I complied with the rules by leaving after 2 years in UK and didn't overstay.

It's been 3 months since I exited UK. I flew to the Republic of Ireland and have been a tourist doing unpaid writing and photography for a blog.

My partner lives in UK and is working. He's currently applying for residency rights and was just sent letter saying he now can apply for a National Insurance Number.

I'd like to come back to the UK as a visitor and see him. I have also registered a company in the UK so I will need to see an accountant to do the company's first tax return.

How long do I have to stay outside UK before I can come back on a tourist or any other short category visa?

I am Australian.

We noted that while flying from Belfast to London there is no passport control. What's the penalty for entering Northern Ireland and flying to London from there? What happens when you don't get a temporary passport stamp?

I have no intention of staying long term. I'm just planning on doing the tax and seeing my partner.

  • If you want a tourist (visit) visa, you will have to apply for one from Ireland (or wherever you are at the time). Alternatively you can attempt to enter the UK visa free. However, doing this to/from Ireland in the wrong way can land you in a lot of hot water, so tread very carefully.
    – CMaster
    Oct 17, 2016 at 10:45
  • what is "nin" ? is there a chance you can click "Edit" and fix the typos (missing spaces between sentences and so on), it might bring better or more answers.
    – Fattie
    Oct 17, 2016 at 12:02
  • Nin=national insurance number
    – user52552
    Oct 17, 2016 at 14:58
  • 2
    @AussieTravellerTales don't need to isn't the same as "can't". If you wanted, you could apply for a visitor visa to the UK. I don't think you have any reason to though. I've also never heard an NI number referred to as "nin" in my life.
    – CMaster
    Oct 17, 2016 at 15:04
  • 1
    No one appears to have pointed out that registering a business in the UK certainly makes it seem as if you are trying to settle permanently there.
    – mkennedy
    Oct 18, 2016 at 1:26

2 Answers 2


You are in the ROI previously in the UK on a YMS visa and you want to enter the UK via a port in the Common Travel Area.

The answer provided by 'the other one' is great. +1 from me, thanks and a tip of the hat! I wanted to add that in this particular case we can turn to Border Force's Operations Manual and have a closer look. Here's the relevant scan...

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I defaced the original by adding little red thingies that trace your situation through the flowchart. You will be able to see that it ends on the result "deemed to have 7 days code 3".

So they are saying that you get 7 days more or less automatically. After that you become an overstayer of the 'inadvertent' kind (that's a bad thing). Unless they think that you intended to overstay in which case you become an illegal entrant (that's a very bad thing). In your case they would go for the latter because you have a bf in the UK which helps to establish intent. That situation will be exacerbated because they are already upset about the number of Aussies who are abusing the YMS (like using the CTA loophole for example), so you can expect a difficult time if (and only if) you get caught.

Those outcomes only happen if you get caught inland at some event which requires your id, otherwise you're off the hook. The other downside is you may have to lie on future UK applications to prevent disclosure of illegal entry (that's a precarious position to be in).

That's a technical and 'legally precise' answer to your question. In practical terms and for everyday knowledge, you can use 'the other one's answer.

Your other question...

How long do I have to stay outside UK before I can come back on a tourist or any other short category visa?

There is no mandatory cooling-off period between YMS and visitor, you can return the same day if you want. The big problem (and I mean BIG problem) is that you will have to explain to an Immigration Officer what it's all about. And that interview can be hazardous to your travelling plans.

NOTE: The "code 3" part is their internal shorthand that summarises the situation. The best practices on how to interpret this is to ignore it altogether.

NOTE: The ROI has their own counterpart to this flowchart and your situation there may be dubious depending upon how you entered. You should check that out as a matter of extreme urgency. You don't want to be caught out or matters will become immeasurably worse.

NOTE: Since your bf's status in the UK is apparently unstable, your interaction with an IO may attract scrutiny of his status of the hostile variety. The comment from CMaster about treading carefully is fully loaded, heed it.

NOTE: For others, the flowchart can be used for all non-EAA nationals coming to the UK through the ROI.

NOTE: the flowchart is not something the Border Force just dreamed up on a whim. It is a visual extract of the applicable portions of the Immigration Rules Part 1. It means everything on the chart exists with legislative authority handed down by Parliament.

  • So if you enter the UK for 6 months and then go to Ireland, you can only return to the UK for 7 days without flying out of the CTA?
    – JonathanReez
    Oct 17, 2016 at 13:47
  • The CTA may be great for residents of NI/RoI, but it seems to be a full-on-nightmare for travellers from outside.
    – CMaster
    Oct 17, 2016 at 13:49
  • @JonathanReez that situation is in the flowchart and simultaneously addressed fully by Paragraphs 20A and 20B of the rules. It warrants a separate question.
    – Gayot Fow
    Oct 17, 2016 at 13:56
  • Since the OP entered Ireland by air the OP would have passed through immigration control there and got stamped in for a 3 month visit, which is now apparently exhausted. Since the OP's last recorded entry to the CTA, and the one that gave the OP visitor status, is through Ireland is there not a reading of the flow chart that gives the OP three months instead? I agree with @CMaster.
    – user38879
    Oct 17, 2016 at 16:25
  • Great flowchart enclosed thank you! I just have one question, why all the intimidation from Immigration, when you do clearly follow the rules? I don't have any intention of overstaying - with or without a bf. If its 7 days - that's fine! But why should I be panicked to enter the UK when as you say, theres no cooling off period after respecting the Youth Mobility guidelines? I'm coming to do my tax - with or without a bf. Also, UK is best port for me to exit to next destination. Whether that be Asia or Europe. Just feels very 'feeling based', and unnecessarily complicated. Not black and white!
    – user52552
    Oct 17, 2016 at 16:36

The Republic of Ireland and the UK (and the Isle of Mann and Channel Islands) are part of the Common Travel Area (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Travel_Area)

A flight from Dublin to England is treat the same as a domestic flight. Whether you fly from Belfast or Dublin makes no difference.

There is no immigration check when travelling between the two however to board a plane you will still probably have to show some ID, which is usually taken to mean just a passport (though a EU driving license or ID card may be OK. unsure).

I wouldn't risk going to Belfast just to fly over if I was you. It is not inconceivable that this could lead to you being flagged in a system and getting a spot check. If you're flying from Dublin to the UK and all isn't OK you can put this down to you being unsure about your status, nice and innocent. Going up to Belfast just to fly over when there are perfectly good and cheap flights from Dublin....that seems like you're trying to evade them.

  • 1
    I haven't had to show ID for several flights between GB and NI. Although I possible provided passport number to the online check in.
    – CMaster
    Oct 17, 2016 at 10:43
  • 1
    @CMaster in this day and age, there is utterly no way an unidentified traveler would be allowed to fly - a domestic 737 can still do a lot of damage...
    – user29788
    Oct 17, 2016 at 11:11
  • Luck of the draw I think. I certainly had one flight last year where I flew between two schengen countries and never had my ID checked once. But then on the other hand I've also had a inter-schengen flight where everyone got full security checks as if we were coming from abroad. Oct 17, 2016 at 11:13
  • @Moo. I've done this several times this year. Not one ID check from end to end.
    – CMaster
    Oct 17, 2016 at 11:13
  • @CMaster not even when you buy the ticket? I dont believe that, the British government as it is, would allow anyone unidentified on an airborne plane over British territory in the current state of heightened awareness...
    – user29788
    Oct 17, 2016 at 11:44

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