When interviewing arrivals seeking entry, what questions do UK Immigration offices ask?

Also, what will be asked on the landing card?


1 Answer 1


There is no prescribed set of questions; the IO will be trying to determine if you qualify as a visitor under Appendix V of the rules. So a full interview will cover purpose, length, maintenance, accommodation, returnability, and overstay risk.

Assuming you present a valid passport, your landing interview will go something along the lines of...

  • What is the purpose of your visit?
  • How long will you be staying?
  • Are you meeting friends here? Are they waiting outside?
  • Where will you be staying?
  • Do you have reservations there? May I see them?
  • How will you pay for your visit?
  • Do you have your bank statements with you? May I see them?
  • What is your job? May I see your employment contract? Salary slips?
  • Will you be working remotely?
  • Do you have a return ticket? May I see it?
  • Do you have a bf/gf here?
  • Enjoy your visit

Any of these questions can trigger a more intensive line of questioning; or alternatively any of these can satisfy the IO that your intentions are genuine and end the interview there. You didn't mention your job or life-style, but there are slight variations of the interview for students, families, unemployed, people pursuing romantic liaisons, attending job interviews, business meetings, seeking medical treatment, and so on.

The outcome of the interview depends largely upon personal impact and articulation skills along with your document preparation.

If you are successful, the IO will affix an 'entry certificate' to a blank area in your passport. It bestows 'leave to enter' and comes in the form of a rectangular rubber stamp. It summarizes the conditions of your leave and its expiry date. In the argot of UK immigration, this means you have been "landed".

For a detailed analysis of what goes through the IO's mind, you can read "Exploring the decision making of Immigration Officers"

DJClayworth's comment links to a picture of the landing card.

See also removal tag questions

Adding 14 June 2015

When your passport is handed back to you, you should examine your entry certificate and double check your expiry date. If you have questions about your entry certificate (i.e., the black, rectangular stamp) or any codes written on it, it's fine to ask the IO what they mean.


People arriving with entry clearances (i.e., visa nationals) can expect some of the introductory questions, but the landing interview will be not as intrusive because the UK has already checked you out and given you permission to enter.

  • 1
    So in addition to the multiple copies of hotel confirmations and things like that I should bring a paystub from work in addition to a bank statement? Never would of thought of bringing those two things.
    – Sean Q
    Jun 13, 2015 at 19:19
  • @SeanQ, yes, bring all the things needed to assure a smooth transit through controls.
    – Gayot Fow
    Jun 13, 2015 at 19:38
  • 11
    It's also with noting that if you are an American, look remotely presentable and give sufficiently normal/boring answers to the first two questions ("tourism, one week"), your interview is highly likely to end right then and there. Jun 13, 2015 at 23:44
  • 2
    As an American traveling on business, but also taking a few days vacation, when I said that, the IO asked, "What's the main purpose of your trip?" to which I replied business. That was pretty much it.
    – mkennedy
    Jun 13, 2015 at 23:46
  • @jpatokal, Just a solo 26 year old American who's there just doing some sightseeing.
    – Sean Q
    Jun 14, 2015 at 17:33

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