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The story goes as I met my wife online, I am from the UK and she is from USA. Also I am muslim and she is now also but wasn't always. I visited her in August 2015 for 2 weeks- we have been in a relationship since July 2014. This situation may seem weird but stay with me- I came back to the UK and she converted to islam a couple of weeks later on her accord, and she wanted to get married, however we were in different countries therefore we did a religious ceremony over skype.

In January 2016 she visited me for one month in the UK after which she obviously went back home. Now, the issue is that we booked a ticket for her to come back here again to visit me for under 6 months, however she was denied entry from dublin (where her connecting flight was) and was sent back home immediately even though we had a return ticket and fully intended on returning before the 6 months had ended. We feel she was sent back because she initially said she was just wanting to travel more of the UK since she didn't get to do much of it last time and wanted to visit friends more- they had suspicion of her lying and took her phone and worked out she is married (only in the religious sense though so still technically engaged)- the legal ceremony hasn't been carried out yet.

The immigration officers wrote on a letter how she was low/ no risk, well behaved and compliant and told her to go to an embassy in the states to get a visa if she wanted to come back again. They requested she get a marriage visa... I am wondering, is there any way in which she can just visit me instead of applying for a marriage visa as that requires me earning 18,600 and I am only temping at the moment.

She only wants to visit for a short period but I called a company called Visalogic and they said she would most likely not be able to come into the country without the visa? How can it be that she can't even visit, even though she has a return flight and fully intends to return home.

Can someone please advise me on what to do please?

Many Thanks in Advance.

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The problem is that she needs to convince the border officials that she intends to return home, and that can be hard to do. They are required to presume that she intends to immigrate; she has to overcome that presumption. Someone who badly wants to settle in the UK could buy a round-trip ticket, for example, and simply throw away the return portion of the journey. She could apply for a general visitor visa and have the consulate evaluate her intention not to move to the UK; if she can do that, she should have an easier time at the border. I have no idea what her chances for success would be. – phoog Mar 18 at 21:35
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Indeed, it will be hard for her to convince the officials that the intends to return home, because several elements of your story would lead an official to believe that she has reason to stay illegally in the UK: a spouse (or fiancé) in the UK; a long visit duration; and deception about your relationship and the purpose of her visit. If she does apply for entry clearance from the Consulate, it will help if she can show strong ties to the USA, such as a stable job, family she takes care of, property she owns, etc... All of this indicates an intent to return home and not overstay. – Zach Lipton Mar 19 at 1:43
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Worth mentioning: You don't need to go through a coampny (that will charge extra) like Visalogic. You can find out all about the relevant visas (and apply direct through the UK government) here: gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/tourist-short-stay-visas – CMaster Mar 19 at 8:10

She only wants to visit for a short period but I called a company called [random company name goes here] and they said she would most likely not be able to come into the country without the visa?

"...most likely..." get removed again is correct. When somebody gets removed from port the odds are pretty good that they will need an entry clearance to get back in. This is not a requirement and it is not always the case, and sometimes people show up again and get admitted without an entry clearance. But most of the time they get removed again.

It's common for gf's visiting bf's in the UK to engage the Immigration Officer in a 'cat-and-mouse game' about the true nature of their visit. In fact we had one four days ago (Refused 'Leave to Enter' at Gatwick Airport UK (and subsequently removed)) and another one (Refused leave to enter uk) and another one (Getting refused entry and removed at Heathrow, X in passport), and despite the letter saying she was compliant etc, they will have also recorded that she did not play it straight up and that gets them annoyed. That increases the likelihood of a removal from port.

How can it be that she can't even visit, even though she has a return flight and fully intends to return home?

This is because it is massively difficult to unwind a situation where the person has not been forthcoming with an Immigration Officer. Also, as pointed out in the comments, the presence of a return ticket (although required at a port of entry) does not indicate an intent to obey the rules, and her intentions are irrelevant because they stop trusting a person when they have been caught playing 'cat-and-mouse'.

Can someone please advise me on what to do please?

Two options are open...

  1. Show up at a UK port and seek 'leave to enter' as an American visitor. As explained above the chances of success are small, but there is nothing in the rules that forbid someone trying this strategy;
  2. Get an entry clearance from the British Consulate General in New York in the form of a Standard Visitor Visa. When someone has an entry clearance, they are 'cleared to enter' and the IO's interview is much more structured and formal. It means she will not get grilled about your relationship.

Alternatively you can try one of the family formation routes, please use Expats for questions about those visas.


Note: the linked questions/answers in the archives can be valuable reading for you. I was planning to mark your question as a duplicate, but there are enough differences to make it unique. There's more reading at http://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/removal

Note: removals from port do not generally attract a ban, but deception in a visa application will attract a 10 year ban. Your gf should make a full disclosure about her relationship, how it started, what happened throughout the course of it and so on.

Note: There is a forum at UK Yankee especially dedicated to US/UK couples who are in a long distance relationship. You can go there and start a thread that links to this answer and get some reactions from the crowd there. Removal/Refusal of the US person (usually female) is a known commodity and there are some that have shared your woes.

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