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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a spouse visa and have finally arrived to the UK to live with my spouse. I planned a flight through Aer Lingus with a stop over in Dublin (left from Chicago) because the flight was cheaper. When I arrived in Dublin, there was no customs that I was aware of, and figured there would be no customs since I had a connecting flight. I followed signs that read "connecting flights" until I got to my next gate. I noticed a pre-liminary US customs area and asked a flight attendant and she said that was only for going TO the US. I took my connecting flight from Dublin to London, landing in Terminal 2 of LHR, and as I made my way to baggage claim, could not find any sort of customs/immigration stop. After I got my bags, I stopped and asked an officer about customs, but he said I hadn't gone through yet (at this time, I thought customs and immigration were one in the same). I went through the direction of which he indicated was customs, and I exited into the lobby. There was no stamping of my passport or anything.

I'm really concerned and haven't found a lot of info online about this situation. I've seen mixed comments. Should I be contacting somebody about this? Is there a way to contact or go to an immigration office of some sort for an entry stamp in my passport? I only saw one comment about having to leave the country and come back in, but I can't afford to do that. I am going to London this weekend in hopes of getting it sorted at the airport if it's possible, but any additional information or details would help. Thanks.
 

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Because Ireland and the UK are in what is called the Common Travel Area there is no immigration control between the 2 countries. This is why we advise that you NOT travel to the UK through Ireland as your visa isn't activated. I think the chances of being let into the immigration hall are pretty slim which is why you should leave the UK and re-enter through a UK port. You can take a ferry to France which should be pretty inexpensive.
 

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You can get from Dover to Calais (France) for as cheap as £16 return on P&O Ferries.

It's the basic no-frills ticket, but it may just suit your needs.
 

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While I can understand there being no immigration/customs when arriving at Heathrow, I find it extraordinary that the poster did not go through immigration when arriving at Dublin.

He arrived on an international flight, and, as per when arriving in say Chicago from Heathrow and then travelling onto San Diego, one goes through Immigration at your first point of call. Some on the flight would have been finishing their journey at Dublin and with international flights immigration is usually the first procedure you have to go through. Connecting on etc etc is usually after this procedure.

Did the poster get pre-clearance at Chicago (the same as one can get pre-clearance when leaving for the US via Dublin) ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I got no pre clearance. I honestly have no idea how I managed to do that. Like I said, I simply followed connecting flights signs.
 

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So you have no confirmation that you have landed in Ireland, the UK or anyplace else that is not the U.S. You are going to have to leave the UK and re-enter. I don't think there is any way around it.
 

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Does not speak well for Irish Immigration Security !!!!!
 

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So you came through Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport. You did go through passport checks before going to Terminal 2 departures for your Aer Lingus flight, but if you showed your boarding pass for the next flight, they don't often ask to see your passport and you are through. I suppose this is what happened.
 

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Does not speak well for Irish Immigration Security !!!!!
I hope someone from UKBA looks at these forums, to learn how to tighten up any back door roots into the UK ASAP.
The original poster having a spouse visa, must have known he had to get it officially stamped on entry to UK, and should have made every effort to find the passport control officer, if he was entering perfectly legally. I hope he has kept his airline tickets to show exactly how he entered so that UKBA can trace back where this failure of national safety occurred.
 

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I hope someone from UKBA looks at these forums, to learn how to tighten up any back door roots into the UK ASAP.
The original poster having a spouse visa, must have known he had to get it officially stamped on entry to UK, and should have made every effort to find the passport control officer, if he was entering perfectly legally. I hope he has kept his airline tickets to show exactly how he entered so that UKBA can trace back where this failure of national safety occurred.
UKBA is now called UKVI and has been for about a year and a half.

Since the poster entered through Ireland, they would have gone through Irish passport control and since it is in the Common Travel Area there would be no opportunity to "find" UK passport control.

As we have advised before, if coming to the UK on a settlement or other long term visa you should enter through the UK.
 

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The above advice, though well meaning, is erroneous. My spouse entered via Dublin and married in Belfast. After reading these boards beforehand, I consulted an experienced immigration lawyer to assess the implications of this route on my spouse's settlement. To summarise his advice:

1) There is no legal process of 'activation'. This only refers to the entering of your details into the Home Office computer at the border. This does not legally impact on your visa - if you enter via Dublin on a residence visa - any sort - under the terms of the CTA you are bound by the terms of the original UK settlement visa.

2) The lack of an initial entry stamp is irrelevant in the case of an active, correct visa. However, should you need one to prove duration in a country for any reason, one is legally allowed to report to the passport office and ask for it to be stamped. They will apparently refuse, but have no legal basis for continuing to do so and should relent eventually.

3) This isn't an issue with fiancé/ FLR visas though. My wife applied for FLR(M) after marriage without an entry stamp and was granted it without any issue.

As I said, this was the advice of an immigration lawyer, borne out by practice. Hope this helps
 

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The above is broadly correct. There is no process of activating your visa already obtained, and if you come through Ireland, just keep boarding pass etc as proof of UK entry via Ireland. This can be used to evidence date of entry when renewing or extending your visa.
If you are non-visa national and just coming to visit UK, remember by coming through the Republic of Ireland you will only be allowed to stay for 3 months (maximum allowed under Irish rules) and you won't be able to extend it. This becomes very important if you wish to study in UK on a short course lasting between 3 and 6 months. So if you intend to come via Ireland under those circumstances, get student visit visa in advance in your country of residence.

While coming through Ireland with a settlement visa is possible, it's still better to arrive directly in UK, go through UK border control and get your passport date stamped as proof of your UK arrival. If you come through Ireland, often they will collect your boarding pass as you arrive as evidence of your passage through Common Travel Area, so getting proof of UK arrival may become difficult or time-consuming, like trying to find UK border official to get a stamp or going to a passport office to plead.
 

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This is sound advice, but should one enter on a fiance visa, proof of arrival in the UK is not really an issue so long as you have a marriage certificate (presumably issued within the UK) at point of FLR (M) application. It would be important, however, to retain proof of entry in cases where the initial date was important in establishing exact periods of residency.

I have previously read advice on these boards tantamount to advising that any marriage in the UK with an 'inactive', unstamped entry visa would be invalid for subsequent settlement applications. Nothing could be further from the truth!
 

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I never said that, but for most people, there is a sound reason for coming directly to UK and not via Ireland or territories in Common Travel Area.
 
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