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I (32) was a visitor from Uganda to the Schengen (Netherlands) on a one-month visitor's visa. My husband (39) is originally Ugandan but has British nationality (been a citizen in the UK for over 20 years now and earning about £40,000 annually).

He visited me in Holland, considering we were still on honeymoon (had just been married a month previously in Kampala, Uganda, but our initial honeymoon back home was cut short because he had to travel back to London to report to work).

I had a very short period of time between my travel date to the Netherlands and, therefore, figured I would not have had the time to process and wait for the UK visa to join him immediately in the UK as a visitor, but had plans to apply for a long term visa upon return to Uganda from the Netherlands. In the meantime, he'd come and visit in Holland on the weekend.

We misinterpreted the Surrinder Singh route for traveling to UK without visa when accompanied by spouse. I bought 2 tickets to travel to London by bus from the Hague where I was staying while in the Netherlands; mine was a return ticket.

At the immigration port, it turns out we didn't qualify for the Surrinder Singh exception of visa free entry to the UK as my husband, besides living and working in the UK, had never/was not doing so in any other EEA country. This was clearly explained to us and a reprint issued to my husband who sat in waiting for what action they'd take on me.

I was denied entry to the UK, was detained for about 4 hours, interviewed and my finger biometrics were taken. U was eventually released to the French immigration police who, on the spot, returned my passport and ID and let me go, I guess because my stay at that moment in France was still legal.

My passport received its first rejection stamp (not that I'd ever applied before, had only traveled within Africa and this trip was my very first to Europe).

Continued on my trip to Paris, then Brussels and back to the Hague. My husband stayed with me briefly, then returned to London through the same port 2 days later.

After 2 years of long distance dating, we finally got married and, of course, had plans to live together for longer periods. My husband, (then fiancé), had been making regular short visits to Uganda (3-4 times a year). We'd, therefore, planned that I'd start doing the same to London as I have a full time job back home or, at best, apply for a long term spouse visa after the wedding which would have allowed us options.

Questions therefore are:

  1. Will my future applications to enter the Schengen countries be granted following this incident? I assume the notice of UK immigration's decision details were shared to the Schengen states whose visa I legitimately held at the time!
  2. What's the best way to proceed after this ordeal?

Note:

My husband and I are quite distressed and worried that our plans to finally have a chance of living together longer and probably start a family are going to be twice or more as hard to achieve.

But, again, we believe we didn't commit any crime except not having researched enough that led us to wrongly interpret a law which, unfortunately, didn't apply to us and was indicated by the immigrations team on their notice of immigration decision document to us, together with the appeal forms which we received but don't find necessary because we understand better the Surrinder Singh route.

Helpful information is highly appreciated.

  • 2
    This may be better suited for expats SE? – mts Oct 7 '16 at 11:06
  • 4
    Actually, there are several questions in there, the one about Schengen visas is completely on topic. – Relaxed Oct 7 '16 at 11:25
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    I removed the spousal visa question (which could be asked on expatriates), the question should now be reopened. – Relaxed Oct 7 '16 at 11:38
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    £40 annually ?? – user1014 Oct 7 '16 at 14:18
  • @ByronSchmuland Presumably £40k annually. – Dan Neely Oct 7 '16 at 14:53
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You are a Ugandan national who was visiting the Netherlands on a Schengen and tried to use the Singh route to enter the UK with your husband. You did not qualify for Singh and Ugandan nationals otherwise require an entry clearance, so you were not successful. Since you were using the juxtaposed controls in France your biometrics were taken and you were served removal paperwork. Had you opted to fly the airline would have prevented you from boarding and hence no removal, and your record would be clean.

Will my future applications to enter the Schengen countries be granted following this incident? I assume the notice of UK immigration's decision details were shared to the Schengen states whose visa I legitimately held at the time!

All other things being equal, there's no reason the event you described should be grounds for refusal. It's not a credibility issue, it's not a performance issue, it's not a public funds issue. It looks like a one-off case of poor judgement. You will have to declare it going forward, but you need to do that anyway since your biometrics are on file.

What's the best way to proceed after this ordeal?

Just carry on with whatever plans you have made. Apply for a UK Spouse visa, apply again for a Schengen short stay visa, or whatever your plans were.

Your original question, which got edited out...

Can I still apply for a spousal visa to the UK after the above incident? Will I ever be considered?

Yes, these things happen all the time. Spouses apply under a different set of assumptions and the rules are all different. Additionally, UK spouse applications are informed by Article 8 as long as the financial hurdles in Appendix FM are cleared. A prior removal like the one you described is not a show-stopper at all.

  • The question was edited out for a reason, it does not really make any sense to invite the OP to go to expats and to answer here at the same time... – Relaxed Oct 7 '16 at 14:21
  • "You will have to declare it going forward, but you need to do that anyway since your biometrics are on file": For a visa under 2004/38/EC, I rather suspect that they aren't supposed to ask about prior visa refusals, which are not relevant to the decision. Of course, that doesn't mean they won't ask. But even for "regular" visas, they don't seem to ask about prior refusals, unless I'm overlooking it. See, for example, exteriores.gob.es/Consulados/HONGKONG/en/…. – phoog Oct 7 '16 at 19:56
  • @phoog "...We'd, therefore, planned that I'd start doing the same to London as I have a full time job back home or, at best, apply for a long term spouse visa..." – Gayot Fow Oct 7 '16 at 21:01
  • Ah yes, I keep forgetting the part about future applications in the UK. – phoog Oct 7 '16 at 21:08
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Subsequent Schengen visa applications will certainly not be summarily refused based solely on this entry denial. Consular officers may take it into accout but as long as the rest of the application is fine, this does not sound like a very serious incident (at least based on the information you provided). The fact that you used your current visa correctly, did not overstay, etc. should also have a much greater weight.

Importantly, EU law does not apply to your husband when he is in his country of citizenship, but it does apply when he is visiting other EU countries. This means that a Schengen visa to visit him or join him on a holiday in Europe should be judged according to the (much more permissive) standard applying to the family of EU citizens. Basically, such a Schengen visa can only be refused if you are a threat to public safety or health or if there are reasons to believe you are lying about who you are or that your marriage is a sham. It cannot be refused merely because of doubts about the purpose of your trip or your intent to leave the area (which are two refusal reasons that would typically apply to someone who has been refused a visa elsewhere). In fact, if your husband decides to move to another EU country, you would have every right to stay with him, which is one reason why these reasons do not apply.

By contrast, if you travel alone (e.g. a business trip or some personal visit without your husband), the regular rules apply and evidence about the purpose of your stay, your intent, finances, etc. are in principle relevant.

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