I am a Canadian who entered the UK a few weeks ago from Holland. I am an idiot and didn't really have much of a plan for how long/what I would be doing while in the UK. I didn't have a ticket out of the country. The Immigration officer questioned me a lot, asking me what my plan was. I told him I would be staying with a friend for about three weeks, and then I was planning on going home. He said he would still let me into the UK, but that I would have a special stamp in my passport that will flag up when I try to leave:

The Stamp: http://imgur.com/a/VsiGu

So I looked at my passport today and it seems like my passport says I can only stay in the UK for forty eight hours? The writing is a bit hard to see, but the officer never mentioned that I could only stay for that long. I'm a bit confused whether I am going to have problems when I try to leave.

I am trying to plan a weekend trip back to Holland, but I'm scared that when I try and leave they are not going to let me back into the UK. I plan on booking a ticket back to Canada.

I was hoping that this would make it okay for me to stay in England if I had proof of leaving.

  • 13
    This is bad. You arrived with no onward travel? What were you thinking? Did you not ask the IO about your temporary admission? Bad all the way around because it's 3 Jan. You will have to see if the JCWI can take you as a 'walk-in'. Or maybe Camden. And you only asked today?
    – Gayot Fow
    Jan 3, 2017 at 15:19
  • 1
    @GayotFow: JCWI is googleable, but what does "Camden" refer to here? My attempts to expand it in this context are foiled by lots of results that refer to Camden, New Jersey rather than the London borough. Jan 3, 2017 at 15:37
  • 13
    @Wanderingstew I agree that the writing isn't the neatest but, come on, it absolutely says "forty-eight hours". What else are you hoping it might say? Jan 3, 2017 at 18:19
  • 14
    @DavidRicherby he is hoping it says "Foxy Emoji House", a popular bordello in Soho that the IO wants to highly recommend.
    – Gayot Fow
    Jan 3, 2017 at 19:55
  • 4
    @DavidRicherby Honestly, if it weren't for the context of being able to read the "Forty" and "Hours," I'd not have known what the middle word was, though you're right that it's fairly obvious in context.
    – reirab
    Jan 3, 2017 at 21:47

2 Answers 2


Your leave-to-enter stamp clearly says something different from what you remember the IO telling you. Exactly how this happened is not really important now (but see below for a hypothesis), because you wouldn't be able to prove that he said something different from what the paperwork shows, anyway.

I second Gayot Fow's advice to seek qualified advice from one of the places he mentions in comments -- but in case you can't get them to talk to you, here's what this random person on the internet has to say:

First off, cancel that weekend trip. The risk that you will be denied entry back to the UK when you try to enter again is significant; you might well be detained until they can put you on a flight back to Canada.

Second, don't panic. After your leave to enter expired on December 23, you are in principle not "legally present" anymore, but it appears that you do have a grace period of 90 days to leave on your own, barring further run-ins with the authorities. Leaving within this grace period will let you avoid an actual entry ban, though the overstay will still be on your record and may flag you for particularly tough questioning when you try to enter the UK in the future.

(See paragraph 320(7B)(i) of the Immigration Rules).

It is likely that this was what the IO had in mind when he acted like it was OK to you to stay for three weeks -- especially if we assume that you misheard him sightly and he actually meant that the short duration he put in will flag you up if you try to enter again, rather than when you leave.

  • Would it be worth going to the Canadian Embassy? Would they be able to tell me exactly what I should do? Jan 3, 2017 at 21:02
  • Its just frustrating because The IO had me show my bank statements and said he believed me and that I had enough money to support myself so I would be fine. Can the embassy find out my visa status? Jan 3, 2017 at 21:36
  • 5
    @Wanderingstew: Canada doesn't have an embassy in the UK (since there can't be an ambassador -- that would be Elizabeth II's personal envoy to Elizabeth II). But they have a High Commission which for practical purposes is the same thing. Pedantry aside, though, I'm not optimistic they would be able to provide much concrete assistance, but on the other hand it probably can't hurt you to ring them and hear if they have any help to offer. Don't expect them to be able to look up information from the UK govt's internal systems, though. Jan 3, 2017 at 22:47
  • @GayotFow: Just for clarity, the grace period that was removed last year was a different grace period from the 90-day period I describe here, right? The Immigation Rules I've looked up claim to be current. Jan 4, 2017 at 10:32
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    @Wanderingstew The way you sort it out is by leaving the UK. By contacting UK immigration, you would be drawing their attention to the fact that you're in the country illegally, which is exactly the kind of "run-in with the authorities" that the answer is telling you to avoid. The Canadian High Commission can't do anything for you: they can't change the fact that you've overstayed. Jan 4, 2017 at 17:51

Canadians, Australians, and Kiwis can enter the UK on a one-way ticket. I see this stamp was placed in a Canadian passport and I find this odd. Usually a Canadian wouldn't get a 48-hour restriction like this unless one had overstayed or broken the conditions of one's stay in the past. Short of having any criminal convictions, most Canadians would not get this restriction unless one was looking like a junkie.

I say this because a Canadian passport is looked upon very favourably by the British. It's a kind of stamp that you would expect a Mexican would get in a Mexican passport, not for a Canadian. Having that on a Canadian passport, your being seen as a persona non grata from the British authorities so someone messed up big to get this.

  • 2
    I got this stamp as an American. And I have an Australian friend who got it too -- neither of us with overstays or irregularities in the past. The IO can admit you for whatever length of time they believe reasonable. This is beside the point, however. The OP already has the stamp and want to know what to do, and your answer does not indicate this. Jul 9, 2018 at 6:44
  • I got the same stamp as an Australian, but it was because we were tourists and were scheduled to depart within 48 hours. The IO considered we had mis-stated our intentions on entry cards as in his eyes we were "transiting" despite our being mainly in the UK recently & would have been entitled to "6 months", the "leave to enter" does not mean multiple entry apparently..... It was the "leaving imminently" that got us the 48 hours and we did leave during that window, but we still stayed locally and contributed to the economy. etc. The IO had to write a small essay to record their "decision".
    – mckenzm
    Nov 22, 2018 at 2:25

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