The UK remains one of those countries where to get a visa is quite difficult. Firstly, due to the large number of documents, secondly, their consideration is quite picky and even if the traveler has collected the entire package of documents (which can reach 70-80 sheets !!!), there is no guarantee that he will receive permission to enter the country.
However, if you go on a trip to Canada, the United States, New Zealand or Australia, you get a chance at least to have a look at London without obtaining a visa. This feature is called a visa assignment. Let's figure out how to get it.
Refresh your English!
When choosing tickets for flights across the Atlantic, you can often see attractive prices offered by British Airlines, KLM and other airlines. But travelers are discouraged by layovers at London Heathrow or Gatwick airports. So, you should not be afraid. In this case, the same visa assignment should work.
The fact is that passengers traveling to the countries listed above, if they have tickets of an airline, a valid visa of the arrival country (or residence permit) and return ticket, are given the opportunity to leave the transit zone for the city. The time frame outside the zone should be no more than 24 hours. That means, when choosing a flight, you can plan your connection with the desired duration.
In order to use the visa assignment, you need to fill out a special form in English before passing the passport control. The form contains many questions regarding your trip, so the information should coincide with that indicated in the tickets, you will also be asked about the purpose of your trip to the city and the place to spend the night if you plan to stay in London overnight. Basically, you can specify any real address of your friends or book a hotel via Booking, and then cancel it. It is also preferable to print all your tickets and reservations: it will be easier and quicker for an officer to check everything.
In any case, the decision on whether or not to let you out is made by the visa officer. And the final decision depends only on him or her, and as well as on your personal charm and good luck. But it's worth a try.
If this information is not found, go to the website of the International Air Transport Organization IATA or the website of the British Migration Service. You will find the latest and reliable information about the conditions for obtaining a visa assignment and the rules of transit only there.
Have a fun-filled night!
We are not going to tell you what to do in London in the afternoon. This city is so powerful, interesting and multifaceted that everyone will find something to enjoy - walks, tours, visiting museums. But if you get a chance to spend a night in the capital of Britain, remember, the prices even for hostels are rather big, especially if the overnight stay falls on a day off. In this case, the most modest hostel costs 30 pounds, and a hotel at Gatwick Airport will cost from 60 pounds. Of course, you can spend a night at the airport, but, you see, this is not the most convenient option. Try couchsurfing. People of different nationalities live in London, and you can always find those who speak your language or are close to you in spirit and occupation.
Metro is the only transport that you are guaranteed to reach Heathrow Airport in an hour with. If you are to fly from Gatwick, then you need to live in the area of the Victoria station, where the Gatwick express departs from. The journey takes 30 minutes. Remember that the metro is open from 5 am to 11:30 pm.
If your trip takes place in the summer, and the weather allows, then it is quite possible to spend the summer night walking around the city. You can complement them with travel on night buses, which run from 11 pm to 5 am. Bus schedules and their routes (there are 53 of them!) can be found even on Wikipedia.
You can enjoy London at night in one of the late excursions through the city at night - from the bus trip to the walking tour through Jack the Ripper places. We strongly advise you to choose a route and book a tour in advance.
You can spend the night in one of London's nightclubs. The main of them are concentrated in the areas of Soho and West-End. But there is an option to stick around in a traditional pub. We recommend the two oldest ones - Lamb and Flag, which has been working in the same place since 1623, and Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, which was established in the late 17th century. They say that it was in Cheshire that Dickens loved to spend his time. So, you will have the opportunity to spend the evening the way the famous writer did. And you can meet the dawn in the establishment Duck & Waffle, which is located on the 40th floor of a skyscraper located at 110 Bishopsgate.
English outlets are 3-prong and with grounding. Take care of this in advance, otherwise you will have to spend time searching and buying an adapter in London, which is much more expensive than ours. You can charge without problems only at the airport, where USB charging is installed.
Have we convinced you? Try it! And don't worry that you will not sleep at night. After all, you have a long flight across the Atlantic ahead, which means that 6 hours of sleep on board an Airbus are guaranteed.