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Around 3 years ago I applied for a temporary working visa for the UK, but it got rejected because I lied to the police once and had some old DUI charges. So I never went to the UK.

I recently arrived in Gatwick on a flight from Amsterdam while on my journey backpacking around Europe. I though surely for those offences a tourist visa would be OK, but no. After keeping me all night, they decided to send me back to Amsterdam. They told me the main reason was that I didn't have any documents with me concerning my transit out of the UK (all of it is on the internet).

When in Amsterdam I collected the massive pile of flight information which I had already booked weeks earlier – my flight home to Australia is from London.

Then I tried to catch the Eurostar from Belgium with the documents they'd asked for. The way I was treated was so disgusting that I still can't believe it. I was asked if I was a "Shanty" (whatever that is). When I told an officer that I'd planned to stay in Brixton to see my friend, he asked me, "Is he black?" When I said, "No – she's not," he said, "There's a lot of black people there." This may give you an idea into the kind of "people" I was dealing with.

After hours of intense questioning where he'd try to catch me out on any tiny little thing I said, and actively try to trick me, and say, "This stamp was wrong," or, "That stamp doesn't exist" and me having to grab the passport and show it to him, they said no, because now they thought I'd work illegally. They knew I wasn't going to, and they knew I knew. It was just about them winning and me doing as I was told. Even if they were wrong.

He told me there was nothing stopping me going to Dublin. So, with only a few days left on my Schengen visa, I did. And they, like every other country I've been to in my 4 years of backpacking, let me in. And today I flew to Glasgow, and soon I will take the train to London.

My problem is, I have a flight booked from London to Iceland, then a return flight to London, where I have 5 days before my flight back to Aus., and they will again probably stop me. My question is this: if I enter the UK from the EU and am rejected again, what will they do with me if my visa is not valid anymore for the country I arrived from? If they'll send me home, that's fine, and to be honest, I'd love to see the UK pay for that after all the money and stress they've caused me. My other question is – if I book a connecting flight to Dublin – will I still have to pass immigration? Or can I stay in the security area?

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Iceland is a member of the Schengen Area, but not an EU member. When were you born (this is actually relevant for your rights in the UK as a Commonwealth citizen)? Who payed for your flight back to Amsterdam after you were refused entry in Gatwick? How did you get through immigration in Glasgow when arriving from Dublin? More details on your criminal record (when were you sentenced to what) may also be relevant. –  Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jan 7 at 19:30
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@Annoyed:"But if you have a connecting flight and you are already on your way out, they are unlikely to prevent you[...]". I would definitely NOT count on common sense of the border patrol. It is not their money they would have to invest to make life miserable for other people and they can always hide behind bureaucracy. –  Thorsten S. Jan 7 at 19:30
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If "they" send you home, it'll be "you" that pays for the flight, not them... –  Doc Jan 7 at 20:47
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What's relevant at this point is that you have been refused entry, and that alone is always going to make further entry difficult. Your correct course of action is to obtain a visa for entry to the UK, and that is what you should have done after your initial refusal. For many countries this is mandatory after having been refused entry, and whilst I don't think that's the case for the UK, it would still be the recommended path to go. –  Doc Jan 7 at 21:16
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I think you may mean a DUI charge. A DIY charge is something completely different. –  DJClayworth Jan 8 at 14:14

3 Answers 3

I'm sorry, but you've screwed yourself well and proper here. Not only have you been refused entry three times in a row, which means that any future visa applications will be treated with extreme prejudice, but you've now illegally entered the United Kingdom as well.

To expand on that last bit, just because there are no border controls between Ireland and the UK doesn't mean that your Irish visa gives you any right to be the UK. Per section 2.6, you should have applied for a visa, or at the very least presented yourself to an immigration officer at the border:

...the following do require leave to enter the United Kingdom on arrival from the Irish Republic:

Persons who have at any time been refused leave to enter the United Kingdom and have not since been given leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom.

Persons from the above categories who enter the United Kingdom from the Irish Republic without leave do so in breach of Article 3 of the Immigration (Control of Entry through Republic of Ireland) Order 1972 (as amended) and are illegal entrants.

However, not all hope is necessarily lost.

First, the United Kingdom is one of a few countries without exit immigration, so now that you're in the country, illegally or not, there's nothing stopping you from leaving to Australia... or Iceland.

Second, major airports like Heathrow allow visa-free transit. Since both your flights from Iceland and to Australia are international flights, you can complete the transfer without ever passing through immigration, if and only if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. You're arriving to and departing from the same airport
  2. You can check your bags through to Australia (unlikely), or you have no checked baggage, so you don't have to pass through Immigration to fetch and recheck it

I can't find anything that says you can't spend 5 days airside, but obviously you'll want to change one of your flights to minimize this if at all possible.

But if you can't meet those conditions, then I'd advise you to forget Iceland, lay low in London, and head home to Australia. Immigration detention is not fun, and it's entirely possible that they wouldn't even let you on the plane in Iceland, in which case you'd be even more screwed.

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Who would prevent boarding the flight in Iceland? Surely, the airline has no access to previous UK entry decision. Wouldn't he still look like a regular Australian citizen who does not need visa? –  Relaxed Jan 8 at 9:03
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Airlines supply API data to the UK, which I presume would flag undesirables in return before they get on the plane. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-Borders –  jpatokal Jan 8 at 9:39
    
Thanks for the link, I didn't know about that program. Still, it seems that, if anything is done at all, it's being used to stop people at the arrival gate: theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/09/… –  Relaxed Jan 8 at 11:47
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Heathrow may allow visa-free transit, but I have been stopped by UK Immigration while checking in. So there's a small chance that "Annoyed" will have more interaction with Immigration. –  Josh B Jan 8 at 12:30
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One of the conditions of visa-free transfer is that you can spend only 24 hours in the UK. –  DJClayworth May 21 at 13:11

Here's what ended up happening-

I flew into Glasgow from Dublin with no problems, once there I caught a bus down to London. Also with no issues. I spent a while there, saw the sights and caught up with old friends. Just like I stated I would.

Then after much contemplation decided to take the leap and continue with my return trip to Iceland, consequences be dammed!

As some people on here have stated, leaving the UK was no problem, I got a puzzled look when the immigration person saw my rejection stamps but other than that it was all ok.

Went to Iceland, had the most amazing leg of any journey in that wonderful place… then it was time to try return to London. I had booked a transfer from London to Dublin for the return, hoping I could evade the immigration “system” but there are certain connecting airlines that have to clear immigration before continuing to there connecting flight. There is actually a massive sign listing who needs to clear immigration and who doesn't. Of course all the Irish connections did, so they got me again.

Even though I had done everything I had told them I was here to do i.e. tourist things, I'm sure they weren't too happy with the fact that i had disobeyed them. I won't go into all the details but basically they put me in a detention centre for a week untill my flight home was due (the one I had booked months earlier).

It was quite an experience, I got the rare opportunity to meet real asylum seekers and hear about the true ordeals people face and the heartless system of our well-off nations. I shared rooms with people being sent home to certain death, it was a really eye opening experience. And I'm glad it happened the way it did.

I hope this helped anyone in a similar situation.

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+1 for coming back to tell us what happened, although I do hope you realize you're likely banned from the UK for life now... –  jpatokal May 20 at 3:41
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Its too late for this now, but I would have suggested extending your stay in Iceland and simply transiting through the same airport which would avoid immigration. –  Burhan Khalid May 20 at 4:07
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Thanks for letting us know, it's interesting to hear your experience and a shame you weren't able to use the advice provided through this forum to avoid this exact outcome. –  imoatama May 20 at 4:40
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@jpatokal Are you sure these things are for life? I would suspect some limit of 10 years –  andra May 20 at 12:00
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I'm not sure what the formal limits are, or how his final attempted entry was recorded, but three refused entries and one possible deportation is really not going to look good the next time he applies for a visa... –  jpatokal May 20 at 12:58

The first thing a traveller in trouble should do is contacting their embassy/consulate. As you are in Glasgow now, the next Consulate is in Edinburgh:

Mitchell House
5 Mitchell Street
Edinburgh EH6 7BD
Tel: +44 131 538 0582

Unfortunately it is an Honorary Consul (meaning that he isn't really paid for his job and has very limited rights, so do not expect much). Perhaps it is better that you call directly the Embassy in London:

Strand
London WC2B 4LA.
Tel: 020 7379 4334

Explain your situation (and DO NOT LIE !!!!). Hopefully they can sort out the trouble you are in.

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It is unlikely that the Australian embassy in London will be able to have any influence on any decisions made by the UK Border Agency. –  Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jan 7 at 19:03
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Glasgow is still in the UK, at least until the Scottish independence referendum in 2014. My best bet would be to stay in the UK and leave with the already booked flight to Australia. Ben already told why he was refused entry. Why do you think that the Australian embassy will get a different explanation from the UK Border Agency? –  Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jan 7 at 19:26
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I honestly think you are mixing a lot of concepts here. Even if Scotland and Wales are relatively independent, they do of course practise the same immigration policy as England, all being part of the UK. From what Ben writes in his question, one cannot assume that he currently is illegaly in UK and there is no reason to expect problems when leaving London on a flight to Australia. He has been refused entry several times, but is as an Australian citizen not required to obtain a visa in advance and entered the UK regularly on his flight to Glasgow. –  Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jan 7 at 23:52
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@Thorsten S.: As there is no exit immigration in the UK, he will not be 'caught' when departing. –  jpatokal Jan 8 at 5:34
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That would probably work, but it's going to be a hassle alright, and you're taking a bit of a risk anytime you fly to the UK. The Australian embassy is not going to report anything to the UK, but they can't fix this for you, all they can do is offer you advice. –  jpatokal Jan 14 at 1:22

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