Mayor of London

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 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 £6.40.
  • By comparison, a Zone 1 and 2 Day Travelcard is more expensive and will cost you £12.
  • Use your card and save money with special offer and discounts at restaurants, shops and entertainment venues.

A number of international travel agents also sell Visitor Oyster cards. Find your nearest agent.

How to use a Visitor Oyster card?

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.

If you don't touch in and out on a yellow card reader,  you might be charged a maximum fare, charged a penalty fare or prosecuted. Find out more about touching in and out.

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.

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 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 and TfL Rail services

  • Check the table of pay as you go fares for Tube, DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail.
  • Check the single fare finder to find out how much you'd pay for a specific journey (e.g., going from Heathrow airport to Piccadilly Circus).

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 £4.40. You can't use cash to pay for your bus fare.

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 Visitor Oyster card is accepted on Thames Clippers river bus services and gives you a 10% discount on all single journeys, except route RB6. Find out more about the River bus.

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 it until your next visit to London, or lend it to family and friends.

For a refund of any unused credit, you can:

  • Get a refund of up to £10 credit at a Tube station ticket machine.
  • Take your card to a Visitor Centre.
  • Post your card to us with a note, asking for a refund.

If you take your card to a Visitor Centre, your refund will be paid in cash or by debit/credit card, depending on how you paid originally. Your Visitor Oyster card will be returned to you for future use

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 get a  Young Visitor discount added to the card at:

    • a central London Tube station (Zone 1) and Heathrow Airport terminals
    • Visitor Centres
    • Victoria National Rail station ticket office

    This this gives your child a half adult-rate discount for up to 14 days. You will need one card per child aged 11-15.

    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 and Thames Clippers river buses.

    Find out more about Visitor Oyster card special offers.