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Transit Visa

Are you intending to transit via the UK?

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

UK Visa
UK Visa

From 1 December 2014, the law is changing so you will have the option of either using a transit visa or using one of the ‘exemption’ documents listed below if you need to transit the UK as part of your travel.

Nationals from certain countries* require a visa or exemption document to transit the UK, whether they are transiting airside (without passing through border control) or landside (passing through border control possibly to collect luggage or change airports).

*Check if you require a visa or exemption document to transit the UK at https://www.gov.uk/transit-visa or with your travel agent/ airline well in advance of travel.

Airside transit:

You either need a UK direct airside transit visa (not applicable for travel to the Republic of Ireland) or one of the following:

  • a valid visa for Canada, New Zealand, Australia or the USA (you can be travelling to any country with one of these)

  • a valid resident permit issued by either;
    • Australia;

    • Canada, issued after 28 June 2002;

    • New Zealand;

    • 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;

  • An European Economic Area (EEA) state or Switzerland;

  • a valid uniform format category D visa for entry to a state in the EEA or Switzerland;

  • a valid Irish biometric visa;

  • a valid Schengen Approved Destination Scheme (ADS) group tourism visa where the holder is en route to the Schengen area; or

  • a flight ticket from the Schengen area, provided the person is also able to demonstrate they entered the Schengen area no more than 30 days previously on the basis of a valid Schengen ADS visa

NB: e-visas or e-residence permits are not acceptable except where an airline is able to verify this with the issuing country.

If you are transiting airside you will also need to fulfill all of the following criteria;

  • you arrive and depart by air;

  • you have a confirmed onward flight which leaves by 23.59hrs from the same airport on the same day (at present, only London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester airports have airside transit facilities);

  • you have the right documents for your destination (e.g. a visa for that country)

Landside transit:

You either need a UK visitor in transit visa or you must:

  • have a valid visa for Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and you are travelling to (or on part of a reasonable journey to) that country; or

  • be 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; or

  • hold a valid residence permit issued by either;

    • Australia;

    • Canada, issued after 28 June 2002;

    • New Zealand;

    • 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;

    • An EEA state or Switzerland; or

  • hold a valid uniform format category D visa for entry to a state in the EEA or Switzerland; or

  • hold a valid Irish biometric visa and an onward flight ticket to the Republic of Ireland; or

  • be travelling from the Republic of Ireland and it is 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 the Republic by the Irish authorities.

NB: e-visas or e-residence permits or paper confirmation slips are not acceptable for landside transit.

If you are transiting landside and passing through immigration control you will also need to fulfill all of the following criteria;

  • you arrive and depart by air;

  • you have a confirmed onward flight which leaves by 23.59hrs the following day;

  • you have the right documents for your destination (e.g. a visa for that country)

The decision to allow transit without a visa is made by the immigration officer at the border.

You do not need a transit visa if you have a valid UK visa or are a member of the GREAT club.

Published 17 November 2014