May I re-enter the UK with a T2 visa and almost-expired US passport?
November 18, 2017 12:39 AM   Subscribe

I have a tier 2 UK visa (valid for many more years), a biometric residence permit, and a US passport that expires in May (so, in < 6 months). If I visit the US in December, will I be able to re-enter the UK in January or will I get in trouble because my passport is expiring soon? I'm especially looking for recent personal anecdotes or links to government policies/helplines. Thanks!
posted by heterosoy to Law & Government (11 answers total)
They're unlikely to let you travel with fewer than 6 months left on your passport. Many airlines will turn you away even if you have a ticket and visa. I've met many people in the US Passport Agency office in San Francisco getting emergency, super-rush passports after they've been refused at the airport on the day of their flight.
posted by quince at 2:11 AM on November 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

"No minimum passport validity is required for U.S. citizens entering the United Kingdom (UK)."
US State Department travel advice for the United Kingdom.
posted by knapah at 3:07 AM on November 18, 2017

I (a US citizen) was recently hassled at the border about my passport expiring in 7 months, but they let me in. Lots of ho humming though. 10ish minutes of questions.
posted by durandal at 3:41 AM on November 18, 2017

I wouldn't risk it. The link posted by Knapah says that your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay, which for most US visitors is the visa waiver standard 90 days. However, you are staying in the UK a lot longer and as a legal resident.

Tier 2 visas are very much conditional as they are work-based, so there's no sense in chancing this and risking being identified as someone who might be intending to break the conditions of their visa. Plus I'm fairly sure that if you renew your passport a few months early, the extra months are added to the validity of your new passport.

As always, UK Yankee is an excellent place to double-check these questions.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:22 AM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Irrespective of what the official policy might be or what happened to internet strangers here if you search the words ’Homeoffice’ and ‘hostile environment’ you will see that in the current environment not all is well for people who are in the UK legally with perfectly documented visas. Why would you leave yourself open for questioning and challenges by using a passport that is valid for less than six months. Just get a new passport.
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:46 AM on November 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

Note: this anecdote is not about the UK, but you can check if the UK allows the same

If you've recently gotten a new passport and your visa/residence permit are in an old passport, China allows you to enter carrying the new and old passport with you. Check if the UK is the same.

You probably still have time to get an expedited new passport from the US consulate before you depart the UK in December.
posted by duoshao at 5:05 AM on November 18, 2017

Not completely apples to apples anecdote: I recently had an H1B employee get stuck in India after going to visit family. His (presumably Indian) passport, while still valid for 6 months, was too old to have an electronic chip in it that they now scan, and the US would not allow him back because of this until he secured a new passport.

Being that your passport is US, I'm not sure they would be as strict for a US citizen, but you may want to double check to be sure you'll be able to get into the US without any hassle before having to worry about getting back to the UK.
posted by SquidLips at 8:22 AM on November 18, 2017

Plus I'm fairly sure that if you renew your passport a few months early, the extra months are added to the validity of your new passport.

This isn’t the case for US passports — you’ll get a passport valid for ten years from the date they receive your application/process your passport (I don’t know exactly which date it is, but by the time you get it in the mail the expiration date is always some date between when you sent in your application and when you received the new passport).
posted by andrewesque at 11:11 AM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh, right. They add it on for UK passports. Never mind in that case.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:50 AM on November 18, 2017

US citizen in the UK on a Tier 2 visa here. I can confirm that, if you have an old-style visa pasted into the passport, then you can enter by showing your current visa in your old passport, along with your new passport, as mentioned upthread. (I did this as recently as early 2017.)

However, since you have a BRP, then you probably don't have a visa pasted in your passport anyway, in which case you should be fine re-entering the UK with the BRP and the new passport, provided you also carry the old passport; see here.

So, since you will most likely be fine traveling on a new passport, but there might be other trouble (e.g. with the US) if you use a soon-to-expire passport, I'd recommend getting a new US passport.

Once you've got it, it is probably worth applying for UK Registered Traveller status (£70/year), which will allow you to enter the UK using your US passport only, without talking to a person (but always carry your BRP anyway).
posted by busted_crayons at 12:41 PM on November 18, 2017

Thanks all. The website says it takes approximately 3 weeks and there's no expedited service, so I'll book a trip for the end of december and apply asap :)
posted by heterosoy at 1:40 AM on November 19, 2017

« Older Are these school show costumes cultural...   |   'Good stories' for my Mum this Christmas Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.