Immigration clearance

Immigration clearance refers to airport and seaport checks for those coming to the UK with up-to-date passports, and in possession of UK visas that are valid at the time of entry to the UK. 

The Border control officer at the passport gate will check your passport for details on travel history and any ‘black marks’ such as refused entry ‘signals,’ and check to see that your visa is genuine and valid for the time you enter the UK.  This is the information the website provides about what to expect at and how to prepare for entry at an airport or seaport immigration control / passport check, gate.  See bottom of page for the information on immigration clearance.

There is some further information included in remoter, less accessible – NOTE: ‘you have to search for this’ — parts on the website on Hostile Environment implementation experiences that anyone coming to the UK with a valid passport and up-to-date visa, can experience. 

This involves Immigration clearance officers at the passport check gates role in potentially asking you to answer further questions, come out of the passport & visa check/immigration clearance queue, to be taken aside for more detailed interview/interrogation scrutiny (

If you have a valid passport and up-to-date visa, under the Hostile environment at implementation operational level you can still be taken away for ‘questioning’ and kept for up to 6 hours in detention with multiple interviewers/interrogators giving you, under pressured and often intimidatory type handling of these interviews, your first Hostile Environment taste of the UK. 

The outcome of the interview/interrogation will be either:

  1. you will be taken in to detention (this can last for a few days to months, to many years) and/or deported on the spot, if your interviewers/interrogators aren’t happy with any information you have provided in response to their questions – these are NOT listed on the website, of course. A note will be given to you (normally, but not necessarily guaranteed) about why you are being detailed [a different matter to providing an explanation about the grounds upon which you were detailed and interviewed/interrogated in the first place even though you ha a valid passport and visa and no history of criminal activity), Or
  2. That you will be released, given a note with some – but certainly NOT all — particulars of your detention and interview/interrogation experience, and allowed to go on your way, to enter the UK. Commonly a verbal apology (‘we have to do this for security and counteracting illegal immigration reasons/we are only doing our job’)* will be provided by those who let you out of the detention/interrogation area, and who may escort you to the arrivals gate of the given airport terminal or seaport. NOTE:* this verbal apology/explanation about what ultimately will have been both a needless and very traumatic experience, is not recorded in the detention and release document you will have been given. 

This experience, and the two alternatives it manifests through (a and b above) are entirely Hostile Environment operational implementation ones. Be prepared for them to happen to you should you have a valid passport and UK Immigration/UKVI cleared visa to enter the UK.


Home Office / webpage:

Your passport or identity card will be checked when you arrive at a UK port or airport to make sure you’re allowed to come into the country. It should be valid for the whole of your stay.

You may also need a visa to come into or travel through the UK, depending on your nationality.

When you must see a border control officer

You must see a border control officer and get a stamp in your passport if you’re from a non-EEA country and entering the UK*:

  • on a short term study visa up to 6 months
  • with a Tier 5 Creative or Sporting certificate of sponsorship for up to 3 months (and you want to enter without a visa)
  • on a permitted paid engagement
  • to accompany or join your EEA family member 

You must: 

  • have your passport or identity card ready – remove it from a holder or wallet if you use one
  • remove your sunglasses if you’re wearing them
  • move through passport control together if you’re in a family

* NOTE:  the webpage list above does Not provide a full list of visa types. Some types such as Leave to Enter Outside the Rules (LOTR) visas are missing.

This is common Hostile Environment implementation related – need to know information is lacking and/or widely dispersed making access difficult – practice.