“I was not allowed on a transit flight in London. What kind of lawlessness is this? I will complain!” Hundreds of letters of similar content come to our mail, and on the vastness of Facebook, angry posts of passengers who have run into the harsh reality of transit flights through the UK are constantly flashing. It’s time to dot the “I”. Read about everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask in our article. October 11, 2023 AUTHOR: Evgenia Sidorchuk 1 6 min
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London is one of those places on the world map that inspires vague doubts and anxiety in the hearts of travelers. Due to the strict migration policy, the British approach the visa issue with all caution. As a result, there is an ambiguous situation with a transit visa when transferring from flight to flight.
The good news is that you may not need a visa (but don’t count on it much), the bad news is that there are many “pitfalls” of passing customs control. We will tell you everything you need to know for a successful connecting flight in the capital of Foggy Albion.
How do I check if I need a visa if I am in transit?
The first question that arises for transit travelers is whether a visa is needed? For a full guarantee, we recommend checking the information about transit flights on the official website of the British Migration Service.
Another way to check is to look into TIMATIC. This is the unified information system of the International Air Transport Association IATA (International Air Transportation Association). All the rules for those who travel by plane are collected here with all scrupulousness and accuracy. So, to double-check the need for a transit visa once again, use TIMATIK on one of these resources:
Remember, no matter what reputable forums, the experience of your friends and even the answers from the embassy you refer to, an airport employee will still not let you on a flight without a transit visa, if according to TIMATIC you need one.
The development of events also depends on the airport of arrival: if you arrive at Manchester International Airport, Heathrow or Gatwick, life is wonderful and you definitely do not need to worry about a visa. The layout of these airports allows you to move from one terminal to another without leaving the transit zone. This type of transit is called airside.
But here, too, you should follow some rules:
- arrive and depart by plane,
- do not leave the airport transit area,
- flights to the destination must depart on the same day from the same airport,
- the passenger must have the appropriate documents authorizing entry into the country of destination (visa).
Low-cost airlines Ryanair and Wizz Air do not fly to London Heathrow or Gatwick airports, so it is impossible to use Airside transit.
Photo by Xesc Arbona