So I was turned around from Heathrow airport in 2012 after customs stopped me and asked me what my plans were in London. I told them I was there to Dj...they then asked me if I was making any money. Not thinking anything of it I said I was and they asked how much. I told them $500...which wasn’t even true, I didn’t know if I was making any money or not. They then brought me to a holding room and asked me a bunch of questions and eventually they told me they didn’t believe me about not making money and sent me back to US.

Now fast forward 7 years my wife has bought us tickets to Heathrow for May. And now I am of course kind of freaking out because I have a stamp in my passport with an X over it.

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    What are your plans for the new trip? Are you a US citizen? Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 0:31
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    @RaulPeña the purpose of applying for a visa is to basically sort your situation out - you were refused entry at the boarder in 2012, which is a black mark on your slate right now. Only a successful entry or a successful visa application can remove that mark, so the question is whether you want to take the risk of travelling and being refused in May, or applying for a visa now and either be denied prior to travelling (at which point you can make other arrangements) or receive a visa which pretty much guarantees you entry when you present yourself at Heathrow. The visa removes all doubt.
    – user29788
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 5:29
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    @Raul Peña The UK visa site gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/usa/tourism advises that as a US citizen you are eligible for visa-free entry but you may want to apply for a visa if you’ve previously been denied entry.
    – Traveller
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 6:12
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    "I told them $500... eventually they told me they didn’t believe me about not making money" -- confusing. Did you tell them you'd be paid, or not? Did they send you back because they did believe you that you'd be making $500, or because they didn't believe you? It may make a difference whether the refusal was because you openly admitted something that made you ineligible, or because they thought you were deceptive.
    – nanoman
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 6:52
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    @nanoman I get the impression that he told them he'd be paid and then tried to change his story. Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 14:10

1 Answer 1


Seven years ago you presented yourself at Heathrow as a US citizen and requested visa-free entry. Visa-free entry requires that you don't work, and that you do not apply for public funds. It also assumes that you will leave the UK within a reasonable period of time.

When questioned you announced your intention to work, and to earn money for it. Since this breaches the terms under which you would be admitted, you were denied entry.

Now, you're proposing to arrive at Heathrow and request entry a second time. Immigration computers have long memories and the border guard will know about a prior refusal. You will be questioned, perhaps at length. If you try and lie your way through you'll be denied a second time and you can forget visiting the UK for a long time.

You need to persuade the border guards that you will comply with the terms of visa-free entry, and with your previous refusal you can expect them to be skeptical about any claims you make.

You should document links to the US, focussing on anything that requires your presence there, to show that you have reason to leave the UK. You should document your income and savings to show that you can afford your visit. And you need a convincing explanation for why things are different this time and you aren't going to work.

You could just show up at Heathrow with all this documentation and try to persuade the border guards to let you in. It can be done, but you could be detained for some hours.

Or, you can apply for a Visitor's visa before you leave the US. If you get the visa, great! If you don't, you avoid the questions and pain at Heathrow. And if the UK border guards ask why you have a visa, just explain about the prior refusal and that you wanted to be sure you'd be allowed to enter.

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    OP also prevaricated on whether he was working at all, and when he sniffed that working might be a matter of concern to authorities, tried to walk it back. Immigration calls that "deception" and casts shade on any other claim he might make. Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 16:04
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    +1 apply for a visitor visa, if that gets denied you saved yourself a trip.
    – xyious
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 20:01
  • @RaulPeña How did it go ultimately? Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 18:22

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