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What is a Code 3 UK Immigration Stamp?

Q: I was given a code 3 stamp in my passport when entering England (UK) via Gatwick, what does this mean?


Generally, being given a code 3 entry stamp when going through UK immigration is nothing to worry about in and of itself. All landings in England/ UK are coded, and tourists are generally given a 5n status — which means that their landing card was discarded and no record kept on their entry/ exit from the country. When a code 3 stamp is placed into a passport it means that the person’s landing card is being retained and that UK immigration is going to keep a record on them.

The code 3 stamp in your passport is just to say “We are watching you,” and to trigger a warning sign to any subsequent UK immigration officer who may preside over your entry procedures in the future. Code 3 status just means that your UK immigration record is being tracked, as they have suspicions that you may be planning to break their immigration laws (i.e. overstaying your visa, working illegally, or some other sort of violation).

In and of itself, a code 3 status is not something to fear, and you should not worry about it too much. But you should take precautions to follow UK immigration laws exactly as they are stated and take special care the next time you enter England to be able to show that you have adequate funding, a fool proof itinerary, an onward air ticket etc.

They are watching you.

If you have any further questions feel free to leave them as a comment below.

Walk Slow,


Original question about a code 3 UK immigration stamp


I entered the UK with a tourist visa with the intention of spending my vacation here at Manchester and also shopping. I entered through Gatwick but at the airport i was extensively questioned for over four hours, made to go through x-ray scanning, finger printing, several interviews, extensive search of my luggage, diaries etc. Nothing related to me having any connection with anybody in the UK was found.

Thereafter i was further detained in a room there at the airport and made to fill and sign deportee/ detainee forms but after about 4 hrs of waiting, the immigration officer walked up to me where i was delayed and handed over my passport to me and told me i could go but i noticed that a coded permit to enter (Code 3) was stamped on my passport.

Can someone tell me why all these and the implication of this to my subsequent entry and visa applications.


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Filed under: Border Crossing, England, Immigration, Travel Help, Visas

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3169 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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