My mom has lived in the UK from 2002 to 2007 illegally. She overstayed, her children who were with her during those years are British citizens and we plan on going back this year for 2 weeks. Will she have a problem getting into the country?

  • why? @HankyPanky Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 13:56
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    What is her citizenship, and what visa is she considering applying for? I assume a standard visitor visa? Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 14:07
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    Also what visa did she arrive on in 2002, and by how much did she overstay? Did she arrive on a visitor visa and stay 5 years? Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 14:31
  • This is a long shot, surely, but if your mother is dependent on one of her British citizen children, and if that child lives in another EU or EEA state, then your mother should be able to claim a derivative right of free movement under EU law, in which case a previous overstay cannot be used to deny her entry to the UK. If this is true, she should probably get an EEA family permit before the trip.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 17:18

1 Answer 1


Your mother may possibly be OK.

It's probably going to depend on whether the UK authorities are aware of her previous overstay. If they are, then she will certainly have 'problems'. Whether the problems are enough to prevent her getting a visa is something only the UKBC or someone with more experience than me can answer.

If they are not aware, then she may be OK simply because the Standard Visitor Visa Application now only asks about travel within the last ten years. Your mother can truthfully answer "no" to the question about whether she has visited Britain in that time. There appear to be no questions that would require her to divulge her earlier history. Of course if she was deported, removed, or required to leave Britain because of her overstay then she will have to declare it (but in that case the authorities are aware of her overstay already).

She has two ways to find this out more certainly. One is to apply for a visa, answer all the questions truthfully, and see what happens. I would certainly want to make sure she provided lots of evidence that she has strong ties to her home country, both in case authorities are aware of her previous overstay, and also because as a mother with several grown-up children in the UK she will anyway be under suspicion of wanting to overstay.The other is to consult a UK lawyer (beware of people claiming to be experts in this field who are not British lawyers). This will be more expensive than an application, but runs no risk of making her case worse.


The news that your mother is a US citizen changes things a bit. Your mother has the option to visit the UK without a visa. She can just show up without having to fill in the forms or get her biometrics done. This does make the process simpler and cheaper, but it increases the risk somewhat, in that if the UK connects her to her overstay then they may deny her entry at the border, forcing her to get on a plane back to the US. If she were to apply for a visa (which you can do, even if you are eligible to enter without one) it is virtually certain that if she is granted a visa she will be admitted.

  • during her 4-5 years in the UK she was on a Jamaican passport and in order for her to travel to the UK she had to have an invitation sent by a friend who was living in England at the time stating why she was coming and the address and name of that friend. she now has an American passport with a different last name than the one she used to get into England. She left on her own she wasn't removed, required to leave or deported. Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 15:26
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    @thomasinaewing the different name may make it more likely that they don't connect your mother to her earlier history, but it doesn't legally disconnect her from her earlier history. If they ask her, for example, "have you ever overstayed," then she must tell the truth. The question is not "have you ever overstayed after entering with your US passport," after all. If she answers such a question in the negative, and they have connected her to the Jamaican passport, she will have earned herself a ban.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 17:14
  • @GayotFow This would be the kind of question where your input would be appreciated. Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 17:39
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    +1... GayotFow PM'd me and offers this: the mother was out prior to the 2008 deadline and can benefit from that. There will be big problems in other areas, but if she left in 2007, she’s protected by the concession. Should take documentation on the concession because many IO’s may have forgotten.
    – Giorgio
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 21:04
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    Here's the similar Q&A in which both GayotFow and the OP recommend applying for entry clearance in advance.
    – Giorgio
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 21:57

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