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Updated February 2024

The UK is a popular destination for travelers from around the world and serves as a key hub for international travel between multiple countries. If your travel itinerary includes passing through the UK on your route to your final destination, you may be required to obtain a UK transit visa.

Wego has collected all the important information regarding the UK or London transit visa. Keep reading to learn more!

Do I need a UK transit visa?

Travelers passing through a UK airport while on their way to another country may need a UK transit visa. Transit visas allow travelers to stay in the UK for up to 48 hours while waiting for their connecting flight.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that the UK transit visa can’t be extended. If you want to stay in the country for more than 48 hours, you can apply for a standard visitor visa.

Please note that the following applicants are exempted from obtaining a London transit visa:

  • applicants with an EU Settlement Scheme family permit
  • applicants with a Home Office travel document, for example, they are a refugee or stateless person
  • applicants with a Standard visitor visa
  • applicants with a Marriage visitor visa
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UK transit visa 2024

Types

There are generally two types of UK transit visas, namely, the direct airside transit visa and the visitor in transit visa. However, the type of UK transit visa you need depends on whether or not you are going through UK border control when you arrive in the UK:

Direct airside transit visa

Travelers are required to apply for a direct airside transit visa under the following circumstances:

  • they will be changing flights in the UK on their way to another country
  • they will not go through UK border control

Visitor in transit visa

Travelers are required to apply for a visitor in transit visa under the following circumstances:

  • they will be changing flights in the UK on their way to another country
  • they will be going through UK border control, for example, to check in their luggage for a connecting flight
  • they will be leaving the UK within 48 hours
  • they will not be working or studying while in the UK

Requirements

The following are some of the documents required to apply for a UK transit visa:

  • a current passport or other valid travel document.
  • in case you are not a national of the country you are traveling to, evidence that you are allowed to enter that country is required. This could include:
    • residence permit
    • green card
    • valid visa
  • in case you are not a national of the country you are traveling to, you may need to explain why you’re going there. Furthermore, you may need to provide details of your accommodation.
  • you may be asked to prove your onward journey is booked or confirmed. For this, you can use evidence including:
    • a flight booking email
    • a ticket or a boarding pass, either printed or on your phone
    • confirmation from a travel agent

Please make sure to carry your visa and documents with you when traveling through the UK.

Validity

The validity of a UK or London transit visa is generally 48 hours. However, if you intend to stay in London or the UK for more than 48 hours, you can apply for the UK Standard visitor visa.

For more information, visit our dedicated article below:

UK Tourist Visa: How to Apply for Standard Visitor Visa to the UK?

Application process

To apply for a London transit visa, follow the steps given below:

  • fill out and complete the online visa application form from the gov.uk website.
  • upload all the required documents, as mentioned above.
  • pay the required visa fee.

After applying for the transit visa from the gov.uk website, you need to have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application center as part of your application.

Please note that UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) or the visa application center will contact you once a decision has been made about your visa.

UK transit visa processing time

The processing time for a UK transit visa is usually 3 weeks.

However, you may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you are in. Please make sure to check with your visa application center, regarding the UK transit visa processing time.

UK transit visa fees

A direct airside transit visa usually costs £35, while the fee is £64 for a visitor in transit visa. However, please note that this may change slightly depending on which country the traveler is in.

 

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