Take the 2-minute tour ×
Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

So this is the situation I find myself in.

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 DIY 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 that 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 a wonderful thing called the internet)

So, 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 even asked if I was a "Shanty" (whatever that is) And when I told an offiicer 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. Complete bastards and I'm still so disgusted at their behavior. After hours of intense questioning where he'd try to catch me out on any tiny little thing I said, and actively trying to trick me and saying "this stamp was wrong" or "that stamp doesn't exist" and me having to grab the passport and show it to him. After hours of this 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 Ive 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?

Thanks so much for any advice you can give- I really have had enough, they almost broke me at one stage.

share|improve this question
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
@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
If "they" send you home, it'll be "you" that pays for the flight, not them... –  Doc Jan 7 at 20:47
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
@Doc: Having an issued tourist visa for the UK is actually still not a guarantee that you are granted entry. Even with a visa, the entry clearance officer may reject you at the UK border if he assumes that the conditions for issuing a visa is no longer met. Just as when refusing entry for persons not usually required to have a visa, this decision is at the discretion of the entry clearance officer and may not be appealed on site. –  Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jan 8 at 0:02
show 22 more comments

2 Answers

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.

share|improve this answer
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? –  Annoyed Jan 8 at 9:03
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/… –  Annoyed Jan 8 at 11:47
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
@jpatokal: +1, thanks for the clarification. I erronously assumed that exit immigration must be passed and if it is true what you said I can only say to Ben that he was indeed very lucky to be in a country which does not have exit immigration....whew. –  Thorsten S. Jan 14 at 1:14
add comment

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:

London WC2B 4LA.
Tel: 020 7379 4334

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

share|improve this answer
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
@Tor-EinarJarnbjo: Sure, but they can get that piece of information and tell Ben that decision. If it comes to the worst, they should be able to get him a flight back from Glasgow to home even if he loses his money for the London ticket. Pushing his luck and driving with a train to the UK and hoping for the best after repeatedly rebuffed does not sound like a good idea. Do you have a better one ? –  Thorsten S. Jan 7 at 19:20
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
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
@Thorsten S.: As there is no exit immigration in the UK, he will not be 'caught' when departing. –  jpatokal Jan 8 at 5:34
show 6 more comments

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.