Q: A Journalist Traveling to the UK Should Use Which Visa?

A: In my case, the answer is one of these. Can you guess which?

Overseas domestic worker – private household £270
UK ancestry £270
Fisherman operating inside UK waters (dependent on contract of employment) £270
Off-shore workers £270
Sole representatives £270
Van der Elst Free
Swiss posted worker Free
Turkish national to establish in business Free
Fishy is a relative term

DECEMBER 8, 2012 AT 1:50 PM


How are things progressing? It appears to be taking an exceptional amount of time to complete some simple form filling !!


To PH – and everyone else who has followed my misadventures:

If only it were that simple! Because of the bizarre way in which I was given the heave-ho, my return has been anything but a straightforward process. Those involved in my case have had different goals and — from what I can glean — not all of them aligned with my wish to return to Jersey.

The main problem: Jersey objected last year to my entering the UK on a Business Visitor’s visa. This is why I was thrown out.

Unfortunately, this visa is what journalists typically use for trips of 6 months or less. (For the record, I have only used this visa for trips of approximately 5 weeks or less.)

Once Jersey forbade me to enter the island on the Business Visitor’s visa (initially, it approved it, but then changed its mind a few times) my list of options for entering the country narrowed — greatly.

The UK has heavily restricted writers from entering the country in recent years (to be fair, this seems to be in response to the U.S. doing the same to Britons). This means I have been forced to comb through a netherworld of obscure visas that may or may not allow for my return. Remember, other journalists may travel to the UK on the Business Visitor’s visa, but I was denied the ability to do this.

And, yes, I feel I was targeted. Finding another way to the goal of visiting the UK has been a yearlong process.

Now for the good news…On 30 November, I applied for one of these more obscure UK visas at the instruction of Jersey Immigration and submitted my biometrics to the British Consulate General in New York. (Biometrics = a photo and fingerprints.)

Jersey’s authorities have been working with the UK — and the MPs who have backed me — to retrofit a generic ‘Offshore Worker’ visa. They are overlaying it with some additional specifications for a writer. This ‘Writer’s’ visa has, to my knowledge, never been issued to anyone before on the island. (If someone discovers differently, please let me know.)

As far as I’m concerned, however, if it makes all those involved happy, I’ll take it. For the record, I have filed for one other visa this past year to return to the UK, but it was denied and I was denied my right to an appeal.

It is my sincere hope this newer application will be met with superior results.

In the coming days, I will need your support the most. This will be a very delicate time for me and the research I am hoping to complete. At present, the UK authorities are weighing whether I will be allowed to return or not.  In other words, this one’s for all the marbles.

As always, thank you for the comments and feedback. I read everything each one of you send me.

29 thoughts on “Q: A Journalist Traveling to the UK Should Use Which Visa?”

  1. Leah.

    Good luck (you’ll need it) getting your Visa. The problem is that you want to ask questions about, what has been described as, the worst cover up in History and that’s how children in Jersey’s “care” homes (and elsewhere) could be abused for DECADES?

    The Child Abuse Investigation was closed down, and some would say “sabotaged” by Mssrs Gradwell and Warcup who took over from Lenny Harper and Graham Power. Our State Media asked little or no questions so it was left to Bloggers (Jersey’s only independent media) to ask the questions which most still remain un-answered and that’s the way a lot of the Jersey Establishment would like it to stay.

    Here are just a few of the questions we asked when the Child Abuse Investigation was CLOSED DOWN

    Good luck with your visa.

  2. This visa problem gets stranger and stranger. I suspect the strategy they are using to prevent your travel to Jersey is one of setting you up to “catch” you trying to return on an improper visa, only to then deny you entry on that basis. It is otherwise unfathomable for both UK and Jersey to have left you in this position. Best of luck on this. I hope the global community of journalists will continue to watch this as it develops.

  3. My 2 cents. Lobby the politicians not the gophers. Have a word with Farage at UKIP, one of their members had their foster children taken because of their politics. Norman Baker MP also. Hislop Private Eye. Michael Mansfield QC

    1. Thank you for the suggestions. There are some fantastic politicians who are involved, a couple of whom I have openly mentioned. Others I cannot mention. That said, this is not a process for the impatient and requires that I follow a long list of bureaucratic steps, regardless of their outcome. (That is how most UK efforts eventually perish, too many hoops to jump through and a long wait between each.)

    2. Mr Mansfield cut a not-to-be-publicised deal with one half of the Hillsborough families on the Sunday after Cameron’s House of Commons apology. With the guts of the affair now being public knowledge (we are led to believe) why does secrecy immediately become so necessary? Buyer beware.

  4. If you reckon that Jersey is quite a dodgy locality in which to probe
    child sexual abuse, what about Belfast, Northern Ireland?

    The 1970s scandal of the Kincora Boys Home.

    A BBC N. Ireland journalist, by the name of Chris Moore,
    wrote a book on the subject.

    1. Huh. Is nobody going to even try and guess which visa I am up for? Fisherman/Domestic Worker/Van der Elst? I’d really enjoy starting a new category of visa. Domestic Worker-Fisherwoman. I could vacuum the house in the mornings and fish afternoons.

  5. Leah, I hope those trying to stymie your return to Jersey soon realize that the harder they work to keep you out the more interest the story generates among writers like myself, documentary producers, TV journalists, even human rights advocates around the world.

    1. Coming from you, Ms. Dreyfuss, that means a lot. Thankfully, there has been a nice range of journalists who have reached out and asked for updates.

  6. You are such a brave young woman and I send my prayers out to you. You are up against very dark forces and will need all your supporters to put you in their light in present times. Words out that we are entering an age of enlightenment. We are, and you are a warrior in the forefront of battles to come, where victory is assured.

  7. Well it is Jersey we’re talking about and I guess they really do not want you there, so maybe it’s :

    Turkish national to establish in business – there will be some rule that states unless you have a Turkish passport, it will not apply.

    Swiss posted worker Free – No chance, they will want to make sure it costs you some cash.

    So I guess it will be – Sole representatives @£270 – with additional conditions (as in Jersey [see Bailhache video] it will be made up as go along) that will make it virtually impossible for you to continue your work without some great hindrance, meaning you will spend another year or two arguing about the “terms of reference” .

    1. Finally, someone tries to guess. The answer is, I am applying for the Offshore Worker visa. Why coming in as an ‘Offshore Worker’ rather than a ‘Business Visitor’ should be necessary, I do not know, but I have been made to believe it is.

  8. From:
    Date: Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 8:28 AM
    Subject: Unclassified: UK Visa application received
    To: LMCGRATHGOODMAN@gmail.com

    UK Visa application received

    Dear Applicant,

    The package containing your UK visa application has been opened and your supporting documents organized in preparation for consideration by an Entry Clearance Officer.

    Please note UKBA customer service standards for all applications are: to complete 90% of visa applications (except settlement categories) in not more than three weeks, 98% in six weeks and 100% in 12 weeks.

    To view the current processing times for visa applications submitted to the British Consulate General in New York, please click the following link:

    You will receive further e-mails advising you of –
    1. When your application reaches the next stage of the process; review by an Entry Clearance Officer, and
    2. The outcome of your application. This e-mail will also provide you with details of your return package.

    We regret we are unable to respond to status enquiries. Further information on our services is available at http://www.visainfoservices.com

    UK Border Agency, New York
    Visit us on Facebook! – http://facebook.com/ukba.in.the.usa

  9. Leah.

    Your readers might be interested in the interview you gave to our State Radio, along with Michael Robinson, from Jersey’s Custom and Immigration Service. It/they can be listened to HERE

  10. Hello again Leah

    Hope to see you back in ‘the island that democracy forgot’ soon. Will keep fighting for your cause and that of the much bigger picture of which we are all a part. We will win in the end. ‘can’t rain all of the time’ as the line in The Crow says.

    1. Thank you, Trevor. Curious how cold it is over there ahead of the holidays. The only month I have never been in Jersey is December.

  11. Greetings Leah,
    First of all you must be aware of the fact that this country is run by a bunch of child molesters. Just look what is happening at the BBC. That scumbag Murdoch and his rubbish reporters never exposed the shirt lifters did they? All decent people are on your side. Jersey needed exposing 40 years ago. Good luck to you and all the others who support you.

    1. Mr. Chappell,

      Thank you. I would like to be careful not to label the entire country. As you know, many people from England feel strongly that children should be protected.

  12. With all the attention in child abuse now in the UK media I’d think there’d be some more stories out there about this. After all it’s part of the Haut story now… journalist banned from investigating.

    In the US…. Surely the Young Turks or Huffpost Live or somebody would be interested.

    1. i mean think about it… people are always ready to hop on a child abuse story… and stories about bigshot pedophiles. well here is part of one…

      and people (the McAlpine case proves), even the traditional media like BBC and ITV, are obsessed with the idea of conspiracy theories … well this is not a conspiracy theory, its a conspiracy fact …. some small group conspired to keep a journalist off of the Haut case. There is no other way to get someone banned from entering a country, some official group has to complain to some office somewhere which has to flip some fields in a database and ban entry.

      1. The UK press (the Guardian, BBC and others) reported on my case months before the Savile situation came to light. The BBC, Fortune and a number of media on the island of Jersey did so again as the revelations of Operation Yewtree surfaced.

        All are keeping in touch with me on how this latest visa effort goes.

        Right now, I am not looking to bang garbage can covers together to get maximum attention. I have simply talked to those who have reached out to me of their own accord. That can change. But right now, I feel this is the best way to proceed.

        Lastly, one should not underestimate the effect of the UK’s very strict libel laws on the UK press. It was very difficult for England’s press to say anything about Savile while he was still alive. (To be fair, they did try and were rewarded with scorching threats from Savile and his representatives. Remember, many people were genuinely afraid of this man, not just children.)

        Once he was dead, the press could proceed without taking the same heat. This is a problem in the UK, as it isn’t those who are dead who pose a threat, but those who are alive.

  13. Yes Leah I do agree that there are some great people who do not like what the government is doing to people like yourself and also want to expose the molesters whoever they may be. But they are not in a position of power in the Government now. 2 posh boys who do not know the price of milk sums them up totally. Jersey is perhaps the worst case of all considering it`s resident population. Only courageous folks like yourself and those on and off the Island who are helping you will eventually cut out the rot. God Bless you in all your work.

  14. I just finished ‘The Asylum’ Leah and thought it was a great read. The hubris, avarice, and egotism prevalent in the oil business is truly breathtaking. I loved the book. Happy Holidays.

  15. Do the ‘data protection’ laws do anything? Let’s review the Eight Principles of the Jersey Data Protection Law. Surely they apply to someone who has been put on a list of some sort for Visa bans?

    Data must be…

    1. fairly and lawfully processed
    2. processed for one or more specified and lawful purposes
    3. adequate, relevant and not excessive
    4. accurate and up to date
    5. not kept longer than necessary
    6. processed in accordance with the individual’s rights
    7. kept safe and secure
    8. not transferred to countries outside European Economic area unless country has adequate protection for the individual.

    At the very least, I would think that somewhere in the process of deciding to collect data on a reporter, and put her in a database of people who are denied visas, then somewhere one or more of these principles may have likely been broken. In other words – how can the data be accurate if it lists a reporter as some kind of violator of work rules? That can’t be right. And don’t these data protection laws have the right to petition?

    Rights of Individuals

    1 Rights of access
    2 Rights to prevent processing
    3 Rights to prevent processing for direct marketing
    4 Rights in relation to automated decision-taking
    5 Right to seek compensation
    6 Rights to have inaccurate information corrected
    7 Right to complain to the Commissioner

    In other words, doesn’t said journalist have a right to access information about who is storing data on her, and a right to have the inaccurate information corrected? What about this commissioner, how can she handle such a complaint?

    Would they simply argue it all falls under the ‘law enforcement’ exception? But then how can you know if your data has been collected lawfully by the government if the government is excepted from the rules?

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