I was refused entry into the UK in mid-2013 as I did not have a return ticket, and also said something dumb, which was that I would work part-time whilst on holiday. I was sent to a holding room for long hours. Later they said I needed a visa if I had wished to enter the country and sent me back home.

I did some digging and found that those who had been refused do not need a visa after 10 years (for those who do not need a tourist visa). Now that it's 2024, do I still need that visa due to my history at Heathrow? It's been more than a decade and the last thing I want is to cause trouble at the airport whilst on a vacation. I have enough documents to prove that I have a career and financial means. Any helpful feedback is much appreciated.

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    What is your nationality?
    – Arno
    Commented May 1 at 10:27
  • Malaysian. Am now on a new passport but I'm aware that they have the record in their system. Commented May 1 at 12:59
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    We have had a lot of similar questions. An old but still applicable answer is here The advice in that answer says that you should get an entry clearance even if you don't need one at local embassy/consulate.
    – RedBaron
    Commented May 2 at 5:38
  • Note: you didn't say something dump: you tell them the truth, so you get just a refusal to entry, not a ban, which it is a real good thing. And also you just say "part-time during holiday", so probably you are not flagged as one who want to immigrate illegally (just work illegally for short time). Commented May 2 at 6:40
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    @RedBaron i just knew that would link to gayot. Still miss him.
    – stanri
    Commented May 2 at 18:30

4 Answers 4


You'd be best to check the requirements using the UK Gov website as it varies depending on which country you are arriving from and your nationality:

https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control https://www.gov.uk/apply-to-come-to-the-uk

Pretty sure if you needed a visa before, you'll need one now, and if you do plan to work, get a working visa to be safe.

  • I'm a Malaysian passport holder. The site does not provide much info unfortunately. No plan at all of working there- just for a holiday and meeting up with friends. Commented May 1 at 13:07
  • The UK Gov site provides everything you need from the pages I linked: This is for a Malaysian who is travelling for a holiday or to visit friends family gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/malaysia/tourism Commented May 1 at 13:42
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    Thanks but it doesn't provide info whether I need a visa for a certain period of time after being refused (as Malaysians are not required a visa). I had someone who works for a law firm in London that said the longest duration that one needs after being refused entry is within 10 years. Commented May 1 at 13:51
  • @Blueberry101 you told them literally you were planning to work. THAT's why you were refused entry. You may be able to enter without a visa for tourism but NOT for work.
    – jwenting
    Commented May 4 at 12:01

Assuming you want to travel to the UK for tourism, you do not need to apply for a visa. However, the UK government suggests that it might be prudent for you to get one anyway.


The point of applying for a visa would be that you'd know whether or not you get it before even buying the plane ticket, rather than risking to be denied entry (and be put back into that holding room) at the border.

That it's been over 10 years specifically has no impact on this. What will matter, both for the visa application or the attempt to just show up at the border is that your circumstances have changed substantially.


I had someone who works for a law firm in London that said the longest duration that one needs after being refused entry is within 10 years

That law firm person doesn't know what they're talking about. You're allowed to try again the very next day after being refused entry. In practice if you truly have your life sorted AND have solid proof of it, you should be fine. Bring your documents proving family, housing, employment ties etc. At the border the system will probably flag you and the officer will ask if you've had any immigration issues before. Then you tell them the truth and may (or may not) be sent to secondary. If you are, keep calm and polite and provide any explanation/documentation they ask for.

  • they said 10 years is the maximum duration of an entry ban, not the minimum :) That said, this too is incorrect as it is possible (though unusual) to get a lifetime entry ban.
    – jwenting
    Commented May 4 at 12:01
  • @jwenting Where does it say OP got an entry ban?
    – Crazydre
    Commented May 4 at 22:19

The key thing you absolutely must have, when attempting to enter the UK as a tourist, is a return ticket back to Malaysia with a specific date within the 90-day limit from the date of entry.

You can apply for a "Standard Visitor visa" (you fill out an online form then go to the office in Kuala Lumpur in your case). Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do that will absolutely guarantee that you will be admitted. Even having a visa does not 100% guarantee entry. Of course this is unreasonable, but laws don't have to be reasonable. Why do you want to visit Britain as a tourist anyway? There are several more interesting countries in Europe and Asia.

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    Your question and statement at the end are entirely unnecessary. Someone might consider asking you why you don't want to visit Britain as there are many interesting places there to see.
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 2 at 15:52

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