Question About Entering the UK

Feb 17th, 2013, 06:18 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
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Question About Entering the UK


I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice about a trip to the UK.

My situation is this- I am a United States citizen with a valid passport, but in 2012 I overstayed my visa-free three months in the Schengen area by one month. I exited the Schengen area on December 31st, 2012, and am currently outside the EU visiting family. I received a ban on re-entering the Schengen area for 6 months in the mail and they photocopied my ticket and passport as I was leaving, but I have nothing on my passport aside from the entrance and exit stamps that show the dates.

I am going to be returning to the US soon, and I was wondering whether it would be possible to stay in England for a week or so as a tourist on my way home. I know that US citizens can stay for 6 months without a visa, but I have also heard that the UK has one of the most strict border controls in the world.

Since England is not a Schengen country, would my overstay be an important issue? I could show them proof that I have money/a hotel for my stay in London and a return ticket to the US, but I am wary of buying a return ticket for a week after my arrival in London if they end up denying me entrance, as I would then have to purchase yet another ticket home.

I know that it will all depend on the officer I run into, but I have never been to England before and have not experienced their border patrols. I was wondering if you think it is likely that I would be denied entrance.
daisy456 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 06:31 AM
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I think any answer you get here will be pure conjecture. I'd suggest trying if you can afford the expense of being denied entrance. If you cannot afford a new ticket or change to the one you buy in advance of going to the UK then best go home and see the UK another time. If computers are linked, and they likely are, then there is a policy which will how they proceed, not the whim of an officer.
MmePerdu is online now  
Feb 17th, 2013, 06:43 AM
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You've done nothing wrong in the UK, but yes your passport file may well be tagged as a person who does not obey the rules in which case, if it has, you will not be believed.
bilboburgler is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 06:56 AM
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I don't think anyone here can give you a realistic answer.

But I think there is a significant chance that you will be pulled aside for a detailed Q&A session before they allow you to enter the UK. And they may well decide not to let you enter at all.

If it's that big a deal to go to the UK consult an immigration attorney to find out what's likely to happen. If it's not worth it to you to do that - just forget the UK and head straight home.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 08:54 AM
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But consider yourself lucky with only a six month penalty. On another site a young lady who was one day over (thinking 3 months and 90 days were the same) reported an immediate 500E fine. You do have to learn how to count if you are going to travel.
fmpden is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 09:10 AM
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This link might provide some guidancebr />

You haven't breached any of the UK immigration laws, there is nothing on there that says breaching anyone else's immigration laws means you will be denied entry into the UK. I would also advise you to take professional advice. It has nothing to do with the officer you run into, it has to do with following rules.
Odin is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 09:30 AM
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Thanks for your help/suggestions- it's not a huge issue for me to visit the Uk, but it would save the expense since I'm already on this side of the Atlantic, and I haven't disobeyed any of the UK's laws. But it seems like I wouldn't be able to get a firm answer beforehand, and I can't afford buying a ticket just for them to reject me. But I thought that since I don't have anything on my passport they might not bother looking into the system if I presented my return ticket. Does the UK share electronic records like that with the Schengen countries?

Do you think if I contacted the British Embassy in the country I am staying in, they would give me an answer, or would it just send up flags?

Also, do you think it will matter if I try to enter in the following year/s? Will I really be free to travel in both the UK and the Schengen area once this 6 month period is up? It's hard for me to tell because the amount of patrols in all the different countries is so different it is ridiculous. When I entered the Schengen area they didn't even bother to look at/through my passport, but when I left through another country they made a huge fuss about not even believing my passport was real -_-...and that was even before they looked through the stamps on it and saw that I had overstayed a month.
daisy456 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 09:45 AM
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and fmpden,

Thank you, I do in fact know how to count and it didn't just slip past me that 30 extra days had gone by. I was aware of the consequences and did not provide you any personal information as to why I needed to stay the extra time. Nor is it really relevant at all to the questions I am asking here.
daisy456 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 09:51 AM
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Oh yes… all governments like to know who is trying to cross their borders and share information.


Probably not because they do not enforce the UK border and wouldn't take a decision one way or the other. Likely they'll just say its a matter for the UK Border Agency and you won't know their decision until you try to enter the UK.

You said earlier that you were banned from the Schengen area for 6 months - after that it sounds as though you are free to enter, but expect to be closely questioned on your return. As for the UK, who knows, the only way you'll find out is by trying to enter. Catch 22 isn't it?

I'd stay away for six months and not abuse immigration controls in future.
sofarsogood is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 09:58 AM
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I'd stay away for awhile if I were you. The UK was the one place where immigration questioned me extensive about my travels- being a young single woman.

Not going to comment as to the visa overstay but in the future you should really check your dates. Especially as the UK seems to be hardening its stance on all immigration.
emily71 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 10:19 AM
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The UK uses the theory that if you have overstayed in one place, then you'll overstay in the UK.

At the very least expect additional questioning but there won't be an automatic ban.
alanRow is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 10:32 AM
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thanks again- I think i will only try to enter if I can find an airline that allows me to change the dates of my flight. I have heard from other places as well that they seem to find younger women more suspicious for some reason, and that was why I was a little concerned. Also, since I wouldn't be entering from the US but from an Eastern European country, it looks like it would probably be a better idea to go home first.

I have entered Europe twice before and both times they never really looked at my passport, but England seems like it is much stricter. To be honest, in Europe they don't even check your boarding pass against any ID, which seems like it should be pretty concerning.
daisy456 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 10:48 AM
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I have never flown anywhere in Europe where my passport and boarding card haven been checked less than 3 times before boarding an airplane. Check in, security (although sometimes they don't verify the passport), and upon boarding the plane. I find that very strange. None of those are border control checks however, and if you were travelling between schengen countries there would be no official passport controls so I am guessing that is what you mean. UK is not in schengen and therefore you have to go through the immigration checks (as you do upon entering the USA).

Overstaying a visa is just a silly idea, I'd pay more attn to that next time. The consequences can be severe and expensive.
jamikins is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 11:51 AM
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In the UK they look more closely at young people since there are so many who come with the idea of staying illegally.

Even without this problem on your record they would likely ask the reason for you visit, the dates of your visit, proof of where you are staying, that you have a return or onward ticket, proof of financial resources and proof of health insurance (they do NOT want to pay for you on their National Health dime).

If you do not have the latter - assume they will not let you enter.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 12:18 PM
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"...proof of where you are staying, that you have a return or onward ticket, proof of financial resources and proof of health insurance..."

Never been asked for any of these.
MmePerdu is online now  
Feb 17th, 2013, 05:33 PM
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The last time I was asked for that information I was 20.

More mature travelers are typically not asked for any of them.

Young travelers - who are the most likely to stay on illegally - esp if they appear not well off - are often asked these questions. And someone who has already proven they are willing to flaut the immigration laws is much more likely to be questioned closely before being admitted.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 06:30 PM
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Mme: "Never been asked for any of these."

That may very well be - but MANY (and not just young 'vagabonds') are asked those questions and more.

And have you honestly never been asked for your UK address? I am asked that probably half of my visits (one to three times a year for the last 20+ years)
janisj is online now  
Feb 17th, 2013, 10:22 PM
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Janisj, yes, asked but never asked to PROVE my UK address. That was the statement. In any case, we write it on the form, don't we?

My tale of youthful indescretion in the UK goes something like this. Eons ago, when I was young and broke and had been in Europe for 6 or 7 months I received a telegram in Mallorca from my grandmother who was in London and asked me to join her. I managed to get the funds together for a ticket and off I flew with about a pound in my pocket. When I arrived I was asked how much money I had with me and, silly me, I told the truth. Despite the telegram and her being registered at a very nice hotel, since she'd run off to Stratford and they couldn't verify with her, I was put under "supervision" at LHR and not allowed to leave. A friend's businessman boyfriend came next day to bail me out just as my grandmother returned to town and all ended well. My point, it was a real shock to be required to follow the rules and ignorance of them was no excuse. And things have gotten worse for rule breakers since then, I believe, so best to pay attention.
MmePerdu is online now  
Feb 17th, 2013, 11:39 PM
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nytraveler wrote: >>> and proof of health insurance (they do NOT want to pay for you on their National Health dime).<<<

There is no mention of travel insurance as a requirement to enter the UK on the UK Border Agency website.

>> More mature travelers are typically not asked for any of them.<< How do you know this, do you work for the UK Border agency?
Odin is offline  
Feb 18th, 2013, 12:24 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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There is no simple set of rules foreigners can refer to that will determine their treatment by UK immigration officials.

ANY foreigner (except citizens of most EU countries) is admitted, with or without a visa, and whether or not his nationality and status requires a visa, if and only if the immigration officer is satisfied about a number of things, including:
- the prospective visitor's ability to sustain himself
- the likelihood the visitor will leave on or before the date for which permission is given
- whether the visitor will become a drain on public funds
- whether the visitor will honour the terms on which entry permission is granted (which almost always include not working and not starting a course of study)

The poster's passport clearly shows the poster cannot be trusted to obey the terms of his entry permission. The near-certainty is that he will at the very least be interrogated for a lengthy time if the agent checks the passport, and that entry might be refused: it's quite possible, depending on current industry knowledge, the carrier won't even accept him in the first place when he checks in on a plane or train.

Other foreigners' experience is totally irrelevant. Unless the poster changes his passport, he'll show a document that will set off alarm signals, should the border agent (or check in clerk) check it properly.

It's impossible to forecast how rigorous passport inspection will be, and worse than unhelpful to pretend the poster's experience will in any way resemble other people's.

There's a significant likelihood the poster won't be admitted. No-one here can quantify that risk: the poster has to ask, like all punks, whether he feels lucky.
flanneruk is offline  

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