Can I Leave The Airport While In Transit? FAQ Fridays

Transcription

Hello and welcome to another edition of Travelstart’s FAQ Friday with me, Nick Paul. This week we are attempting to answer the question: Can I leave the airport while in transit?

Background on this topic

Well that depends on where you are travelling by and what passport you are travelling on. Many countries that usually require South Africans to have a visa for entry don’t require us to have a visa for transit. But to be clear here – just because you are allowed to transit visa free doesn’t mean that you are allowed to enter the country without a visa while in transit. Most countries will require you to stay within the transit area while in transit. Let’s have a look at some of the popular routes.

Via Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi

These are very popular routes for South Africans to travel and while you don’t need a transit visa to go via these airports for less than 24 hours, you won’t be allowed to leave the airport without a valid entry visa.

Via Continental Europe

The continental portion of the EU, that’s the part excluding the British Isles, usually let’s passengers transit via a single airport provided they are continuing on to their destination within the next 24 hours and provided that the airport doesn’t close overnight if they are in overnight transit – most of the major airports don’t close overnight. If you hold a valid multiple-entry Schengen visa, you will be allowed to leave the airport provided that you have enough time and if you don’t, you cannot leave the transit area.

Via Singapore and Hong Kong

Here, you don’t need a visa to enter the country. So as long as you have enough time to get out and make it back in time for your flight, you’ll be okay to leave the airport. This is typical for any country where you don’t need a visa for entry.

Via the UK

Here you are technically not allowed to even transit the country without a valid transit visa – with some exceptions which we have covered in previous videos. If you have been allowed into the airport for the purpose of transit, you have to stay within the transit area except if you need to change airports en route to the USA or Canada and hold valid visas for those destinations. That being said, I have heard of a few instances where passengers in transit have been granted permission by the immigration officials to leave the airport for a few hours. As far as I am aware though, this is at the discretion of the individual official concerned.

In summary

So, in summary, if you need a visa to enter the country you are transiting, even if you are only there to transit and not stay overnight, you will need a visa to leave the airport. If you don’t require a visa to enter the country you are transiting, you will be allowed to leave the airport visa free provided you have enough time.

That’s it from me for this week on FAQ Friday. If you’ve got any travel-related questions, please ask them in the “comments” below and please remember to subscribe to our channel. Thanks!

Our Readers Comments

  1. Few years back on our way to Malta with Egypt Air, we had a very long transit. One of the officials approached us and offered a tour of Cairo, at no cost. We had to hand in our passports and they showed us where we need to collect our passport and boarding passes when we arrive back at the airport. They introduced us to a taxi driver/tour guide and indicated the time that he will drop us again at the airport. I was a bit reluctant to do it, but it was a very pleasant experience.

    • Hi Fanie,

      Great to hear from you!

      That must have been a wonderful experience. An added bonus to your trip which you did not plan on. That is great!
      Have to admit I would have been a bit reluctant to, and think twice before doing so. But i’m sure you glad you did so 🙂

      Cairo is such a vibrant city and with so much history. The Giza pyramids and Egyptian Museum where my all time favorites.

  2. many thanks
    valued information given
    Maria and the team appreciated

    • Hi Maria,

      Thanks for the feedback! We really love informing our readers and clients of what is happening in the Travel Industry and giving tips and information on any travel related topics!

      Puts a smile on our face when we know our hard work has paid off!

      Have an awesome day!

  3. Hey Fanie,

    You’ve got guts man! There is no way I would ever give anyone my passport. I would be so worried the whole time I wouldn’t enjoy a tour anyway. I prefer to fly with the shortest transit times possible. Didn’t work so well when I flew to Frankfurt via Munich in September as I missed my connection due to technical issues on the way in and had to literally sprint for my connecting flight on my way out again but still prefer that rather than spending hours and hours in an airport, especially Egypt when one doesn’t have the currency (did that last year).

    So good on you, it really worked out, but I’d never, ever do that! 🙂

    • Hi Wayne,

      O yes, I’m sure alot of people would feel the same about handing in ones passport.

      Good thing about Egypt is they always happy to accept all hard currencies (more then their own currency) like US Dollars and Great British Pounds. Which makes it alot easier if its a spur of the moment visit.

      Yes that is a tricky one, when booking a flight and seeing you can save over a R1000 even more, to have a 8 – 10 hour layover, sounds like a great idea at the time, but not so good when one is there waiting for the time to go by! In saying that it does put one at ease knowing in case there is a schedule change or delay one will not miss their connecting flight.

      One really finds out how fast they can run, when trying to catch a connecting flight, sprinting though the airport!

  4. We recently had a few hours in Paris and quickly took a train into the center to walk around the Louvre – it was lovely and very beautiful – even just seeing the buildings outside .. much more fun than Charles de Gaulle

    • Hi Jack,

      Yes I totally agree, would rather spend my transit time exploring the streets of Paris and going to the Louvre Museum, then waiting around at Charles De Gaulle!

      You put your waiting time to good use 🙂

  5. We SA citizens are in transit in New York and we have American visas will we be able to leave the airport?

    • Hi Ronel,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      This depends on what visa you have been grated. There is a Transit (C) Visa which can only be used for transiting in the USA.

      Then there is a (B) Visa which is granted to a foreign citizen whose layover in the United States is for a primary purpose other than to transit, for example to visit friends or sight-see, requires a visitor (B) visa.

      You would need to check what visa type you are holding, however we do suggest you contact the US Embassy to get the most up to date information as these regulations could change at anytime.

      Thanks 🙂

  6. Travelled on Emirates thru Dubai a few years ago and were given free hotel/transport/visa and all meals while in transit on both legs of the journey…This still applies if you book a certain class rating ticket in economy…very expensive I think…the transit time should be more than 8 hours though…
    Travelling on TurkishAir via Istanbul also have a option of a day tour or hotel…
    I normally choose the hotel to refresh and afterwards do my own explorations.

    • Hi Riedwan,

      Thanks for contacting us!

      Yes that is correct. Some airlines offer STPC which is complimentary accommodation. If ones lay over is 8 hours or more, there was no earlier connecting flight offered by the airline at the time of booking, along with the cost of the fare, they do offer this service, which is great.

      As it sure does beat hanging around at the airport, even though there are quite a few shops. But there’s nothing better then a nice bed and freshening up after a long flight 🙂

  7. What happens if due to flight delays or due overbooked flights and you are stranded and at the mercy of the airport? For example my son travelled back from the UK and was stranded in France as the flight was overbooked for and day and a night? He was unable to leave the transit area and was given meal vouchers for places outside of the transit area and was therefore responsible for payment of his own meals.Is it possible to arrange a temporary visa to overnight in a hotel organised by the airline?

    • Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      This is really bad what Air France has done, and I would see if your son can try claim back.

      Unfortunately this is not within the airlines ability to assist with an emergency transit visa. As they are not as closely tide to the government as other countries would be, example the UAE.

      Major airports like Charles De Gaulle should really have a hotel in the transit area (like OR Tambo has) to assist clients in this predicament.

      I can just imagine the frustration, I would not be to impressed.

      Have a great day!

  8. What are the rules of leaving the transit area if you are already in the country that you have a visa for? For instance, a stop-over in Perth on your way to Sydney?

    • Hi Maritha,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      If you are already holding valid tourist visa for the country you are entering, and you have sufficient time before your connecting flight, this should not be a problem. However the airline staff will be able to advise if you have ample time to leave the airport to and go into Perth and return to catch your connecting flight.

      Have a great day!

  9. If I am flying from London back to South Africa via ISTANBUL and have enough time in the airport .
    I’d my flight arrives at 1615 and departs at 0052 .Am I able to go out of airport to eg a close hotel to rest and freshen up.

    • Hi Dr Davies,

      Great to hear from you!

      You can apply for a Turkish visa online, this is free of charge for South African passport holders and gets approved immediately.

      With this visa you should be able to leave the airport to explore Istanbul or got to a Hotel to freshen up.

      I would suggest though you contact the Turkish Embassy just to make double sure as visa regulations can change at the last minute

      Contact number: 012 342 60 55 / 56

      Have a safe flight.

    • Hi Dr Davis…
      If flying Turkishair ,apply for the free visa online …You then exit thru passport control ( special terminal for african countries ) , then go to the Transit office and they’ll set u up with free hotel/transport ( Plse note to book your main luggage straight to SA and only carry the bare minimum with u as cabin luggage)

  10. Please could you send through an updated list of countries which South African passport holders can enter without having to purchase a visa.
    I heard last week that an additional 3 countries have just become “Visa – Free” for South African passport holders, but cannot find out which 3 countries they are – seems like the visa-free websites have not been updated yet
    Thank you for your very interesting Friday FAQ articles

    • Hi Jerome,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      Please find link below which advises the 114 countries which are currently visa free for South African passport holders.

      http://buzzsouthafrica.com/countries-can-travel-visa-south-africa/

      This information can change at anytime though. Its best that you contact Rose (Republic of Service Excellence) on: 010 0015060 when you decide to travel, as they specialize in Visa’s and will be able to provide you the most up to date information.

      Always call before booking your flights, to avoid any disappointment, if you are looking to travel to a visa free country for South Africans

      Have a great day!

  11. A couple of months ago, I was in transit from Botswana (which doesn’t need a VISA for SA travels) to Malaysia. I was allowed out of the airport by some officials, but getting back in was a hassle,even though I had proof that I had booked accommodation at a transit hotel. It seemed that everyone had their own rules of whether or not I should have been allowed to leave. Any advice on the applicable laws in SA for non-SA passport holders?

    • Hi Naledi,

      Thanks for getting in touch! If the immigration official does allow one to leave the airport, the best thing to do is get that person’s name and surname. So when you return and you start to experience any hassles you can provide them with the relevant person’s name who aloud you to leave the transit area in the first place. It’s always best to contact the Embassy of the country you will be in transit (before you depart) and they will also be able to provide you with the most up to date information.

  12. As a Namiibian passport holder, we are visa free for UK entry. I’m flying with Air Namibia to Frankfurt, transit on the same day with Lufthansa to London, do I need a transit visa?

    • Hi Jacqueline,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      Currently a Namibian passport holder does not require a transit visa when flying via Germany. This can change at anytime, so it is always best to contact the Germany Embassy to make sure before you depart.

      Please see below a link that also provides information on if a transit visa is required.

      http://www.immihelp.com/visas/germanytransitvisa.html

      Have a great day!

  13. Beijing has a 48 hour no visa required, allowance the last time I read.
    Could change what with Ebola etc

  14. on this same topic please could you clarify the situation at OR Thambo
    Russian and some European countries need visas for south Africa, but no one seems to be able to tell me with clarity if
    there is a transit zone at OR Thambo when connecting to other African countries where I could pass without a visa or alternatively
    Is there a transit visa one can apply for and does that allow permission to enter the country (go past immigration) for transit purposes.

    • Hi Petco,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      If you are a Russian passport holder and in transit in (OR Tambo, Cape Town or Durban) and have an onward ticket to a country NOT boarding on South Africa eg (BOTSWANA, LESOTHO,MOZAMBIQUE, NAMIBIA, SWAZILAND OR ZIMBABWE) then a transit visa is NOT required.

      If one does need a transit visa you are not aloud to leave the airport and will have to stay in the transit area.

      All international flights flying into Johannesburg, arrive and depart from OR Tambo, so there would be no need for any passengers to leave the airport.

  15. So does it mean, that even tho I dont need a transit visa in Dubai on my way to the US, I will need it on the way back because I am exiting the airport to visit my daughter there for 4 or 5 days. How does one actually obtain this visa? Is it at the airport or before you leave your country of residence?

    • Hi Bernadette,

      Thanks for reaching out! If one is in transit for less then 24 hours in Dubai, Doha or Abu Dhabi a transit visa will not be required.

      You will need to obtain a valid entry visa for your return flight if you are wanting to leave the airport.

      Below you will find: Online UAE Visa in 5 easy Steps

      Step 1: Log onto http://www.emirates.com/za
      Step 2: Click on – Manage Existing Booking
      Step 3: Retrieve your existing booking, enter Last Name and Booking reference.
      Step 4: Select – Apply for your UAE Visa
      Step 5: Click on – Continue to Visa Application

      Hope the above helps!

      Have a great day!

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  17. Hi there!
    I am flying to Bremen in February via Walvis Bay in Namibia. I stop in transit at OR Tambo in Johannesburg for just over an hour before flying to Frankfurt and then to Bremen.
    My boyfriend lives in Johannesburg and I’d like to say goodbye before I’m off to Germany.
    As a Namibian citizen/passport holder, can I enter the main airport area to see him? Am I allowed to leave the airport?

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for getting in touch! To my knowledge a Namibian passport holder does not require a visa to enter South Africa. However as you are only in transit for 1 hour, I don’t think you would have sufficient time to leave the transit area and then go back, to board your internation flight.

      In saying this you can ask the immigration officials and see if they would allow this.

      Best of luck and have a great time in Germany!

  18. I’m South African and I’ll be travelling to Germany (via Cairo on Egypt Air) and want to know if I need a transit visa. Will be arriving 05h35 and getting ongoing flight @ 10h20.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Mark,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      If you are only transiting through one Schengen Country on this trip and will not be leaving the airport, you will not require a Schengen visa when transiting through Germany.

      Have a great day!

  19. Hi Marcelle, thanks. I’m actually flying to Germany with Cairo as transit airport. Will I need transit visa for Egypt. Thanks in advance. Mark

    • Hi Mark,

      Apologies for that.

      I have looked on Travelinfo and it states:

      “Persons who are transiting for less than 6 hours and are not going out of the transit area do not require a visa”

      In saying this I recommend you still contact the Egyptian Embassy to get the most up to date information, as something this changes and the site might not have been updated.

      Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt (Pretoria)
      Telephone No: (012) 343-1590/1

  20. Hi there, wondering if you could help as I’m really confused/first time long haul traveller..

    I am a British citizen flying from Manchester to Christchurch via Hong Kong/Auckland with Cathay Pacific. There is a 12 hour wait in Hong Kong and I’m not sure if I am allowed to leave the airport or not..

    Would this be classed as a layover or as in transit? (This is the part confusing me the most, there are varying opinions online based on what type of stop it is as to whether I can leave or not)

    As far as I am aware I do not require a visa however I’m just not sure if I’m allowed to leave or whether they will ferry us to a waiting area for 12 hours for the next flight. Is this something I need to check with the airline beforehand or does it depend on what type of tickets they send out and the amount of time waiting for the connecting flight?

    Any help would be much appreciated my wait is 7am until 7pm and it seems such a waste to be stuck in the airport..

    Thank You

    • Hi Emma,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      For us to assist with with this query we would need your Travelstart booking reference number to call up the ticket, so we could provide you with the correct information.

      With regards to visa’s as we are a South African based company we specialize in passengers flying on South African passports.

      I would suggest you contact the airline direct and they would be able to give the most up to date information.

      Best of Luck!

  21. Hi, my husband is a nigerian he is holding an airport tránsit visa , he arrives to CDG at 23:00 and his Flight is at 13:40 of next day, will he have any troubles by stayong the night on the airport ?

    • Hi Maria,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I’m afraid we would not be able to advise you on this as we a South African based company and specilise in passengers holding South African passports.

      You will need to contact the Embassy of the airport he will be in transit and see if the visa he is holding will cover him for this.

  22. Hi. I hold Uzbekistan passport. I was travelling from kiev through transit frankfurt to Toronto. In frankfurt canada airlines representative didnt allow me in plane. Now I am in frankfurt immigration facility. I dont have shengen viza and not willing to return to Uzbekistan. Can I buy a ticket to Turkey istanbul? Uzbekistan citizen doesnt need a visa to visit Turkey.
    Thanks

    • Hi Ayupov,

      Thanks for getting in touch. You will need to check at the ticket counter at the airport to see if they will sell you a ticket to Turkey.

      You will need to let them know what passport you are traveling on and how long you intend to stay and they should be able to assist accordingly.

  23. Thanks for answer. Problem is My passport is with German officials. I told them I cant return to Uzbekistan and will not stay in germany. They are not sure if its possible to fly to Turkey with Uzbek passport as I said its a visa free with Turkey.
    Please how can I get prove them that I can fly to turkey?

    • HI Ayupov,

      Unfortunately we do not specialize in this area and would not be able to assist. You would need to speak to the German officials at the airport only they would be able to assist accordingly as they will make the decisions on their side.

  24. Hi there,

    I’m reading allot online about long layovers in Doha, I’m flying from Cape Town to Tokyo in April 2016, and when I return back home there is a long layover at Doha for about 21hrs, do I need a Visa for this? because one website says yes and then the other says no, so I’m not sure, lol, I don’t want to end up being all stranded and not be able to come home, its my first time overseas.

    • Hi Francois,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I have gone onto Qatar’s website and found the following:

      Do I need a visa for transiting in Doha?

      “No. There is no requirement to hold a visa while in transit at Doha International Airport”

      Passengers will need to stay in the transit area for their layover.

      In saying this I suggest you contact Qatar direct as visa requirements could change at anytime and you mentioned you are only traveling in 2016

  25. Hey there Marcelle. I was just wondering since I hold a Malaysian passport and I’m flying to Seattle via transit at Seoul with a layover of 10 hours. Am I allowed to leave the airport to view the city or must I apply for a visa? Thank you!

    • Hi Karl,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      We’re a South African based company and specialize in people holding South African passports. I suggest you contact the Embassy direct and they should be able to assist with any queries you might have, like if a transit visa is required for passengers holding a Malaysian passport.

  26. I am travelling to the US and have a 19 hour layover at LHR. I hold a valid student visa for the USA and a valid tourist visa for the UK. Will I be allowed to leave the airport premises during my layover? Please help, I haven’t been able to get any clear information on this topic.
    Thanks a lot!

    • Hi Eshan,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      If you hold a valid UK tourist visa this should cover you to enter the UK.

      However I would contact the British Embassy to give the details of your visa so they can check on their side and they should be able to clarrify this for you.

      British Consulate in Cape Town
      Address: 15th Floor Southern Life Centre 8 Riebeeck Street , 8001 Cape Town
      Tel: 27 (0) 21 405 2400

      British Consulate in Pretoria
      Address: 255 Hill Street, Arcadia, 2 Pretoria
      Tel: 27 (0) 12 421 7500
      Fax: 27 (0) 12 421 7555

  27. hello marcelle,i am egyptian have brasil visa and will travel through lufthansa airline did i need transit visa

    • Hi George,

      Thanks for contacting us. I’m afraid I won’t be able to advise you on the requirements for an Egyptian passport holder (we specialise in South African travellers)

      I suggest you contact the Embassy direct and they should be able to assist with any queries you might have.

  28. Hi
    Please i want to know if u do the ticketing in other parts of the continent apart from South Africa.?
    Or can i be in in another country and buy a ticket from u to another country?

    Please reply though is not part of the topic. Thanks

    • Hi Gladys,

      Great to hear from you.

      We have offices in the following countries South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya,Egypt and the UAE and we have

      websites servicing many other countries. You are able to purchase tickets from abroad on our South African website, or which ever website you feel best convenient for you.

  29. I have never travelled to Eastern Europe before and will be in transit for 10 hours in DOHA, do I need a transit visa?

    Thanks

    • Hi Janine,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      To my knowledge if one is less then 8 hours in transit in Doha and not leaving the airport a transit visa is not required. If one has a layover of more then 8 hours a visa will be required.

      I suggest you contact the issuing authorities and they should be able to give the most up to date information.
      Embassy of the State of Qatar
      1077 Justice Mahomed Str, Waterkloof, Pretoria
      Tel: (012) 452-1700/11/13
      Fax: (012) 452-1710
      Submissions: 0900-1200 Mon-Fri
      Collections: 1400-1500 Mon-Fri
      E-mail: amal@qatarembassy.za.net
      Web: http://www.qatarembassy.za.net

  30. Hi,

    I am an Iranian and I have applied for a Transit Visa to the Canadian embassy … I need to change the airport in Toronto. Can I leave the airport?

    I live in mexico and am flying to Istanbul through Canada.

    Thank you,
    Fatemeh

    • Hi Fatemeh,

      Thanks for contacting us. I’m afraid I won’t be able to advise you on the requirements for Iranian passport holders and if you would be permitted to leave the airport, as we specialise in South African travellers.

      It’s best you contact the consulate direct and they should be able to answer any queries you might have.

  31. Hi there
    Please can you give me more information on sitting in transit in OR Tambo as a RSA resident. I am flying in to Jhb from Angola and then taking a flight out the next day to Singapore. Will I be able to stay in transit for the evening without passing through immigration control and just catch my next flight out the next morning?

    • Hi Sam,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      To my knowledge yes you would be able to sit in the transit area at OR Tambo, they also have a hotel should you wish to over night at an additional cost. If you are not a South African passport holder I suggest you contact the South African Embassy to see if a transit visa is required though.

    • I’m a South African passport holder. Flying to Asuncion Paraguay via Brazil. Flight to Asuncion transfer at Brazil airport 5 hours not to bad but when i return there is a 12 hour time between my connecting flight. Will i be able to exit the airport to make up the time? Then do i need to collect my bags on arrival at Brazil and rebook them or will they automatically be booked to my final destination? Sorry it’s my first international flight and i’m a bit unsure!

    • Hi Dennis, thanks for reaching out. The rules re checking your bags through will depend on the airlines involved. The airline you’re flying with will need to tell you whether or not they can send your bags all the way through to your destination. This is usually possible, provided your final flight isn’t a domestic one, if that were the case you’d need to pick up your bags in order to clear customs before proceeding to domestic. From your itinerary described here, it doesn’t seem like you’ll need to do that though. To be sure, ask at check-in where your bags will need to be picked up.

      Regarding leaving the airport, as a South African you don’t need a visa for Brazil so there should be no problem for you to leave the airport for a few hours and then come back for your final flight. This will be at the discretion of the immigration officers though, so it’s never 100% guaranteed. That being said, I don’t see it being a problem.

  32. As a CANADIAN CITIZEN and a CANADIAN PASSPORT HOLDER, I have a return flight from Toronto – New Delhi with a layover in Milan for 11hrs (while going) and 17hrs (returning).

    My Question is : Can I go out of the airport and visit the city for the particular time period.

    Is there any documents required ? what about the security clearance.

    Does it also depend on each airport and airline you are travelling with ?

    Regards

    • Hi Rauni,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I’m afraid I won’t be able to advise you on the requirements for Canadian passport holders as we specialise in South African travellers.

      I would suggest you contact the Italian consult ate direct they will be able to answer any queries you might have.

  33. Hi, im from india , im going to USA on F1 visa , were im getting wating of 12 hrs in singapore so can i get out side from the airport without paying the transits visa fee or do i need to pay or i cant go out side from the airport,

    • Hi Syed,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      I’m afraid I won’t be able to advise you on the requirements for Indian passport holders as we specialize in South African travelers.

      You will need to contact the Embassy direct they should be able to answer any queries you might have.

  34. Hi.. I am an Indian citizen and have a residence visa from UAE and I have two queries.

    Weare flying from Abu Dhabi to Johannesburg for which I have a single entry visa and then from Johannesburg to Gaberone. On our way back…

    1) We are flying from Gaberone to Abu Dhabi with a stopover in Johannesburg on two separate tickets (one from Gaberone to Johannesburg and the other from Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi the following day). We plan to stay at the transit hotel at O R Tambo since the its a long layover of approx 16 hours. Do we require a RSA transit visa in this scenario.

    2) Alternately if I had a single ticket from Gaberone to Abu Dhabi / Dubai with a stopover at O R Tambo, would I require a Transit visa to transit through.

    In both cases we do not wish to leave the airport

    Thanks

    • Hi Hari,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I’m afraid I won’t be able to advise you on the visa requirements for an Indian passport holder as we specialize in South African travelers.

      I suggest you contact the South African Embassy direct they should be able to give the most up to date information.

  35. HI TEAM, I WILL BE DOING A LONG LAYOVER =20 HOURS IN DUBAI ON THE 17 OCTOBER 2015. KINDLY ADVISE IF I CAN MAKE USE OF THE AIRPORT HOTELS WITHOUT A DUBAI VISA AND WHICH BUDGET HOTELS DO YOU RECOMMEND AND ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AIRPORT. FIRST TIME LONG TRAN SIT FOR ME

    • Hi Nicolette,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      If you are wanting to stay at a hotel without applying for a UAE visa you will need to stay at the Dubai transit hotel.

      You welcome to use the below link:

      With three separate properties, conveniently located near A, B and C gates, their hotels feature 349 well-appointed rooms. Two health clubs. Swimming pools. Two business centres. Access to 14 restaurants and bars.
      It can be booked for an overnight stopover, or just a few hours to refresh and relax. Dubai International Hotel offers the perfect solution. Luxurious and spacious, with facilities and rates tailored to every kind of schedule and need.

  36. Hi,
    Iam travelling on a British passport from Heathrow to Hre on a Virgin Atlantic and changing at OT onto a BA flight, i wanted to know whether i will go through immigration again in South Africa to check in for Hre, or i will just continue from the transit lounge,without the immigration process. i arrive at O Tambo 0905hr and depart for Hre at 12.20hr.
    Thanks

    • Hi Sasha,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      If you are changing planes at OR Tambo this will be your first point of entry into South Africa. You will have to clear immigration at OR Tambo

  37. I’m a S-A citizen working in Ivory Coast. If I wish to fly from Ivory Coast to namibia via Johannesburg, will my passport be stamped at Johannesburg airport for entry into S-A even though I don’t leave international departures?

    • Hi Shukrey, if you’re just in transit, it shouldn’t be stamped, however if you pass through border control then it will be stamped. So if you have to collect your luggage in Johannesburg and check it in again, your passport will be stamped in Joburg.

  38. Hi,
    I am traveling on an American passport from Bulawayo to the U.S. I change flights at OR Tambo from SAA to Emirates. Will I be allowed to access the domestic departure lounge at OR Tambo during my transit to say goodbye to my friends? They will be departing to Cape Town on the same day so I was wondering if we will be able to see each other in the departure lounge even though my flight is international. I will be in transit for 5 hours before my departure. Will I need a visa to access the domestic departure area?
    Will I also need to re check in my luggage from the SAA flight to Emirates?

    • Hi Sakhile, US citizens don’t need a visa to enter South Africa to my knowledge so you should be allowed to leave the transit area. The final say is down to the border agents in OR Tambo as to whether they will allow you, but I don’t foresee there being an issue.

      Regarding your luggage, I’ve checked your booking on our system and SAA should be able to check your luggage through all the way to JFK from Bulawayo. Just check that with the check-in agent when you get to the airport but it shouldn’t be an issue to check it through all the way to the US.

  39. Hi Marcelle, i am a Cameroonian leaving in South Africa, i did applied and got a study visa for my brother who is in Cameroon, he will leave Cameroon to study in Australia, he will transit in OR Tambo, do you by any chance know if he will be able to see me in Johannesburg ( leave the airport to spent some few hours with me) before taking off to Australia?
    Thanks

    • Hi Juliet! I’m afraid I don’t know of the visa requirements for Cameroonian citizens for sure, but I do believe they need a visa to enter South Africa. If that is the case he won’t be able to leave the transit area to see you without a visa I’m afraid.

  40. We are traveling to Germany and our ticket is for Hamburg but we have 7 hours transit in Frankfurt. Can we just stay in Frankfurt and not go to Hamburg. It will be problem for our return ticket?

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      You will need to use the portion of your ticket to Hamburg.

      If you do not you will be considered a no show for this flight, and will be using your ticket out of sequence, which will result in problems on your return ticket.

  41. Hi Marcelle

    I will be traveling from Munich to Johannesburg via Cairo. The layover is 4 hours long, will this require a transit visa?

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Jade,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      Visas are required by South Africans whether travelling as a tourist or on business.
      Visas are not required if passenger remains in the transit lounge less than 6 hours, but the Egyptian Embassy recommends obtaining one in case of emergencies/flight delays.

  42. I hv schenghen visa. M going frankfrut I hv 7 hour stay in abudhabi, can I visit abudhabi or not??

  43. Hi.
    I am south african citizen and are in Dublin(Ireland) i have bought the ticket for brazil via Toronto, i have a connecting flight via Toronto, 5 hour transit on airport, you think can i travel via toronto or not. Will airline let me travel? I do not have transit visa for Canada.

    • Hi Saeed,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      This is the only information I could find with regards to South Africans and obtaining a Canadian visa. I suggest you contact the Embassy direct they should be able to answer any questions you might have.

      Visas are also required by South African passport holders EVEN if they are onboard a ship and do not disembark – if the ship travels via Canada, SA passport holders are required to obtain a transit visa – failure to do so will result in them being denied boarding on the ship.

  44. Hey Marcelle
    I am a south african and I just bought a ticket for Ireland. I have 2 questions.
    1.I was told that as a south african I don’t need a visa to Enter Ireland. Is it true?
    2.I have a transit of 8 hours in Paris, France. South Africans don’t need a transit visa to be at the airport in France. Can I go out of the airport during those 8 hours of waiting period. Or I am not allowed to leave the airport?

    I will be waiting for your reply. Thank you.

    • Hi Rashid,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      That is correct you will not require a visa when traveling to Ireland if you are a South Africa passport holder.

      While in transit in Paris no transit visa is needed however you will not be allowed to leave the airport during this time.

      You welcome to ask the immigration officer to see if they would allow you to leave the transit area and go out into the city however this will be up to their discretion if they permit this or not.

  45. Hi
    I am going to travel from Harare to Dubai. I will have stop over and change the airplane at OR Tambo int. Do i need transit visa if i dont leave the Airport?

    • Hi Mehdi,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I’m afraid I won’t be able to advise you visa requirements as we specialise in South African travellers.

      It’s best you contact the South African Embassy and they will be able to assist with any questions you might have.

  46. Hi Marcelle.
    I am a Namibian Citizen (born there). I am residing permanantly in South Africa for the last 32 years. I have a newly issued Namibian passport received via courier from my intergate immigration agent in Namibia. My question is may I Exit south africa with my new namibian passport which do not have any exit stamp from namibia and entry to south africa and travel to the Uk?

  47. Great! We like this topic.This site has lots of advantage.We found many interesting things from this site. It helps in many ways please keep it up the effective work.

  48. These post are from time ago can you confirm that on. SA passport I will not need a visa for Schipol or Charles de Gaulle if I am only in transit! I dont intend stopping in either country! Thanks you

    • Hi Val,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      This depends. You will need to give the full route of your ticket before we can advise.

      For example: If one is flying to the United Sates via Rome then via Schipol (both EU cities you are in transit) you will require a Schengen visa.

      If you are flying to the United Sates via Rome then onto the States only transiting through one EU State a transit visa is not required.

      So it depends on your routing. I’m afraid we do not specialize in visa’s so its best to contact the Embassy direct or official visa handling agency they will be able to give the most up to date information.

  49. Hi Marcelle,

    I stumbled on your blog which i think is extremely helpful – much better than a lot of the information on embassy websites.

    I hold a Nigerian passport, but work & reside in London. I will be travelling to Mozambique on a business trip and i booked a BA ticket to fly through Johannesburg. The things is – do I need a transit visa? I will not be stepping out of the airport – i have a 1:30 mins window to connect.

    I have checked the South African Embassy website – I must say, the info there isn’t helpful nor clear.

    Please advise.

    • Hi Ivy,

      thanks for getting in touch and glad you enjoy our blogs we put out for our readers.

      I’m afraid I won’t be able to advise you on the requirements for Nigerian passport holder as we specialise in South African travellers traveling abroad.

      You would need to contact the Embassy direct to see if a transit visa is required direct. They will also be able to give the most up to date information as this could change at anytime from their side.

      Best of luck.

  50. Hello –

    I am travelling to Stockholm in Mar and I have not booked the tickets yet. I am thinking of visiting Paris when I am in transit. So my query is, can I move out of Paris Airport when I am in trasit to see around Paris?

    Thanks,
    RG

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      If you have the required documents (Schengen visa) and enough time while in transit to leave the airport and come back to catch your connecting flight it should be fine to leave and come back.

  51. Hi,

    Please can you tell me we travelling to South Africa with our Canadian passport, are we allowed to leave the heathrow airport, we there for 8 hours, than going to Johannesburg. Do Canadian citizens need a visa for London. So we in transit. Not sure if we can go out of the airport and return n time for our flight.

    Thanx
    Pam

    • Hi Pam,

      I’m afraid I won’t be able to advise you on the requirements for Canadian passport holders as we specialize in South African travellers.

      You would need to contact the UK Embassy direct or official visa handling agency they would be able to advise if a visa is required or not.

  52. Hy i am Roman I want to go Fiji. Fiji don’t have any straight flight so I go to transit in Austalia I have Austalia transit visa I am bangladesh passport holder can I go out airport Austalia see the butiful city Sydney

    • Hi Roman,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      I’m afraid I won’t be able to advise you if your transit visa will be suffice for leaving the airport to tour the city. To my knowledge I thing you would need a tourist visa, however I do suggest you contact the Embassy direct they will be able to give you the most up to date information.

  53. Good day,

    I am a South African passport holder and I am considering booking a flight to Lisbon on Taag Angola Airlines. There is a connecting flight in Luanda. Would I need a visa of any variety for a layover of 6 hours on the way there and 13 hours on the way back if I am not intending on leaving the airport?
    I have sent two emails to Angola Airlines (two separate email addresses) and one to the Angolan Embassy in South Africa but have not yet received any replies after a number of days.
    Any information would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Liezel

    • HI Liezel,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      I’m afraid we do not specialize in this area and would suggest you call the Embassy direct.

      They will be able to provide you with the most up to date information.

      Angolan Embassy (Pretoria)
      Telephone No : (012) 342 3696/3671/4739
      Fax No : (012) 342 7039
      Postal Address : PO Box 8685, Pretoria, 0001
      Street address : 1030 Francis Baard Street, Pretoria
      Email address : visa@angolanembassy.org
      Web address : http://www.angolanembassy.org/

  54. Hello

    We are coming back from spain via france and have a 12 hour stop over. I have a schengen visa could I leave the airport and go see some of france before heading back to RSA??

    • Hi Madelaine,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      France forms part of the Schengen state. If you have a valid Schengen visa they should allow you to pass through immigration and visit France before returning to catch your flight back to South Africa.

  55. Hi, thanks for the help.
    I have a 17.5hr wait for an exchange from at flight from Benin to a flight to London at Lagos airport this summer. This is overnight and there is possibility of an overnight stay if I arrange it. Will I need a visa to leave the airport and stay somewhere for that short period of time? This would either be at a local hotel or a Nigerian friend’s house. I am British btw.
    Thanks

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      I’m afraid we do not specialize with visa related queries. For this you will need to contact the Embassy direct.

      They will be able to advise if a visa is requited and if so what the cost is, correct procedures to follow and what documentation will be required.

  56. hi
    I am travelling to mexico with a tourist visa and I am having a transit in Washington, will I be able to do a little shopping outside the airport? Or will they allow me to go out and shop
    thanks.

    • Hi Evans,

      Thanks for getting in touch. It depends what passport you are traveling on. However I suggest you contact the Embassy direct for the most up to date information they will be able to advise accordingly if a transit visa is required or not.

  57. Hi Marcelle Fenix,

    I will be travelling to stuttgart from bangalore india(Air France). I have one flight from bang to paris, and another from paris to stuttgart. What are the transit procedures i need to complete.
    I have 5 hours gap between two flights. I have a schengen visa.
    Thanks

    • Hi Ani,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      It depends what passport you are traveling on as well as the complete routing of your ticket. You would need to contact your travel agent or the Embassy direct advising them of what passport you hold / presenting at check in along with your complete itinerary and they will be able to assist

  58. hey there. hope you’re well..

    I’m just wondering if it’s possible for me to leave the dubai airport with a zimbabwean passport. I am arriving at 6am and leaving the next day at 7am.

    • Hi Tadia,

      I’m afraid I won’t be able to advise you on this as we specialise in South African travellers. To my knowledge you would however please contact the Embassy direct. They will be able to advise accordingly.

  59. Hi Good morning everyone !!!!!!
    I am from Pakistan and I have a 5 years visa of Italy.I am going to Latvia and I have 12 hours stay in Kiev. Can I go outside the airport during my stay?
    Thanks too much

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I’m afraid I won’t be able to advise you on the requirements for an Pakistani passport holder as we specialise in

      South African travellers. Please contact the Embassy direct or official visa handling agency. They will be able to

      to provide you with the most up to date information.

  60. If I’m flying from Shanghai to Peru via Amsterdam and I’dont need a Visa to AMS,( and the waiting time is 12hrs, ), can I get out to the city ?
    Regards

    • Hi George,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      If you are flying on a South African passport and transiting in Amsterdam you will not be permitted to leave the airport unless you have a tourist visa. However for the most up to date information please contact the Embassy direct.

  61. hi Marcelle

    we are Nepales Passport holder. we want to transit for 24 hours in canadada it possible to get transit Visa. in transit visa we can leave airport for 24 hours or not ? we are going to Newzeland Via Canada

    • Hi Madhu,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I’m afraid I won’t be able to advise you on the requirements for a Nepales passport holder as we specialise in South African travellers. Please contact the Embassy direct or official visa handling agency. They will be able to advise on the cost, correct procedures to follow and what documentation will be required.

  62. Hi Please can you advise : I’m a SA citizen working abroad , flying back to SA with British airways from London to Cape town .if I book a flight from Cape town to Windhoek Namibia , and stay in transit , will my passport be stamped for entry back into SA .and also could I stay at hotel In Cape town overnight while being in transit .Would I still have to go through customs if I needed to collect luggage from CT flight , to catch flight to Windhoek.

    • Hi Louise,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Yes when you enter South Africa your passport will be stamped. If you are staying at one of the hotels, you will need to exit the airport and pass immigration.

  63. hi, we hold a schengen visa approved and were going back to riyadh saudi, because we are working there. we are btw filipino’s. we have a long layover for 16 hrs in london heathrow (british airways) and were planning to obtain a transit visa in UK. would it be possible to go out the UK airport for a while during this 16 hrs before our flight. we plan to see big ben and london tower. is that possible for a transit visa in uk?

    • Hi Jeniffer,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      We specialize in passengers travelling on South African passports. However to my knowledge should you wish to leave the airport while in the UK, to my knowledge you would need to apply for a tourist visa.

      For the most up to date information I suggest you contact the Embassy or official visa handling agency direct. They will be able to advise and provide you with the most up to date information.

  64. Hello
    I have a USA visum and i will travel to USA from egypt, my rout is Cairo – Rome, Rome – Madrid, Madrid – New Yourk. My transit in Rome is 2 hours and i will continue ti Madrid and there i have a very long transit time (about 30 hours), so can i leave the airport in Madrid and book a hotell or do anything there until the next flight if i dont have a visa to enter spain (europe) ? And what should i do if i want to enter spain for 30 hours until my next flight?

    • Hi Abdu,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      If you are a South African passport holder and wanting to overnight / spent time in Spain you would require a Schengen visa.

      Even if you are transiting in Spain, you would still require a Schengen visa as you are flying via 2 Schengen countries.

      Please contact the Embassy direct as they would be able to provide you with the most up to date information and answer any other questions you might have.

  65. I am flying to Netherlands and Germany next year, I will have two stops in total each one with more than 20hrs at the airport which is too much for me, one in Cairo and another one in Germany on the way back, will I be allowed to get out of the airport\transit zone as the time is too long.

    • Hi Willhard,

      If you have a Schengen visa you should be allowed to leave the airport in Germany as it is part of the Schengen State.

      For Cairo you will need to contact the Embassy direct and advise them of what passport you are traveling on. They will be able to provide you with the most up to date information if you will require a visa to leave the airport or not. Also ask if in transit and not leaving the airport will you need to apply for a transit visa.

      Please check with both German and Egypt Embassy as this information could change at anytime.

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