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Bad experience at Heathrow

Use this section for queries concerning applications on any of the EEA series of forms, and also for applications for EEA Family Permits.

Moderators: Casa, JAJ, ca.funke, Amber, Zimba, vinny, Obie, EUsmileWEallsmile, batleykhan, geriatrix, John, ChetanOjha, archigabe, push

EUsmileWEallsmile
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Post by EUsmileWEallsmile » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:30 pm

Oh well that might explain it. You'll know for the next time.

presido007
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Post by presido007 » Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:22 pm

You know guys, any time I am coming back to UK, I prefer to use lines meant for "other passports" than using eea line at the port of entry (airport). the reason is because, it is faster and I didn't need to wait on a very long queue with eea nationals. in some cases I am the only person in that line and am the first to get to luggage area, and I dont care if they stamp my passport even though I have RC on my passport. maybe, because I dont use the major airports when travelling. because the last thing I want to do when I travel is to argue with any officer or anybody for that matter, I just want to go home and sleep.

EUsmileWEallsmile
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Post by EUsmileWEallsmile » Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:54 pm

presido007 wrote:You know guys, any time I am coming back to UK, I prefer to use lines meant for "other passports" than using eea line at the port of entry (airport). the reason is because, it is faster and I didn't need to wait on a very long queue with eea nationals. in some cases I am the only person in that line and am the first to get to luggage area, and I dont care if they stamp my passport even though I have RC on my passport. maybe, because I dont use the major airports when travelling. because the last thing I want to do when I travel is to argue with any officer or anybody for that matter, I just want to go home and sleep.
Avoid Heathrow if you want to have a short queue. Where you queue is not really at issue - it's the stamping and the landing cards.

Enjoy your sleep, you're entitled to your opinion, but with attitudes like that nothing will change.

presido007
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Post by presido007 » Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:08 pm

EUsmileWEallsmile wrote:
presido007 wrote:You know guys, any time I am coming back to UK, I prefer to use lines meant for "other passports" than using eea line at the port of entry (airport). the reason is because, it is faster and I didn't need to wait on a very long queue with eea nationals. in some cases I am the only person in that line and am the first to get to luggage area, and I dont care if they stamp my passport even though I have RC on my passport. maybe, because I dont use the major airports when travelling. because the last thing I want to do when I travel is to argue with any officer or anybody for that matter, I just want to go home and sleep.
Avoid Heathrow if you want to have a short queue. Where you queue is not really at issue - it's the stamping and the landing cards.

Enjoy your sleep, you're entitled to your opinion, but with attitudes like that nothing will change.
That is exactly my point, I have never travelled through Heathrow, maybe that is why I didn't care about which line I queue in. about stamping my passport, the officers have always used the same page on my passport any time they stamp my passport.

EUsmileWEallsmile
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Post by EUsmileWEallsmile » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:16 pm

presido007 wrote:
EUsmileWEallsmile wrote:
presido007 wrote:You know guys, any time I am coming back to UK, I prefer to use lines meant for "other passports" than using eea line at the port of entry (airport). the reason is because, it is faster and I didn't need to wait on a very long queue with eea nationals. in some cases I am the only person in that line and am the first to get to luggage area, and I dont care if they stamp my passport even though I have RC on my passport. maybe, because I dont use the major airports when travelling. because the last thing I want to do when I travel is to argue with any officer or anybody for that matter, I just want to go home and sleep.
Avoid Heathrow if you want to have a short queue. Where you queue is not really at issue - it's the stamping and the landing cards.

Enjoy your sleep, you're entitled to your opinion, but with attitudes like that nothing will change.
That is exactly my point, I have never travelled through Heathrow, maybe that is why I didn't care about which line I queue in. about stamping my passport, the officers have always used the same page on my passport any time they stamp my passport.
...which they are not allowed to do!

maviesk
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Post by maviesk » Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:33 pm

Last year my partner and I travelled to Bruseels via the Eurostar. On the way back we had an officer who seemed to be particularly miserable, asking stupid questions (which one of you is the Turkish one?), most of which I can't remember now but she then stamped my partner's passport.. When I confronted her telling her that it's against the regulations she was totally dismissive, saying things like what difference will it make? Se then demanded I tell her the reason I was so irate about it.. I told her that I didn't have to give a reason at which point she called over the chief immigration officer who seemed quite sympathetic but basically gave me a bs reply saying that although my partner doesn't fill in a landing card, the stamp can be placed in the passport at the discretion of the officer... I didm't agree with that, it either is or isn't! When I got back to the UK I sent an email of complaint and within a few weeks we got an apology and £25 compensation.

It may seem like nit picking but when you consider how inept the Ukba ca be as an organization (they messed up our residence application and it took 8 months to get the rc/passport back because they demanded documents which were already in the application!) I feel like its our duty to come down on them like a ton of bricks, otherwise the incompetence will not continue.

Plum70
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Post by Plum70 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:31 pm

maviesk wrote:It may seem like nit picking but when you consider how inept the Ukba ca be as an organization (they messed up our residence application and it took 8 months to get the rc/passport back because they demanded documents which were already in the application!) I feel like its our duty to come down on them like a ton of bricks, otherwise the incompetence will not continue.
I agree - complain and things (slowly) improve; say nothing and things stay same or get worse.

Good result for you. I also had a slightly similar hold up at Brussels Midi in '10, complained when I got back to the UK and got an apology letter. I wonder what you did to get £25 compensation! :wink:

alekos
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Post by alekos » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:59 pm

I also want to know how you got them to compensate you. Apologies from the UKBA are not worth the paper they are written on.
Thank you everyone in this forum.

EUsmileWEallsmile
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Post by EUsmileWEallsmile » Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:41 pm

maviesk wrote:Last year my partner and I travelled to Bruseels via the Eurostar. On the way back we had an officer who seemed to be particularly miserable, asking stupid questions (which one of you is the Turkish one?), most of which I can't remember now but she then stamped my partner's passport.. When I confronted her telling her that it's against the regulations she was totally dismissive, saying things like what difference will it make? Se then demanded I tell her the reason I was so irate about it.. I told her that I didn't have to give a reason at which point she called over the chief immigration officer who seemed quite sympathetic but basically gave me a bs reply saying that although my partner doesn't fill in a landing card, the stamp can be placed in the passport at the discretion of the officer... I didm't agree with that, it either is or isn't! When I got back to the UK I sent an email of complaint and within a few weeks we got an apology and £25 compensation.

It may seem like nit picking but when you consider how inept the Ukba ca be as an organization (they messed up our residence application and it took 8 months to get the rc/passport back because they demanded documents which were already in the application!) I feel like its our duty to come down on them like a ton of bricks, otherwise the incompetence will not continue.
Well done for complaining. Yes, it might seem to be trivial to some, but it's the law.

Directive/2004/38/EC
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Post by Directive/2004/38/EC » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:01 pm

maviesk wrote:Last year my partner and I travelled to Bruseels via the Eurostar. On the way back we had an officer who seemed to be particularly miserable, asking stupid questions (which one of you is the Turkish one?), most of which I can't remember now but she then stamped my partner's passport.. When I confronted her telling her that it's against the regulations she was totally dismissive, saying things like what difference will it make? Se then demanded I tell her the reason I was so irate about it.. I told her that I didn't have to give a reason at which point she called over the chief immigration officer who seemed quite sympathetic but basically gave me a bs reply saying that although my partner doesn't fill in a landing card, the stamp can be placed in the passport at the discretion of the officer... I didm't agree with that, it either is or isn't! When I got back to the UK I sent an email of complaint and within a few weeks we got an apology and £25 compensation.
Good good good for you!

Did you explicitly ask for compensation?

I assume you have a UKBA issued Residence Card. Is that correct?

maviesk
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Post by maviesk » Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:42 am

Yes it was a UKBA issued residence card (the 5 year one)

Here is a copy of the letter I received back from the UKBA.. I think I emphasised the fact that I thought I received poor service at the border and my guessing is that that's what triggered the compensation..

Here's the letter I got (via e-mail)

Dear Mr W

Thank you for your email dated 14 November 2011 regarding you and your partner’s experience at Brussels on 13 November 2011. It has been passed to me as the officer responsible for handling your complaint. Before I respond to your specific concerns I would like to assure you all complaints about the UK Border Agency’s Border Force staff are treated seriously and are used as an opportunity to learn and improve services.

In your correspondence you mention you are an Irish citizen and your partner holds an EEA family residency card. When you arrived at Brussels the Border Force officer stamped your partner, Mr T's passport. When you remonstrated with the officer explaining she shouldn’t have stamped Mr T’s passport she was rude and dismissive saying ‘what difference would it make.’ The chief immigration officer who you also spoke to explained an officer may stamp the passports of holders of EEA family permits at their discretion.

You have requested an apology for the rude and dismissive attitude of the officer. Additionally you would like a written statement saying Mr T’s passport should not be stamped, as per regulations.

In line with our usual procedures, which are set out in detail at http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/about ... acomplaint, I have asked the operational manager to assess the circumstances relating to the matter you have complained about. This process involved speaking with the officers concerned. With this work now complete, I have based my response on their findings.

You are correct in your understanding of Regulation 11(3) which specifies ‘an officer may not place a stamp in the passport of a person who holds a residence card when he/she is admitted to the UK’. Although the officer was right in stating the stamping of Mr T’s passport would not disadvantage him, she did make an error, for which I apologise.

I regret you perceived the officer was rude and dismissive, as this was not her intention.

We expect high standards of professionalism from our officers in their dealings with the public; they perform a very demanding and difficult job and are required to do so with integrity at all times.

Where we could have performed better our policy is to consider offering a consolatory payment. These payments are intended to recognise unjustified inconvenience, annoyance, frustration, worry or distress to a customer. Such payments are ex-gratia, which means they are considered a favour rather than a matter of right.

I believe in the circumstances of this case it would be appropriate to offer such a payment and I propose to offer £25 to Mr T.

Our accountancy procedures require acceptance to be given in writing and I would be grateful if Mr T would complete the enclosed form and return it to this address.

Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience this incident caused. If you believe your complaint has not been dealt with in the right way you may write to us at the address above and a complaints manager will check the process used to look into your complaint, to ensure it was both appropriate and followed correctly. You must do this within one month of the date of this letter.

We are keen to continually review and improve our services. To help us do so, we would be grateful if you could complete a short online survey. Please access the survey using the following link: http://feedback.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/ ... 35927hosbt

Yours sincerely

-----------

To be honest, the greatest satisfaction wasn't really the money, it was knowing that the miserable woman at border control got a talking to, probably thinking that I wouldn't bother her again after she'd called over the CIO.. Little did she know :)

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Post by Directive/2004/38/EC » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:55 pm

Very good for you! It always make me feel very nice when people are clear about the law and get things sorted out.

ca.funke
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...

Post by ca.funke » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:16 pm

maviesk wrote:it would be appropriate to offer such a payment and I propose to offer £25...
£25 makes sense. If it happens 3 or 4 times, you have the price for a new passport covered. If it happens 10 or 15 times, then you have the trip to the embassy covered.

So if they plaster you passport with unneeded stamps, you can at least get a new passport without loss...

I love to see that "maviesk" went through with the complaint and got something out of it :) After all, the UK-internal complaint procedure at least works (if they consider the law on your side), unlike my experience from the Commission so far, where nothing ever happens...

maviesk
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Post by maviesk » Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:52 pm

Naturally, I no longer head to border control with the intent of mentioning anything about stamps before the IO takes the passport.. Funnily enough, the last two times we went through have been totally uneventful, not even a single question.. Perhaps that wrote something on their records :D

EUsmileWEallsmile
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Post by EUsmileWEallsmile » Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:15 pm

Fantastic work. Keep complaining people, it will get through eventually.

flames
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Post by flames » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:25 pm

I came back from Graz, Austria yesterday and landed at Stanstead. The flight was already delayed and i had a National Express coach funfare ticket thus i could not afford to miss the coach to central London.

I then joined the ''other passports queue'' as it was far much shorter. Just before i got to the IO a UKBA lady who was sitting on a chair in front of the queue asked and insisted for a landing card. I politely told her that i do not need one as i hold an EU residence card as a family member but she was saying if you are using this queue you need to complete a landing card. Luckily my turn to see an IO came before i could continue the pointless conversation with the lady.

This time around the IO knew what he was doing. I presented my passport with the Residence card page open and initially he said where is your landing card? then he quickly realised i do not need to complete one. He just checked the authenticity of the passport and did not ask me any questions. He even went on to say that next time you can join the EU queue but just remember to present your passport to the IO with the Residence card page open. I was pleased to deal with someone who knew what he was doing but it also makes me wonder why some IO's know and apply the law correctly and why some IO's do not?.

On a different note; In Graz at exit passport checks i encountered an IO who spent 15 minutes in total examining my UK issued EU residence card and French issued Schengen visa. He even took out some magnifying glass and thoroughly scanned the scengen visa and residence card. He repeatedly inserted my passport into a machine to check it's authenticity. All this happened without him even asking me any question until i asked him ''what the problem was?'' and he mumbled in half German, half English about doing his job and then he quickly stamped the passport and gave it back to me with a hardly disguised annoyed look on his face......

Ikonkar
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Heathrow

Post by Ikonkar » Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:03 pm

Hi All,

Thought I should share my short story, arrived at Heathrow last night, wasn't travelling with my EU Wife, at UK Border Control I stood in other passports Que., didn't filled in landing card either. Upon showing my passport she(Immigration Officer) asked me few questions about my wife (where she's working, what nationality, etc etc. I answered all the questions confidently, she smiled and said welcome back!!!

No Stamp on passport either.

GOD BLESS
Ikonkar

EUsmileWEallsmile
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Post by EUsmileWEallsmile » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:05 pm

flames wrote:I came back from Graz, Austria yesterday and landed at Stanstead. The flight was already delayed and i had a National Express coach funfare ticket thus i could not afford to miss the coach to central London.

I then joined the ''other passports queue'' as it was far much shorter. Just before i got to the IO a UKBA lady who was sitting on a chair in front of the queue asked and insisted for a landing card. I politely told her that i do not need one as i hold an EU residence card as a family member but she was saying if you are using this queue you need to complete a landing card. Luckily my turn to see an IO came before i could continue the pointless conversation with the lady.

This time around the IO knew what he was doing. I presented my passport with the Residence card page open and initially he said where is your landing card? then he quickly realised i do not need to complete one. He just checked the authenticity of the passport and did not ask me any questions. He even went on to say that next time you can join the EU queue but just remember to present your passport to the IO with the Residence card page open. I was pleased to deal with someone who knew what he was doing but it also makes me wonder why some IO's know and apply the law correctly and why some IO's do not?.

On a different note; In Graz at exit passport checks i encountered an IO who spent 15 minutes in total examining my UK issued EU residence card and French issued Schengen visa. He even took out some magnifying glass and thoroughly scanned the scengen visa and residence card. He repeatedly inserted my passport into a machine to check it's authenticity. All this happened without him even asking me any question until i asked him ''what the problem was?'' and he mumbled in half German, half English about doing his job and then he quickly stamped the passport and gave it back to me with a hardly disguised annoyed look on his face......
I wonder was the lady you mentioned insisting that a landing card was required actually working for UKBA. The reason I suggest this is that BAA often hire queue helpers who are not necessarily familiar with the rules.

Good story about the person at the UK desk.

EUsmileWEallsmile
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Re: Heathrow

Post by EUsmileWEallsmile » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:06 pm

Ikonkar wrote:Hi All,

Thought I should share my short story, arrived at Heathrow last night, wasn't travelling with my EU Wife, at UK Border Control I stood in other passports Que., didn't filled in landing card either. Upon showing my passport she(Immigration Officer) asked me few questions about my wife (where she's working, what nationality, etc etc. I answered all the questions confidently, she smiled and said welcome back!!!

No Stamp on passport either.

GOD BLESS
Ikonkar
Great. It's not all bad. The message is perhaps getting through.

EUsmileWEallsmile
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Post by EUsmileWEallsmile » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:09 pm

flames wrote:I came back from Graz, Austria yesterday and landed at Stanstead. The flight was already delayed and i had a National Express coach funfare ticket thus i could not afford to miss the coach to central London.

I then joined the ''other passports queue'' as it was far much shorter. Just before i got to the IO a UKBA lady who was sitting on a chair in front of the queue asked and insisted for a landing card. I politely told her that i do not need one as i hold an EU residence card as a family member but she was saying if you are using this queue you need to complete a landing card. Luckily my turn to see an IO came before i could continue the pointless conversation with the lady.

This time around the IO knew what he was doing. I presented my passport with the Residence card page open and initially he said where is your landing card? then he quickly realised i do not need to complete one. He just checked the authenticity of the passport and did not ask me any questions. He even went on to say that next time you can join the EU queue but just remember to present your passport to the IO with the Residence card page open. I was pleased to deal with someone who knew what he was doing but it also makes me wonder why some IO's know and apply the law correctly and why some IO's do not?.

On a different note; In Graz at exit passport checks i encountered an IO who spent 15 minutes in total examining my UK issued EU residence card and French issued Schengen visa. He even took out some magnifying glass and thoroughly scanned the scengen visa and residence card. He repeatedly inserted my passport into a machine to check it's authenticity. All this happened without him even asking me any question until i asked him ''what the problem was?'' and he mumbled in half German, half English about doing his job and then he quickly stamped the passport and gave it back to me with a hardly disguised annoyed look on his face......
On the other hand, your passport should not have been stamped in Gratz.

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