My 20 year old son was denied entry to the UK with a valid U.S. passport; reason given was they felt he would try to gain employment and not leave the country.

How do we go about trying again? What should we do differently?

So far we have not been able to get help from a lawyer or the state dept.

  • I am guessing he needs to explain better where he's going and have a ticket out of the country.
    – Karlson
    Sep 24, 2015 at 19:16
  • 4
    What did he say when they asked what he was going to be doing in the country? What was he actually planning to do there? What did he have with him? Where was he traveling from? Where was he trying to enter?
    – phoog
    Sep 24, 2015 at 19:17
  • 2
    @Karlson I suppose he already had a ticket. As GayotFow has frequently explained, tickets are of little use because there is nothing forcing the traveler to use it.
    – phoog
    Sep 24, 2015 at 19:18
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    @AndrewLazarus: I would guess so. Young people often fail to appreciate the subtleties of their interaction with border control officers. For example: don't speak unless spoken to, and don't say more than is required when asked a question. Act like you have solid plans even if you don't (i.e. you should "know" what hotel you're staying at even if you haven't fully decided yet). To the OP: sorry, but the UK is currently on a witchhunt against immigrants of various kinds, including theoretical ones. Don't expect it to change anytime soon. Maybe travel somewhere more welcoming. Sep 25, 2015 at 9:28
  • 2
    @JohnZwinck Not necessarily on a witch hunt for now, but they have always been like that. It is always the visitors prerogative to prove him(her)self, not the border officers either in UK or outside. Ever dealt with US border officials, they make me very uneasy. Germans are cool though, very easy going. I have seen hundreds of Chinese, some of whom speak little or no English, get through without any difficulty with the border officers.
    – DumbCoder
    Sep 25, 2015 at 10:13

1 Answer 1


They gave him some paperwork, he should hang on to it because it has his 'reference' number on it.

Once your son is stateside, he should download and read the guidance and then create an account at the Visa4UK portal.

It's an optional step, but he can get a Subject Access Request from the UK government to see if they recorded him as having engaged in deception or something similar.

When he's ready, he should go ahead and complete the application and send it to the British Consulate General in NYC. They will issue a decision in about 5 - 10 days and let him know. If he's successful, there will be a bright, shiny entry clearance in his passport and when he arrives in the UK, his landing interview will be reduced to a brief and pleasant formality. If he's not successful, then you can take things from there.

All of what I have described above is a 'best practices' solution. Your son also has the option of presenting himself at another port of entry and seeking admission on his US passport. The downside to this option is that if he gets caught, he may attract a ban and then neither option will work.

That gives you two alternatives.


Approaching the US State Department for intervention isn't going to work for your son. This sort of thing happens all the time and at best they will give you a link to their web site. You can try instructing a UK solicitor with a practice area in removals, that will definitely help, but it will be expensive.

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