Visitor Oyster card

Visitor Oyster card cut-out image

What is a Visitor Oyster card?

A Visitor Oyster card is a smartcard. It's a quick and easy way to pay for journeys on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail, River Bus and most National Rail services in London.

Put money on your Visitor Oyster card and use it to pay as you go.

Why buy a Visitor Oyster card?

Save time

  • Buy a Visitor Oyster card before you leave home and have it delivered to you.
  • Your card is ready to go as soon as you arrive in London, so no queuing at stations.

Great value

  • Pay as you go fares are cheaper than buying a paper single ticket.
  • Your Visitor Oyster card offers daily capping. This means you can travel as much as you like in a single day and the amount you pay for your travel is limited (or capped). For example, you can travel as many times as you like in a day in Zones 1 and 2 (from 04:30 to 04:29 the next day) and you won't be charged more than £6.50.
  • By comparison, a Day Travelcard is more expensive and will cost you £12.10.
  • Use your card and save money with special offer and discounts at restaurants, shops, galleries and entertainment venues.

On Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London

  • Touch your Visitor Oyster card flat on a yellow card reader when you enter a station to start a journey
  • At the end of your journey, touch your card flat on the yellow card reader as you leave the station; this means you'll be charged the correct fare for the journey you've taken

On bus and tram services

Only touch your Visitor Oyster card on the yellow card reader at the start of your journey. Don't touch out when you get off a bus or tram, or you will be issued with a penalty fare.

On the Thames Clippers River Bus services

Only touch in with your Visitor Oyster card on the yellow card reader when asked to do so by a member of staff and remember to touch out again at the end of your journey.

You can't top up pay as you go credit on your Visitor Oyster card at the pier, so make sure you have enough credit before you travel.

How much does a Visitor Oyster card cost?

A Visitor Oyster card costs £3 (plus postage) and is pre-loaded with pay as you go credit for you to spend on travel. You can choose how much credit to add to your card: £10, £15, £20, £25, £30, £35, £40 or £50.

The credit on your card never expires - it stays there until you use it. If you run out of credit on your card, it's easy to top it up and use it again.

How much pay as you go credit to add?

  • If you're visiting London for two days, start with £15 credit.
  • If you're visiting London for four days, start with £30 credit.

Pay as you go fares

Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and National Rail services

  • Check the single fare finder to find the cost of a journey between two stations (e.g. from Heathrow Airport to Piccadilly Circus)
  • For pay as you go caps and Travelcard prices, check the fares table

Bus and tram services

On buses and trams an adult single pay as you go fare is £1.50 and the daily fare cap is £4.50. You can't use cash to pay for your bus fare.

Trains to/from Gatwick Airport

You can use pay as you go using your Visitor Oyster card on National Rail services between Gatwick Airport and central London, including Gatwick Express services:

  • A single journey on Gatwick Express costs £19.80 at all times
  • A single journey on Southern or Thameslink train services to/from central London costs £14 at peak times and £8 at off-peak times

Thames Clippers river bus services/Emirates Air Line cable car

River buses and the Emirates Air Line cable car are great ways to explore London.

Your can pay as you go using your Visitor Oyster card on Thames Clippers river bus services. Find out more.

Your Visitor Oyster card is accepted on the Emirates Air Line cable car. Pay as you go fares are up to 26% cheaper than buying a paper single ticket. Find out more about Emirates Air Line cable car.

Top up - add more credit to your card

If you run out of credit on your Visitor Oyster card, it's easy to top it up at:

Unused credit on your Visitor Oyster card

The pay as you go credit on your Visitor Oyster card never expires so you can keep your card until your next visit to London, or lend it to family and friends. Please note that the £3 cost of the card is not refundable.

For a refund of any unused credit, you can:

  • Use a Tube station ticket machine for balances of up to £10 (after 48 hours of using the card for the first time)
  • Take your card to a Visitor Centre
  • Post your card to us

If you take your card to a Visitor Centre (except Gatwick), your refund will be paid in cash or by debit/credit card. Your Visitor Oyster card will be returned to you for future use.

If you get a refund of up to £10 at Tube station ticket machines, your refund will be paid back in cash dispensed from the ticket machine. Your Visitor Oyster card will be cancelled, so you won't be able to use it again. However, you can keep your card as a souvenir and still use it to take advantage of all the special offers and discounts available with a Visitor Oyster card.

If you post your card to us with a note asking for a refund, we'll refund any credit by cheque in GBP, although we cannot return your card.

Send your card to:

TfL Customer Services
14 Pier Walk
4th Floor
London SE10 0ES

    Travelling with children

    Children under 11 travel free on buses and trams. Children under 11 also travel free on Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and some National Rail services when accompanied by a fare-paying adult (up to four children per adult).

    If you're travelling with children aged 11-15, buy a Visitor Oyster card before you leave home and, when you arrive in London, you can ask a member of our staff to add a Young Visitor discount to a Visitor Oyster card at:

    The Young Visitor discount gives your child half adult rate pay as you go discount for up to 14 days.

    You can also buy child Travelcards online for children aged 11-15.

    Find out more about travelling with children.

    Special offers and discounts

    With your Visitor Oyster card you can enjoy special offers and discounts and save money in leading London restaurants, shops and entertainment venues - plus discounts on the Emirates Air Line cable car.

    Find out more about Visitor Oyster card special offers.

    Where to buy a Visitor Oyster card

    You can't buy a Visitor Oyster card in London.

    Go to visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk to buy your card before you leave home and it will be delivered to your home address.

    No time to buy online?

    If you don't have time to buy your card online, you can also buy a Visitor Oyster card before arriving in London from different locations in the UK and overseas.

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