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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7406
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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A friend, a US citizen, was recently refused entry into the

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A friend, a US citizen, was recently refused entry into the UK. The border control said she lacked appropriate documentation, which she admits is true because it never occurred to her that she would be asked to prove her reasons for visiting and her employment status.

She was coming over from Spain to London to celebrate her birthday, attend a meeting, and to see her ophthalmologist in London due to increased discomfort in her eye. She was put back on a plane to Madrid, where her flight originated. She believes that locking her up for the night and putting her on a return flight to Madrid was a highly disproportionate and drastic action. She wanted to stay for just 9 days and has never overstayed a visa in any country. As a result, her eye condition worsened and she suffered a great deal of pain, she missed the meeting in London and almost lost her job (employed by a US company to open new markets internationally), and she personally had to pay for her hotel and flights as she could not ask her employer to do so. Normally her employer meets her travel expenses. She was reluctant to tell them about this embarrassing incident, and in any event, they would not have covered her costs for this. She wants to ask for compensation. Is there a legal basis for her to do so?

Thanks for your patience.

I assume that your friend was attempting to enter the UK under the visa waiver program which allows US citizens (generally) to enter the UK for short visits without the need to apply for a visa before travelling.

I’m afraid that I cannot see a viable option for her to attempt to recover money from the UKBA.

This is because the right to get a visa upon entry to the UK is technically discretionary. In the same way as with any other visas for the UK the UKBA has a right to refuse entry to the UK where they consider there is a possibility that a breach of the immigration rules will occur or where they do not have evidence that the person would be able to comply with the terms of their visa.

Your friend was visiting. This means that she would not be able work and should be able to show that entry was simply for a recreational visit. If she was not able to prove this with documentary evidence or not able to prove that she would be able to support and accommodate herself for the duration of the trip then the UKBA would quite reasonably be suspicious. This suspicion would form the basis of the refusal.

In any event most claims for compensation are based on clear evidence-backed cases where a person has had their human rights breached by the UKBA. I have to say that I do not see this as such a case.

Instead, I see this as a case where the UKBA were discharging their duties to regulate entry to the UK in line with the immigration rules. As your friend was not able to show compliance with the immigration rules then they refused entry because of a potential breach.

I really would advise that she focuses her energies elsewhere but she does have my sympathies.

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Kind regards,


Is there any further information you require?

I just want to ensure that you are satisfied, so please let me know if you have any further queries on your position. Please remember to rate my answer, if you are satisfied.

Kind regards,

Thomas, Solicitor
Satisfied Customers: 7406
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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