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Topic: Visiting UK for 2 months. What to expect from Immigration??  (Read 807 times)

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This is my first time on the boards so I wanted to first say hi!! :)

I will be going to the UK soon to visit my boyfriend (and sight-see) for 2 months. While I have no intention of staying longer than that, I've been hearing horror stories of those who have been denied entry. With that said, I want to make sure I am prepared as possible and do this right! What kind of questioning have you guys faced?

I'm concerned about 2 things:

1. The word "boyfriend". Half of the advice I have been given is to only use the word "friend". Obviously the other half have said to come out with "boyfriend". What have you guys done and what have been your experiences with this?

2. Even though I will have a valid return ticket home that I will absolutely use, I have no idea how to provide evidence of ties to home. I am a remote worker for a US based company, so I have no physical work place to go back to (and yes, I know I cannot work while in the UK). I will be staying with my parents when I return because I will have moved out of my apartment (so no rental agreement). I do have family at home, but am not sure how that would help??

We are pretty confident we want to get married, as we have already spent some time together (we met almost a year ago when he was here in the US). But these two months are to solidify those feelings before rushing into marriage. When I get back home, we will decide if he comes here to get married or if I start the fiance visa process. (We had talked about me going back to the UK after I've been home for 2 months or so, but I'm a bit terrified of immigration at that point!)

I just don't want to throw any red flags up at immigration as I know I am doing nothing illegal. These are the documents I will have with me when going through immigration:

- Valid US passport (obviously)
- His address and phone number (as I will be staying with him)
- Address and phone number of a friend I will also be staying with/visiting
- Return ticket home
- Bank statement and credit card statement to prove my finances for 2 months
- Itinerary of sights I will be seeing around Scotland and Cambridge

Any advice and suggestions appreciated!!


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Re: Visiting UK for 2 months. What to expect from Immigration??
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2018, 05:51:43 PM »
Hi Jenni, welcome!

The most important thing to remember is always tell the truth at the border. It's perfectly acceptable to visit a boyfriend or even a spouse. What will get you into trouble is if you say friend but it becomes apparent to them that he is your boyfriend!

You seem well prepared but 2 months is a long time for a visit and you are going to have to convince them that 1- You intend to return and 2- You don't intend to work while you're in the UK.

It might be a good idea to apply for a visitor's visa in advance, that way you'll be as sure as you can be that you'll be let in.  :)
March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.


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Re: Visiting UK for 2 months. What to expect from Immigration??
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2018, 06:30:04 PM »
This is my first time on the boards so I wanted to first say hi!! :)

I will be going to the UK soon to visit my boyfriend (and sight-see) for 2 months. While I have no intention of staying longer than that, I've been hearing horror stories of those who have been denied entry. With that said, I want to make sure I am prepared as possible and do this right! What kind of questioning have you guys faced?

I'm concerned about 2 things:

1. The word "boyfriend". Half of the advice I have been given is to only use the word "friend". Obviously the other half have said to come out with "boyfriend". What have you guys done and what have been your experiences with this?

2. Even though I will have a valid return ticket home that I will absolutely use, I have no idea how to provide evidence of ties to home. I am a remote worker for a US based company, so I have no physical work place to go back to (and yes, I know I cannot work while in the UK). I will be staying with my parents when I return because I will have moved out of my apartment (so no rental agreement). I do have family at home, but am not sure how that would help??

We are pretty confident we want to get married, as we have already spent some time together (we met almost a year ago when he was here in the US). But these two months are to solidify those feelings before rushing into marriage. When I get back home, we will decide if he comes here to get married or if I start the fiance visa process. (We had talked about me going back to the UK after I've been home for 2 months or so, but I'm a bit terrified of immigration at that point!)

I just don't want to throw any red flags up at immigration as I know I am doing nothing illegal. These are the documents I will have with me when going through immigration:

- Valid US passport (obviously)
- His address and phone number (as I will be staying with him)
- Address and phone number of a friend I will also be staying with/visiting
- Return ticket home
- Bank statement and credit card statement to prove my finances for 2 months
- Itinerary of sights I will be seeing around Scotland and Cambridge

Any advice and suggestions appreciated!!
You work for a company in the US and have a residence in the US. That it is remote work or your parents’ house is not something I’d consider relevant. I wouldn’t hide it, but I wouldn’t volunteer it either.

I think they’d be more interested in how you’re taking so much time off, and assuring themselves you won’t be working during your time in the UK.

Other than that, my dad is retired from an airline so I fly in on a standby ticket with no return. I’ve come up to the counter and told them the purpose of my visit was cuddles. And then gone on to explain I was visiting my then girlfriend. Once the guy was in a bad mood. Every other time they called over co-workers, had me repeat it, and all said awww. I went on to say I needed to be back for school by whatever date. They’ve asked about my finances maybe twice, and I only ever gave them a number. I was prepared to pull up my account on my phone, but they never asked for evidence of that or anything else.

Now I have a frequent visitor card, so I just go through the EU gates and don’t deal with that anymore.

You should be fine. Just be honest. You don’t have to volunteer red flags, but don’t be evasive either. Be prepared to explain the time off work, return ticket (work related reason to return by a date would be nice), and show your financial means.


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Re: Visiting UK for 2 months. What to expect from Immigration??
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2018, 06:37:24 PM »
The most important things to be able to prove are:
- a return ticket
- enough funds for your trip
- ties to the US to prove you MUST return

To show ties due to your employment, you should bring with you:
- a letter from your US employer stating that they are aware that you will be visiting the UK for two months and that they are happy for you to take that time off work. They should also state when they expect you back in the US in order to continue working.
- your job contract

And to show accommodation, you can bring:
- a letter from your parents stating you will live with them when you return, and also stating anything you contribute to, such as bills/rent or other responsibilities (I.e. taking care of family members or pets)

I would also bring evidence of anything else you have that would show you need to return, such as:
- commitments you have made for your return... parties, weddings, appointments, meetings etc
- things you own, such as pets or a car

Also, showing you have knowledge of the immigration rules will help as well. Things like:
- you know you must leave within 6 months
- you know you can’t marry as a visitor
- you know you can’t work as a visitor
- you know you must return to the US in order to apply for fiancé or spousal visa (if you will go that route)


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Re: Visiting UK for 2 months. What to expect from Immigration??
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2018, 10:43:00 AM »
Follow ksand's advice and you'll be good to go.

The biggest thing is to be honest and transparent - and knowledge of the rules.  Don't offer information not requested, but do offer anything that IS requested.  :)


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Re: Visiting UK for 2 months. What to expect from Immigration??
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2018, 11:35:59 AM »
Yep, be honest about everything! Given the length of the trip the employer letter may be important, the longest I ever took was 2 weeks and still faced a grilling on a few occasions. If you're concerned the visitor visas aren't expensive and are good for peace of mind, especially if you plan on traveling to Europe and back the UK before returning home. :)


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Re: Visiting UK for 2 months. What to expect from Immigration??
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2018, 12:01:05 PM »
especially if you plan on traveling to Europe and back the UK before returning home. :)

That's a good point - if you just get your visitor visa stamp at the border when you arrive, it is only valid for one entry into the UK, so if you leave the original stamp will be 'cancelled' and when you try to come back, you'll have to 'reapply' for another visitor stamp, and potentially show all your documents and evidence again (and there's always the risk that you won't be allowed back in again).

However, if you apply for a visitor visa in advance, it will usually be issued for 6 months and will be multiple-entry so you can leave and come back within those 6 months without issue.


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Re: Visiting UK for 2 months. What to expect from Immigration??
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2018, 12:55:44 PM »
If it makes you feel any better, I have done similar: a 2 month visit to a boyfriend (now husband) when back in the US I lived at my parents' house and was working freelance jobs in theatre.  I had a 2 month gap between jobs and a lot of money from a festival ending and my pay arriving, so took a long visit to see my boyfriend and also visit with some of our mutual friends from uni and do some relaxing/sightseeing.  I was completely honest and told them this and their only concerns were that I knew someone in the country and had somewhere to stay, as well as a return date.  I had my return ticket on my phone but they didn't ask to see it. 

Ironically on that trip I got grilled LEAVING the country about my job, but I was on the way home and starting another gig the following day, so I wasn't sure what was up with that.  It was good natured grilling, at least!
Spouse Visa:
Received by Sheffield 19 Nov 2016
Decision Made 26 Jan 2017
Visa Received 30 Jan 2017
Arrived in UK 15 Feb 2017


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Re: Visiting UK for 2 months. What to expect from Immigration??
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2018, 01:03:59 AM »
I returned to the US from my two month visit, so thought I'd update this in case anyone else ever wondered about immigration over a long stay...

I hardly got questioned at all! The immigration officer did raise his eyebrows when I stated I'd be staying for two months, but then he only asked what I'd be doing during that time and asked where I worked. That was it.

I went through immigration in Dublin before heading to Glasgow, so not sure if that had anything to do with it?

But I never went through passport control LEAVING Glasgow, which I thought was weird. I walked through security, through duty-free shops, down a long hallway, and there was my gate! I will be going back to the UK after Christmas for just a few weeks, so I kept my boarding pass to prove I got on a plane out of Glasgow if the issue ever comes up.


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Re: Visiting UK for 2 months. What to expect from Immigration??
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2018, 02:14:52 AM »
I returned to the US from my two month visit, so thought I'd update this in case anyone else ever wondered about immigration over a long stay...

I hardly got questioned at all! The immigration officer did raise his eyebrows when I stated I'd be staying for two months, but then he only asked what I'd be doing during that time and asked where I worked. That was it.

I went through immigration in Dublin before heading to Glasgow, so not sure if that had anything to do with it?

Glad you didn’t have any trouble :).

However, flying through Dublin means you went through Irish immigration, not U.K. immigration, and therefore you only got a 3-month Irish visitor visa intend of a 6-month UK visitor visa.

There are no immigration controls between Ireland and the U.K., so  you get a visitor visa in Ireland which covers you for the UK. This was fine for a 2-month visit, but if you had been trying to enter for more than 3 months, you would have had problems.

Because of the lack of immigration controls, you will need to make sure you DO NOT enter through Dublin when you arrive for the first time on your spousal visa, as you will not go through UK immigration and therefore your visa will not be stamped/activated.

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But I never went through passport control LEAVING Glasgow, which I thought was weird. I walked through security, through duty-free shops, down a long hallway, and there was my gate! I will be going back to the UK after Christmas for just a few weeks, so I kept my boarding pass to prove I got on a plane out of Glasgow if the issue ever comes up.

You don’t go through passport control when leaving the U.K., only when entering it.



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