An American man who flew to Britain claiming he wanted to pay a visit to his internet girlfriend was refused entry to the country after immigration officers at Cardiff Airport discovered he intended to set up home with her permanently in Pontypool.
The 43-year-old man arrived at the airport on a flight from the US, via Amsterdam, on Wednesday 22 September, the UK Border Agency reports.
The ‘internet boyfriend’ told immigration officers at passport control that he wanted to visit a woman he had met on the internet two years previously as well as spending several months visiting castles and travelling around Britain.
But officers found that he had just 31 cents in cash and a baggage search revealed that he was carrying numerous personal documents including his birth certificate, divorce papers and bankruptcy papers.
He also had personal letters and cards written to him by his girlfriend which suggested that he intended to make a new life in Wales.
All of this indicated to officers that he was planning to stay in the UK for much longer than he had claimed and ‘in breach of his tourist visa’, the agency said.
The man later admitted he had begun shipping his personal possessions to his girlfriend’s home in Pontypool.
The woman was contacted and she confirmed that the pair intended to continue their relationship in the UK.
The American man was refused entry to the UK because he was not a genuine tourist and was removed on the first available flight to the US, via Amsterdam.
Bob Lyne, assistant director for Wales, UK Border Agency said:
‘Tourist visas should not be seen as a back door into the UK. We have to maintain strict controls on the numbers of people coming to live in the UK permanently and we will refuse entry to anyone we suspect to be bending the rules.
‘Uncontrolled immigration would put unsustainable pressure on public services and increase the burden on taxpayers.
‘Our officers at the UK’s border are skilled at spotting those who are not genuine tourists and when their stories lack credibility we take action.
‘If people intend to come to live or work in the UK then they need to apply for the correct visa.
‘The UK Border Agency is working hard to combat illegal immigration and Britain’s border security has never been stronger.’ Source: UK Border Agency.
The visitor was clearly in breach of the entry rules for visitors and he should have been more open about his intentions and applied to join his partner in the correct manner. However, with 31 cents in his pocket any country in the world would probably refuse him entry.
This sort of incident occurs daily at UK borders, but it is usually visitors from third world countries, rather than the US who are refused entry into the UK.
Other common reasons for refusing entry to a visitor are where officers suspect the ‘visitor’ is really coming to work – e.g. they are carrying copies of their CV or an offer of employment in their hand luggage!
Visa national business travellers often confuse a Business Visa with a work permit and think they can work here or run a business whilst in the UK, which is not the case.
Recent improvements have been made to the UK visa services website, as part of plans to integrate the website into the main UK Border Agency website.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: