Yes, you can typically leave the airport during a layover. However, there are a few constraints and a few factors to consider when exiting and re-entering the airport. You need to consider whether your layover is domestic or international and the time between flights.
Simply put, the exact answer to whether you can leave the airport depends on a few factors, and we will explain all those aspects in this detailed guide. Moreover, we will also tell you the right way to leave during the layover, along with what happens when you leave the airport.
Can You Leave the Airport During A Layover?
For Domestic Flights
During layovers for domestic flights, you are generally allowed to leave the airport. If your domestic layover exceeds one hour, you will likely receive two boarding passes – one for each segment of your journey.
However, if you plan to explore local attractions during your layover, make sure to obtain your second boarding pass and have it printed before leaving the airport. Forgetting to do so may present challenges when trying to re-enter the airport later.
For International Flights
Unlike local layovers, international layovers can be more complicated as you’ll typically need to go through immigration and customs. Well, you should be able to leave the airport during your international layover without any issues if you possess a valid visa for the country you’re transiting through.
However, on the other hand, if you don’t have a visa, staying at the airport during your layover is advisable to avoid any potential complications. Always make sure to check the specific entry and visa necessities for the country you’ll be visiting during the layover.
Do the UK Allow to Leave During Layover?
If you have a layover in the UK, you might need a transit visa to leave the airport and visit a new city unless you fall under one of the following exemptions:
- If you possess a Home Office travel document.
- If you hold a Marriage Visitor visa.
- If you have a Standard Visitor visa.
- If you have an EU Settlement Scheme family permit.
Without any of the above exemptions, you will need a Visitor in Transit visa to be in the United Kingdom for up to 48 hours while looking for the next flight during the layover.
Why Is the United States A Special Case?
The United States differs from other countries for layovers as its airports don’t accommodate international departures and arrivals. That’s why you must go through immigration if you arrive in the United States from another country, no matter where your final destination is.
If you’re not a U.S. citizen, you may require either a tourist visa or an ESTA transit authorisation. Even if you don’t plan to leave the airport, you’ll still have to undergo immigration and customs to pick up and recheck your bags. But how to confirm this? Below section will help you know this.
How to Know If You Can Leave the Airport?
To determine whether you can exit the airport during your layover, ask your airline or the airport authorities directly. You can find these details by getting in touch with customer service or on the airline’s official website.
Additionally, you can visit the information desks or customer service centres inside the airport and inquire about leaving during your layover on arriving at the airport. They can provide you with the necessary details and clarify if you can leave the airport.
Should You Really Leave the Airport?
Deciding whether you should exit the airport in the course of a layover or not depends on several important factors. Go through the following aspects to make a firm decision.
The time between your flights is crucial. If you have an hour or more during your layover, it may be feasible to exit the airport and see the surrounding area. If it is less than one hour, it is too short to enjoy leaving the airport.
Immigration and Visa Requirements
You might need a visa or other travel records to get into the country, depending on your nationality and destination. Make sure to research and understand the visa requirements well before your trip to avoid any issues at the airport.
Airport Security Restrictions
Certain airports enforce stringent security measures that might hinder you from leaving during your layover. To prevent any issues, make sure to review the rules and regulations of the particular airport you will be at.
Airline and Ticket Type
Airlines and ticket types may have varying rules about leaving the airport during a layover. Go through your ticket’s terms and conditions carefully to know what you’re allowed to do during the layover.
Baggage Storage Options
If you have checked luggage, contemplate the choices available for either storing it at the airport or bringing it along during your outing. Certain airports provide luggage storage facilities, whereas others might not extend this service.