Non-EEA immigrant travelers are expected to wait for around 45 minutes to clear customs at Heathrow Airport. Additionally, EEA immigration travelers can simply wait for 25 minutes to clear customs.
Heathrow airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. Naturally, people will expect long lines and substantial wait times for boarding.
Add customs to the mix, and you have the perfect recipe for disaster. However, not a lot of time is required at customs for some people.
For other travelers, a wait time of 45 minutes is required. These problems in customs can make people miss their flight by a hairline.
To avoid facing problems like these, you need to be aware of the circumstances at Heathrow Airport. I am a frequent flyer in the UK and need to go through Heathrow customs for everything I bring from my business trip.
In this article, I will detail Heathrow Airport’s customs operations and the required wait times. Additionally, I will give you extra information about the airport so that you can avoid any unforeseen trouble.
What Time Does It Take To Get Through Customs At Heathrow?
The wait time for non-EEA immigrant travelers at Heathrow Airport is about 45 minutes. Other travelers can clear customs within 25 minutes at the airport.
Waiting times suck, especially when you have a flight to catch. A layover or connecting flight is always a source of anxiety for many travel people.
When traveling to a different country, you need to add customs problems; voila, you have an unnecessarily long waiting time. Unfortunately, these rules cannot be skipped, and it is not much you can do to avoid them.
What you can do is enquire about the processes of customs at Heathrow Airport and prepare yourself for the wait. In case of a connecting flight, always book one with a good time gap to allow passengers Through Customs.
Knowing how long it would take for you to pass through customs becomes essential. At Heathrow, you will need only a few seconds if you carry duty-free stuff in your luggage.
However, you will be delayed for a while if you are caught having taxable commodities. You will be stuck for a while if you belong to a non-EEA nation.
People from non-EEA nations can expect a wait time of 45 minutes at customs. The terminals at Heathrow Airport are running low on efficiency, so the wait time is surprisingly high.
The EEA terminals are much more efficient and won’t need much of your time. I have passed through their customs in under 15 minutes every time.
If you have a lot of goodies, you might have to hang back for 25 minutes. However, people with less baggage won’t require so much time.
You need to be extra careful about these timings so that you don’t miss your connecting flight. Plan your journey well in advance and include wait times when booking the second connecting flight from Heathrow.
What Is The Fastest Way To Get Through Heathrow Customs?
To get through customs faster at Heathrow, you must keep all your documents handy. Additionally, you can use the e-passport gate to avoid lining up for passport verification.
The wait time at Heathrow customs is a big boring task that needs to be completed. However, it is not always necessary to wait for a long time to clear customs.
From my years of travel experience, there are a few tips and tricks that I can share to help. You can use these tips to avoid breaking your line or spending too much time here.
First and foremost, you need to use the e-passport gates that virtually scan your passport and take your picture. You need to have your passport in good condition to scan quickly.
Additionally, you must remove any other clothing not present in the picture. Getting through e-passport terminals can help you avoid breaking the lime.
Make sure to complete all your personal work before joining the line for customs. Take that bathroom break because the wait is pretty long.
There is no need to rush since it will only cause further confusion. Keep all your documents ready to go for the security personnel.
You should also avoid taking a flight that arrives during rush hours. During rush hours, the gates are almost always packed with people.
Do I Need To Go Through Customs For A Connecting Flight At Heathrow?
Yes, you must get through customs at Heathrow if you fly a domestic connecting flight from the airport. However, going through Customs is unnecessary if you take another international flight.
International travelers who arrive at Heathrow Airport have two options. They can either catch a domestic connecting flight or an international connecting flight.
If they book a domestic connecting flight, they must clear customs before boarding their next flight. There is no need to clear customs if they are traveling to yet another country from Heathrow Airport.
Customs are not applicable for people who are already flying domestically within the country. If you reach London on a domestic flight, customs are not required.
Is 1.5 Hour Layover Enough In Heathrow?
Yes, a 1.5-hour layover at London Heathrow Airport is enough for EEA immigrant travelers. For non-EEA immigrant travelers, you need to have a layover of 2 hours to be carefree.
If you have a layover, it’s important to consider custom wait times. Now, while it only takes 25 minutes for EEA country passport holders to clear customs, other factors must be considered.
You must wait to get off the plane, collect your baggage, get them through customs, check them in for the new flight, and then proceed to board the new flight. When you add wait times for all these activities, 1.5 hours will be over in a blink.
People who hold non-EEA immigrant passports need to have a layover of 2 hours minimum. The sole reason for the delay would be the 45 minutes they spent at customs.
Heathrow Airport can be extremely slow at times. The customs desks can be especially slow when you are in a hurry.
There is always a chance of missing your flight if you are not careful enough. You must remember what I’ve said about wait times to avoid these scares.
Here’s a quick recap of what I’ve discussed in this article.
Travelers with non-EEA passports will need 45 minutes to get through customs at Heathrow. EEA passport holders and international travelers taking connecting flights will require under 25 minutes at customs.
My name is Jeyn Dashner and I am the founder of WanderFever. I have worked as a travel journalist for many years, and exploring new places is my greatest pleasure in life.