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Visitor Oyster card

What is a Visitor Oyster card?

Visitor Oyster cards are plastic smartcards you can use instead of paper tickets. You top up the card with pay as you go credit which you use when you travel. It is the cheapest way to pay for single journeys on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, Tfl Rail, most National Rail services in London, Emirates Air Line cable car and River Bus services (MBNA Thames Clippers). You can also use the travel credit on your Visitor Oyster card to buy a ticket for Thames River Services and Circular Cruise Westminster at their ticket offices.

Visitor Oyster cards can be reused and never expire. If you run out of pay as you go credit, simply top up your credit at a Tube station ticket machine, Oyster Ticket Stop or Visitor Centre to use your card again.

Visit the Visitor Oyster card product page

How do I use a Visitor Oyster card?

To use your Visitor Oyster card, just touch the card on the yellow card reader.

  • To pay the correct fare, you must always touch in at the start and out at the end of every journey you make on Tube, London Overground, DLR, TfL Rail, Emirates Air Line cable car and National Rail services. 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.
  • When travelling on a bus or tram you only need to touch in at the start of your journey. 
  • On the Thames Clippers River Bus services, touch in your Visitor Oyster card on the yellow card reader when asked to do so by a member of the staff and to touch out again at the end of your journey.

Visitor Oyster cards are valid across all travel zones in London and automatically calculate the best value fare for all the journeys you make in a single day as long as you have touched in and out. Please note that pay as you go journeys made on Emirates Air Line cable car and MBNA Thames Clippers River Bus services do not count towards daily capping.

How much credit do I need on my Visitor Oyster card?

Sample Oyster card fares for 2018

  • Zones 1 to 2 Tube journey: £2.90 peak, £2.40 off-peak 
  • Zones 1 to 6 Tube journey: £5.10 peak, £3.10 off-peak 
  • Single bus journey: £1.50 
  • Unlimited journeys in one day in Zones 1 and 2 £6.80

Not sure how much credit to buy?

Here for 3-4 days? Get a £30 card. You can always add more credit at a Tube station, ticket machine or Oyster ticket stop if you run out.

See a chart of all the fares

How to claim back unused credit on your Visitor Oyster card

Who can use a Visitor Oyster card?

Visitor Oyster cards are available for adults.

Children aged 11 to 15 can also use a Visitor Oyster card and benefit of the Young Visitor discount – this can be added by a member of the staff at most Tube stations in London and offer children 11 to 15 years old half adult pay as you go rate for up to 14 days.

Children under the age of 11 years to travel for free on Tube, DLR, TfL Rail and London Overground services when accompanied by a fare-paying adult. Find out more about traveling with children


More questions about Visitor Oyster cards?

Can I get a refund of any unused credit at the end of my trip to the UK?

There are three ways for you to obtain a refund on a Visitor Oyster card:

Refunds at Tube station ticket machines

  • You can get up to £10 refunded from your Visitor Oyster card at Tube station ticket machines.
  • Touch your card on the yellow card reader on the ticket machine, select 'Oyster refund' and follow the on-screen instructions (available in different languages). You’ll be shown the amount of the refund due, which will be paid back in cash dispensed from the ticket machine.
  • Your Visitor Oyster Card will be  cancelled. This means that you won’t be able to use it for future travel. You can still use the card to take advantage of the special offers and discounts available with the card.

Refunds at Visitor Centres

You can take your Visitor Oyster card to all London Visitor Centres except Gatwick, to get a refund on any remaining credit. This will be paid in cash or refunded to your debit/credit card. Your Visitor Oyster Card will be returned to you, but cancelled. This means that you won’t be able to use it for future travel. You can still use the card to take advantage of the special offers and discounts available with the card.

Refunds by post

To get a refund by post, you can send your Visitor Oyster card with a letter explaining why you’re returning it to:

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

If you provide a phone number or email address, Tfl will contact you to arrange a bank transfer, otherwise your credit will be refunded by cheque in GBP. Your card will not be returned to you.

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