United Kingdom/Bangladesh: Information on transit procedures at Heathrow International Airport, including whether all persons encounter British immigration and customs officials, whether there are "sterile" transit lounges in the airport where a person can disembark from an airplane without having to pass through immigration and customs, and on whether an exception could made for a person holding a passport from Bangladesh
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||19 July 1996|
|Citation / Document Symbol||ZZZ24633.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, United Kingdom/Bangladesh: Information on transit procedures at Heathrow International Airport, including whether all persons encounter British immigration and customs officials, whether there are "sterile" transit lounges in the airport where a person can disembark from an airplane without having to pass through immigration and customs, and on whether an exception could made for a person holding a passport from Bangladesh, 19 July 1996, ZZZ24633.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aafc67.html [accessed 12 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The following information was provided in a 16 July 1996 telephone interview with a chief immigration officer at Heathrow International Airport.
According to the source, a large proportion of passengers who transit in Heathrow International Airport do not come into contact with immigration or customs officials. The official was unfamiliar with the term "sterile" being used to describe transit lounges, but did note that there are airside transit lounges that are secure and not open to the general public. The source stated that it is possible for a passenger to fly into Heathrow airport, disembark and move between airside transit lounges, as well as transfer between geographically separate terminals by means of external shuttle transport, without having to pass by immigration or customs officials.
A passenger in an airside lounge is considered to be in transit and has not been granted entry in the United Kingdom. An individual will not come into contact with immigration or customs officials if they remain airside, unless customs officials perform a "sweep" of their lounge. Any passenger who is airside cannot leave this zone without passing through immigration and customs.
A national of Bangladesh can be granted entry into the United Kingdom without being in possession of a visa. At the discretion of a chief immigration officer, an individual with a Bangladesh passport may be granted the privilege of transit without visa for a period not exceeding 24 hours. The individual must have a confirmed booking and proper documentation to be granted this privilege. Once a transit without visa has been granted, the individual can pass through immigration and customs and leave the airport. Once the person passes through immigration and customs he or she is considered to have been granted entry into the United Kingdom.
Please find attached an excerpt from the July 1996 Travel Information Manual (TIM) which provides additional information on travel restrictions in the United Kingdom.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
United Kingdom, Home Office, Heathrow International Airport. 16 July 1996. Telephone interview with a chief immigration officer at Terminal Four.
Travel Information Manual (TIM) [Hoofddorp, The Netherlands]. July 1996. pp. 385-90.