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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there. I'm not sure if I'm posting on the right forum, or even the right website.

I am a US citizen, with a boyfriend living in Scotland. My boyfriend and I met online. In Feb. I flew to Scotland to visit him. I stayed for a total of 2 weeks.

When I originally tried to get into the UK, I had some problems when I said that I was here to meet a friend from the internet. The border agent questioned me for hours, eventually letting me into the country, making me promise that I leave when I told her I was going to. I, obviously, left at the end of my 2 week visit, but I did not get an exit stamp in my passport. I also did not get an entry stamp when I returned to the US, so there is nothing in my passport indicating that i left the UK.

Now I am planning to go back on the 20th of this month for 2 1/2 weeks. I have already purchased a round trip ticket. I am now getting worried that I may have trouble visiting my boyfriend next week. It will be about 3 months since my last visit, and I will only be staying for 2 1/2 weeks, but I hear of people getting deported all the time.

My boyfriend and I do plan on living together at some point, though we haven't decided which of our countries we're going to live in. Most likely we will get a fiance visa in the future, and I will try to relocate to Scotland. But that is not for another year or so.

I have a few questions.

1. Do you think that I will have trouble entering the UK this time?

2. How often should i be allowed to visit the UK? My plan is to make 3 visits a year to the UK, each for around 2 or 3 weeks at a time. I plan on going just about every 4 months.

3. Should I say that I am there to visit my boyfriend, or should I say I am just visiting a friend? Or that I am just there for tourism?

4. Should I carry proof of employment in the US, like a letter from my boss? I would think that it would look suspicious as that's not something a typical tourist travels with...

5. Should I carry a copy of my bank account, showing that I have money in my account? Again, I would think that this would look suspicious...
 

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Hi there. I'm not sure if I'm posting on the right forum, or even the right website.

I am a US citizen, with a boyfriend living in Scotland. My boyfriend and I met online. In Feb. I flew to Scotland to visit him. I stayed for a total of 2 weeks.

When I originally tried to get into the UK, I had some problems when I said that I was here to meet a friend from the internet. The border agent questioned me for hours, eventually letting me into the country, making me promise that I leave when I told her I was going to. I, obviously, left at the end of my 2 week visit, but I did not get an exit stamp in my passport. I also did not get an entry stamp when I returned to the US, so there is nothing in my passport indicating that i left the UK.

Now I am planning to go back on the 20th of this month for 2 1/2 weeks. I have already purchased a round trip ticket. I am now getting worried that I may have trouble visiting my boyfriend next week. It will be about 3 months since my last visit, and I will only be staying for 2 1/2 weeks, but I hear of people getting deported all the time.

My boyfriend and I do plan on living together at some point, though we haven't decided which of our countries we're going to live in. Most likely we will get a fiance visa in the future, and I will try to relocate to Scotland. But that is not for another year or so.

I have a few questions.

1. Do you think that I will have trouble entering the UK this time?

2. How often should i be allowed to visit the UK? My plan is to make 3 visits a year to the UK, each for around 2 or 3 weeks at a time. I plan on going just about every 4 months.

3. Should I say that I am there to visit my boyfriend, or should I say I am just visiting a friend? Or that I am just there for tourism?

4. Should I carry proof of employment in the US, like a letter from my boss? I would think that it would look suspicious as that's not something a typical tourist travels with...

5. Should I carry a copy of my bank account, showing that I have money in my account? Again, I would think that this would look suspicious...
Before we were married, I always carried the return flight ticket or itinarary, my time off request, and a copy of my lease in the US. I only needed to show my stash of paperwork once. I usually visits not closer than 6 months apart as my husband visited me.

M
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Before we were married, I always carried the return flight ticket or itinarary, my time off request, and a copy of my lease in the US. I only needed to show my stash of paperwork once. I usually visits not closer than 6 months apart as my husband visited me.

M

I guess I will bring a letter from my boss then, as well.
I'll also have my student ID with me, as I'm a college student.. hopefully that will be sufficient.
 

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I guess I will bring a letter from my boss then, as well.
I'll also have my student ID with me, as I'm a college student.. hopefully that will be sufficient.
More is better than less, even if you probably don't need to show them all.
A letter from your uni/college that you are registered student and are expected back by a certain date for your studies.
Bank statement covering the past three months.
Rough itinerary.
Return ticket.
If you are staying with your boyfriend, a letter from him offering to put you up and look after you during your visit.

As for whether you should say you are visiting your boyfriend, there are two basic principles at stake here. First, never volunteer information not specifically asked. Second, never lie to an immigration officer. They have a way of finding out the truth (they are trained to read body language, tone of voice, your general demeanour) and are well up in interviewing techniques. If they do find out you have lied, that fact alone is enough to refuse you entry and put you on next flight home.

So if they ask 'Are you visiting anybody?'
Answer 'Yes.'
'Are you in a relationship?
'Yes.'
'Is he your boyfriend?'
'Yes.'
'How and when did you meet for the first time?'
'Online and about a year ago (or whatever is the truth).'
'Have you met in person?'
'Yes, in Scotland in February for 2 weeks.'
'Are you planning marriage or living together?'
'No.' (don't elaborate!)
'How long do you intend to stay?'
'I have a return ticket for a flight home in 2 weeks.'
'Can I see it?'
(Show booking confirmation)
'Do you have ties in US?'
'Yes I am a student at xyz college studying abc.'
'Do you have any letter or document?'
'Here is my student ID and a letter from Dean of Studies.'
And so on.

You see how such a conversation goes? Always answer only the question asked, and tell the truth succinctly without elaborating or explaining your action or intention.

Follow my advice and you should have the best chance of hassle-free passage through immigration, but remember I'm not the immigration officer and I don't make decisions. Be neatly dressed, take a deep breath before walking up to immigration desk, be friendly and polite, look directly into their eyes and smile, and feel confident.

Oh, don't worry about lack of exit stamps. If they want to find out about your movement or travel history, they can look into advance passenger information supplied by airlines and stored on database.
 

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I am baffled by the number of people on this forum who have had problems coming into the UK for a visit. Honestly it never occurred to me to worry about it before and now I'm amazed that we have never had any issues. All of my previous visits to the UK have been just as a visitor and usually for a 2 week or less period of time.

When they ask me what the purpose of my visit is, I am pretty sure that I always say that I am visiting friends. Then the officer usually smiles and stamps my passport and we walk on through. I can't believe how many people seem to get questioned. Thank goodness it never happened to us because I wouldn't have had any paperwork or supporting documents along with me.

Guess I've been lucky... now I'm worried I will seem nervous next time since I know how many people seem to get detained/questioned/not allowed to enter. Crazy! Although hopefully (crossing fingers, eyes, toes, etc.) we will have our family settlement visas in hand next time we enter and it will be a moot point.
 

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I am baffled by the number of people on this forum who have had problems coming into the UK for a visit. Honestly it never occurred to me to worry about it before and now I'm amazed that we have never had any issues. All of my previous visits to the UK have been just as a visitor and usually for a 2 week or less period of time.

When they ask me what the purpose of my visit is, I am pretty sure that I always say that I am visiting friends. Then the officer usually smiles and stamps my passport and we walk on through. I can't believe how many people seem to get questioned. Thank goodness it never happened to us because I wouldn't have had any paperwork or supporting documents along with me.

Guess I've been lucky... now I'm worried I will seem nervous next time since I know how many people seem to get detained/questioned/not allowed to enter. Crazy! Although hopefully (crossing fingers, eyes, toes, etc.) we will have our family settlement visas in hand next time we enter and it will be a moot point.
Much depends on profiling by immigration officers. If you LOOK and SOUND like a genuine visitor, then it's a quick stamp and smile, but if they suspect you may be up to something, questioning starts. Tell-tale signs include your age, your appearance (e.g. ripped jeans and scruffy backpack), your demeanour, and how you answer first few questions.

Maybe you look quite respectable!
 

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I previously spoke with an immigration lawyer who said you can avoid the hassle/anxiety of getting your visitor visa stamp AHEAD of time, while still in the USA. I honestly don't remember what he said after that because I was in Scotland at the time, already engaged to my now husband (and hence wasn't planning to come back to the UK as a visitor). Sorry for not having more info here, but perhaps this is something you might want to look into and consider? (Before the lawyer suggested this to me, I did not even know such things were possible! Again, not sure if this is a GOOD idea, this is just what someone suggested to me earlier this year)
 

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I previously spoke with an immigration lawyer who said you can avoid the hassle/anxiety of getting your visitor visa stamp AHEAD of time, while still in the USA. I honestly don't remember what he said after that because I was in Scotland at the time, already engaged to my now husband (and hence wasn't planning to come back to the UK as a visitor). Sorry for not having more info here, but perhaps this is something you might want to look into and consider? (Before the lawyer suggested this to me, I did not even know such things were possible! Again, not sure if this is a GOOD idea, this is just what someone suggested to me earlier this year)
Americans and many other nationals don't require a pre-obtained visitor visa (called entry clearance), but they can apply for one if they want to. It's only recommended or required for those with some seriously negative immigration history (such as record of visa rejections, deportations or entry refusals), so that you won't waste your airfare flying to UK, only to have your entry denied and sent back. For others it's optional, and frankly, by sticking to my recommendations, few people need a prior visa or face likelihood of border trouble. But I can't guarantee that.
 

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Make sure you have proper documentation:

Proof of funds (Money on your person/Bank Statements)
Return flight information
A certified letter from your place of employment

Make sure you are up front and honest in answering all questions. Answer what is being asked dont elaborate.

Make sure you and your fiancee/boyfriend are on the same page in terms of answers. If you are detained they will be calling him to verify any information that you have given.

I just experienced this. I was detained for about 20 minutes until all the information given could be verified by my fiancee.

Goodluck to you on your journey...
 

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Make sure you have proper documentation:

Proof of funds (Money on your person/Bank Statements)
Return flight information
A certified letter from your place of employment

Make sure you are up front and honest in answering all questions. Answer what is being asked dont elaborate.

Make sure you and your fiancee/boyfriend are on the same page in terms of answers. If you are detained they will be calling him to verify any information that you have given.

I just experienced this. I was detained for about 20 minutes until all the information given could be verified by my fiancee.

Goodluck to you on your journey...
I like this too:)

I was likewise grilled for about twenty minutes when I came to the UK in late 2010 to meet in person the fellow I'd been corresponding with for two years. Thanks to posts on this forum, I knew to be prepared with lots of info, and to be neatly dressed, etc.

LOL, I'm in my mid-fifties, a granny, and about as unthreatening as a body could be but I still had to spend that twenty minutes or so explaining myself to the agent, including what plans I had to protect myself if he turned out to be a nutter!

Good question, and I was prepared to answer that-I'd booked a hotel, had taxi and police info on a card in my cell phone case (oh wow, roaming charges are KILLER!!), and had friends I knew 'in real life' prepared to rescue me in case the 'Net BF did turn out to be a nutter.

She asked me right before stamping my passport and letting me go 'Are you here to fall in love?' to which I answered 'At my age, would that be such a bad thing?'

She did pass me in, I did fall in love (well, I think I was there already but being with him in person was the decider:)), and I did marry him. I'm a year into my probationary spouse visa:)

@the OP, knowing ahead of time that the UKBA is determined to keep potential over-stayers out is important-they WILL grill, erm, question you on arrival, and I can't think of any better advice than Joppa's, especially the part about not volunteering extra info.

Just answer the questions-don't get chatty but keep a pleasant smile on your face, and have your booked return ticket handy along with the other info proving you have a life in the US you will be returning to.

Enjoy your visit, Scotland is usually fantastic this time of year, but bring your woolies if coming in from a hot and humid US locale.

ETA: The pre-planning to be able to answer questions is not going to look suspicious, it's going to look prepared. By having your info squared away and handy you will help the UKBA agent process you through much quicker than if you had to fumble for your info and answers. Keep your info in a manilla envelope in the front pocket of your roll-on for quick and easy access.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Make sure you have proper documentation:

Proof of funds (Money on your person/Bank Statements)
Return flight information
A certified letter from your place of employment

Make sure you are up front and honest in answering all questions. Answer what is being asked dont elaborate.

Make sure you and your fiancee/boyfriend are on the same page in terms of answers. If you are detained they will be calling him to verify any information that you have given.

I just experienced this. I was detained for about 20 minutes until all the information given could be verified by my fiancee.

Goodluck to you on your journey...
What should my employer put in the letter verifying that I'm due back at work on a certain date?

I work for a small, independently owned facility, so the company doesn't have an HR department or anything. My boss has never had to write such a letter, and is a bit clueless as to what she should put.

Would just a simple:

"___ ___ is employed at ____ ____, and has been granted vacation time between the following dates: ___ ___. She is expected back at work on _______." be sufficient?
 

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What should my employer put in the letter verifying that I'm due back at work on a certain date?

I work for a small, independently owned facility, so the company doesn't have an HR department or anything. My boss has never had to write such a letter, and is a bit clueless as to what she should put.

Would just a simple:

"___ ___ is employed at ____ ____, and has been granted vacation time between the following dates: ___ ___. She is expected back at work on _______." be sufficient?
Someone will reply if I'm wrong, but that should be fine, make sure it is on letterhead (I'm assuming the company has some type of letterhead). Short and to the point is good in this case.

M
 

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What should my employer put in the letter verifying that I'm due back at work on a certain date?

I work for a small, independently owned facility, so the company doesn't have an HR department or anything. My boss has never had to write such a letter, and is a bit clueless as to what she should put.

Would just a simple:

"___ ___ is employed at ____ ____, and has been granted vacation time between the following dates: ___ ___. She is expected back at work on _______." be sufficient?
Make sure the letter is on company letter, if possible notorized. Make sure your boss puts your position with the company, how long you have worked there and annual salary. With what you started with and the additional information is sufficient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Someone will reply if I'm wrong, but that should be fine, make sure it is on letterhead (I'm assuming the company has some type of letterhead). Short and to the point is good in this case.

M

We don't use company headed paper at my job.. :/ It's an independent, family run business (not my family; I just work for this family).

I guess we will have to come up with company headed paper quickly.
 

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We don't use company headed paper at my job.. :/ It's an independent, family run business (not my family; I just work for this family).

I guess we will have to come up with company headed paper quickly.
Some of the requirements by UKBA for immigration are beyond ridiculous as they fail to take into account all these intervening variables in order to provide authentic documentation :mad2:. From my personal experience, I found US immigration procedure for both green-card and citizenship far more easier, tolerant and less nit-picky.:usa:

Coming back to your concern...
If the company you work for does not have a header then just write on any letter size paper and get signature from your employees stating that UK immigration officer can contact them directly if they have any questions regarding your employment status. And you can make a post-it note on same page clarifying company you work for does not have a header paper and this is the original document provided by your company owner.
 

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The main thing in my own opinion i wld look for if i was an immigration officer wld be how often you are visiting the UK. I wouldnt leave short time gaps in between each visit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
More is better than less, even if you probably don't need to show them all.
A letter from your uni/college that you are registered student and are expected back by a certain date for your studies.
Bank statement covering the past three months.
Rough itinerary.
Return ticket.
If you are staying with your boyfriend, a letter from him offering to put you up and look after you during your visit.
Okay. I've gotten my boss to write me a letter stating that I'm due back at work on x date. My student ID, which should help to show that I am also a student. I also of course have my return ID (trip was booked as round trip), and I have a list of things that I plan to do while in Scotland.

I've heard that I should carry a large sum of cash on me as well as my debit card so I will have access to more money. The last time I went, I traveled with over $1,500 USD, and I felt so paranoid every time I had to put my bag down at airport security, etc... Would I be able to get by at Immigration with just $500 USD, AND a debit card that has a balance of $6,000?
 

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I am baffled by the number of people on this forum who have had problems coming into the UK for a visit. Honestly it never occurred to me to worry about it before and now I'm amazed that we have never had any issues. All of my previous visits to the UK have been just as a visitor and usually for a 2 week or less period of time.

When they ask me what the purpose of my visit is, I am pretty sure that I always say that I am visiting friends. Then the officer usually smiles and stamps my passport and we walk on through. I can't believe how many people seem to get questioned. Thank goodness it never happened to us because I wouldn't have had any paperwork or supporting documents along with me.

Guess I've been lucky... now I'm worried I will seem nervous next time since I know how many people seem to get detained/questioned/not allowed to enter. Crazy! Although hopefully (crossing fingers, eyes, toes, etc.) we will have our family settlement visas in hand next time we enter and it will be a moot point.
Same here... I've had a VERY easy time getting into the UK in the two visits (and 1 London-Paris overnight minibreak earlier this month) I've made since Boxing Day. :cheer2: Heck, I get more hassle from the Canada Border Protection Agency when returning home from abroad than I have been hassled by the UKBA. :argue:

I find the UKBA to be a lot less invasive and a lot more tourist friendly :hippie: than the US Border Control people (who detained me for a half hour for no apparent reason at the beginning of a car trip through the northern border states back in August '10). I am also finding the VAF4A to be waaaay less invasive/questioning than the US's K-1 visa (once upon a time, I was engaged to an American), and it's my past experiences with/conditioned response to the Americans that has me so tightly wound up in regards to my VAF4A.

Would also have to agree with Joppa in regards to the whole passport info bit. The INS doesn't routinely stamp US passports when Americans return to the United States from abroad, but did you notice/do you remember when you came home, the border guard scanned a page of your passport while he was asking you about your trip? Yes? That scan that they took is as good as, if not better than the stamp that you were seeking. That scan places you into the INS database as having entered into the US at a specific time on a specific date, so if there's any question (by the INS or any other agency) as to your whereabouts on that date, you have proof that you were indeed on US soil as of the date that the scan was taken. (If you also remember, they did that same scan to your passport when you arrived in Scotland and it would happen to your passport if you decided to come to Canada or any other country as well... it officially places you having entered a country on a specific date)

Good luck with your future travels and happy travelling!
 

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Okay. I've gotten my boss to write me a letter stating that I'm due back at work on x date. My student ID, which should help to show that I am also a student. I also of course have my return ID (trip was booked as round trip), and I have a list of things that I plan to do while in Scotland.

I've heard that I should carry a large sum of cash on me as well as my debit card so I will have access to more money. The last time I went, I traveled with over $1,500 USD, and I felt so paranoid every time I had to put my bag down at airport security, etc... Would I be able to get by at Immigration with just $500 USD, AND a debit card that has a balance of $6,000?
I'd say do the following:

keep the bulk of your cash in your bank

contact your bank in advance of your trip and tell them that you plan on using your ATM card overseas and have them note this on your account, so that it doesn't get locked out due to unauthorised use.

I've read that non-North American ATM card PINs are 4 digits long and won't accept cards that have >4 digits for their PIN (can someone please clarify this?), so you may need to change your ATM card PIN at your bank before you go.

Check with them to see if there are any daily limits on how much ca$h you can withdraw overseas on any given day (my Canadian credit union limits how much I can ordinarily withdraw on any given day here in Canada, so it wouldn't surprise me if there's a limit on foreign withdrawals as well)

Arrive in the UK with a small-ish sum of £ cash money, as much as you feel comfortable travelling with and enough to get you through your first day in the UK (I'd recommend upwards to £100) to tide you over until you can get to an ATM.

HAVE FUN and don't sweat the small stuff!

:)
 

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I'd say do the following:

keep the bulk of your cash in your bank

contact your bank in advance of your trip and tell them that you plan on using your ATM card overseas and have them note this on your account, so that it doesn't get locked out due to unauthorised use.

I've read that non-North American ATM card PINs are 4 digits long and won't accept cards that have >4 digits for their PIN (can someone please clarify this?), so you may need to change your ATM card PIN at your bank before you go.

Check with them to see if there are any daily limits on how much ca$h you can withdraw overseas on any given day (my Canadian credit union limits how much I can ordinarily withdraw on any given day here in Canada, so it wouldn't surprise me if there's a limit on foreign withdrawals as well)

Arrive in the UK with a small-ish sum of £ cash money, as much as you feel comfortable travelling with and enough to get you through your first day in the UK (I'd recommend upwards to £100) to tide you over until you can get to an ATM.

HAVE FUN and don't sweat the small stuff!

:)

Your travel approach is safe way of traveling :)

In response to your query, whether its UK or US, I can confirm (as I have them both) the ATM card pins are 4 digits long not more or less.
 
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