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Friends and I are planning a trip to the UK soon, but one of my friends had his Visa application denied. He still wants to make the trip and try to get through customs regardless.

I'm concerned about what the repercussions to him and the rest of his traveling party. As long as he doesn't lie on any forms or applications is he (or are we, his travel companions) breaking any laws?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Michael Hampton, CGCampbell, Karlson, Gayot Fow, Berwyn Jul 25 '16 at 6:31

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    There's not nearly enough information here. To begin with, your friend should be asking the questions, as it's not very likely that anyone else can provide the information needed to give a proper answer. For starters: What was the purpose of applying for a visa? What were the reasons for refusal? Please upload an image of the refusal letter (with personal info blacked out), as UK refusals have specific references to parts of the immigration rules that are necessary to understand them fully. What is the purpose of the planned trip? – Michael Hampton Jul 25 '16 at 1:28
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    Also, what is his nationality? In which country is he now, and what is his status (visitor? worker? asylum seeker?) US citizens do not need UK visa when visiting for tourism purposes. – George Y. Jul 25 '16 at 1:47
  • What @MichaelHampton said. A scan of the refusal notice will make certain the answers you get will be the highest quality. A sample of somebody who stands to receive quality answers is here travel.stackexchange.com/questions/74026/… – Gayot Fow Jul 25 '16 at 1:55
  • @GayotFow American doesn't need to have a Visa and the only person who may be living in the US is the OP. Save that if his nationality require a visa to visit the UK he won't be allowed to board a plane without one. If he is planning to arrive by other means that's a different question. – Karlson Jul 25 '16 at 3:07
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If your friend needs a visa (why else would he apply), and the visa was denied, then:

  • He won't be allowed to board the airline.* see the paragraph below

  • Even if he manages to board the airline, he most certainly will not be allowed into the country. Most probably arrested for illegal immigration and deported post haste.

  • If he manages to enter into the UK illegally, if caught - he will be prosecuted, possibly banned, and definitely deported.

  • If he manages to enter into the UK illegally, and tries to leave on his own accord - he will most likely be banned from further entry into the UK.


The only possible reason I can see for your friend applying for a visa, and then trying to enter the country anyway is if previously he was eligible for visa-free entry, but somehow this privilege has been revoked (possibly for violating the terms of the visa-free entry - for example, by overstaying or working). If this is the case, your friend will most likely be allowed to board the aircraft, but the immigration officers will deny him entry; and then we are back to detainment and deportation.


@Henning's comment reminded me of one more possibility:

It could be that your friend needs a visa for the purpose of the visit, even though he doesn't need one normally. For example, to work in the UK even those with visa exempt status need to obtain a visa (with some exceptions, for example EU nationals).

Thus he can attempt to enter the UK, but if questioned at the border and then caught for deception (for example, your friend was entering under visa exemption, but they found documents relating to job offers in the UK) your friend may be subject to refusal and/or removal.

The bottom line is - it is not a risk worth taking.

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    Specifically for the UK, it is a common advice to non-visa nationals who have reason to fear being refused entry at the border (for whatever reason, such as having been refused earlier) to apply for a visa rather than rely on visa-free entry. This does not mean that they're categorically forbidden from showing up without a visa -- but if they do manage to get a visa (then called an "entry clearance") it will exempt them from most of the scrutiny at the border they would otherwise be subject to. – Henning Makholm Jul 25 '16 at 9:49
  • My assumption would be that if it is found out that the people he is travelling knew that he was attempting illegal entry that this would also reflect badly on them? It seems much harder for this to come out but I would certainly not be happy taking the risk of travelling with a person attempting to illegally enter the country. Do you have any idea if that would be sufficient grounds to deny entry to the travelling companions as well? – Chris Jul 25 '16 at 11:00
  • That seems like a stretch - unless they were contributing somehow to the fraud. – Burhan Khalid Jul 25 '16 at 11:05

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