2 years ago I had a flight from New Delhi > London > Bahamas. The flight from New Delhi to London was delayed, causing me to miss the flight to the Bahamas. The airline very kindly offered me a stay in a hotel and transport for two days as the next direct flight was 2 days later. I only had a DATV visa so I knew that was not possible. The airline official asked me to at least ask the immigration officer if in this special situation, would I be permitted to exit the airport as it was the airline's fault. Obviously, I wasn't permitted.

Does this count as "Refused entry at the border" in a new UK DATV application and should I include this in my application?

  • 18
    It’s quite weird the airline left you to fend off for yourself at the border. Usually it will be the airline asking for special permission for passengers left stranded by operational issues.
    – jcaron
    Jun 26, 2022 at 12:08
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Willeke
    Jun 28, 2022 at 20:10

2 Answers 2


Based on our conversation in the comments, you have not been refused entry because that always entails paperwork. Here's what the government has to say on this.


If you’re refused entry

You’ll be told in writing:

  • why you’ve been refused entry to the UK
  • if you can appeal against the decision
  • when you will be removed from the UK

Nonetheless a SAR might be a good idea but this is pretty clear cut.

If I might add a layman explanation probably the officer interpreted the situation as you were asking whether some sort of emergency measure could be found. (S)he was correctly not interpreting it as if you were asking for "leave to enter" without the right visa and because of that, there was no entry to be refused.

  • 10
    I agree with chx here - the immigration official did a "soft refusal" here, as in you were technically ineligible for entry but they wanted the airline to deal with it as that means less official issue for the passenger. So, no paperwork, no official determination, just a "nope, go talk to the airline" which is a much better outcome IMHO.
    – user29788
    Jun 27, 2022 at 2:49
  • I've decided to proceed for a transit visa application saying "No" to "Have I ever been refused entry at the border". I'll update here how it goes. Jun 28, 2022 at 6:26

The only definitive answer there would be to do a SAR (Subject Access Request) to have all the data held by UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) given to you where it will show if you were indeed denied entry or not.

The procedure is explained on the link above

  • Even if it wasn't considered as a denied entry, can I still mention "yes" where it asks if I was ever denied entry? Is there any harm? I'm all pro for disclosing any and all info in a visa application. Jun 26, 2022 at 7:48
  • 2
    Yes, you can, it can be better for your application standing, but be sure to explain as much as possible. Although I would highly recommend, if your timing allows, to get a definitive answer before applying Jun 26, 2022 at 8:34
  • I would just like add some information regarding an experience. I made an SAR a few months ago and received a bunch of paperwork (pdf copies). There was no information in it regarding entries and exits. I had an issue at the airport and the officer told me he is putting an annotation. Nothing regarding that or any info about entry or exit. It only had copies of my visa applications made within the UK (FLR), nothing regarding application made outside the UK, and only had notes regarding the processing of the last visa application. Nothing about the previous applications. Oct 6, 2022 at 18:18

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