UK Transit – Airside

UK Airside Transit

You transit the UK airside if you arrive there on a flight, remain in the arrival lounge of the airport without passing through UK immigration control, and then depart on another flight from the same airport.

The UK immigration authorities operate a Direct Airside Transit visa (DATv) system for some countries. You can find a list of countries covered by the DATv system below (valid as at August 2012).

You can transit the UK airside without a visa if:

  • you are a national of a country that is not on the DATV list (check the UKBA website); or
  • you are recognised as stateless under the 1954 UN Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons;
  • You hold a valid travel documentissued by the UK government
  • You are a DATV national or recognised as stateless under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and qualify for the DATV exemption under the ‘transit without visa’ concession – please see our Post “Airside Transit – Transit without Visa Concession Airside for more information.

If you do not meet any of the above requirements, you must get a direct airside transit visa before you can transit the UK airside.

It is important to note that you cannot transit the UK airside if you are on your way to or from the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

How to apply for a direct airside transit visa

Depending on the country where you live, you may need to make your application online or using a paper application form.

To find out which application method you should use, please visit the UKBA website.

This text is an adapation of the contents of the UKBA website.

DATv nationals (list correct at 2 August 2012 – please check UKBA website for updates!):

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Bolivia
  • Burma
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • People’s Republic of China
  • Colombia
  • Congo-Brazzaville
  • Democratic Republic of Congo – including travel documents issued by the former Zaire
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • India
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Ivory Coast
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Kosovo
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • FYR of Macedonia
  • Malawi
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Nepal
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Palestinian Authorities
  • Rwanda
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Swaziland
  • Tanzania
  • Turkey
  • Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is not recognised by the UK government. Visas are issued on an EU uniform format ‘Form for affixing the visa’
  • Uganda
  • Venezuela (except those holding a passport issued by the Republic of Venezuela which contains biometric information held in an electronic chip)
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • Yugoslavia – documents issued by the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, by present Yugoslavia authorities or by the UN mission in Kosovo
  • Zimbabwe

Remember, immigration law is complex and subject to continuous change. The information provided here may be out of date, or just based on personal experience/knowledge. The use of these pages is therefore entirely at your own risk. Before applying for any type of visas, you should always seek information from the authorities direct via their official websites. You will find some useful website details on our Links page.

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9 Responses to UK Transit – Airside

  1. Pankaj says:

    Hello!
    I am a Indian Passport holder, and I have a GREEN CARD here in US. I am travelling from US to India with a stop in Heathrow for few hours. And my flight leaves from heathrow itself.
    Do I need to apply for a transit visa? I checked online, and its little confusing as to whether I need or not!
    So, please help at your best!
    Thank-you..

    • Hi Pankaj,
      Citizens of India are Direct Airside Transit visa nationals. An Indian passport holder would therefore normally need to obtain a transit visa. However, Indian passport holders do not require a transit visa if they qualify for an exemption. The requirements for this exemption are listed on the UKBA website. I have copied/pasted the text below for ease of reference. From what you write, it would appear that you do not require a DAT visa; you arrive and depart by air from the same airport, I assume that your onward flight is confirmed and within 24 hours of arrival; and you will have proper documentation for your next destination (India). In addition, you have a permanent residence card for the US (please check exact requirements in the text below). You would therefore appear to qualify for the exemption and will not therefore require a transit visa.
      Hope this helps! Have a safe journey!

      UKBA website as per 20 July 2012:
      “If you are a national of a country covered by the DATV system, you may be able to transit the UK airside without a visa. To qualify for this exemption:
      you must arrive and depart by air; and
      your onward flight must be confirmed, and must depart within 24 hours; and
      you have proper documentation for your destination, including a visa if necessary.
      Additionally, you must hold:
      1) a valid entry visa for Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA, and a valid airline ticket for travel via the UK, as part of a journey to or from one of those countries; or
      2) a valid airline ticket for travel via the UK as part of a journey from Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA, if you are transiting the UK no more than 6 months after the date when you last entered Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA with a valid entry visa for that country; or
      3) a valid USA I-551 permanent resident card issued on or after 21 April 1998; or
      4) an expired I-551 permanent resident card issued on or after 21 April 1998, accompanied by an I-797 extension letter issued by the Bureau of Citizenship; or
      5) a valid Canadian permanent resident card issued on or after 28 June 2002; or
      6) a valid Australian or New Zealand residence visa; or
      7) a valid uniform format category D visa for entry to a state in the European Economic Area (EEA); or
      8) a valid uniform format residence permit issued by an EEA state under Council Regulation (EC) number 1030/2002; or
      9) a valid UK residence card; or
      10) a valid EEA family permit issued by the UK government; or
      11) a diplomatic or service passport issued by the People’s Republic of China; or
      12) a diplomatic or official passport issued by India; or
      13) a diplomatic or official passport issued by Vietnam.

      A valid US immigrant visa packet (form 155A/155B) is a ‘valid visa’ for these purposes, but the following documents are not valid for the DATV exemption:

      an I-512 parole letter or an I-797C (notice of action) instead of a valid US visa.
      a transportation letter instead of a valid US permanent resident card issued on or after 21 April 1998;
      a valid travel document with a US ‘ADIT’ stamp saying – ‘Processed for I-551. TEMPORARY EVIDENCE OF LAWFUL ADMISSION FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCE VALID UNTIL [date]. EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZED’; and
      a US visa foil endorsed, “NOT A VISA. FOIL PREPARED AT DHS REQUEST”.

  2. joseph says:

    Hi,

    I am from Jordan, I am traveling to Canada through heathrow aiprport. On my arrival to Heathrow Terminal 1, I must catch a connection flight within 2 hours at Terminal 5. Do I still need a tranist visa to the UK? thanks

    • Hi Joseph,
      If you travel on a Jordan passport via Heathrow en route to Canada, you will not need a transit visa, provided that you do not pass immigration control, that you are assured of entry to Canada (e.g. a valid visa) and that your onward flight is from the same UK airport within 24 hours of arrival. You can find this information on the UKBA website. If you fill in your nationality and purpose of trip there you will see that the UKBA system provides the following answer: “If you will arrive on a flight, remain in the arrival lounge of the airport without passing through immigration control, and then depart on another flight from the same airport, you do not need a UK visa. This is called ‘transiting airside’.”
      Have safe journey!

  3. ninad says:

    Hi there,
    I am a indian student and passport holder and travelling to Republic of ireland for 2 months.
    My flight is Via. london.
    The connected to Dublin(ireland)flight is 4 hrs later.
    Do i need a uk transit visa?

    thnk you for your help.
    Anticipating your reply….
    Ninad.

    • Hi Ninad,
      Thank you for visiting this blog. Indian passport holders are classified as visa nationals for the United Kingdom. In addition, they are classified as Direct Airside Transit visa nationals. In other words, normally speaking, a visa would be required regardless of the purpose of the trip.
      However, there is a further “complication” here in that you will be in transit to Ireland via the UK. Both destinations (UK and Republic of Ireland) belong to the so-called Common Travel Area. Transit visas do not apply to the Common Travel Area (CTA). If you need a visa, a transit visa would not apply simply because these are not granted for intra CTA travel. There is, however, a visa waiver concession for people transiting the UK en route to another Common Travel Area destination, i.e. if you were to qualify under this concession, you would not require a visa at all, despite the fact that you hold an Indian passport. The UKBA website has a very useful page about transiting the UK. This page also explains who qualifies for the visa waiver concession. Please bear in mind though that the latter is a concession; i.e. the Immigration Officer will determine whether to grant you entry or not. The link to the page is: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/transitthroughtheuk/travelling-through-the-cta/# I suggest that you check this page and see if you qualify for the concession. If not, you would need to obtain a visit visa for the UK.
      Hope this helps!

  4. Hi Aakash,
    If I understand you correctly, you will arrive at Heathrow by air, then catch an onward flight from Heathrow (albeit from another terminal) 5 hours later. Indian passportholders need a visa to transit the UK. If you arrive and depart from the same airport by air within 24 hours (without passing immigration), you will need to apply for a Direct Transit Visa. There are a few exceptions, however, which can be found on the UKBA website. For example, if you are en route to the US and hold a valid visa for the US, you would not need to obtain a direct airside transit visa. Unfortunately, I am unaware of where you live and where you will be travelling to so I cannot give you a more detailed reply. As I set out before, however, Indian passport holders normally require a transit visa for the UK, unless one of the exceptions to this rule apply.
    Hope this helps!

  5. Aakash says:

    Hi there,
    I am an Indian passportholder and will have to transit Heathrow airport. My onward flight departs from Heathrow also but from a different terminal. This flight is 5 hours later. Do I need a visa?
    Thank you for your help!
    Aakash

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