The immigration rules include general grounds for refusing to allow someone’s entry to the UK. See Entering the UK section of the Toolkit for more information on these general grounds.
In addition to this, re-entry bans are applied if you have been forcibly removed or deported from the UK, and in some other circumstances where the Home Office say immigration law was breached in a previous attempt to enter or stay in the UK.
If you left the UK voluntarily
Generally, re-entry to the UK will be refused if the Home Office say that during in your time in the UK, you:
- overstayed (beyond the period of a time-limited visa);
- breached a condition attached to your previous leave;
- entered the UK unlawfully;
- used deception in an application while in the UK
- you overstayed for less than 30 days and you left the UK voluntarily at your own expense. The immigration rules state that if you overstayed for more than 30 days, unless specific exceptions apply you will be subject to a 12 month re-entry ban. Read about the exceptions in the Home Office guidance here.
- you left the UK voluntarily at your own expense more than 12 months ago
- you left the UK voluntarily, but at the expense of the state more than two years ago IF you left the UK no more than 6 months after the date on which you were given notice of liability for removal, or no more than 6 months after the date on which you no longer had a pending appeal or administrative review (whichever is the later)
- you left the UK voluntarily, but at the expense of the state more than five years ago.
If the Home Office decide that you used deception for an entry clearance application (a visa), you could face a ten year ban on entering or re-entering the UK.
Where more than one breach of these has occurred, the breach which leads to the longest period of absence from the UK will be considered.
There are situations in which re-entry bans may not be applied, for example if you were a victim of trafficking; or if your application to enter the UK is a family migration application under the immigration rules “Appendix FM”.
If a re-entry ban is applied to you, and this would breach your human rights (for example, to be with family in the UK), you may be able to challenge it on human rights grounds.
Remember that even if one of these exemptions applies to your situation, you may still be refused leave to enter the UK. This is because the Immigration Rules allows for a discretionary refusal of an application if the Home Office decides you have “previously contrived in a significant way to frustrate the intentions” of the immigration rules.
After forced removal from the UK
If you were forcibly removed from the UK, the Home Office will in most cases impose a ten year re-entry ban.
After deportation from the UK
Read about the difference between “deportation” and “forced removal” in the Toolkit Glossary here.
The immigration rules state that entry to the UK is to be refused if:
- you are currently subject to a deportation order, or
- you were convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than four years imprisonment (prior to being deported).
If you were sentenced to less than four years, but more than 12 months, an entry is to be refused unless more than 10 years has passed since the end of the sentence.
If you were sentenced to less than 12 months, entry is to be refused unless more than five years has passed since the end of the sentence.
The immigration rules state that “only be in exceptional circumstances” would “the public interest in maintaining refusal [to enter the UK] be outweighed by compelling factors” if you are trying to challenge a re-entry ban after a deportation.