Transit UK airports without a visa now

Back in October I had written about the new policy change with the UK government, which would allow for Indians to transit the UK without the need for a Direct Airside Transit Visa or a regular Visa, as long as they had a visa for the USA or Canada. Now, I wasn’t sure about this myself because this did not update on the UK Government’s website as quickly as I hoped it would.

Heathrow is one of the busiest airports around the world, but clearly they were not a favourite for many Indians because of the high costs to even transit the airport. Apart from the other issues that go with it, such as an Air Passenger Duty which is like no one else in the world, I’m guessing the British airliners were not an efficient competition to the Middle-East carriers in terms of carrying traffic to Europe or South America or other parts of the North American continent due to this restriction.

The policy to allow travel without the need for a visa was supposed to go live on December 1, 2014, and indeed when I checked a few days back, the new provisions were reflecting on the website.


Ah. That is going to save me so much money next year, I can’t even tell you!

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Based on the information I found on internet, if US visa expired less than 6 months ago, Indian nationals do not need air transit visa for passing thru LHR.
    Its also present in point (2) at

    I have personally not experienced this so in case somebody can confirm this, it would be great help for lots of Indian who travel to home country with expired US visa.

  2. Then UK will continue to loose passengers, lot of people work on I797 without visas stamped on passport until they goto India

  3. There are lot of Indians in US like me who are allowed to work in US with a valid I797 even without a H1B visa stamped in passport. Visa must be stamped on re-entering the US if I leave the country.

    That leaves a grey area for UK transit – do we need a valid US visa if we’re travelling from US to India?

    • I had same situation. I had only I-797A and I was traveling first time outside usa. I was going to India to get H1B stamped. When I reached airport in Miami, Virgin Atlantic told me I can’t transit through UK. My original journey was Miami-Heathrow-Mumbai. I had to buy another ticket Miami-JFK and them Newark-Mumbai. Airline representative specifically pointed one line on I-797A that says “THIS FORM IS NOT A VISA NOR MAY IT BE USED IN PLACE OF A VISA.”

  4. On a business trip from PHL-LHR-BLR in Nov, I was issue a 24 hr transit visa without any fee as BA had rebooked me for the next day. Since BA arranged for everything including hotel accommodation, they let me through. I was on a B1 visa

  5. So if we have a stop at LHR for 10 hrs can we go past the immigration and visit London. We are travelling from LAX to DEL via LHR.

  6. This has always been the case ever since I am travelling to phoenix since 2006. I never had a UK visa and could transit via LHR on BOM—>LHR—>PHX

    The worst pain point is you cannot travel PHX—->LHR—->BOM with a expired US visa which happens with people like me most of the time. We have valid work permits for US but mostly expired US visa stamp

    • @Anand, this is not about travelling to the USA, but to other countries in the Schengen Zone and South America for instance, for which youneeded a transit visa earlier. For travel to USA you don’t need the transit visa earliest as well.

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