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I am travelling from a country that requires a visa. I got the six month visa last year, but I couldn't travel due to well-known worldwide difficulties. In the meantime, I got a visa for Schengen Area (Germany) and am currently in Germany. Can I just make a try to enter the UK with the purpose of tourism and be granted an exception/concession to enter for two or three days and there's not a zero chance of me being allowed in?

Reasonably the answer would be "no", but I got several similar concessions some years ago on stopover flights through the UK when my connecting flight was due next day, when I missed a flight entirely or when my connecting flight was due in several hours, but I was feeling unwell. There weren't any issues and in every case I was granted a stay for a day or two (I can't remember the exact time range that was given).

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    In all of these past cases it doesn't seem like you had any other choice, but in the current scenario you most certainly do.
    – littleadv
    Jul 18 at 19:55
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    You’re really so desperate to visit the UK for tourism for just a few days? Why? Apply for a visa
    – Traveller
    Jul 18 at 21:07
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    I got several similar concessions some years ago on stopover flights through the UK when my connecting flight was due next day, when I missed a flight entirely or when my connecting flight was due in several hours but I was feeling unwell. The first concession is not a concession but a published rule. Transit without visa is permitted under a number of circumstances. The second two may be considered as force majeure. Choosing to go to the UK for tourism without a visa is not outside your control. You would not be granted a concession.
    – MJeffryes
    Jul 19 at 10:25
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    @MJeffryes Your comment here qualifies for an answer proper that I would accept, concise and to the point. Even if I feel there's slightly more to it than just force majeure and published rules. Jul 19 at 18:08
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    "I got the 6 month visa last year" that was a UK visa, right? What is stopping you from applying for a new UK visa? Jul 20 at 12:12

2 Answers 2

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No airline will let you board with an expired visa, since if you are turned back at the border the airline is penalized. Thus, if you're planning to fly to the UK, whether it's possible that the UK border officials might make an exception and let you enter is irrelevant: you're not going to get a chance to talk to them.

Moreover, it would not be a good idea for you personally to try this (perhaps if you take the Eurostar train you could, as in that case you clear UK border control before getting on the train), because if you are refused entry, it is likely that you would have to mention this on future visa applications.

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    For the ferries from The Netherlands the border controls take part on UK soil (I'm wondering why there aren't more asylum seekers using this as an opportunity to apply for refugee status, but that's another question).
    – gerrit
    Jul 20 at 9:26
  • @gerrit presumably the ferry company would also refuse to transport people without valid documents to the enter the UK
    – ajd
    Jul 20 at 16:22
  • In that case, conversely, I wonder why the UK considers the Le Touquet agreements so important.
    – gerrit
    Jul 20 at 16:57
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One might think the following is a possibility: if you are really curious whether this would be possible then try to show up in Paris or Brussels a few hours before the Eurostar leaves and try to ask around for an opportunity to talk to UK officials. Carefully formulate your question something like "I am not asking for leave to enter, I know my visa is expired which normally would disqualify me but I am wondering whether in light of covid et al some exception could be made".

But on second thought, it's not because the first question they will ask is "why are trying to enter the UK?" and anything serious enough -- like a dying or deceased close relative -- would qualify you for an emergency visa too.

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    This seems like a plausible option, but sounds dangerous: border control people are powerful and some of them may not be amused by experimentative questions Jul 20 at 14:46
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    Frankly, I'd be pretty surprised if the border officials were willing to deal in hypotheticals. I tend to assume they'd tell you "either you apply for leave to enter, and then I can decide whether to grant it, or you don't and I can't."
    – Kevin
    Jul 20 at 21:34

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