As I was shopping online for airfares from Washington area to Delhi on Oct-2, I came across this incredible price of $569 return fare on British Airways (via Travelocity). Normally any price below a thousand bucks is considered a deal. So, as I was drooling over that price (the site said only 3 seats were left at that price), I considered if I needed a transit visa if I bought this itinerary that transited through London Heathrow.
First, a word about my immigration status. The USCIS’ terminology used to describe my status makes me feel like an extra-terrestrial as well as a criminal. As a professional waiting for my permanent residence card (green card), I no longer need or get a conventional visa for entering the US. I am an “alien” who can enter the US on a “Parole” document.
So, to get an answer to the question as to whether I needed a transit visa at Heathrow, I scoured the Internet. I got all kinds of answers, so finally decided to hear it from the horse’s mouth. For my paricular case, the UK Border Agency clearly says on its website:
Holding either an I-512 Parole letter …….does NOT qualify for exemption from the DAT (Direct Airside Transit) visa requirement.
However, it says if you hold a regular visa or permanent residence permit to US, Canada or some other countries, you will not need a transit visa.
So, that was that. I was not going to make the rounds of the British Embassy for a transit visa, or risk getting stranded at any airport. So, I decided to not buy the $569 British Airways ticket.
Turns out, the deal was not really a deal, but a “mistake” on part of BA. It was apparently the $40 round trip ticket that was summing up to $569 after taxes.