Transiting the UK?
Beware of visa

Before booking the trip of a lifetime, travellers are advised to check their visa requirements, especially if their ticket involves transiting a third country such as the UK.

Whilst the UK border requirements will already be known to many seasoned travellers, the rest of us should make a habit of asking questions rather than making assumptions. 

Fortunately, guidance is at our fingertips – as long as you know where to look.  

For those passengers flying into the UK, the best place to start looking is the Home Office website. Guidance is regularly updated to help carriers check their passengers’ travel documents and provides a list the countries and territories of citizens who need a visa for the UK. ‘Visa nationals’ are those who require a visa for every entry to the UK.

Transit confusion  

Not only does this Home Office web page detail those nationals needing a visa, it also provides valuable information in relation to transiting the UK.

Different requirements relate to airside transit passengers (i.e. those who do not need to change airports and do not need to pass through the UK border) and landside transit passengers who seek to pass through the UK border and enter the country (i.e. to change airport).

Unsurprisingly, a number of exceptions apply in relation to visa nationals. For example, an Indian national in possession of a same day onward flight departing to the USA and a valid US visa for entry, will not require a UK visa to transit the UK (airside).

Transit without visa 

The decision to allow a passenger to transit without a visa is made by an immigration officer at the UK border so it goes without saying that passengers should ensure they have understood the rules ahead of taking that trip of a lifetime.

Establishing your visa needs ahead of booking a flight could not only save you money but significant inconvenience too. 

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