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Hi I am a US citizen and im going to be going to the UK for the first time to visit/meet my boyfriend, who is a UK citizen. We been dating for about 2 months, but known him longer. I'll be going in april, once I go i'll have known him for a year. I've never been over there before or traveled alone. I have lots of anxiety about this trip about meeting him, traveling and going through customs/immigration and that stuff.

i've only been through that once before so I understand mostly how it goes. Though like I said never had to do it alone, and reading some things about people not getting in im worried what if I say something wrong. Don't know weather to saying i'm visiting my bf will make them think I will over stay, which I wouldn't, so i've thought to say i'm visiting my friend but wouldn't really want to lie. I will be staying with him for the most part, but the first few days we will be in a hotel. I guess my question is what kind of problems could I face? I probably will go with the honest route, I know they may want to see proof he's my bf by seeing text messages, but some are very personal so what would I show them? Should I just say i'm staying in a hotel and if not asked not mention i'm staying with him at all? If asked i guess I would say the truth. I will also be coming back in the future since its easier for me to just come to the UK then him to the US, I am aware I can stay 180 days/6months but not sure when that restarts and if it stacks up. I won't have a visa during these times unless I really need one, should I get one if i'm just visiting every so offen? All I really want to do is visit him and hang out. If anyone has tips I would love that, thanks.

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    Just be careful of internet scams. You're traveling across the world for a person - have you met him before? Can you confirm his identity? Does anyone else know where you're going and why? Do you know anyone else in the UK who you can check in with? stay safe.
    – littleadv
    Dec 26, 2022 at 20:43
  • What’s your situation in the US? I.e. student, working, unemployed… how long are you planning to stay? Who will pay for the trip? If you are paying, how are you going to pay for it? Depending on the answers to those questions it may be tricky or a complete non-event (though more likely the latter than the former).
    – jcaron
    Dec 26, 2022 at 23:34
  • Also for your safety: if your boyfriend tells you a friend of his will give you something to bring over to the UK for him, that’s a complete, absolute and definitive no.
    – jcaron
    Dec 26, 2022 at 23:38
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    Please be careful. Make sure you know how to navigate on your own, just in case your boyfriend turns out not to be what you hope he is. Get a little local currency (cards work great in the UK), have UBER on your phone, research some usable hotels, make sure you have a working telephone, etc. Make sure that you can safely remove yourself from the situation of you feel you have to.
    – Hilmar
    Dec 26, 2022 at 23:47
  • There is some very good advice about protecting yourself when travelling to meet an online friend here marocmama.com/6-things-meeting-someone-overseas And a recent tragic news report here bbc.com/news/uk-england-essex-63200246
    – Traveller
    Dec 27, 2022 at 1:09

2 Answers 2

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You’re probably over-thinking this. As a US citizen you are eligible to use the eGates to clear UK Immigration, it is therefore quite possible that you won’t be asked any questions at all. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coming-to-the-uk/faster-travel-through-the-uk-border

If for some reason you do have a landing interview, the #1 rule is never lie Be prepared to explain, if asked:

  • the purpose of your visit. Do not lie about your relationship
  • how long you plan to stay and how you will finance your visit.
  • if your boyfriend is paying for the trip, whether you have previously met in person (if he is financing your visit, getting a letter of invitation from him stating where you’ll be staying and that he is covering the costs may be a good idea)
  • what ties you have to the US that mean you need to return there at the end of your visit
  • Your return flight plans (having a booked ticket is usual)

You can stay in the UK for up to 6 months per visit. UK Immigration Rules state that visitors must leave the UK at the end of their visit and must not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK their main home. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-v-visitor The concept of ‘restarting the clock’ does not really exist, nor is ‘frequent visits’ specifically defined; typically the Rule is interpreted to mean that you should spend at least the same amount of time outside the UK as in it. Getting a visa does not change any of that.

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    Yes. Young-ish American woman, recently acquired internet 'boyfriend', never met in person, that's 3 question marks straight away. Saying 'I'm here to look at castles' or to 'see a friend', and then being found to have lied is 'using deception' and can lead to temporary detention while a flight back to the US is arranged at your expense. Dec 27, 2022 at 8:34
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I once had this issue with a GF who visited me from the US. The main thing to do is carry quite a lot of evidence to show you have no desire to leave the US. Her issue was that she'd been a student in the UK and had more ties to the UK, than US at that time.

So bring with you proof of any ties to US, be it a home rental lease, a job offer there, a car you own, and it should all be fine. They are trying to find people who are planning to move to the UK, so as long as you don't plan to now, it's easy.

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