which leaves by 23.59hrs the following day
  • have the right documents for your destination (e.g. a visa for that country)

AND you hold a valid exemption document in accordance with one of the following paragraphs:

  • you 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
  • you are travelling from (or on part of a reasonable journey from) Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and it is less than 6 months since you last entered that country with a valid entry visa
  • you hold a valid residence permit issued by either
    1. Australia
    2. Canada, issued after 28 June 2002
    3. New Zealand
    4. USA, issued after 21 April 1998 including: a valid USA I-551 Temporary Immigrant visa (a wet-ink stamp version will NOT be accepted by UK border control); a permanent residence card; an expired I-551 Permanent Residence card provided it is accompanied by a valid I-797 letter authorising extension; a standalone US Immigration Form 155A/155B
    5. An EEA state or Switzerland
  • you have a valid uniform format category D visa for entry to a state in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland; or
  • you have a valid Irish biometric visa and an onward flight ticket to the Republic of Ireland

The decision to allow transit without a visa is decided by the immigration officer at the border. You will not be allowed to transit if they decide you do not qualify under the immigration rules, so you might want to apply for a transit visa before you travel.

NB: e-visas or e-residence permits or paper confirmation slips are not acceptable for landside transit without a visa.

You do not need a transit visa if you have a valid UK visa.

Changes specific to Emirati, Qatari and Omani nationals:

Please review the information below very carefully to make sure you understand whether you need a visa to transit via the UK.

Airside Transit (you will not pass through UK border control)

If you are planning to transit the UK airside, you do not need a visa to transit the UK.

Landside Transit (e.g. you will arrive at one airport and leave from another or you need to pass through border control to collect your luggage for your connecting flight)

From 1 December, if you intend to transit the UK landside, you must hold:

  • A valid Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) – EVWs are single entry, so one would be needed for each landside transit.

Or

  • A UK visitor in transit visa (or any other valid UK visa)

Or

  • A valid exemption document (see below) AND you must:

    1. arrive and depart the UK by air
    2. have a confirmed onward flight which leaves the UK by 23.59hrs the day after you arrive in the UK
    3. have the right documents for your destination (e.g. a visa for your destination country)

The decision to allow you to transit the UK landside without a visa is taken by the Border Force officer in the United Kingdom. You may not be allowed to transit the UK without a visa or EVW if the Border Force officer believes you do not qualify under the immigration rules, so you might prefer to apply for a transit visa or EVW before you travel to ensure you are not delayed at UK border control.

Valid Exemption Documents

You will be considered to hold a valid exemption document if:

  • You are travelling to (or on part of a journey to) Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and have a valid visa for that country; or
  • You are travelling from (or on part of a journey from) Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and it is less than 6 months since you last entered that country with a valid entry visa
  • You hold a valid residence permit issued by either
    1. Australia
    2. Canada, issued after 28 June 2002
    3. New Zealand
    4. USA, issued after 21 April 1998 including: a valid USA I-551 Temporary Immigrant visa (a wet-ink stamp version will NOT be accepted by UK border control); a permanent residence card; an expired I-551 Permanent Residence card provided it is accompanied by a valid I-797 letter authorising extension; a standalone US Immigration Form 155A/155B
    5. An EEA state or Switzerland
  • You have a valid uniform format category D visa for entry to a state in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland; or
  • You have a valid Irish biometric visa and an onward flight ticket to the Republic of Ireland

NB: e-visas or e-residence permits or paper confirmation slips are not acceptable for landside transit without a visa.

Changes specific to Bahraini, Saudi, Jordanian and Kuwaiti nationals

Please review the information below very carefully to make sure you understand whether you need a visa to transit via the UK.

Airside Transit (you will not pass through UK border control)

If you are planning to transit the UK airside, you do not need a visa to transit the UK.

Landside Transit (e.g. you will arrive at one airport and leave from another or you need to pass through border control to collect your luggage for your connecting flight)

From 1 December, if you intend to transit the UK landside, you must hold:

  • A UK visitor in transit visa (or any other valid UK visa)

Or

  • A valid exemption document (see below) AND you must:

    1. arrive and depart the UK by air
    2. have a confirmed onward flight which leaves the UK by 23.59hrs the day after you arrive in the UK
    3. have the right documents for your destination (e.g. a visa for your destination country)

The decision to allow you to transit the UK landside without a visa is taken by the Border Force officer in the United Kingdom. You may not be allowed to transit the UK without a visa if the Border Force officer believes you do not qualify under the immigration rules, so you might prefer to apply for a transit visa before you travel to ensure you are not delayed at UK border control.

Valid Exemption Documents

You will be considered to hold a valid exemption document if:

  • You are travelling to (or on part of a journey to) Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and have a valid visa for that country; or
  • You are travelling from (or on part of a journey from) Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and it is less than 6 months since you last entered that country with a valid entry visa
  • You hold a valid residence permit issued by either
    1. Australia
    2. Canada, issued after 28 June 2002
    3. New Zealand
    4. USA, issued after 21 April 1998 including: a valid USA I-551 Temporary Immigrant visa (a wet-ink stamp version will NOT be accepted by UK border control); a permanent residence card; an expired I-551 Permanent Residence card provided it is accompanied by a valid I-797 letter authorising extension; a standalone US Immigration Form 155A/155B
    5. An EEA state or Switzerland
  • You have a valid uniform format category D visa for entry to a state in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland; or
  • You have a valid Irish biometric visa and an onward flight ticket to the Republic of Ireland

NB: e-visas or e-residence permits or paper confirmation slips are not acceptable for landside transit without a visa.

Changes specific to Iranian, Yemeni, Pakistani, Lebanese, Syrian, Iraqi nationals, and nationals of the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Please review the information below very carefully to make sure you understand whether you need a visa to transit via the UK.

If you are planning to transit the UK, you must hold:

Airside Transit (you will not pass through UK border control)

  • A UK direct airside transit (DAT) visa – if you intend to transit airside

Or

  • A valid exemption document (see below)

Landside Transit (e.g. you will arrive at one airport and leave from another or you need to pass through border control to collect your luggage for your connecting flight)

  • A UK visitor in transit visa (or any other valid UK visa)

Or

  • A valid exemption document (see below) AND you must:

    1. arrive and depart the UK by air
    2. have a confirmed onward flight which leaves the UK by 23.59hrs the day after you arrive in the UK
    3. have the right documents for your destination (e.g. a visa for your destination country)

The decision to allow you to transit the UK landside without a visa is taken by the Border Force officer in the United Kingdom. You may not be allowed to transit the UK without a visa if the Border Force officer believes you do not qualify under the immigration rules, so you might prefer to apply for a transit visa before you travel to ensure you are not delayed at UK border control.

Valid Exemption Documents

You will be considered to hold a valid exemption document if:

  • You are travelling to (or on part of a journey to) Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and have a valid visa for that country; or
  • You are travelling from (or on part of a journey from) Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and it is less than 6 months since you last entered that country with a valid entry visa
  • You hold a valid residence permit issued by either
    1. Australia
    2. Canada, issued after 28 June 2002
    3. New Zealand
    4. USA, issued after 21 April 1998 including: a valid USA I-551 Temporary Immigrant visa (a wet-ink stamp version will NOT be accepted by UK border control); a permanent residence card; an expired I-551 Permanent Residence card provided it is accompanied by a valid I-797 letter authorising extension; a standalone US Immigration Form 155A/155B
    5. An EEA state or Switzerland
  • You have a valid uniform format category D visa for entry to a state in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland; or
  • You have a valid Irish biometric visa and an onward flight ticket to the Republic of Ireland

NB: e-visas or e-residence permits or paper confirmation slips are not acceptable for landside transit without a visa.

Published 3 November 2014