Say a person used to require a visa for the UK and was once refused. Now they've become a visa-free national, but was detained for a long time upon a visa-free entry. The only way to nullify the refusal and prevent this from happening in the future is to obtain a visa (a phenomenon unique to the UK).

I wonder: should the person apply for a visa for every future UK visit in their life, or does a single visa approval permanently eliminate the flag caused by the original refusal, so that once the visa expires, applying for visa-free entry won't cause complications specifically due to the original refusal?


2 Answers 2


Keep in mind that even as a traveller from a visa-free country you should bring the evidence required for a visa application with you when travelling.

Once your receive an entry clearance, you can move freely without applying for a visa beforehand - just like any other visa-free person as this will supersede the refusal mark.

But at the very same time, unless you are in a hurry, it is always good to apply for the visa before travelling. If no for other reason than to make your landing quicker and usually pain-free, as most immigration concerns will be already dealt with.

  • 2
    "unless you are in a hurry" Or you don't wish to spend £87 unless trying to enter visa-free after having got an entry clearance (which then expired) would "re-raise" the past flag
    – Crazydre
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 1:54
  • @Crazydre it doesn't, once you are cleared you are fine. Matter of cost is for person to decide on their own. Keep in mind that if something goes wrong during landing the expenses will likely be massive (plane tickets, hotel reservation and time spent all gone to hell).
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 1:56
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    Of course, but what I wondered was if trying to enter visa-free would cause trouble specifically due to the original visa refusal, even if a (by now expired) visa was obtained afterwards. You gave an answer to that.
    – Crazydre
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 1:59

How did you become visa free? Did you gain new citizenship? If so, then everything from your past is, well, past. At least this is my understanding and interpretation of Dual citizenship passports and visas / https://travel.stackexchange.com/a/64891/4188 .

  • 1
    This does not concern me, as I'm nothing but visa-free (even for residence) and have been for my whole life. In the concerned case, yes, they naturalised and became a US citizen, but endured a pain in the neck at Heathrow nonetheless
    – Crazydre
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 3:11
  • 1
    Perhaps in theory everything from your past is, well, past. In theory your history almost always affects the future. Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 6:01
  • OK, let's escalate this into a question because it is weird.
    – user4188
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 6:16
  • Getting a new citizenship does not erase your past. Most countries, including the US for most purposes, allow dual citizens to pick which citizenship they want to use to apply for entry. So as a newly naturalized Canadian, you were able to gain access to a new immigration benefit, namely the visa-free travel enjoyed by Canadians in the US. But your naturalization would not have cleared you of any adverse history such as prior removals, findings of inadmissibility or visa refusals.
    – phoog
    Commented May 13, 2017 at 14:55

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