Direct Airside Transit Visa Exemption

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Old Mar 25, 19, 9:46 am
  #1  
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Direct Airside Transit Visa Exemption

Greetings all:
Looking for assistance to avoid a potential denied boarding situation as a result of interpretation of exemptions to a DATV.
Reference to a somewhat similar incident here: Direct Airside Transit visa exemption + BA check-in staff
  • DBCME+1 traveling South Africa to Spain next month via British Airways
  • +1 holds a South Africa Passport
  • +1 has a valid US Visa
  • Airside connection in LHR T5 to T3
  • Normally, this would require a Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) as per UK.GOV: https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/s...ewhere_else/no
  • Although +1 does not pass through immigration, the airline would reportedly require this DATV in order to check in
  • There are a number of exemptions for a DATV, one such exemption is a valid US Visa, irrespective of whether US is part of the itinerary.
Simply following that website one could conclude +1 is exempt and no further action is required. This is backed by Home Office official report (see page 26 (exemption documents) which link to page 29 "valid visa for entry to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA – the passenger does not have to be on their way to the country for which the visa is held."

HOWEVER, MoveUp (UK Visa Solutions for South Africans) says the information is outdated and in fact +1 would not be exempt- therefore requiring the DATV.

Question: What can we reasonably do in advance to ensure no problems at check in (short of obtaining a DATV - not enough time remains)?
The other thread mentions https://www.timaticweb.com/ as the potential source the check-in agent would use to determine document requirements. There must be a better solution than just showing up at the airport and hoping for the best....
We are flying first class, so I checked with BA Concierge; friendly enough, but said they can't assist with hypothetical situations for travel next month.

Thanks in advance

Last edited by DBCme; Mar 25, 19 at 9:48 am Reason: added emphasis to key messages
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Old Mar 25, 19, 10:08 am
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The Government website is correct. You do not need a DATV with a valid US visa.
(Obvious I'm sure, but +1 will need a Schengen visa for Spain).
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Old Mar 25, 19, 10:10 am
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What specifically does TIMATIC say?
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Old Mar 25, 19, 10:20 am
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The Visa check in Expertflyer's Travel Information section polls TIMATIC I think?

Information as of 25MAR19 / 1618 UTC
National South Africa (ZA) /Embarkation South Africa (ZA)
Transit United Kingdom (GB) /Destination Spain (ES)
ALSO CHECK DESTINATION INFORMATION BELOW
United Kingdom (GB) TWOV (Transit Without Visa):
Visa required, except for Nationals of South Africa transiting
through London: Gatwick (LGW), Heathrow (LHR) or Manchester
(MAN) with a confirmed onward ticket for a flight to a third
country on the same calendar day. They must:
- have a visa issued by Australia, Canada, New Zealand or USA,
and
- stay in the international transit area of the airport, and
- have documents required for the next destination.
- This TWOV facility does not apply to passengers transiting
to Ireland (Rep.).
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Old Mar 25, 19, 10:50 am
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DBCme and + 1 really thank you all for your prompt and detailed replies.

AND, that was the last nudge I needed to subscribe to ExpertFlyer Pro.
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Old Mar 25, 19, 11:04 am
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The UK government also produces this document:

https://assets.publishing.service.go..._Sept_2018.pdf

which in particular has numbers for air carriers to call in case of doubt. You can print this off to give to airlines who do not understand.

It says (and South Africa is listed in RED)
Nationals of the countries shown in RED (underlined) above need a visa to transit AIRSIDE unless they hold one of the following:
(i) a valid visa for entry to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA (whether or not the holder is travelling to or from these countries);
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Old Mar 25, 19, 12:13 pm
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One need not subscribe to EF in order to obtain travel document requirements. There are a number of carriers which provide direct IATA TIMATIC access without charge. I happen to find the UA portal the most customer friendly.
https://www.united.com/web/en-us/app...TIMATIC&POS=US

This is what the check-in agent will see in front of her and it is what she is trained to rely on. It is generally a poor idea to rely on print outs of other documents as staff are trained to rely on the database and not anything handed to them. Same goes for calling ahead. Phone agents are poor at this and prone to misinformation.
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Old Mar 25, 19, 12:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
One need not subscribe to EF in order to obtain travel document requirements. There are a number of carriers which provide direct IATA TIMATIC access without charge. I happen to find the UA portal the most customer friendly.
https://www.united.com/web/en-us/app...TIMATIC&POS=US

This is what the check-in agent will see in front of her and it is what she is trained to rely on. It is generally a poor idea to rely on print outs of other documents as staff are trained to rely on the database and not anything handed to them. Same goes for calling ahead. Phone agents are poor at this and prone to misinformation.
Thank you. And agreed, all that matters is what the check-in agent decides, and his/her information comes from this source - so that should be where to focus.

Plan is just to check in as normal, raise none of this, so that hopefully it's a non-issue given the TIMATIC readout.
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Old Apr 26, 19, 2:18 pm
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Returning here to post the outcome. Due to the poorly understood, often misinterpreted policy by an assortment of (non-FT) "experts" - we were FAR to anxious to wait until day of travel to determine whether +1 could fly or not.

So we went to the airport a couple weeks before departure, presented selves and the situation. The private security firm (screener) before you speak with the check-in agent said it was not allowed. We pushed and finally spoke to a Duty Manager. He was friendly and helpful, thanked us for coming in to ask, as far to many people show up at JNB airport thinking they can fly - and they cannot. In our case, as every poster has said on here, no problem with a DATV since +1 has a U.S. Visa traveling to a third country.

Then on check in day, no questions asked whatsoever.

A fine outcome.

Thanks again everyone.
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Old Apr 27, 19, 9:28 am
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Thanks for the feedback
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