The user behind this question, a US national with a previous UK visa refusal, was recently subject to extreme scrutiny at Heathrow Airport before being admitted, albeit with a custom leave stamp rather than the standard one.

If a normal leave to enter for visitors was granted, why would such a custom stamp be issued rather than the default one?


  • @TymoteuszPaul et al. Why do you guys think this is a coded landing? I don't get it :(
    – Gayot Fow
    Mar 16, 2017 at 1:00
  • So to you Crazydre, I don't get it. Why is this coded landing? It looks normal to me
    – Gayot Fow
    Mar 16, 2017 at 1:18
  • @GayotFow I mistakenly thought these custom stamps (as opposed to the default one) were mainly issued to visa-free short-term students and in case of conded landings or a shortened leave period
    – Crazydre
    Mar 16, 2017 at 1:19
  • 2
    The "RRR" business is the index key of his landing card. It's totally normal.
    – Gayot Fow
    Mar 16, 2017 at 1:25
  • 3
    @GayotFow Yes please, I've honestly asked myself for years what exactly determines by current law whether a default or custom leave stamp is issued to a visitor who's been granted a 6-month stay.
    – Crazydre
    Mar 16, 2017 at 1:41

2 Answers 2


The stamp (along with the handwritten information) is leave-to-enter issued to a non-visa national under Paragraph 23A of the rules...

A person who is not a visa national and who is seeking leave to enter on arrival in the United Kingdom for a period not exceeding 6 months for a purpose for which prior entry clearance is not required under these Rules may be granted such leave, for a period not exceeding 6 months.

The "RRR 06 046" is the index key of the person's landing card. The landing card has notes on it and will be kept on file according to the procedures in their Operations Manual.

The next part is the term, which is 6 months. Under that are the restrictions: no work or public funds

Under that is the rounded rectangle stamp issued to anyone admitted, including those with entry clearance.

Inside the stamp one sees the IO's number, which is 7285, and the single star informs us that he is a basic Immigration Officer (as opposed to a Chief Immigration Officer, which is 3 stars, and so on).

Finally we have the date and the port of entry, Heathrow.

For your question...

If a normal leave to enter for visitors was granted, why would such a custom stamp be issued rather than the default one?

They used this particular stamp because they needed a place to write the index to the landing card so they can retrieve it if the need arises. I am given to understand that the person was detained and his biometrics were enrolled. During that process they learned some interesting things and made some notes about it, hence the need to tie his passport to their records.

Personal observation: These things are a source of anxiety. I have seen these things for a long, long time and have consistently given this advice...


Ignore it


There is nothing that can be done about it and there is no way to purge it from their records. They are entitled to make a notation and if it has meaning for them, so be it. Just go about your business and deal with them in a stand up way and let them look up whatever they want. Exhibiting fret and worry will only trigger the IO's radar (quite probably what happened in this case).

You can make a Freedom of Information request and they will send back a scan of the FRONT of the landing card. All of the "juicy stuff" will not be released because it may assist the person in evading immigration controls.

It means the final canonical answer to anyone who is stressed out about something an IO wrote in their passport is to ignore it.

If you expect problems transiting UK immigration controls, get an entry clearance. It's the only way to "clear the slate" and have a stress free landing interview.

  • Regarding the last paragraph, I would greatly appreciate an answer to this, unless you fully agree with the current answerer and his comments travel.stackexchange.com/questions/89910/…
    – Crazydre
    Mar 16, 2017 at 2:10
  • 5
    @GayotFow that person is more than happy to be stomped to the ground with a correct answer or razor-sharp critique. I know from good sources that he will still stick around and keep trying to help ;).
    – Aida Paul
    Mar 16, 2017 at 2:18
  • 5
    @GayotFow If you disagree with something in an answer, please share your expertise. The fact that someone else has posted an answer surely shouldn't stop you from answering too. Mar 16, 2017 at 2:28
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    What happened in this case was that the person was refused an entry clearance as a visa national on one passport, then gained a second (USA) citizenship and travelled to the UK on the American passport without first reapplying for an entry clearance. He was detained for several hours before being landed. Mar 16, 2017 at 3:36
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    @MichaelHampton it should also be noted that the traveler decided not to follow the advice offered on this site, including that offered by Gayot Fow, and suffered the consequences predicted on this site, namely a difficult landing interview that ended successfully. Consequently, the traveler expressed regret for the decision not to follow our advice, so lesson learned.
    – phoog
    Mar 16, 2017 at 15:02

My experience when I was detained at Heathrow May 2016 was as a result of an Officer in Portsmouth that had a gripe with Australians and stamped my passport with one of those alerting visas.

I've written several letters to Home Office, without any luck. You are correct in that a flag is retained for 10 years, regardless if I was still allowed into the UK and have it in writing, that I am not a threat to the country.


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