My partner is planning to visit me for 3 months from August this year. I previously visited him in the US for 10 weeks from Dec to Feb with no issues with border staff.

My partner is a US citizen and is 35. We have been together for a year and in that time he has visited here for 2 weeks and I have visited him twice in the US.

He is a property developer and woodworker so recently restored a house and sold it making an 80k profit. This is his "job" but he will not have any finite proof he has to return to do it but his plan is to buy another property in November to start the process again. He also owns a house and will have mortgage statements he can show as well as bank statements showing the 80k. He has worked hard all year and has afforded himself this 3-month break to take advantage of the cooler weather here, have a rest, spend time with me and visit friends and family as well as doing as much sightseeing as possible.

I am freakimg myself out by reading horror stories constantly about people being turned away. Will they want definite proof of a job to go back to? Will the amount he has earned and a house in the US be enough? It will have been 5 months since I have seen him by the time he arrives so I can't bear the idea of him not getting in.

It is also worth mentioning that we are planning on getting married in the US later in the year and I will be applying for a spousal visa to bring him over. I Could never imagine not doing things by the book and he has no intention of overstaying or working, indeed he has to go back to the US so we can get married there! The alternative would be me bringing him here on a fiancée visa which would also require him to be in the US to have biometrics done etc. Do you think it's worth mentioning that?

I am hoping he can just say he is here to visit his partner and friends, show his return ticket, explain he has a house and family in the Us and will be back to his restoration project in nov and all will be well but have images of him being detained and questioned.

Does anyone have any experience of a partner/fiancé visiting the UK for several months? Were there any issues? We have already decided he will be upfront and state girlfriend rather than "friend " as so many suggest. We are after all fully committed and there is nothing wrong with having a partner in another country, I would never want to lie to gain entry though I'm sure it might be easier if he just said, friends! If anyone could give me some advice or experience that would be much appreciated. Btw I am 31 and in full-time employment here in the UK.

  • Too many questions that don't need to be asked in this.
    – Karlson
    Jun 25, 2015 at 15:12
  • You are getting some answers here. You also need to visit talk.uk-yankee.com/index.php?board=17.0 and ask there. They specialise in US/UK LDR's
    – Gayot Fow
    Jun 25, 2015 at 15:40
  • 3
    He also owns a house Use that to show he needs to fix it, or needs to get back to sell it or take care of it.
    – DumbCoder
    Jun 25, 2015 at 18:16
  • I would take the position that a girlfriend (indeed a fiancée or spouse) is also a friend, so it is not a lie to say he is "visiting a friend."
    – phoog
    Jun 25, 2015 at 19:00
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    Mind that horror stories have in many cases a context that remains hidden. Many passenger for instance didn't do all the things by the book; but somehow forget to mention this when they share this on blogs, etc. Furthermore we're talking about the UK and the US, two economically developed countries, etc. so that will make matters more easy. Jun 26, 2015 at 17:23

1 Answer 1


You are worried that your bf may be removed at port. Are your concerns real? It's a matter of opinion. The Home Office produces statistics that inform us that approximately 1 passenger out of 2,200 arriving from the US will be removed at port. Or in other terms, for every 5 arriving flights, 1 passenger will be refused entry and sent back. Some of these people have given narratives on the net and you have related these as 'horror stories', so the possibility of removal is real enough for you to come here and ask about it. And yes, it's best to be prepared for additional scrutiny when maintaining a long distance relationship.

Also, you and your partner have correctly determined that there is nothing wrong with maintaining a long distance US/UK relationship so your partner has decided to be honest about it. Like "What is the purpose of your visit?" answer: "I am maintaining a relationship with my gf that has been ongoing for a year and this is my second visit in that role". A direct reply like that signals candor and they like that because it means they can avoid the whole cat-and-mouse game about who your 'friends' are. The candid reply also tells the Immigration Officer that your bf's accommodation arrangements are sorted so they can continue on to the rest of the interview. In their minds, claiming to be visiting friends when there is an intimate relationship at hand is lying, they don't like it.

The IO may go on to query your bf's financial standing and he should bring along a some recent bank statements to help demonstrate that. He may also phone you in the arrivals area and ask YOU a few questions, like is he your bf? Is he your fiance? What does he do? (a trick question, be careful). Is he looking forward to a new life in the UK? (another trick question, caution). Again, the honest approach will eliminate the need to 'make your stories jive' and allow you to answer with confidence. They like that also. Some of the saddest removals come from wholly innocent people trying to contrive something and then getting caught in a discrepancy where had they been honest the partner would have sailed through.

If he qualifies, he will be stamped in, usually for 6 months. If he does not qualify, he will be removed.

Nailing it down beforehand...

If you are really really paranoid you can advise your bf to get an entry clearance. It costs GBP 83 and Americans do not need to get one, but can get one if they want to. When an American gets an entry clearance as a visitor, the landing interview is reduced to a brief formality to assure that their passport isn't forged etc.

Gina Clayton mentions this in her book Textbook on Immigration and Asylum Law...

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Macdonald's Immigration Law & Practice also mentions it...

...They [general grounds for refusal] do not apply in cases where the person seeking entry already has entry clearance because in that situation the grounds for refusing leave to enter are much more restricted...

Section 3.54, pp 31

For further research, see Exploring the decision making of Immigration Officers: a research study examining non-EEA passenger stops and refusals at UK ports

Update 26 June 2015

Between now and December 2015, the Chief Inspector will be on-site at Manchester Airport at various times making a thematic inspection of the UK Border Force's processes and consistency of approach. It's reasonable to expect controls to be especially rigorous during the inspection periods, and nothing prevents you from selecting a different airport if you think that will help. The Chief has also been conducting surprise inspections at other UK airports at approximately one month intervals. None of this information is secret or otherwise restricted... It's public domain.

Update 29 June 2015

The OP has asked the question here and has received answers from people with first-hand experience. The answers there do not change any of the answer here, but it's good to see what people with real-life experiences are saying about it. Highly recommended reading for those with an interest in the subject.

  • 1
    Does "arriving from the US" refer to the passport presented at the border, or to the point of origin of the flight?
    – phoog
    Jun 26, 2015 at 18:07
  • 1
    @phoog, good question. it means passports. They track removals by nationality.
    – Gayot Fow
    Jun 26, 2015 at 19:32
  • Thank you very much for your comprehensive reply. I think I probably am worrying too much and all will be well. Though he was planning to fly to Manchester! I must admit the one in 2200 has eased my mind a bit. I'm sure he's wouldnt be the most deniable of character given those statistics! Nor would he have the most outrageous story etc. I will make sure he has a mortgage statement, bank statements, he will obviously have a return ticket and he is visiting me and doing some travelling as he has a job that can afford him time off at his own discretion.
    – Hannah
    Jun 27, 2015 at 7:55
  • @Hannah, I do hope being fully informed has eased your worry. You're now also fully prepared and knowledgeable about the way they work. Please read stackoverflow.com/help/someone-answers
    – Gayot Fow
    Jun 27, 2015 at 9:16
  • @Gayot I have just edited my question with some updates. Your advice was so wonderful last time. Please can you advise taking into account the change of circumstances. Thanking you in advance, a very frazzled human :)
    – Hannah
    Aug 18, 2015 at 16:04

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