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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7612
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Im an Australian national and have just obtained a UK visitor

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I'm an Australian national and have just obtained a UK visitor visa, which states I can stay for 6 months but there is a hand written note on it, possibly a reference number, that I haven't had on any previous visit and which concerns me.

I was a student in the UK, and my student visa expired last week. As I have not yet received my degree certificate which will be sent to my old UK address, and as I was planning to do some backpacking around Europe, I went on a trip to visit a friend with the aim of coming back in on a student visa.

The immigration official wasn't pleased at my plans and clearly was worried about my intentions in the UK, given I used to be a student here. I was able to show tickets for my next trip and a one way ticket out of the UK following that.

After about 20 minutes and a chat with his boss, he let me in but warned that I should change my plans and go home directly from my next trip and not try to enter the UK again, because I would be refused entry. I think the reference number may be to the notes that he took on my landing card, because he said the next official would see the notes and my not be as "lenient". He said taking trips to and from the UK was suspicious...but I'm just backpacking and using the UK as a base point.

Clearly, this is upsetting because I have my ticket home, am following the law and thought I was doing the right thing by getting a tourist visa rather than overstaying my student visa, as many other students I know did.

Am I really likely to be refused entry in 2 weeks if I go on my trip? Is there anything I can do about this before going on the trip, given I have my itinerary and tickets out and my former boss is prepared to state that I'm no longer working? Or am I best to cancel my trips and fly home from here?

Thanks for requesting me.

Your student visa expired whilst out of the UK.

You obtained a visitor's visa to come to the UK and have entered under it. You are still in the UK.

You planned to leave the UK and visit a friend outside the UK.

You then intended to enter under the same visitor's visa that you have been most recently granted.

Is the above correct? Please clarify, if not..

Kind regards,

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, that's correct. I would only add that after re-entering, I was planning on leaving the UK permanently 2 weeks later and have the tickets to prove it.


Does your visitor's visa state "MULT" on it anywhere? This would indicate a right to enter the UK a number of times within the visa period?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, but neither has any tourist visa I've ever obtained in the UK over the last 10 years.


It says "leave to enter for/until" and then "six months" has been handwritten in.

Drafting your answer now.

5 mins please. It may not make for particulaly pleasant reading though.


Thanks for your patience.

The UKBA’s concerns with your present intentions are two fold.

The first is that you have come back to the UK so soon after your student visa expired. They are likely to be more cautious because they suspect that it is possible that this may be an entry to work by stealth. This probably does not have much to do with you but more on the statistics of people in your position.

However, you appear to have settled their suspicions on this occasion because they have let you in. It may be that they still have these suspicions if you attempt to enter again and it may be more difficult to get around them. A letter from your employer on headed paper with a copy of their passport or driving licence will help in this regard.

The second problem is a bit more problematic for you. You have been granted a visitor’s visa to allow you to come to the UK to stay for up to 6 months and leave before expiry. It does not permit multiple entries.

Your visa would state “MULT” if you were given the right to enter, leave and re-enter a number of times within the visa period. Usually. To get this type of visa an application prior to travel would be required and these are usually granted for visa periods of between 1 to 10 years. If you have not done this then this is why you have only been granted a single entry visa.

This means that if you leave and attempt to re-enter without having a multiple entry visa then you are doing so entirely at the discretion of the entry clearance officer. This is to say that you have no automatic right to enter the UK when you return (unless you apply for a further visa). This is not a great position to be in and, I am sorry to say, the likelihood is that you would be refused entry. This may have further implications for other visas that you attempt to apply for as you would have to explain the situation and have your explanation accepted by the UKBA.

It would be a risk to leave the UK and attempt to re-enter I’m afraid.

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Kind regards,

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your response. That pretty much confirms my suspicions, although their logic doesn't make sense because by letting me in and warning me, surely I'd have cancelled my next trip and stayed here to work by stealth if that were my intention, and not travel!


Is it possible to apply for a multiple entry tourist visa while in the UK, or is this not an option for me at all?


Yes, I agree that it seems counter-intuitive but they have their policies which are based on their previous experience of migrant patterns. Apparantely the likelihood of an overstay of a visitor's visa is iuncreased if the visit occurs close to previous leave to remain in the UK under a different category.

I'm afraid that it is not possible to apply for a multi-entry UK visitor'sa visa whilst you are in the UK. A visitor's visa is granted under the conditoin that you must leave before the expiry of the visa. This is take to mean that you may not apply for another category or a variation except in exceptional compassionate circumstances (eg. health reasons.

I am sorry.

Please do remember to rate my answer.

Kind regards,

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