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I'm a recently naturalised Australian citizen. I'm looking to travel to the UK with my wife for a holiday. My wife is an Irish citizen and Australian as well.

6 years ago I applied for an EEA family permit on my previous nationality (as a visa national) so we could go on a honeymoon together (this was easier than applying for a tourist visa at the time). The visa was denied due to lack of evidence, the immigration officer said we needed to provide further proof that our relationship was genuine. This included things like chat conversations and Marriage photographs (not listed online or in the T&C's but it's fine). We didn't appeal at the time and decided to push the holiday off. Even though I travelled with my wife together to some European countries on a Non EU family member visa. Also now they got rid off the EEA family permit as well after Brexit so I can't apply for it anyway.

Now six years have passed and I have become an Australian citizen. We want to go on a holiday next year to visit the Republic of Ireland and the UK. I'm not sure if I would able to use the E-Gates in the UK on my new Australian passport or if I should apply for a standard visitor visa because I had a past refusal?

As Australian citizens aren't required to apply for visas, would it be smarter to travel there with all our proofs on the airport?

I tried contacting UK immigration but didn't get much information even after spending some money on calls and emails. They just said as Australian citizens don't need a visitor visa for up to 6 months in the UK.

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    Yes you can. Read my experience here travel.stackexchange.com/questions/87121/…. You may get redirected to an immigration officer though. After my experiences, I now use the e gates without problems. May 21 at 16:28
  • Your EEA family permit refusal was almost certainly illegal, even under the Home Office's own guidance, which required the officer to have evidentiary grounds for suspecting a marriage of convenience before asking for evidence beyond a marriage certificate. You almost certainly would have received an EU family member visa from any other EU country; no other country is as hostile to non-EU family members than was the UK. Use the e-gates, save the visa application fee, and enjoy your trip.
    – phoog
    May 21 at 22:40

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Gov.uk says:

There are over 270 eGates in place at 15 air and rail ports in the UK to enable quicker travel into the UK.

You can normally use eGates if you:

  • have a biometric symbol on the cover of your passport
  • are aged 12+ (12 to 17 year olds must be accompanied by an adult)
  • are either: a British citizen; a national of an EU country, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the USA; a member of the Registered Traveller Service

Those travelling with ID cards cannot use the eGates

And then goes on to note that you may need to avoid the gates and get a stamp if you are carrying out paid engagements or seeking to move to the country. There is no mention of previous refusals etc mattering.

It's worth noting that being able to use the gates in no way implies automatic entry to the UK. There are border force staff desks by the e-gates at every place I have seen them, and they occasionally pull people in for further questioning. In the event that your previous refusal has caused you to be flagged in some way (this seems unlikley given the innocuous nature of your refusal) then I'm sure the border force staff will be alerted to investigate further.

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  • They also routinely pull people over to the Immigration desks if the e-gates are crowded eg if some are out of action, or just because of sheer numbers wanting to use them. Advice on gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y is You may want to apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you have a criminal record or you’ve previously been refused entry into the UK.
    – Traveller
    May 20 at 22:22
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    @yee Note that "refused entry" (as mentioned by Traveller in their comment) is not the same thing as being refused a visa, as happened to you. You were not "refused entry" into the UK. May 21 at 13:39
  • "innocuous nature of your refusal": I would have written "unlawful nature," but the conclusion is the same.
    – phoog
    May 21 at 22:42

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