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 or Day Travelcard.
  • 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). Find prices for daily capping and Day Travelcards.
  • 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 £5 (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 £14.20 at peak times and £8.10 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.

You 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:

Cancelling your card

If you'd like to cancel your Visitor Oyster card before you've used it, you can ask for a refund by emailing tflenquiries@visitbritainshop.com.

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, or lend it to family or friends.

If you'd rather get your remaining credit refunded when you no longer need your card, you can do this in person, by post, or phone. This depends on whether you're still in London, and whether you live in the UK or abroad. Please note that the £5 cost of the card is not refundable.

If you're still in London

Get a refund in person

If your remaining credit is £10 or less, you can get a refund from a Tube station ticket machine.

You can also get a refund at a Visitor Centre (except Gatwick).

Your Visitor Oyster card will be cancelled when we process this refund, but you will still be able to use it to take advantage of special offers and discounts.

If you've left London and live in the UK

Get a refund by phone

Call:
0343 222 1234 (Charges apply)

With your:

  • Visitor Oyster card number
  • Address
  • Bank details - account number and sort code

We may ask you to post your Visitor Oyster card to us.

If you've left London and live abroad

Get a refund by phone

Call:
0343 222 1234 (Charges apply)

With your:

  • Oyster card number
  • Full address including country and postal, zip or area code
  • Email address

We may ask you to post your Visitor Oyster card to us.

Get a refund by post

Send your Visitor Oyster card and contact details (name, address, email address and phone number) to:
TfL Customer Services
4th Floor
14 Pier Walk
London
SE10 0ES

We will then contact you to process any refund you may be due.

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:

  • most Tube stations
  • our 8 Visitor Centres
  • Victoria National Rail station ticket office

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.