Trouble with one way US to UK?

Nov 29th, 2013, 12:01 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2013
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Trouble with one way US to UK?

I am an American flying to Birmingham in 3 weeks with a one way ticket that departs from Washington D.C. I am going to visit my boyfriend, who is English, for a few months. I am aware of the 6 month limit without a visa. I was planning on purchasing my return ticket later on however, since I am not sure when exactly between my arrival and June I will be returning. This return date is depending on my boyfriends schedule, which is why it has not been booked yet. Am I going to have issues getting through customs once I am in Birmingham if I do not have a return ticket already purchased?
lherdm20 is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 12:20 AM
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It isn't customs that is your issue it's immigration. Can't you book a return which has no change penalties? You are going to have problems without a return ticket.
Havana128 is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 12:41 AM
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You should post this to specific expat/immigration forums, not a travel site.
It's not so much the absence of a return ticket as not having a definite return date that will be one of the issues you will be grilled on, because one of the conditions of being granted leave to enter as visitor is that you have strong ties in US that will compel you to return. Such ties can be a job, educational course or family responsibility (such as caring for a sick or disabled relative), with relevant documentary evidence, such as letter from your employer or your school. If you don't have demonstrable ties, you will be staying with your boyfriend and can't show funds considered sufficient for such a long stay (say around 1,000 pounds or $1,600 a month), there is a good chance you will be denied entry and sent on the next flight home.
And your problem may start even before you get to UK, as the airline may not let you fly if you don't have a return or onward ticket.
Alec is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 12:55 AM
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Visiting your boyfriend on a one-way ticket will almost certainly cause the Border Agency to look closely at your entry.

They'll be interested to know how you will support yourself in the UK and when you're leaving. So, whatever they ask, don't lie or obfuscate.

Makes far more sense to have a return ticket, not only is it cheaper than two separate tickets, but reassures everyone that you're not going to stay illegally. Be prepared for things not to go smoothly.
sofarsogood is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 02:16 AM
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You have two red flags: boyfriend and no return ticket. If you are under 30, you have three red flags.

I would be surprised if they let you in. Given no ticket, a boyfriend and ( presumably ) youth, you represent a huge risk to them of overstaying the limit.

You can't avoid being (presumably) young and in love, but you can lower one of the flags by having a return ticket. If you can't afford one, that is red flag number four: young, in love, no return ticket, and poor.
Ackislander is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 04:23 AM
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You can buy return tickets that, even though they don't have an open return, allow you to change the return date by paying a reasonable penalty. I got this kind of ticket from British Airways once when I went to the US. I had to change it twice, but it was cheaper than buying an open return ticket or two one-way tickets.
bvlenci is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 04:29 AM
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And your problem may start even before you get to UK, as the airline may not let you fly if you don't have a return or onward ticket.

I agree! I'm an American living in the UK, so my round-trip tickets are UK>US>UK. When I return to the UK after home visits, the airline usually wants proof that I have a visa to remain in the UK.

During the flight you fill out a landing card, entering the address you will be staying at while in the country, and other information. When you arrive, the UK Border Agency will want proof that you will be leaving, since it is very difficult to track down illegal immigrants once they are allowed entry. That is why you will be asked many questions, and very likely denied entry without a return ticket.
Heimdall is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 05:52 AM
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We booked one way in April. Took a transatlantic cruise so only had a one way. Problem as I saw it is that one way costs as much as a RT. Depending on change fees, might be better to book RT within the confines of the immigration requirements and change it later
jan47ete is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 06:27 AM
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In I don't know how many passes through the UK border I have never been asked about onward travel plans. Honestly, if they ask what your onward travel plans are, just saying "I don't know - maybe France" will probably get you past the officers.

Overstaying a visitor's visa will obviously present you with problems (as it would anywhere) but your plans as you describe them are perfectly reasonable. "I'm staying with friends but don't know exactly when I'm going home, I'll get my ticket when I know," will probably elicit a comment about the validity of your visa, but I'd be shocked if it resulted in your being denied entry.
Gardyloo is online now  
Nov 29th, 2013, 06:29 AM
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It sounds like you have 3 red flags and I woud definitely expect to be pulled aside by Immigration and being asked to prove

1) that you will be returning to the US (to a job or school you have paid for or a house/art that you own

2) that you have enough money to support yourself for the length of your stay (credit cards, money in savings or checking account)

3) that you have health insurance that covers you for the length of your stay (they don't want you using national health since you are not paying taxes there)

You MUST understand that they have the absolute right to deny you entry. There is no recourse. You have no RIGHT to enter thei country.

I wold get all of your details organized before even attempting to fly (and yes, the airline in the US may refuse your outward flight if they think you will not be admitted to the UK)
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 06:44 AM
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get a return ticket before you leave US,
bilboburgler is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 06:46 AM
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If you look like a typical tourist, with a good budget, respectable occupation, staying in hotels etc, then the immigration will quickly make an assessment and stamp your passport for entry. But someone like the OP stands out a mile away because of their age, profile and personal information given on the landing card, and because of the reasons respondents have raised, has a good chance of being denied entry.
Alec is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 06:54 AM
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In today's economic environment I can't imagine this not raising flags. Just get the return ticket and save yourself the stress.
jamikins is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 07:13 AM
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Where did the OP indicate her age? And have you ever looked at the queues of people lining up for the border control kiosks? I'd guess the average age to be well under 30. Can you cite instances where any of the thousands and thousands of Australian gap year kids with nothing more than a backpack to their name have been turned away at the UK border?

I started going back and forth across the Atlantic when I was in my mid-20s, many times on one-way tickets, and I'll say it again, I have never been asked to show a return ticket or evidence of confirmed onward travel plans. If you have, or know of people who have, then that's useful information for the OP.

Now maybe if I were traveling on a Libyan passport, or Pakistani, things would be different. (Sadly, I have indeed often watched the UK immigration officers putting African and Asian people through the wringer at Heathrow) but that doesn't seem to be the case with the OP.
Gardyloo is online now  
Nov 29th, 2013, 07:22 AM
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The border control has become a lot stricter in the last few years as UK tightens visa regime and tries to cut inward immigration.
My comment is based on real-life experience of assisting migrants into UK on a daily basis.
Alec is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 07:31 AM
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Also a lot of Australians, Canadians, NZers etc but not Americans are eligible for working holiday visa (now called Tier 5 youth mobility scheme) valid 2 years, and some Commonwealth citizens can get ancestry visa valid 5 years, so they don't require close scrutiny and don't need a return ticket.
Alec is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 07:32 AM
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I know when I moved (as a postgrad student) to the UK I had to register with the ominously-named "Office of Firearms, Dangerous Drugs and Aliens" at the Edinburgh police department. No editorial content there.

Perhaps the OP should phone a UK consulate and suss things out before she travels.
Gardyloo is online now  
Nov 29th, 2013, 07:38 AM
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...Nor did the OP indicate his/her gender
BomDiaLisbon is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 07:54 AM
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Those Australian kids likely have visas under the youth mobility scheme - see

Not an option for US citizens.
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 29th, 2013, 07:59 AM
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Police registration for US students was abolished many years ago.
UK consulate don't give immigration advice. You can read the general visitor requirement in
Alec is offline  

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