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I am a Japanese full-time student in the UK now on a trip to Paris.

I have two passports: one new and valid, one old and void. However, my student visa/Schengen visa is in the old passport, which I forgot at home in the UK. What is worse, I lost my debit card one day before the trip and so, I only have money in cash.

Now, I used the Eurostar to get from London to Paris. Surprisingly, I was not asked for my Schengen/student visa in my old passport throughout: my new passport did the job and I got to Paris without any issues. And so now I'm in Paris.

My worry is when I leave Paris to go to London, will I be in trouble? I asked the UK border personnel in London before my departure to Paris, explained to them, to which they replied "on our side, it won't be an issue since we can look you up on the system and confirm. But we don't know what the policies are with the French with a Japanese passport."

Now, I fortunately have black-white copies of my old passport's ID page and the visa in it as a PDF file on my laptop.

So my question is, will I be troubled upon leaving Paris with the Eurostar? I got in without problems so I'm hoping it won't be problematic leaving either. Even if I'm troubled, will my PDF copy help to the point that I can get through immigration? If extra money/cost is involved, I am helpless since I don't have any credit/debit card now. The new replacement debit card is probably waiting to be activated, in my house in the UK.

Will this be a big problem? I have my student ID if that helps to prove I'm a student.

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    As a Japanese citizen, you do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area, and therefore not to leave it. What exactly do you mean by "Schengen/Student visa"? If you have two visas, one is a student visa for the UK; what is the other one? – phoog Jun 16 '16 at 21:12
  • I assume you only have a UK student visa, since the UK is not part of the Schengen area. Can you look it up on your PDF and confirm? (You don’t need to (and shouldn’t!) upload a non-blacked image of the visa here.) – Jan Jun 16 '16 at 21:32
  • Were you a student in France or somewhere else in the Schengen area previously? Or do you mean stamps from an earlier visit to the Schegen area? Entering France only with your Japanese passport isn't surprising at all but having a Schengen visa would be. – Relaxed Jun 16 '16 at 21:53
  • Hi, uhm yeah, it's apparently a student visa for the UK. Guess i muddled it up with the Schengen visa, sorry, i guess i don't have one. And no, i've been in Asia all along until university, which is in the UK. So no, never been a student/or worked in Europe apart from the UK. – Brad Jun 16 '16 at 23:00
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Japanese citizens do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area as long as their stay does not exceed 90 days. This is why you had no problem entering France since your tourist stay was shorter than 90 days.

When exiting France, the only thing the officers will be interested in is whether you overstayed your visa or 90 days or whether there are some other reasons why they should not let you travel. Since your stay in France is a short one and assuming all else is well, there is no reason why French border control should not let you exit France.

When entering the UK, you will again run through a passport control. This is where it has the potential to get difficult, because they will want to know that you are not overstaying or anything. The Home Office of the UK writes in their Immigration Rules:

11. A person must, on arrival in the United Kingdom or when seeking entry through the Channel Tunnel, produce on request by the Immigration Officer:

(i) a valid national passport or other document satisfactorily establishing his identity and nationality; and
(ii) such information as may be required to establish whether he requires leave to enter the United Kingdom and, if so, whether and on what terms leave to enter should be given.

Note that it does not explicitly say produce the visa on request. I think that if you show your passport, your (valid) student ID and a paper (!) copy of your visa from the void passport, stating that you forgot that in your UK home, that should give the immigration officer enough information to decide that you should be allowed in. That the border personnel said they ‘have you in their system’ when you left is further reassurance.

Caveat for this answer: I am not a lawyer.

  • Hi there, thanks for the answer! That's a relief. Well, how about if i show them a booked flight ticket to japan for mid-july 2016 flying from the UK? Will that prove that, even if i don't have the visa with me as of now, i will leave the uk in around 3 weeks time?(my trip back to the UK is on 20th Jun). Do you think i'll most probably be fine? – Brad Jun 16 '16 at 22:56
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    @Brad the impending exit from the UK could be a useful fallback position but definitely consider it a fallback position. It sounds like you won't need it since they "can look you up on the system and confirm." The fallback position is most useful for your peace of mind. – phoog Jun 16 '16 at 23:48
  • @Brad Dunno, is it a one-way ticket outbound, i.e. will your studies in the UK have ended by then? If so, it could help. If it is a return flight (i.e. coming back at the end of the summer holidays) it might (not must, might) rebound. – Jan Jun 17 '16 at 9:45
  • Well i'm graduating jun 2016 and according to the school, my course fully ends 31 May 2016(that's why i'm asked to pay council tax dammit..,:/). So i should be a non-student in a sense, tho the student visa says valid till september or sth.. – Brad Jun 17 '16 at 12:17
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    .and yes, the outbound flight to japan is one-way, no returns to the UK. Haha i see, thanks for the help Jan, it seems i can sleep soundly tonight then :) – Brad Jun 17 '16 at 12:25
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To put it quite simply:

  1. As you do not need a visa for a short stay tourist visit to the Schengen area, you do not need a visa to exit the area as well. The most that will happen is that you will get two stamps on your passport, one for entry and another for exit.

  2. Upon arrival at UK, you will have to produce evidence that you are a entitled to enter the UK and that you are not in violation of your visa status (and thus, not entitled to enter the UK for the purposes of the visa). For that, you will need to provide some proof of your status - which you can provide in terms of the photocopy of your passport. I would try to find a place in Paris where I could print that PDF which has your visa proof.

However, as stated by the immigration officer you are already in their system so I am sure they can look up your passport reference and find out if you are still eligible for entry.

Save for a short wait at the UK immigration counter on your return, I don't foresee any troubles.

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