Transiting Through UK

5 mins

Non-stop. One-stop. Multi-stop. 

These are the options that come along while booking your flight. Direct or non-stop flights help you reach your destination country without taking a halt in between. While single-stop or multi-stop flights make you halt at one or multiple airports en route your final destination. These halts are called Layovers.


What should I keep in mind when booking flights with layovers?

One important thing to ensure while booking a multi-stop ticket is that all flights in your journey should have the same PNR (Booking portals prompt if you are about to book flights with different PNR). In case of multiple PNR, you have to go through the unnecessary hassles of passing through immigration, collecting your baggage and checking in again onto the next flight. On a single PNR, all you need to do is transit from one journey into the other.


What happens during a layover?

Most of the international airports are divided into 2 areas: Arrivals & Departures. 

Airports are designed in such a way such that one cannot enter or leave these areas without passing through the immigration desk. When you land at your layover airport, you enter the airport’s arrivals area.

Now to board your next flight, you need to go to the departures area. But as said before, the departure area cannot be accessed without going through the immigration. How then can you move from arrivals to departures?

Here comes the Transit Gate.

Transit gate is like a connection of the departures area with the arrival area. These gates are manned by airport security officials who check and confirm that you have an onward ticket and a valid visa for your destination country. You will have to undergo a security check for you hand-baggage and will also be frisked at this gate. But the good part is your airline takes care of your checked-in baggage. Airport Officials scan your checked-in baggage and airline staff ensures that it reaches the aircraft which you are going to board to your next destination. This is why having the same PNR for all your journeys is important.


Do we require a Visa to enter the transit area and board the connecting flight?

In most of the airports of the world, you do not require a visa to transit through the transit area, except the UK, US, Canada, Australia and in some rare scenarios, all countries in the Schengen Zone.

This blog covers details of UK Transit Visa. Subsequent blogs in this series will cover similar details for US, Canada and Australia.


Transit Visa for the UK:

There are two types of Transit Visas available for transiting through the UK. Both Visas are mandatory in their respective scenarios and come with some exceptions.

Option 1: Direct Airside Transit Visa: 

Applicability: When you are not required to pass through UK Immigration (You are traveling on a single PNR)

You can transit without a visa if you have:

  • Valid Visa For Canada, New Zealand, Australia or the USA
  • A residence permit issued by Australia or New Zealand
  • Residence Permit issued by an EU country or Switzerland
  • An Irish BIVS visa holder

E-visas are not acceptable.

Option 2: Visitor In Transit Visa

Applicability: When you are required to pass through UK Immigration (You are traveling on different PNRs)

You can transit without a visa if:

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

And one of the following conditions should be true:

  • you’re traveling to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and have a valid visa for that country
  • you’re traveling from Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and have a valid visa for that country
  • you’re traveling from Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and it’s been 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 a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland


Traveling to your destination en route UK? Know how to get a transit visa and transit hassle-free with StampMyVisa.

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