Visitors in transit
Do you need a visa as a visitor in transit?
This page explains whether you need a visa to transit the UK as a visitor in transit.
The nationals of some countries are known as visa nationals, because they normally require a visa to come to the UK. These countries are listed under 'More information' below. Nationals of other countries are known as non-visa nationals.
You do not need a visa as a visitor in transit if:
- you are a non-visa national; or
- you hold a valid travel document issued by the UK government; or
- you meet the 'transit without visa concession' - see 'More information' below.
If you do not meet any of these requirements (because you are a visa national or stateless, and you do not qualify for the transit without visa concession), you will need to apply for a 'visitor in transit' visa.
Even if you do not need a visa, you may decide that you should apply for one anyway - see 'More information' below.
If you do not need a visa and you travel to the UK without one, please see the Documents page for information about the documents that you should bring with you. If you cannot show that you meet the requirements for a visitor in transit, our officers at the UK border may refuse to let you enter the UK.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to make your visa application online or by printing out and completing application form VAF1H. You can find out which method(s) you can use under 'More information' below.
You can download application form VAF1H and guidance notes from the right side of this page.
Are you a visa national?
Nationals or citizens of the following countries and territorial entities are known as 'visa nationals':
- Bosnia Herzegovina
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- People's Republic of China (unless they hold a passport issued by Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or Macao Special Administrative Region)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Dominican Republic
- Equatorial Guinea
- Guinea Bissau
- Ivory Coast
- Korea (North)
- Palestinian Territories
- Republic of South Sudan
- Republic of Sudan
- Sao Tome e Principe
- Saudi Arabia
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- Taiwan (unless they hold a Taiwan passport which includes the number of the identification card issued by the competent authority in Taiwan)
- United Arab Emirates
- Vatican City
- Venezuela (unless they hold a Venezuelan passport which contains biometric information held in an electronic chip)
- The territories formerly comprising the socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Should you apply for a visa if you do not need one?
Even if you do not need a visa, you may want to obtain one before you travel as it could save you time when you arrive at the UK border.
We strongly advise you to apply for a visa before travelling to the UK if:
- you have any unspent criminal convictions in any country, including the UK;
- you have previously been refused entry, deported or otherwise removed from the UK;
- you have breached the terms of any previous entry to the UK (for example, by working illegally or staying here after your permission to stay expired);
- you have previously applied for a visa and been refused; or
- you have been warned by a UK official that you should obtain a visa before you travel to the UK.
You may not be allowed to enter the UK if you do not have a visa.