I'm from a non-visa national country.

I'm planning to visit the UK for 3 weeks or a month for just travelling.

However, I am seriously concerned about whether I can enter the UK with no trouble due to my troublesome immigration history which happened in January 2019.

So here are my full detailed history of visiting or staying in the UK

In 2015, from June to December, I stayed as a short term student visa for 6 months In August 2016, I stayed for a month as a visitor.

In September 2017 to January 2019, I stayed for 1 year and four months to study my masters on a Tier 4 visa.

so what happened earlier this year, when my student visa was almost about to expire, I was not ready to go back to my country for some reasons so I just went to Paris for a few days and came back to the UK right after my student visa expires.

I was seeking for a standard 6 months visitor visa, but the IO was suspicious of me and said to me that "You shouldn't be doing this." Probably the IO was suspicious that I was attempting to take advantage of the visa rule as a non-visa national, in my opinion.

The IO asked me when I intended to leave the UK and I told her that I only needed a week. Then she asked me to show the return flight ticket, which I prepared. After she looked at my return flight ticket, she told me that she would write the exit date I told her on my passport and warned that staying more than one week would make me an illegal stayer. That's when I was given 3 code landing. I got 3 letters and five numbers with the date written on the stamp. The IO ended up letting me in the UK but I failed to get a 6month visitor stamp.

I left the UK exactly the designated date as the IO told me to do so and I'm in my country for almost 10 months now. I also have a job here.

In December 2019 or January 2020, I am planning to visit the UK again as a holiday to see some of my uni friends and travel northern England for at least 3 weeks.

In May, The Home Office announced that people from several selected countries are able to use E-gates from mid-May 2019 and no need to write the landing card nor facing the IOs. My country is also one of those countries, however my concern is that I am pretty sure that I've been flagged due to the struggles with the IO which happened in January this year. Can a person like me who's got 3 code landing which implies negative immigration history use E gates without any problems?

I seriously don't want to face the IO and don't want to be interrogated or worse detained because of my coded landing history when I go back to the UK the next time.

I tried to search for some relevant posts but there are no posts about people using E-gate after being given coded landing or after experiencing troublesome immigration getting through.

I look forward to hearing helpful comments.enter image description here

Update: I arrived in London on the 28th January and I was successful passing the eGates!


1 Answer 1


Yes, you can use the eGates. However, there is a high likelihood that you will be rejected by the gate and redirected to speak to a border officer. This can happen even without a previous immigration issue, for example, if the gate doesn’t match you to your passport photo. I’d estimate around one in twenty people are rejected. In this case you’ll join a much shorter queue than the All Passports queue to see an immigration officer, so it is still preferable.

So you can’t with any certainty avoid speaking with a border officer by using the eGates. If you have concerns, the best thing to do is apply for a Standard Visitor Visa. This will avoid the risk of reaching the border and being rejected.

  • Thank you for your comment. As a non-visa national, I was told many times that we are not required to apply for a visitor visa. I also tried to seek advice on my matter from my fellow locals who deal with UK immigration visas and law, some of them did not recommend applyig for a visitor visa because it will be highly likely to be refused because the act of applying for a visitor visa from a non-visa national would create more suspicion by the HO that the applicant has some serious issue. :(
    – Y Park
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 15:56
  • 6
    @YPark You have gotten some very bad advice. For the UK, applying for a visa even if you are a non-visa national is the absolute best way to clear up any potential immigration issues. Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 17:08
  • 3
    Yes, of course you aren’t required to but it is explicitly recommended for people who are concerned that they might be refused entry. For example read this answer
    – MJeffryes
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 17:08
  • 2
    @YPark You don't have to apply for a visa, but the UK might have placed a stop indicator on your passport at your last entry. In this case the gates will reject you and you'll have a conversation with an IO anyway. There's no real way to know for sure until you arrive. But if you follow the advice from the previous immigration officers and play it straight then you should have little trouble. Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 3:34
  • 2
    @YPark I see no reason you wouldn't be OK, but there is also no guarantee that you won't have to speak to the IO. Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 3:50

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