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Moving to UK with US Passport

Moving to UK with US Passport

Old May 5th 2011, 4:08 pm
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Default Moving to UK with US Passport

Hello!

I've just joined your forum today and can see there are many helpful, friendly users. I was hoping some of you may be able to help me with my frustrating situation. I'll try to summarize it for you...

I'm currently living in the US as a US citizen. I was born in the UK to a British mother and father. My mother got remarried to an American, who adopted me (his name is now on my birth certificate). I became naturalized 9 years ago as a minor. Now I'm moving back to the UK to be with my biological father and family. I have a US passport and have visited England several times with it. As a child I had a UK passport, which has obviously since expired.

Now I'm worried about how to get into the UK. Originally I was going to get a round trip ticket, apply for me UK passport while I was there and not take the second leg home. But after looking at the prices of tickets (highest they've been in decades!), I would rather buy a one way ticket. I'm worried about the UK immigration. Will the US airline even let me on the plane without a return ticket since I'm using a US passport to leave the country? Will I not be allowed into the UK (even with my UK birth certificate and my mothers)?


My options are:

- to try to obtain a UK passport prior to leaving the US, and use a one way ticket to get into the UK. I know this is the best and most legal way of doing it. But I don't have my old UK under 16 passport. Will that hinder my getting an adult one? Can I apply for the adult passport with just my birth certificate as my proof of citizenship?

- to buy the roundtrip ticket to enter the country. Then visit a passport office and discuss getting a UK passport in person. (this one is expensive, and I think airlines discourage the use of 'throw away' tickets. Not to mention, I could be in trouble for entering the UK under false pretenses?)

- but a one way ticket and hope immigration is nice. (I'm pretty much set on NOT doing this one.)

Does anyone here have any experience with this?? I'm so frustrated, I can't find any straight answers on the British Embassy's website, on the UK IPS website. I was going to call to talk to someone in person, but the rates are $2.50 a min to the UK embassy! Figured it wouldn't hurt to reach out to you first.

I appreciate it! Thanks!
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Old May 5th 2011, 4:56 pm
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Default Re: Moving to UK with US Passport

As a USC, you've got to have and use the US passport to leave anyway.

One way tickets aren't always cheaper than returns.

Using proof of UKC and a foreign passport is a pain in the arse to change status in the UK, when getting a UK passport is much simpler, and till you do change status if you enter on a US passport, you wouldn't be considered a UK resident and be eligible for the benefits of being a resident entails.

There's a thread a couple days ago of someone asking about a US passport entering the UK as a UKC, you can probably get more info if you search that out.

There are loads of threads in the US section to this site covering getting a UK passport in the US.

Good luck and welcome to BE though!
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Old May 5th 2011, 6:44 pm
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Default Re: Moving to UK with US Passport

Originally Posted by LeoMaree

- but a one way ticket and hope immigration is nice. (I'm pretty much set on NOT doing this one.)
Immigration officers are not there to be nice, it is not part of the job description. If you even managed to get on the flight at the USA end, extremely doubtful unless someone wasn't paying attention, you will have problems at the UK end.

You will end up be held up for questioning and examination of all you documentation. It takes how every long it takes to get an immigration officer free to do it, and then how long it takes to do. Think hours. If there is even a hint something isn't 100% it will take longer, and if they think you might not be a guinue British citizen they do have the power to detain you while your case is reviewed. Or worse case scenario sent back from whence you came.

Which is a long way of saying, get a British passport before you leave the USA.
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Old May 5th 2011, 6:46 pm
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Lightbulb Re: Moving to UK with US Passport

I have a couple of suggestions:

1) I don't know if you are willing to wait in the US to get a British passport or if you want to travel to the UK asap, so don't know what timescale you have in mind. However, you could perhaps buy a round-trip ticket of a booking class which is refundable.

I know that this is common with some tickets purchased from British Airways - might be best to buy this kind of ticket via a phone call to BA or a good travel agent rather than booking it from www.ba.com and not being 100% sure which booking class it is even for flying in the same cabin (for example an economy ticket could be from say, Y, X, W, M, N, O class etc. etc).

Some of the tickets in the various booking classes have severe restrictions eg. no change to date or refunds, some of the very cheapest also have no airmile frequent flyer awards, others - obviously more expensive - do allow changes to upgrade to another cabin, to fly on another date or refunds.

I suggest that you don't buy your ticket from say, Orbitz, Tripadvisor, Expedia.com as most of their tickets can't be changed easily and you would have to liase with them rather than directly with the airline.

(Here's an example: I recently flew for example with Virgin Atlantic to the UK on an economy class ticket which I purchased from their website. When I received the booking confirmation my outbound flight was in N class and my return flight was in O class. I have no idea why....but now I'm trying to get the award miles for the N class flight for another airline frequent flyer scheme I'm in with one of their partner airlines- and still waiting to hear back about it).

If you buy a refundable ticket you will be able to get your money + airline taxes back from the airline on the unused portion of the ticket. This is why it's so important to check this before going ahead with the purchase (and why personally I'd phone up the airline and speak with one of their reps; they all have toll-free numbers in the USA which you can google easily enough).

2) If you are prepared to wait until you have a British passport before leaving the US, you can easily get a copy of your original birth certificate by ordering it online :

http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/ (if you were born in Scotland you will need to do a google search).

Presumably there is some record in the US of your official change of name if you took your adoptive father's surname, in the UK it's often a Deed of Name Change but you will need to check with the agency issuing British passports in the US if you can produce your UK birth certificate AND a US birth certificate showing different fathers/surnames!
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Old May 6th 2011, 12:11 am
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Lightbulb Re: Moving to UK with US Passport

Oops, re-read your post and hadn't realised that you already have a British birth certificate. You might want to order a spare one in any case!

By the way - there is a great travel agent in the US who posts on the British Expat US forums (the main US forum and the Trailer Park forum); she is Cindy and posts as Cindyabs. Cindy has arranged for many air tickets for expats who post on the boards here.

I'm sure she would happily arrange for a round-trip ticket to the UK for you - which is refundable for the return portion if you stay on in England. You can contact her by sending a PM (private message) but you will need to make 5 posts first I think (maybe even 3 posts?)
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Old May 6th 2011, 12:29 am
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Default Re: Moving to UK with US Passport

Originally Posted by Englishmum
...but you will need to make 5 posts first I think (maybe even 3 posts?)
it's 3 posts
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Old May 6th 2011, 2:21 am
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Default Re: Moving to UK with US Passport

Originally Posted by LeoMaree

- to try to obtain a UK passport prior to leaving the US, and use a one way ticket to get into the UK. I know this is the best and most legal way of doing it. But I don't have my old UK under 16 passport. Will that hinder my getting an adult one? Can I apply for the adult passport with just my birth certificate as my proof of citizenship?
You need a British passport (or a Right of Abode stamp in your US passport).

You need your birth certificate PLUS evidence of your change of name. Without that evidence, to show you are the same person as the person on the UK birth certificate you present, you are legally "nobody" as far as the UK is concerned. Do you have such evidence of name change?

Make sure you take care of your new passport - even when it is expired. Don't lose it or throw it out.

Incidentally, evne though you will be in the UK you still need to file for US federal taxes (including FBAR bank account reporting requirements) and stay registered with Selective Service.

You should also consider what evidence you have of your US citizenship - if you lose your US passport, do you have a citizenship certificate?
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Old May 6th 2011, 2:37 am
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Default Re: Moving to UK with US Passport

Originally Posted by LeoMaree

I'm currently living in the US as a US citizen. I was born in the UK to a British mother and father. My mother got remarried to an American, who adopted me (his name is now on my birth certificate). I became naturalized 9 years ago as a minor. Now I'm moving back to the UK to be with my biological father and family. I have a US passport and have visited England several times with it. As a child I had a UK passport, which has obviously since expired.
This is pretty long, however I do have first hand experience of a similar, but different situation. My first question is: Are you of legal age, over 18, now? If not, then you are subject to some legal controls regarding minors.

Assuming that you are of age, I will continue with my experiences:

Originally Posted by LeoMaree
Now I'm worried about how to get into the UK. Originally I was going to get a round trip ticket, apply for me UK passport while I was there and not take the second leg home.
This is a good plan that also gives you the option to return if things don't work out.

Originally Posted by LeoMaree
But after looking at the prices of tickets (highest they've been in decades!), I would rather buy a one way ticket.
I always buy round trip (return) tickets because they are less expensive than one ways. For example, I checked today and a round trip ticket non-stop on British Air from Tampa to London was about $700, a one way was almost $1300. Though Iberia was offering a one way with an 8 hour layover in Miami for about $700, it would mean leaving home to be at the airport at 7:00 in the morning for a 9:00 am flight and 18 hours later landing at Heathrow in London. Might be doable, but we have to sleep once in awhile.

Originally Posted by LeoMaree
I'm worried about the UK immigration. Will the US airline even let me on the plane without a return ticket since I'm using a US passport to leave the country? Will I not be allowed into the UK (even with my UK birth certificate and my mothers)?
For the record, if you were born in the UK of UK Citizens, you are a UK Citizen. Your adoption does not change that. "British children adopted by non-British nationals do not lose British nationality." However, do not count on anyone at the airlines to understand that. My dual citizen UK/US son even had a difficult time with a ticket agent once because he wanted to use his UK Passport to travel to the UK to live permanently. After referring it up three levels of management, they finally said that he could leave the US on whichever passport he wished, but it was a hassle you probably don't want to go through.


Originally Posted by LeoMaree
My options are:

- to try to obtain a UK passport prior to leaving the US, and use a one way ticket to get into the UK. I know this is the best and most legal way of doing it. But I don't have my old UK under 16 passport. Will that hinder my getting an adult one? Can I apply for the adult passport with just my birth certificate as my proof of citizenship?
You will definitely need your birth certificate, but I would also get as much as possible of the following documents: 1. Copies of your parents' UK Passports, 2. their marriage certificate, and 3. divorce paperwork, and 4. your adoption paperwork (to show why your name has changed), 5. your US Passport to show your identity (the birth certificate doesn't prove identity), and 6. an explanation as to what happened to your old UK Passport (If it has not expired, it will be considered as lost or stolen, so you will need to fill out a form saying what happened to it. A copy of it would help so you have the number, at least. They will have a record of it.) 7. A countersignatory who holds a UK Passport qualified to sign your application and your photo. That is all I can think of at the moment, but this gives them a complete paper trail when considering your application so it doesn't look "iffy." Go to this site for all the details.http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAn...port/index.htm

Originally Posted by LeoMaree
- to buy the roundtrip ticket to enter the country. Then visit a passport office and discuss getting a UK passport in person. (this one is expensive, and I think airlines discourage the use of 'throw away' tickets. Not to mention, I could be in trouble for entering the UK under false pretenses?)
You may be able to pay a "change fee" to change your return date for a visit to the US. I paid $90 last year to delay my return to the UK.

The Passport Applications can be found at the Royal Mail offices and they offer a "Check and Send" service. The passport fees and "Check and Send" fees may run about $150 US, but applying through the UK Embassy it will be about $225 and there are NO REFUNDS if you forget to fill out ALL the information properly.

Originally Posted by LeoMaree
- but a one way ticket and hope immigration is nice. (I'm pretty much set on NOT doing this one.)
Since you are visiting family, even with a round trip ticket you may be asked if you have traveler's insurance to cover medical expenses, and other questions to assure that you will be leaving the UK within the three months allowed under your visitors visa. I receive more scrutiny when visiting them than when I was just a tourist. On the other hand, when my son and granddaughter entered the UK, he entered on his UK Passport and she on her US one and they simply told the immigration officer that their plan was to apply for her UK Passport as soon as possible and the officer was OK with that. He was traveling with her and she had just turned 18, so that may have made a difference.

I found the Identity and Passport Service Passport Policy website useful: http://www.ips.gov.uk/cps/rde/xchg/i...s.xsl/1296.htm
and JAJ on this forum is wonderfully knowledgeable and helpful and can provide you with information on obtaining a Right of Abode to put in your US passport if you don't want to get the UK passport, but I think that is more expensive.

There is much to know about this topic and it is very complex and often can hinge on the smallest detail, so don't be surprised if it takes a lot of research or if you receive a variety of answers.

Regards,
Mary
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Old May 7th 2011, 4:16 am
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Default Re: Moving to UK with US Passport

Wow! I appreciate everyone's responses. What a friendly and helpful group you all seem to be.

I've went ahead and purchased a roundtrip ticket and plan to get my UK passport when I get to England. It just seems to be the easiest route.

I did look at getting a refundable ticket, but they were just too expensive (even if I were to get a refund once I get there, I just can't manage it before I leave).

In regards to having all the paperwork for my adoption and name change... I was given a new birth certificate after the adoption. My legal (adoptive) surname is on my birth certificate. Will I still need further documents?

(And to who asked me if I have proof of my US citizenship, I have my naturalization certificate. I have one copy and my parents have another.)

I really appreciate everyone's answers. Really I think you all just affirmed my decision to get the UK passport when I get to the UK and to not risk the one way flight (even though I found one for $400 less than my roundtrip ticket!). I don't want to start my move to England with getting shipped back to the US, or sitting in customs for 8 hours being interviewed.
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Old May 7th 2011, 5:42 am
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Default Re: Moving to UK with US Passport

Originally Posted by LeoMaree
Wow! I appreciate everyone's responses. What a friendly and helpful group you all seem to be.

I've went ahead and purchased a roundtrip ticket and plan to get my UK passport when I get to England. It just seems to be the easiest route.

I did look at getting a refundable ticket, but they were just too expensive (even if I were to get a refund once I get there, I just can't manage it before I leave).

In regards to having all the paperwork for my adoption and name change... I was given a new birth certificate after the adoption. My legal (adoptive) surname is on my birth certificate. Will I still need further documents?

(And to who asked me if I have proof of my US citizenship, I have my naturalization certificate. I have one copy and my parents have another.)

I really appreciate everyone's answers. Really I think you all just affirmed my decision to get the UK passport when I get to the UK and to not risk the one way flight (even though I found one for $400 less than my roundtrip ticket!). I don't want to start my move to England with getting shipped back to the US, or sitting in customs for 8 hours being interviewed.
I'd get a copy of your adoption finalization court documents too if you can swing it.
Good luck with all the plans.
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Old May 7th 2011, 9:48 am
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Default Re: Moving to UK with US Passport

Originally Posted by LeoMaree
In regards to having all the paperwork for my adoption and name change... I was given a new birth certificate after the adoption. My legal (adoptive) surname is on my birth certificate. Will I still need further documents?

(And to who asked me if I have proof of my US citizenship, I have my naturalization certificate. I have one copy and my parents have another.)
Since your original birth certificate was issued by the UK you will need to show that you are indeed that person and that you are the biological child of the UK citizen parents listed on the UK Birth Certificate. The easiest way to do that, is to provide the adoption paperwork which will show your biological mother and father and your adoptive father. However, if you are unlucky enough to live in any state but those listed below it may be a hassle obtaining the supporting documents. Your best bet is to get the original court certified adoption documents from your mother and adoptive father if they have extra court certified copies that they will give you. Typically parents only have one copy, though.

You will find a number of posts that discuss US birth certificates that were issued more than three months after the birth as being suspect by UK officials, so your new US birth certificate will be recognized by UK officials as having been issued due to an adoption. The catch is that your UK birth certificate does not prove your identity, so you need a way to show how you became LeoMaree Jones(US Citizen) instead of LeoMaree Smith(British Citizen).

Most states restrict the rights of adult adoptees from obtaining copies of their original birth certificates and all related adoption paperwork which are sealed under court order in order to protect the privacy of the birth parents. Last time I checked, only the states of Alaska, Oregon, Kansas, Alabama, New Hampshire and Maine allow adult adoptees to have unrestricted access to their own original birth records. There is a table at this link http://www.bastards.org/activism/access.htm that lists the Adoption Disclosure Laws in each state.

Just to give you some idea of how complex US adoption laws can get, if you were adopted in Michigan, there is a law that allows you and your biological father to rescind the adoption and restore your birth name and his parental rights. http://law.onecle.com/michigan/701-7...cl-710-66.html

It will be easier to get these documents while you are still in the States than trying to get them after you get to the UK. Remember that your UK Passport Application will be denied if you don't have all your i's dotted and your t's crossed and there are no refunds.

Regards,
Mary

P.S. If you have a chance, let me know where you are finding the deals on one way tickets.
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Old May 7th 2011, 2:26 pm
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Default Re: Moving to UK with US Passport

Originally Posted by LeoMaree
I've went ahead and purchased a roundtrip ticket and plan to get my UK passport when I get to England. It just seems to be the easiest route.
You need to understand that since you have no proof of being a British citizen, if Immigration think you are planning to stay beyond 6 months, or work, or do anything a tourist isn't supposed to do, you will be refused entry and sent home.



In regards to having all the paperwork for my adoption and name change... I was given a new birth certificate after the adoption. My legal (adoptive) surname is on my birth certificate. Will I still need further documents?
Yes! Right now you appear to have nothing to prove that you are the same person as on your UK birth certificate. You need to understand that UK birth certificates can be accessed by anyone, so you are going to need some documents proving that you are that person and not a random stranger who ordered your birth certificate.

Adoption records, change of name paperwork, even your US immigration/citizenship file which must contain some evidence of your original name. Without this, as you have already been told, the British do not know who you are.
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