Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > USA
Reload this Page >

US Citizen visiting the UK for 5 months.. concerned?

US Citizen visiting the UK for 5 months.. concerned?

Old Jun 2nd 2013, 2:37 pm
  #1  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 9
mostlysunny is an unknown quantity at this point
Default US Citizen visiting the UK for 5 months.. concerned?

Hi all, so very sorry if this is in the wrong forum.. didn't know where else to post it..

I'm 21, travelling to the UK (Wales) July 6th through December 12th as a tourist staying with a friend and his family, but will also be visiting family and other friends as well. It's my first time to the UK and my first time out of the country.

I'm concerned about not getting through immigration, as I've read so many horror stories from people in a similar situation.

My question really is this;

I will have a return ticket, a copy of both bank statements with my personal account as well as my mom's whose account I have access to. I will have a letter from my friend and his family stating that they will provide accom. and any extra funds to further fund my trip as well as a letter from my parents stating that they can help me with any extra funding as well. Addresses of my family members in North Wales and a rough itinerary of what we plan to do while I'm there. (Edinburgh, London, Leeds Music Festival, Paris, possibly Germany or Belgium, etc.)

I MUST return to the US by December 12th not only for Christmas vacation in the US with my family, but also because I am a freelance makeup artist and model signed with an agency and must return to work.

Here's my question.. will all of these things be sufficient enough to get through immigration? I am a genuine tourist with no intent to overstay or move here anytime soon. Should I bring a copy of my contract from my agency along with a letter stating that I must return to work from vacation by January 1st? I just want to make sure all my bases are covered so that I can make it through smoothly, but I already know I will be questioned.

Yes I have read the UKBA website. No I do not need a visa as I am a US citizen.

Thank you so much in advanced!
mostlysunny is offline  
Old Jun 2nd 2013, 3:10 pm
  #2  
 
lansbury's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukie, Oregon
Posts: 9,469
lansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: US Citizen visiting the UK for 5 months.. concerned?

Bring the letter and contract, and avoid entering via Gatwick Airport. My days working alongside immigration at Heathrow, talking to colleagues at Gatwick and personal experience says Gatwick were very likely to refuse entry on the least excuse. Other than that I think you will be questioned more than normal about your reason for travel, but you shouldn't have a problem being admitted.
lansbury is offline  
Old Jun 2nd 2013, 3:13 pm
  #3  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 9
mostlysunny is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: US Citizen visiting the UK for 5 months.. concerned?

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
Bring the letter and contract, and avoid entering via Gatwick Airport. My days working alongside immigration at Heathrow, talking to colleagues at Gatwick and personal experience says Gatwick were very likely to refuse entry on the least excuse. Other than that I think you will be questioned more than normal about your reason for travel, but you shouldn't have a problem being admitted.
Thank you so much for your reply! I'm flying into Heathrow so hopefully they will be nicer than Gatwick. Do you know of any questions they could ask me? Absolutely terrified of speaking to them as my holiday's fate rests in their hands.
mostlysunny is offline  
Old Jun 2nd 2013, 3:19 pm
  #4  
 
lansbury's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukie, Oregon
Posts: 9,469
lansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: US Citizen visiting the UK for 5 months.. concerned?

5 months is a bit unusual so they may well question you about why 5 months and ask about what you intend to do in more detail than normal. They may well ask to see confirmation of your return ticket. That letter and contract would help if they ask about your intentions.

They may decide to search your bags to see if you are carrying things that suggest you are intending to stay. So don't be alarmed if they do that it is quite routine. They may ask who you intend to stay with in the UK and want to speak to them. Have a telephone number they can call to do so with you.
lansbury is offline  
Old Jun 2nd 2013, 3:56 pm
  #5  
SUPER MODERATOR
 
Jerseygirl's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 82,103
Jerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond reputeJerseygirl has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: US Citizen visiting the UK for 5 months.. concerned?

Originally Posted by mostlysunny View Post
Thank you so much for your reply! I'm flying into Heathrow so hopefully they will be nicer than Gatwick. Do you know of any questions they could ask me? Absolutely terrified of speaking to them as my holiday's fate rests in their hands.
My advice would be...try not to appear nervous...act calmly, be humble and courteous. Do not try to be 'clever' or show signs of getting irritated or annoyed.
Jerseygirl is offline  
Old Jun 2nd 2013, 4:25 pm
  #6  
Often not so civil...
 
civilservant's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: The Boonies, GA
Posts: 7,653
civilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond reputecivilservant has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: US Citizen visiting the UK for 5 months.. concerned?

Its natural to be nervous, I would have thought youll be fine.

If you want some idea of what the process might be like, there are plenty of episodes of 'UK Border Force' on Youtube, which is a documentary about the work of the UKBA aired on UK TV.

Here's the first of the series:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMgfuM0Ylcs
civilservant is offline  
Old Jun 2nd 2013, 7:28 pm
  #7  
Bloody Yank
 
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: USA! USA!
Posts: 4,186
RoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: US Citizen visiting the UK for 5 months.. concerned?

Pack like a tourist.

Act like a tourist.

If questioned, tell them that you plan on backpacking around Europe.

If asked where you're staying, tell them that you are mostly hosteling but that you have some acquaintances who will put you up for a couple of nights. If I were you, I'd find a hostel in London, and if asked, tell them that you plan to stay there. (If they don't ask, then don't make a point of bringing it up.)

Resist telling them your life story with all of the details. Don't start volunteering too much information. The more that you talk, the more that you can dig a hole for yourself. You don't need to be rude about it, just don't be overly chatty.

Dress fairly conservatively and don't look like someone who can't afford to or who won't go home, and you should probably breeze right through. Of course, don't be stupid and carry any contraband.
RoadWarriorFromLP is offline  
Old Jun 2nd 2013, 10:59 pm
  #8  
MODERATOR
 
penguinsix's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Hong Kong, mostly.
Posts: 5,105
penguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: US Citizen visiting the UK for 5 months.. concerned?

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP View Post
Resist telling them your life story with all of the details. Don't start volunteering too much information. The more that you talk, the more that you can dig a hole for yourself. You don't need to be rude about it, just don't be overly chatty.

Dress fairly conservatively and don't look like someone who can't afford to or who won't go home, and you should probably breeze right through. Of course, don't be stupid and carry any contraband.
Right or wrong, people make first impressions based on your appearance so if you are dressed rather conservatively it will help things get going right from the start. I would also have a folder, perhaps something professional looking inside which you have all your documents ready to be handed over--return ticket, bank statements, job contract, friend's letter, etc. Look like you are prepared--don't go rummaging through your bag when they ask for it. Treat it kind of like a job interview.
penguinsix is offline  
Old Jun 2nd 2013, 11:09 pm
  #9  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 9
mostlysunny is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: US Citizen visiting the UK for 5 months.. concerned?

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
Right or wrong, people make first impressions based on your appearance so if you are dressed rather conservatively it will help things get going right from the start. I would also have a folder, perhaps something professional looking inside which you have all your documents ready to be handed over--return ticket, bank statements, job contract, friend's letter, etc. Look like you are prepared--don't go rummaging through your bag when they ask for it. Treat it kind of like a job interview.
I'll look as conservative as one can after getting off an international flight. I don't plan on taking much with me onboard except my purse, laptop, and my folder which will contain all my files. I won't have anything in my luggage that would make it look like I'd be trying to settle there. Although, as a girl, I will have a suitcase full of clothing to get me through 5 months.

Surely these situations aren't rare occasions and they will grant me entry into the country..? After watching a few episodes of UK Border Force, surely they wouldn't deny me..
mostlysunny is offline  
Old Jun 3rd 2013, 12:36 am
  #10  
BE Irregular
 
RICH's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Tampa Bay Florida
Posts: 4,053
RICH has a reputation beyond reputeRICH has a reputation beyond reputeRICH has a reputation beyond reputeRICH has a reputation beyond reputeRICH has a reputation beyond reputeRICH has a reputation beyond reputeRICH has a reputation beyond reputeRICH has a reputation beyond reputeRICH has a reputation beyond reputeRICH has a reputation beyond reputeRICH has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: US Citizen visiting the UK for 5 months.. concerned?

5 months? I am not familiar with the UK rules on Visa Waiver, but UK to US is 90 days. Is it not the same the other way round?
RICH is offline  
Old Jun 3rd 2013, 12:44 am
  #11  
Bloody Yank
 
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: USA! USA!
Posts: 4,186
RoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: US Citizen visiting the UK for 5 months.. concerned?

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
I would also have a folder, perhaps something professional looking inside which you have all your documents ready to be handed over--return ticket, bank statements, job contract, friend's letter, etc.
I wouldn't go that far. The idea is to convince them that you're on holiday, playing tourist. Americans don't need visas for a vacation trip to the UK or Schengen, so I would keep it very simple. The more stuff that you have to present, the more that they can find wrong with it.

As an American, I find that the little blue book with the eagle on the cover is very useful for telling them what they want to hear, namely:

-I will eventually leave, more or less on time
-I won't take a job

As a 21-year old, the worst thing that could happen is for the officials to think that OP is going to steal a local's job. (Trust me, I learned this the hard way at Gatwick.) When they see a backpacker, that will be their main concern (aside from drugs, etc.) If the OP acts casually as if this is just the first stop on the typical drunken 20something Grand Tour of Europe, then it shouldn't be a problem.

I would have two things handy: my passport and the name/ address/ phone number of a hostel in London for the first night (even if the OP doesn't stay there.) I would know where my return ticket is so that I could present it if asked, but I wouldn't volunteer that or anything else without first being asked for it.
RoadWarriorFromLP is offline  
Old Jun 3rd 2013, 12:45 am
  #12  
Bloody Yank
 
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: USA! USA!
Posts: 4,186
RoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond reputeRoadWarriorFromLP has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: US Citizen visiting the UK for 5 months.. concerned?

Originally Posted by RICH View Post
5 months? I am not familiar with the UK rules on Visa Waiver, but UK to US is 90 days. Is it not the same the other way round?
It's 6 months, last I checked.
RoadWarriorFromLP is offline  
Old Jun 3rd 2013, 1:59 am
  #13  
MODERATOR
 
Noorah101's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2003
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 58,091
Noorah101 has a reputation beyond reputeNoorah101 has a reputation beyond reputeNoorah101 has a reputation beyond reputeNoorah101 has a reputation beyond reputeNoorah101 has a reputation beyond reputeNoorah101 has a reputation beyond reputeNoorah101 has a reputation beyond reputeNoorah101 has a reputation beyond reputeNoorah101 has a reputation beyond reputeNoorah101 has a reputation beyond reputeNoorah101 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: US Citizen visiting the UK for 5 months.. concerned?

Originally Posted by RICH View Post
5 months? I am not familiar with the UK rules on Visa Waiver, but UK to US is 90 days. Is it not the same the other way round?
No. USCs can get 6 months in the UK without a visa.

Rene
Noorah101 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.