Back in 2011 I was married and traveled to London to stay for a month. At the end of the month my wife and I decided to stay for a couple more months as we had an online marketing business. Being naive we believed that staying for 3 months and working from our laptops would be a great idea.
A great idea until we took a flight to Italy for a 4 day weekend to meet up with our Italian friends. Upon our return to Stansted airport we were in a casual conversation with immigration officer checking our passports when she asked the loaded question; How are you able to stay for 3 months? I naively answered "Because we have an internet based business and can work from anywhere there's an internet connection.
Well we were detained until the next flight back to Milan and then escorted to the terminal. This was in November of 2011 and we've never tried going back to the UK. Basically we were refused entry for not having the proper work visa. Does this denial of entry mean that we will have problems going back as a tourist?
Lots of flights to the EU go through Heathrow and we don't want any problems. We are also not as naive anymore and understand what the term "working" means in any capacity. Do you think we will have problems going for a short holiday or flying through to another destination?
I am from the USA if that wasn't obvious. Nothing on our paperwork says anything about a time duration to stay away. Also the Immigration officer that took our statement said we could try coming back in about a month or so and that if we work we need a work visa. I don't want to fly to London hoping to stay for a week or two only to have my family be denied entry and put back on a plane to the USA. Thoughts?
ANSWER: As received from the a website impersonating the British Embassy http://www.ambassadorpassportandvisa.com/local/british-embassy/california/los-angeles/british-embassy--los-angeles.html
I will need to apply for a Visa: Application is roughly $400.00. I will need to supply 3 months bank statements and 3 months of W2. Once approved the visa is good for one year. After the one year I can go back to using my regular passport. All of this goes without saying that I am still processed through immigration as I exit the plane. Moral: If you work even if its for yourself and you receive money in your US bank you still need a work visa if you're in the UK. Otherwise you are on Holiday and are not working. Lastly, I was advised to not even have a connector flight through any of the UK airports until I have a visa. This was a lifetime advisement.
Adding from comments......
The removal directions were served on an IS82A, "Notice of Refusal of Entry into the UK" Biometrics were captured Lots of intervening travel history since the removal