UK Transit – Introduction

This Post explains explains how you can transit through the United Kingdom when travelling to another country. If you pass through the UK without staying there on the way to another country, this is called ‘transiting’.

There are two types of transit through the United Kingdom:

  • You will transit airside if you 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. Our Post “Transiting the United Kingdom – Airside” contains more information.
  • You will transit landside if you arrive on a flight, pass through immigration control and then leave the UK within 48 hours (or 24 hours if you are travelling under the ‘travel without visa’ concession – please refer to our Post Transiting the United Kingdom – Travel without Visa Concession for the requirements). Our Post “Transiting the United Kingdom – Landside” contains more information about Landside Transiting.

If you want to spend longer than 48 hours in the UK before continuing your journey, you cannot enter the United Kingdom as a person in transit. Instead, you must come to the UK as a visitor – please check our visit pages.

Whether you are transiting airside or landside, you may need to obtain a UK visa before you begin your journey. Only citizens of certain countries need transit visas. Since this list changes regularly, we strongly suggest that you check the website of the United Kingdom Border Agency before any travel to the United Kingdom.

Please note that there are special requirements if you are transiting the UK on your way to or from the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. These, together with the United Kingdom, form the so-called Common Travel Area. Please check our Post “Transiting the United Kingdom – Common Travel Area” for more information.

This text is an adapation of the contents of the UKBA website. 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 The information provided here may be out of date, or just based on personal experience/knowledge.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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