UK Transit Visa
It is common for travellers to reach their destinations by transit through the United Kingdom. To resolve any questions such as “Do I need a visa for transit?”, “Can I get a UK transit visa at the airport?”, “Can I get a UK transit visa on arrival”, “Can I transit in the UK without a visa?”, and others, it is important to research the matter before the trip.
Depending on the situation, the necessity of obtaining a transit visa in London or other cities of the United Kingdom and the way of obtaining the visa may vary. It is always recommended to discover the rules for your specific situation in advance to avoid any confusion and delays during the trip.
What is a Transit Visa?
A transit visa in the UK is a document that allows travellers to pass through the country while reaching other destinations. There are several scenarios in which there is no need to obtain a visa to transit through the UK, including where:
- You are a non-visa national;
- You have an EU Settlement Scheme family permit;
- You have a special travel document issued by the Home Office;
- You already have a Standard Visitor visa;
- You already have a Marriage Visitor visa;
- You already have any other type of valid UK visa.
There are many other scenarios where a transit visa is not required, based on various factors such as your nationality, residence rights in any other country, where you are travelling to/from and documents in your possession for your onward journey. To obtain confirmation on whether you will need a transit visa, it is best to consult a UK immigration lawyer or refer to the Home Office’s website at https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa.
If you are a visa national, do not otherwise have a valid UK visa, and will be staying in the UK for over 48 hours or need to frequently pass through the UK over a six-month period, you will need to apply for a Standard UK Visitor Visa before travelling.
Types of Transit Visa
There are two types of UK transit visa that travellers may need to apply for. The main criterion here is whether or not the traveller will go through UK border control. In case they will, they should apply for the Visitor in Transit visa. If not, they should obtain the Direct Airside Transit visa that is also known as the airport transit visa or the UK transit visa for connecting flights.
Travellers who have connecting flights in the United Kingdom should contact the airline company and discover whether they will go through border control in advance. It is also worth mentioning that the Direct Airside Transit visa is only designed for travellers who will leave the country within 48 hours. In case the period of stay will be longer, the person will have to apply for a Standard Visitor visa instead.
Eligibility requirements for a UK Transit Visa
There are a number of documents that travellers need to provide in order to obtain a visa to pass through the UK in transit. The list includes the individual’s passport, evidence they are allowed to enter the country they are travelling to (residence permit, visa, etc.), and travel documents for further stages of the trip. It is important to have the documents with you when travelling through the United Kingdom.
How to apply for a Transit Visa for the UK?
In order to understand how to obtain a transit visa for the United Kingdom, it is necessary to visit the official website of the Home Office. There, travellers will be able to discover all the relevant information regarding the procedure as well as to submit an application form for the document.The application itself as well as the paying fee
associated with it are completed online, but it is still necessary to visit an application centre in order to be approved. In case the decision on the application is positive, the Home Office representative in the applicant’s country of residence will invite them to the application centre for passport collection.
How long does it take to get a Transit visa?
The standard processing time for a UK transit visa is three weeks, although it may be possible to purchase a priority service in order to receive the decision faster. The service is not available in all visa application centres, so it is important to check it for your specific location in advance. It is also recommended to be ready to visit the application centre as soon as possible in order not to prolong the procedure.
How much does a Transit Visa cost?
The fees are different for the two types of British transit visa documents. The fee for an Airside Transit visa is £35, while the Visitor in Transit document will cost a traveller £64. It is worth mentioning that the fee may be higher for some countries, and it does not include the priority service described in the previous section.
How can we help?
The team of Sterling Law is always willing to provide travellers with all the guidance they might need when visiting the United Kingdom. We offer our help for transit visas and all other permission documents, so don’t hesitate to contact us in case you have any questions regarding your upcoming visit. Our experienced solicitors will review your case with an individual approach, providing you with the best recommendations for your specific situation. Feel free to book a consultation online or visit our office in London in case you are already in the UK.