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I was refused entry to the UK in 2005. I was very young at the time (about 16) and I'm not really sure why I was denied. I think not enough funds but really I have no idea.

I'm planning a trip there for three weeks this summer, staying with family and friends. I'm very nervous about being refused due to this previous refusal. I also don't have an answer for them if they ask why I was refused the first time. I applied for a visitor's visa later that year and was denied. I will be traveling under a different name (married name) with a new passport.

What should I expect?

How long do they even keep track of this kind of thing?

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    Different name new passport doesn't really matter. You're supposed to answer the question about previous refusals truthfully regardless or risk being banned. You were a minor at the time and it's twelve years ago. Just make sure you have all the necessary information and documents to prove you will return to your home country and don't stress too much.Which country are you from? – user 56513 Feb 7 '17 at 22:19
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    I'm from the USA. My concern is that I'm not completely sure why I was refused. I know my visa was for not enough funds but I'm not 100% sure about my initial entry. I'm not saying I'm not going to disclose it I'm just paranoid that my not knowing why will be a major issue. Thank you for the answer. – Elizabeth Feb 7 '17 at 22:33
  • If you were refused and removed, it would have been under the General Grounds in Part 9 of the Rules. All removals from port are done that way. – Gayot Fow Feb 7 '17 at 22:38
  • @JonathanReez That's what the OP says, "applied for a visitor's visa later that year." – mkennedy Feb 8 '17 at 15:28
  • What's absolutely essential is that answer truthfully. "Were you denied entry and why?" - "Yes, I was denied entry twice in 2005, I was 16 at the time and I cannot remember why I was refused entry and didn't keep any documentation about it". That's truthful, and not suspicious, and won't be held against you. "I was never denied entry" will be found out, and then you have a problem. And reasons that were valid in 2005 to refuse you entry are very unlikely to be valid today. – gnasher729 Mar 19 '17 at 17:56
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I'm going to post a milder version of Sheik Paul's answer.

In the UK, refusals are tied to a person, not a passport or nationality, and embassies record your fingerprints, so they definitely have means of catching you.

There are obviously two options: entering visa-free or applying for a visa. The latter is clearly a lot safer.

Because, unlike in the US, a UK visa is not merely a permission to apply for entry, but a pre-approval of entry (hence why it's also called an entry clearance).

Secondly, by obtaining a visa, your previous issues with UK authorities will be eliminated as a factor. It only costs £87, and, to my knowledge, only needs to be obtained once - once it expires you can enter visa-free and you're still cleared of this specific issue (your previous refusal) thanks to that one visa you got.

If trying to enter visa-free now, you really should bring all pieces of documentation that you would attach to a visa application (for example, a couple of consecutive bank statements, invitation letter from your friends and family clearly stating the duration and purpose of your trip as well as their relationship with you, return ticket, and any and all other documents supporting the purpose and duration of your trip). Of course, don't present all of this upfront, but on request.

Even with this, it's likely you'll be delayed, though you'll probably be let in. Sheik Paul was unlucky and got to spend 6 hours in secondary inspection.

Whilst it's not very likely your experience would be this extreme (in part because your issues with the UK were in a much more distant past), still, the most stress- and risk-free route by far is obtaining a visa.

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Different name, new passport doesn't really matter. You're supposed to answer the question about previous refusals truthfully or risk being banned or seriously grilled, detained etc. You were a minor at the time and it's twelve years ago, chances are they will forgive your transgression. Lying is a NO NO!

Preferably get a visa before going. Actually, not just preferably, ABSOLUTELY get a visa before going. Additionally make sure you carry all the necessary information and documents to prove you will return to your home country.

Do not take any chances whatsoever considering you've had two skirmishes with them albeit a minor at the time. They keep that information for up to ten years. Any false step and stubbornness in insisting on traveling visa free and you might end up like I did, or worse.

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    "Actually, not just preferably, ABSOLUTELY get a visa before going. Additionally make sure you carry all the necessary information and documents to prove you will return to your home country." If you have a visa, no need to carry a vast amount of proof at the border - that's only if entering visa-free – Crazydre Mar 19 '17 at 10:57

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