This guide will review the options available if you require a visa to transit through the UK.
You must apply for a Standard Visitor visa instead of a Visitor in Transit visa if either of the following applies:
- You need to stay longer than 48 hours in the UK.
- You must frequently pass through the UK for more than six months.
UK Visa conditions for transit
Your citizenship and travel plans will determine whether you require a visa to travel via the UK. You don’t require a visa to transit through the UK if you are a citizen of a country that is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) or European Union (EU). You might require a visa to transit through the UK if you are not an EU/EEA citizen.
Transit via the UK without a visa
If you are a resident of a country outside of the EU/EEA, you can transit through the UK without a visa. You must fulfill several conditions, such as not remaining in the UK for more than 48 hours and having a valid visa for your intended destination.
Visa for visitors in transit
If you cannot travel without a visa, you may need to apply for a visa for Visitors in Transit. With this visa, you can travel to another country via the UK. You must fulfill several requirements before applying for this visa, like having a confirmed onward ticket and enough cash to cover your living expenses while in the UK.
Visa for direct air-side transit
You could need a Direct Air-side Transit visa if you are a resident of a country outside the EU/EEA and will be changing airports in the UK. With this visa, you can remain at the airport’s international transit zone without traveling to the UK. You must meet specific requirements, such as having a confirmed onward flight and not needing to go through UK immigration, to apply for this visa.
Exception for Common Travel Areas (CTA)
Citizens of the Republic of Ireland and some British overseas territories are exempt from requiring a visa to transit through the UK. This is because these countries are a part of the Common Travel Area (CTA), which permits unrestricted travel between them.