I am from Hong Kong. My studies in the UK finished in mid-September 2016 and my visa ends in mid-January. I stayed in the UK for about 3 months (mid-December 2016) after my course ended for PhD applications (for schools in Hong Kong and UK) and went back to Hong Kong afterward.

I am planning to fly to the UK on 29th December 2016 to visit my girlfriend and I have booked a ski trip to France for a week with some other friends in the UK from mid-January to late January, and will be coming back to the UK after the trip before I fly back to Hong Kong late-January.

I have booked everything and have all the documents/proof of my itinerary. But I am quite worried after reading so many stories about UK entry refusal.

Am I likely to have troubles traveling to UK, given my situation?

Is there anything else that I can prepare to minimise my chance of getting refused?

  • I was on a student visa, my course ended in September but the visa last till January. Is quite common that people in my course stayed for a bit longer after the studies, for PhD applications/ Job applications/interviews etc. – user54915 Dec 17 '16 at 1:07
  • There's a woman on Academia who had a UK study visa. After she graduated, she had left the country for something, then tried to return to pack up her flat. She had to talk fast to get entry as the entry officer said her study visa was invalid since she had graduated. – mkennedy Dec 17 '16 at 17:23

Why would you need to fly back to HK late January, instead of staying with your GF? Do you have a job there? A family waiting for you? Study in University?

This is one of the questions you might need to answer to show that you have ties to Hong Kong, which would support your return there. You have obvious ties to UK (since you have a girlfriend there), so you'd have to convince IO that you would indeed return. They might also have a question about your relationship ("so you'd leave, and that's it?") as they might be concerned you're coming back to marry her. But the main concern here seem to be the possibility that you're trying to settle/find work/marry in UK.

This assumes you are also paying for all those trips yourself, and have means to prove it if asked; if someone else is paying for them, you'll have an additional concern to address.

  • I am actually taking a gap year before my PhD and the reason why I will need to fly back to HK late January is because I will need to spend the Chinese new year with my family and I expect that I will need to spend some time preparing for more PhD applications and PhD interviews in Hong Kong. My girlfriend is also a student in UK from Hong Kong, and she will finish her studies around June 2017, can this justify that I will have no ties to UK after June 2017? – user54915 Dec 17 '16 at 1:44
  • How can I prove that I have no intention to settle/find work in the UK? Would it be good if I can provide my previous research works and my research proposals to prove that I am a genuine PhD applicant without other intentions? – user54915 Dec 17 '16 at 1:50
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    Yes, this is indeed relevant that your GF is not settled in UK, and also returning to HK. Together with your explanation that you need to be back for CNY, that your family is waiting for you and that your GF joins you in HK after she finishes her study should tip the scales in your favor. If she's meeting you at the airport, they can also call her and check her story separately, and once they match, it will further confirm your credibility. – George Y. Dec 17 '16 at 3:48