Welcome to another edition of Travelstart’s FAQ Friday with me, Nick Paul. This week we are talking about UK Transit Visas and for those of you who are avid FAQ Friday subscribers, you will know that we have covered this before. So why are we covering it again? Well, quite simply, there have been a few changes. So let’s have a look at what these are.
Previous UK Transit Visa rules
Previously, travellers transiting the UK would have needed a Transit Visa except if they are travelling to the USA, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand and held a visa or valid residency permit for those countries.
What is the major change?
While those rules are still true, you are now allowed to transit via the UK to any destination if you hold any of those 4 visas I mentioned earlier.
Category D EEC Visa
Also included in this rule are holders of a valid Category D EEC Visa. The EEC is the European Economic Community. It is similar to but not exactly the same as the Schengen Area. A Category D Visa is a long-stay visa for the purposes of work, study, or retirement in an EEC country.
Irish Biometric Visa Holders
Also exempt from a UK Transit Visa are holders of Irish Biometric Visas. South Africans rarely hold these kind of visas as we don’t need a visa to enter Ireland for the purposes of tourism. If you don’t have this visa for Ireland, you will need a visa to transit the UK on your way to or from the Republic of Ireland.
When will you need a Transit Visa to travel via the UK?
NB: Everyone who doesn’t hold a valid visa or residency permit for the USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand will need a transit visa to travel via the UK, except in the situations mentioned above.
There are a few situations where you will still need a Transit Visa to travel via the UK. These are situations like when you are travelling to the Schengen States on a Category C or Tourism Visa. You will also need a Transit Visa if you transit overnight in the UK. And thirdly, there is the landside transits. These are where you collect your luggage and pass through immigration before connecting to your next flight, except if you are transiting landside on the way to the USA, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand and hold that valid visa for those countries.
Also, as mentioned above: If you don’t have a biometric Irish visa and are transiting the UK to or from the Republic of Ireland, you will need a visa to transit the UK regardless of the fact that you hold one of the other visas mentioned above.
When do these changes come into effect?
It is important to note that these changes only come into effect from 1 December 2014.
How much does a UK Transit Visa cost?
So what happens if you still need a Transit Visa? There’s good news there too. The price has gone down to just 30 Pounds for that visa which is currently around R550.
So 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 section below and please remember to subscribe to our channel. Thanks!