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Hi all,

In another post I wrote, somebody pointed out to me that if I want to visit the UK, that this does not necessarily grant me a six month tourist visa - rather it only means six months can be spent in the UK within the last twelve months.

I just wanted to clarify this. I'm a US citizen and thus, my understanding is I am not a "visa national" and do not need a visa to visit the UK as a visitor (never have before).

I have visited the UK recently on these dates:
2 weeks in February 2013
10 days in June 2013
And I WILL spend 10 days there February 2014

My plan was to spend approximately six months (no more!) in the UK, without applying for a visa. I would live with my boyfriend, to make sure we are as happy together as we seem to be, then we would come back to the US to get married.

I was planning to go April 2014 - October 2014. Six months. Based on the other visits listed above, can I not, in fact go for six months? Does this mean I can only stay for six months within the year period of October 2013-2014? Or April 2013-2014? My problem is I don't know how exactly to calculate this, which dates are significant here. I do not want to overstay, even by a day.

Also, does this "six months out of twelve" apply even though I won't literally have a visitor visa in hand, just the usual stamp in my passport?

Fortunately as my boyfriend has much more leave than me, he has done most of the visiting and I go to the UK fairly infrequently, and for very little time. I just need to know - can I only stay for 6 months minus the duration of my last two visits? Should I chop it even a bit more to avoid suspicion?

Any thoughts from people who have been in this position is appreciated. We may well just get married to avoid all the hoopla but thought it would be nice to have the chance to live together first, even briefly...
 

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Hi all,

In another post I wrote, somebody pointed out to me that if I want to visit the UK, that this does not necessarily grant me a six month tourist visa - rather it only means six months can be spent in the UK within the last twelve months.

I just wanted to clarify this. I'm a US citizen and thus, my understanding is I am not a "visa national" and do not need a visa to visit the UK as a visitor (never have before).

I have visited the UK recently on these dates:
2 weeks in February 2013
10 days in June 2013
And I WILL spend 10 days there February 2014

My plan was to spend approximately six months (no more!) in the UK, without applying for a visa. I would live with my boyfriend, to make sure we are as happy together as we seem to be, then we would come back to the US to get married.

I was planning to go April 2014 - October 2014. Six months. Based on the other visits listed above, can I not, in fact go for six months? Does this mean I can only stay for six months within the year period of October 2013-2014? Or April 2013-2014? My problem is I don't know how exactly to calculate this, which dates are significant here. I do not want to overstay, even by a day.

Also, does this "six months out of twelve" apply even though I won't literally have a visitor visa in hand, just the usual stamp in my passport?

Fortunately as my boyfriend has much more leave than me, he has done most of the visiting and I go to the UK fairly infrequently, and for very little time. I just need to know - can I only stay for 6 months minus the duration of my last two visits? Should I chop it even a bit more to avoid suspicion?
Yes. You should limit your stay. As a US citizen you can generally visit for 6 months out of 12. You generally don't need to apply for a visa ahead of time. The stamp you receive in you passport when you enter IS your visa. Once you leave the UK that visa is cancelled and you are basically applying for a new visa every time you enter the UK. However, entrance is always at the discretion of the immigration officer at the border. That's why if you intend to stay for an extended period of time you need evidence of strong ties to the US including a job to return to, rent to pay, classes to return to, a return ticket.

Any thoughts from people who have been in this position is appreciated. We may well just get married to avoid all the hoopla but thought it would be nice to have the chance to live together first, even briefly...
Long distance relationships are difficult and we understand that you want to spend more time together but you need to be careful and consider a shorter visit. Trying to enter for an extended period of time could raise questions.
 

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Ok, so I came into uk as a visitor and asked to stay for 6months and I was detained for 4 hours while they went through my paperwork. I got questioned then let in.
Recently I told a friend that the same may happen to his girlfriend but she didn't believe me as she thought that it would be different coming from america. Never the less, she down graded her stay to one month, she still got detained, questioned and let in.
They want to mostly know two things
1. you will leave after 6months- so have your return ticket confirmation letter.
I also had a suspension letter from my union for 6months. So if you have an employment contract, or lease agreement that ties you to the States that would be helpful. They want reassurance that you will not overstay, especially because you are in a relationship.
2. that you won't work, not volunteer, nothing. So you need funds. I had 6months bank statement of mine and my girlfriends. I had an invitation letter from her stating that she pays the rent and buys the food and basically is happy to keep providing for me for 6 months.

Like I said I had these things but I still got detained, so be prepared. Be honest and pleasant. You have the ability to enter for up to 6 months but they have the right to refuse you. Remember this.
You cannot spend more than 6 months outside your country- or primarily in the UK, and my advice, again check with others, is that you should apply for only what would bring you up to the 6 month mark, do not go over it.
It probably doesn't need to be mentioned, but don't bring CVs or Birth certificates or any official documents that may look like you plan to start a life together. They go through your bag. I had my birth certificate, just to keep it safe, and I think that worried them.
Have your boyfriend's phone number handy they will call him to verify your story. You can also make phone calls from inside detainment, but I think you need a credit card. I never called I was too scared of crying.
 
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