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Go through immigration arriving Heathrow T3 from US, transferring to T5 for Scotland flight?

We're arriving at LHR # 3 from Dallas on American, and have a flight to Inverness Scotland on British Airways two hours later from LHR# 5.

I have heard conflicting info regarding this transfer. One person said that we can bypass going through immigration, another said we need to go though immigration. Has anyone done this transfer recently for a flight going to another city in the UK? Our flight arrives 7 am @ LHR, assuming it's on time.

Posted by
2125 posts

You go through immigration when you cross the UK border. In this case it's at LHR when you make your way to Termnal 5.

Posted by
7689 posts

Go to the Heathrow Flight Connections Guide at heathrow.com. You enter both of your flight details and it will give you exact directions on what to do, where to go. Easy. This will answer all your questions and be correct. We couldn’t believe how easy it was using this guide.

Posted by
4678 posts

You will go through immigration after doing the airside transfer by bus to T5 by following the connection signs. This is a separate facility to those directly leaving T5, and leads into one of the 2 main security halls for your onward flight.

Don't go through immigration in T3 by following arrivals.

Posted by
153 posts

I knew we would have to go through immigration, just didn't know if we do that in T3 or after arriving in Scotland.

Suki, I looked at the Heathrow Flight Connections Guide. It says we just need to follow the purple signs, but that means we don't need to go through immigration. Were you transferring to a domestic UK flight?

ramblin' on says we need to go through immigration when we cross the UK border, which looks to be the case since we are going to Scotland. The two (apparently) conflicting posts from both of you is exactly what I was referring to in my original post.

EDIT: Based on what Marco is saying, we don't need to go through T3 immigration, but will do that in T5 after taking the transfer bus there. That's great!

Posted by
153 posts

One thing that's still not clear is when do we go through Customs? Will we do that after we arrive in Inverness, Scotland?

Posted by
743 posts

Follow the Connections sign, as others have said. Assuming you do not have checked luggage, or have it checked all the way through on a single ticket? Once you get to Terminal 5, there are BA employees who will help you get through immigration if you show them your connection. (Although I would find a 2 hour connection tight, even with just carryon bags).

Posted by
11243 posts

The Flight Connections page at heathrowairport.com is wrong.

Go to the flight connections desk at terminal 3 and they will transfer you to terminal 5. You will go through immigration and customs there.

Depending on when you will be traveling, you might be able to use the egates for immigration.

There is no immigation or customs for your flight at Inverness. It's a very, very small airport. I flew in and out a couple of weeks ago.

Posted by
4678 posts

Note that if you have any checked bags they will be transferred through, ie no need to collect them at Heathrow, but Customs at Inverness can identify that they originated outside of the EEA (no green stripes on bag tag). Some airports bring these out separately, but I don't know specifically about Inverness in this respect.

Posted by
3 posts

Andy, I was just there. You take the bus transfer to T5, then go through customs at T5. It was really easy, with people there pointing which customs line to enter. Then you are in the correct terminal for your onward flight. Since you enter the UK in London you have to go through customs there.

Posted by
3 posts

Meant to say take the train connection. They have one of those little trains that take you between terminals. Also, my flight was on time, I had an hour and a half connection to Edinburgh, and had plenty of time for getting to T5, going through customs, and catching my flight to Edinburgh.

Posted by
153 posts

Thanks, all for your replies!

It's a relief to know that we won't be standing in huge Immigration lines @ T3, and that we just take the transfer train to T5, go through Immigration and Customs @ T5 dedicated to Transfer pasengers, and then proceed to Security and our flight to Inverness.

Posted by
153 posts

I don't think our passports have a chip since they were issued about 6-7 years ago, we'll be there in late July.

Sorry if I'm beating this to death! ctrouth you're saying I catch a train to T5, others are saying I take a bus. You can see why I'm still confused.

Posted by
13063 posts

Lots of confusion here. First, between “immigration” and “customs”, and second because the OP has mixed up T3and T5 in the recent post.

From the original post, they arrive in T3 on the flight from the US. Then they need to get to T5 for a flight to Inverness. From T3 they will follow the “flight connections” path to the airside transfer to T5 ( a free bus, dedicated to internal “airside” transfers. Airside means you do not go through immigration to enter the country to transfer; you stay in the airport within the secure zone.

But once in T5, you will pass through security, then will go through immigration/passport control (not customs) to reach the gate for the Inverness flight, because they must enter the UK at that point. There is apparently a separate passport control area for this transfer; not a big deal. Luggage if checked through will be picked up in Inverness, where you will “go through customs” ( usually, just a walk through the green door, no more).

Posted by
153 posts

Sorry for the typo in my earlier post said T3 instead of T5, I corrected it. Everything is clear except whether it’s a transfer bus or train (ctrouth says train) to T5. Anyway, we’ll just follow directions once we get there. I was originally concerned whether there was enough time to make the connection since I had read about 2 hour lines for Immigration @ Heathrow.

Posted by
8612 posts

Is this a single booking?

Any checked luggage?

These details may affect what you have to do.

Posted by
11243 posts

It doesn't matter if your computer chip is good or bad. For the last two years, the egates have had a problem reading my passport's computer chip. For those with problems, there is a desk to the side I go to and they can verify my passport and me. It just takes a few seconds. I asked if it will be the same once all Americans can use the egates and they said yes. Anyone who is legally allowed to use the egates can use this help desk if the machines give you a problem.

It's interesting because the UK egates have trouble reading my passport but the Global Entry machines don't.

Posted by
13063 posts

We just passed through Heathrow yesterday. The flights we booked were both on BA, on one ticket, we had one hour 50 minutes to make the connection, which required a transfer from T5 to T3 for the flight to Barcelona. No immigration required for this connection, just the security check. It should have been plenty of time, but by the time we landed, taxied to the gate, and connected the walkway, it was an hour past the scheduled landing time, with only 20 minutes before the gate closed for our second flight. We would not have made it, but BA brought a transfer bus right to our gate for the 21 people on our flight who were going to to Barcelona on that flight. We were escorted to the bus, then to security in T3, allowed to use the priority lane, and then escorted to the boarding gate.

Posted by
4678 posts

This factor is often missed, in that with people with booked onward connections (not two separate itineraries) are all known to BA ground staff and they are able on exert efforts to expedite matters as far as they are in their control in the event of a late arrival of the inbound service, as it is in their interests as otherwise the people would need to be put on a later flight or even accommodated overnight.

The airside connection T3-T5 is by bus, the landside connection is by train (actually one of two as you can use either of the Heathrow Express or the London Underground, both free of charge). It is rarely better sense to go landside though.