Is there a way to find out if I need a transit visa for a layover in the UK?

Why yes there is.

This UK government site will tell you if you need a visa to transit through the UK. You enter your nationality, destination, and any visas you already hold, and it will tell you if you need a transit visa or not. It also includes instructions for applying for one.

As a summary (but check for exceptions):

  • You must arrive and depart by air, and your outbound flight must be booked and confirmed.
  • You don’t need a transit visa if you would not need a visa for a tourist visit to the UK.
  • A transit visa comes in two forms: Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) which is limited to 24 hours and you must remain ‘airside’ (i.e. cannot pass through immigration) and a Visitor in Transit Visa, which is valid for 48 hours and allows you to change airports (and terminals at airports where you can’t do that airside).
  • You must have all the necessary documentation for your final destination, including any visas.
  • You are exempt from needing a transit visa under certain conditions. These can be found at https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa. As of 26 September 2018, the conditions are:

Exemptions

You don’t need a visa if you have one of the following:

  • a visa for Canada, New Zealand, Australia or the USA (this can be used for travel to any country)
  • a residence permit issued by Australia or New Zealand
  • a common format residence permit issued by an European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland
  • a resident permit issued by Canada after 28 June 2002
  • a uniform format category D visa for entry into a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
  • an Irish biometric visa (marked ‘BC’ or ‘BC BIVS’ in the ‘Remarks’ section)
  • a Schengen Approved Destination Scheme (ADS) group tourism visa where the holder is travelling to the Schengen country that issued the visa
  • a flight ticket from the Schengen area, if you can prove that you entered the Schengen area in the previous 30 days on the basis of a valid Schengen ADS visa
  • a valid USA I-551 Temporary Immigrant visa issued by the USA (a wet-ink stamp version will not be accepted)
  • a valid USA permanent residence card issued by the USA on or after 21 April 1998
  • an expired USA I-551 Permanent Residence card issued by the USA on or after 21 April 1998, with a valid I-797 letter authorising extension
  • a valid standalone US Immigration Form 155A/155B issued by the USA (attached to a sealed brown envelope)

All visas and residence permits must be valid.


You might be eligible for ‘transit without visa’ if:

Transiting without a visa

You might be eligible for ‘transit without visa’ if:

  • you arrive and depart by air (and)
  • have a confirmed onward flight that leaves on the day you arrive or before midnight on the day after you arrive (and)
  • have the right documents for your destination (eg a visa for that country)

One of the following must also apply:

  • you’re 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’re travelling from (or on part of a reasonable journey from) Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and have a valid visa for that country
  • you’re travelling from (or on part of a reasonable journey from) Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and it’s less than 6 months since you last entered that country with a valid entry visa
  • you have a residence permit issued by Australia or New Zealand
  • you have a common format residence permit issued by an European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland
  • you have a residence permit issued by Canada issued after 28 June 2002
  • you have a uniform format category D visa for entry to a country in the EEA or Switzerland
  • you have an Irish biometric visa (marked ‘BC’ or ‘BC BIVS’ in the ‘Remarks’ section) and an onward flight ticket to the Republic of Ireland
  • you’re travelling from the Republic of Ireland and it’s 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 Ireland
  • you have a valid USA permanent residence card issued by the USA on or after 21 April 1998
  • you have a valid USA I-551 Temporary Immigrant visa issued by the USA (a wet-ink stamp version will not be accepted)
  • you have an expired USA I-551 Permanent Residence card issued by the USA on or after 21 April 1998, with a valid I-797 letter authorising extension
  • you have a valid standalone US Immigration Form 155A/155B issued by the USA (attached to a sealed brown envelope)

You won’t be able to transit without a visa if a Border Force officer decides you don’t qualify under the immigration rules. You can apply for a transit visa before you travel if you’re unsure whether you qualify for transiting without a visa.

E-visas or e-residence permits are not acceptable for transiting through immigration control without a visa.

All visas and residence permits must be valid.

Australian paper confirmation slips are not accepted.

If you need more information than is provided by this website you will need to check with your airline or contact the UKVI. The Home Office’s Charging Procedures – A Guide for Carriers also provides some guidance on the subtler points of the rules (it’s intended for professionals, not passengers, but does explain in great details when a visa is or is not required).

Transiting airside

In London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester, if you fly from outside the UK or Ireland and leave to another country (neither UK nor Ireland), it is possible to transit without entering the UK and going through UK Border Control, you can stay airside. There is no hotel airside, and the transit areas close overnight, so if you have an overnight stopover, you have to go through UK Border Control. There is a detailed guide available on Heathrow airport website.

People on any kind of valid UK visa that is senior to a transit visa do not need an additional visa. It means the person can transit on a category “C” (visitor), category “D” (PBS), and so on.

The policy is not available on the net. I wrote to the policy unit using my lawyer hat and got this reply…

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They are thinking about including this in the written guidance. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.

19-hour layover at haneda airport without a japan visa

My flight from Detroit to Haneda Airport to Manila, do I need to obtain a transit visa, because my stopover at Haneda Airport is 19 hours.

Visas h1b – San Francisco To Hydrabad through Hong Kong with 15 hours of layover, should I submit a pre-arrival registration for a hotel stay in the HKG transit area?

I am an H1b visa holder and work in the USA. UU. Traveling to India through Hong Kong, where there is a 15h stopover. I have seen that there is a pre-arrival record that Indians must pass if they are leaving the HKG transit area. However, I plan to stay at a hotel called "Regal Airport Hotel" that is located within the HKG transit area.

Will I still have to go through the pre-arrival registration? What are my other options? However, I do not plan to leave the transit area.

Thanks for the help!

Short connections: 54-minute layover at Chicago O'Hare in December 2019, West Palm Beach to Winnipeg, MB Canada

Help, I'm in panic! In December 2019, my family and I flew from Winnipeg, MB Canada to West Palm Beach, Florida, through Chicago. On the downward flight we have a 1.5-hour stopover in Chicago. It's scary but I think it's possible.

However, on the way back it is reduced to a scale of 54 minutes. EVERYONE I talk to tells me I'm in trouble. They are right? I travel with my husband, 2.5 years old with a car seat and 2 pieces of checked luggage. Any advice I should do?

I booked through Expedia and I wonder if I should call them to cancel, change or something.

Is a 6-hour layover in Munich enough to travel to Connollystraße 21 and return?

As we have discussed here before, Munich is an extraordinarily efficient airport. Even when things are really bad, I wouldn't expect immigration (you need a Schengen visa to go to Munich, by the way) to take more than 30 minutes, usually less than ten. So, of course, it will be out in less than an hour, with a little luck, it can be as little as 30 minutes (I guess your luggage is checked). It is one hour for Connollystraße on S1 and U3, another to return. I planned to return to the airport 90 minutes before to make it safe. I hope you have approximately 1.5 hours on Connollystraße.

Is a 6-hour layover in Munich enough to travel to Connollystraße 21 and return?

As we have discussed here before, Munich is an extraordinarily efficient airport. Even when things are really bad, I wouldn't expect immigration (you need a Schengen visa to go to Munich, by the way) to take more than 30 minutes, usually less than ten. So, of course, it will be out in less than an hour, with a little luck, it can be as little as 30 minutes (I guess your luggage is checked). It is one hour for Connollystraße on S1 and U3, another to return. I planned to return to the airport 90 minutes before to make it safe. I hope you have approximately 1.5 hours on Connollystraße.