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UK Visa Refusal and Appeal

UK Visa Refusals and Appeals

UK Visa Refusal and Appeal | ICS Legal

If you have had your UK visa refused, you may still have options available to you, which may include appealing against the decision or re-applying for the UK visa. Don’t give up on a visa for the UK, because in most UK visa refusal cases, applicants have the right to appeal against their decision. Your visa refusal letter will explain in summary on what rights you may have. 

Following the changes implemented by the Immigration Act 2014, you may have limited right to appeal. If your application does not attract a right to appeal, then you may be able to complete an administrative review. Click here to read more information on how to challenge a visa refusal through an administrative review. 

In brief, you can appeal against the following decisions:

  1. The refusal of a human rights or protection claim and revocation of protection status. 

  2. A refusal of a visa and refusal to vary leave to remain, in some situations, where the application was made before the Immigration Act 2014 was in force. 

  3. A refusal to issue a European Economic Area (EEA) family permit as well as certain other EEA decisions where appeal rights are in Regulation 36 of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016.

  4. Deprivation of citizenship whereby Section 40A of the British Nationality Act 1981 applies.

You do, however, only have a small window of time to lodge an appeal, so it is important to take legal advice as soon as possible, as this will allow you & your UK Immigration Lawyer to prepare for the appeal process. ICS Legal have trained and experienced UK Immigration Lawyers who have extensive experience in lodging against a UK visa refusals and refusal appeals, giving you the best possible chance of success and entry to the UK. Setting out the grounds of appeal to the First Tier Tribunal is important, which forms part of your challenge against the Home Office decision and will be relied upon if the matter goes before a First Tier Tribunal Judge.

What should I do first if I receive a visa refusal?

If your application is refused in the UK or outside the UK, you must be served a decision letter by the Home Office. Decisions are served through the post, e-mail or through an application centre. You must keep a note on the date of service. 

  1. E-mail us a copy of the visa refusal letter to info@icslegal.com

  2. If you cannot email us the visa refusal letter, then fax us the decision on 0207 112 8479. 

To get some immediate legal advice on your UK Visa Refusal, call our team on 0207 237 3388. 

Right to appeal and the changes implemented by the Immigration Act 2014

When you receive your UK visa refusal letter, this will explain whether or not you have the right to appeal against your refusal. Visa appeals are most common for people who are related to, married to, or dependent on a person who holds settled status or are a British citizen. This is now referred as a human rights appeal. 

Parts 5 and 6 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (The 2002 act) as amended and The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 includes details of the new appeal rights. 

If you have applied for any of the points-based visas, you do not have the right to appeal against the decision but there is another process called the administrative review to look over these applications. This review looks at the points allocated and checks whether your application was correctly assessed by the original Officer. Unlike a visa appeal, you cannot attend the First Tier Tribunal. Where the administrative review does not resolve the issue, there is other legal remedy available to you however we strongly recommend for you to take legal advice. 

Why was my UK visa refused and what I can do now?

A visa refusal can occur for a number of reasons, often involving simple mistakes made by the applicant. These might include an error in your application or failure to provide all the necessary documents. In more serious cases, a visa refusal might relate to overstaying in the UK, breach of conditions, criminal convictions or false/forged documents. 

Most visa applicants do technically meet all the requirements of the immigration rules however their visa application may not have been presented correctly before the Home Office case worker. For example, on a point based visa application, you can lose points simply for not fully demonstrating how you meet the published requirements by not providing a specified document. On the contrary, on a family based application, you may have provided a number of documents and statements, however they were not checked to omit any discrepancies prior to the visa submission, and this can lead to a visa refusal. 

Your UK Immigration Lawyer will be tasked to advise on the evidences required for the visa application and will check those, prior drafting a legal representation letter, which sets out on how you have meet the prescribed policy and rules. 

Occasionally, people also apply for the wrong visa entirely as there are so many different visas for the UK and that they do not know which one is the correct visa category. These people are perfect applicants and would have been accepted on the correct visa, but unfortunately didn’t have the necessary knowledge to select the correct visa category and show their eligibility correctly. 

We at ICS Legal provide both legal advice and help on all visa applications. By doing this, we have extensive knowledge and experience, which we use whenever we help a client to prepare their visa application. Further to that, our UK Immigration Lawyers keep themselves updated on all changes to the immigration policies. This allows us to help identify errors made either by you, or the Home Office whenever a visa refusal happens. We review your visa application in detail prior embarking on a legal process, and we take this step by initially telling you to speak with one of our UK Immigration Lawyer. Experience tells us that analysing a visa refusal letter, will help both us and you, to ensure we take the correct steps to resolve the visa refusal. 

Getting expert help from ICS Legal 

ICS Legal has a team of Immigration Consultants fully qualified to lodge a visa refusal appeal. To lodge an appeal, Immigration Consultants require Level 3 registration with the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) which is the highest level available. We also hold the licence to conduct immigration litigation, also known as judicial and hold the JRCM licence with the OISC. 

With expertise in Immigration law, our UK Immigration Lawyers can quickly determine the reason for your visa refusal, and tell you exactly what you need to do to be approved. 

Check below links to get more information

Some of the most common UK visa refusal reasons:

  • One of the most common applications that are now being refused is a UK visit visa. The immigration rules related to a UK visit visa have changed since April 2015. In doing so, those who have held visas in the past or have travelled to the UK, have been refused simply because they did not follow the new rules and documents required. As these applications no longer come with an automatic right to appeal, the key element of the application, which includes whether you are a genuine visitor and have demonstrated the intention to leave the UK after the visit, is an important part of the application. 

  • Previous overstaying, false representation, false documents or breach of conditions on your previous stay in the UK can lead to a refusal of your UK visa. 

  • Wrong visa applications being applied for. The repeat applications create a concern to the Home Office if you constantly apply for visas that you do not qualify or changing details of the intention of the visa. 

  • Previous denied entry at the immigration port. You intended to come in the UK as you are a non-visa national however the Border Officer was not satisfied with your intention to enter the UK and had denied entry. 

  • Partner visas whereby the Home Office believes your marriage is of convenience, as you have not provided sufficient evidences to demonstrate that the relationship is genuine and subsisting, with the intention to live together permanently in the UK. There are a number of factors whereby this can be concluded, for example, if you have made repeat applications or have overstayed in the UK prior departing the UK. 

If we take the UK visit visa as an example, a number of visa applicants fail to provide information which are relevant to their application. This may include their reasons to travel to the UK. Simply stating that you wish to visit the UK without providing some evidences of planning and booking places of interest, may worry the Home Office on your intention. When a Home Office Official considers your visit visa application, the burden of proof will sit on the applicant to demonstrate how they meet the specified immigration rules. Please do not expect the Home Office to contact you or advise you on what evidences are required. 

If a visa application is refused, we strongly recommend that you take legal advice from a UK Immigration Lawyer because we would need to understand whether the Home Office have made a mistake whilst making a decision or you have failed to provide the correct evidences as prescribed by the immigration rules. Depending on the type of visa application you have lodged, you may have a right to appeal. The alternative to this may be an administrative review or a request for a reconsideration of the decision. The option of re-applying for the visa is also possible. 

Actual UK visa refusal decision letter (taken from a rejected dependant visa in May '08):

"You have not given reasonable evidence that suitable accommodation has been provided for you by your sponsor. So, I am not satisfied that this meets the requirements of the Housing Act 1985 and that there will be enough room for you and any dependent.
You have not provided enough evidence to show your sponsor owns or rents property in which you plan to live, or that mortgage or rent payments are being made.

Without this, I am not satisfied that the accommodation is secure, or that you can live in the accommodation without using public funds. You have not provided any payslips or satisfactory evidence of regular expenditure demonstrating that your sponsor is able to support you. I am not satisfied that you or your sponsor will be able to support you in the UK without working or using public funds".

Immigration appeals process & costs

At the time of your lodging your immigration appeal following a UK visa refusal, you will be required to pay a fee to the First Tier Tribunal. The fee is as follows:

  • £80 is charged for a paper hearing. We do not advise on using this process, as this is done in paper only. 

  • £140 is an oral hearing before an Immigration Judge. 

Depending on the reasons why your application have failed, you will need to understand which appeal process is good for your visa decision to be overturned. As you will need to pay the Tribunal their fees, this can only be paid using your credit or debit card. The Tribunal usually does not accept cheque payments. 

Where there is more than one person who have been refused, then the fees will need to be paid per person. There are no exemptions to the fees as specified above unless the following applies. 

  • Section 2A of the 1971 Act(1) (deprivation of right of abode).

  • Section 5(1) of the 1971 Act (a decision to make a deportation order).

  • Paragraphs 8, 9,10, 10A or 12(2) of Schedule 2 to the 1971 Act(1) (a Decision that an illegal entrant, any family or seaman and aircrew is or are to be removed from the United Kingdom by way of directions).

  • Section 40 of the British Nationality Act 1981(1) (deprivation of citizenship).

  • Section 10(1) of the 1999 Act(1) (removal of certain persons unlawfully in the United Kingdom).

  • Section 76 of the 2002 Act (revocation of indefinite leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom).

  • Section 47 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006(1) (removal: persons with statutorily extended leave).

  • Regulation 19(3) of the Immigration (European Economic Area).

  • Regulations 2006(1) (a decision to remove an EEA national or the family member of such a national).

  • You have an appeal in the detained fast track process.

  • You are being provided with Asylum Support Funding by the United Kingdom Border Agency under sections 95 or 98 under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

What are the UK immigration rules general grounds for UK visa refusals?

The "general grounds of refusal" is set out in Part 9 of the Immigration Rules HC395. When a person submits an immigration application, they can be refused a UK visa, leave to remain in the UK, or a variation of leave to remain including indefinite leave to remain, if the person falls within the general grounds of refusal. This means that a person, who qualifies for a UK visa, can still be refused a visa based on the general grounds of refusal. 

At first, we turn to the relevant immigration policies that set out those policies:

  1. Sections 117A to 117D in Part 5A of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 set out the correct approach to considering ECHR Article 8 claims.

  2. Part 5A was inserted by section 19 of the Immigration Act 2014 which came into force on 28 July 2014.

  3. In Part 5A, section 117A sets out how the Article 8 provisions are to be applied and section 117B sets out Parliament’s view of the public interest in Article 8 claims made by any foreign nationals, including foreign criminals. 

  4. Section 117C sets out Parliament’s view of the public interest in Article 8 claims made by foreign criminals liable to deportation.

  5. Section 117D sets out the interpretation of sections 117A to 117C when a person should be refused entry clearance, leave to remain or variation of leave to enter or remain in the UK on general grounds. It is relevant to all categories of applications for entry clearance and leave to remain in the UK.

The following grounds normally revoke and refuse an entry clearance or a leave to enter the United Kingdom:

  • If the person arriving fails to provide information relating to the decision whether first he needs to leave to enter and second, whether this should be given and on what basis.

  • If the person outside the UK (for example visa applications) does not provide requested information, documents, copy documents or medical report.

  • If the person who wishes to enter as a returning resident fails to show that he meets the relevant requirements, or that his purpose in wishing to enter is the same as that for which he was granted earlier permission.

  • If the person shows a passport or travel document from a state unrecognised or not dealt with by the UK; or from a state which does not accept UK passports; or from a state which does not comply with international passport regulations.

  • If the person has previously contrived in a significant way to frustrate the intentions of the Immigration Rules.

  • If the person fails to show that he will be allowed into another country after the UK except for persons who have permission to settle in the UK or spouses or civil partners who are entering with a view to settling in the UK.

  • Refusal by a sponsor to give, if requested, a written undertaking to be responsible for that person's maintenance and accommodation for the period of their stay.

  • If the person makes false statements or fails to reveal any material fact in order to obtain an immigration employment document, whether intentionally or not.

  • If a child under the age of 18, wishes to enter the UK in their own right, fails, if asked to, provide the written consent to his application from his parent(s) or legal guardian.

  • Refusal to have a medical examination, if required, unless the person is settled in the UK.

  • A conviction in any country including the UK of an offence which, if committed in the UK, could result in imprisonment for 12 months or longer unless there are strong compassionate reasons.

  • Where it seems right to refuse entry on the ground that exclusion from the UK is conducive to the public good due to, for example, the personal character, conduct or connections.

  • If the person fails to comply with any requirement relating to providing physical data.

  • Where the person has failed to pay the charge(s) of at least £1,000 in accordance with National Health Service (NHS) regulations on charges to overseas visitors.

UK Visa Appeals 

"What can I do if my UK visa is refused?" is a common question we are asked. We understand that once you have received a decision that is negative, you intend to understand what to do now. The simple proces may be that you can re-apply for the visa however at times, you may need to appeal against the decision depending on the grounds raised by the Home Office. 
Where you have decided to apply for the visa again following the visa refusal, it is then essential that the visa application is planned and checked thoroughly by a person with the necessary expertise and experience in the field of immigration, as a seemingly irrelevant or incorrect detail or omission on a visa application can lead to a visa being turned down again.

Visa applicants should, therefore, take the utmost care to ensure they are making use of reputable Immigration firms or consultants, in order to prevent the frustration of a visa being turned down, not to mention the time and expense involved in re-applying or filing an appeal.

However, getting it right first time round is the best, all is not lost if your initial application is refused. Although there are risks and costs involved, in most cases an appeal or review of the decision is possible, and in many cases, a successful result can be obtained. If you would like to get ICS Legal advice, click here to complete our contact form or you can call us on 0207 237 3388. 

If you recently had your visa application denied or turned down, it is possible to lodge an appeal if you have been:

  • refused entry clearance;

  • refused entry to the United Kingdom;

  • refused an extension of stay;

  • been deprived of UK citizenship;

  • received a notice of deportation; or

  • received a notice of removal.

If you have been refused leave to enter or remain in the UK, the decision-maker (whether an Entry Clearance Officer, Immigration Officer or the Secretary of State) will give you a written notice. This will include a statement of the reasons for the decision. If you are to be removed from the UK, the notice will also state the country to which you are to be removed and it must also be accompanied or include the following: 

  • a statement advising you of your rights to appeal and the statutory provision upon which this right is based;

  • the time limit for bringing your appeal;

  • the address to which the appeal needs to be sent;

  • a fax number for service by fax;

  • whether there is an exception or limitation to your right of appeal;

  • and whether further information is required under s.120.

You will also need to decide whether you wish your appeal to be decided at an oral or written hearing. Once your appeal forms are completed, with your detailed legal grounds & evidences you intend to reply on, you will need to send this to the First Tier Tribunal.  
The First Tier Tribunal is an independent tribunal and therefore it is not affiliated with the Home Office in any way. Appeal rights in the UK are usually 14 days and if your visa applications were decided outside of the UK, then it would be 28 days. 

Your notice of appeal is lodged. What happens now?

An immigration appeal can be seen as a long and lengthy legal process, however following a number of legal changes, once an appeal is lodged, the decision are usually reviewed prior to the matter going before the First Tier Tribunal. It is important at this stage, you have set out the correct factual matrix to your appeal and have referred to the correct immigration policies & laws.
First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Rules provides the legal framework when an appeal is brought forward. The Tribunal will tell the Home Office to undertake the review and provide a response to the allegations raised by you or your UK Immigration Lawyer. 

Will I need to go to the Court and if so, what process must be followed?

Where the Home Office have maintained their decision and we have selected an oral hearing at the time of lodging your appeal, the First Tier Tribunal will write to us with full appeal directions to prepare for the full appeal hearing. In deportation cases, we would expect to have two scheduled appeal hearings; one will be your case management review and the other being the full appeal hearing. 

Section 14 of the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Rules requires both parties to make submissions including witness statements and skeleton arguments as part of your trial bundle. ICS Legal will prepare all the necessary documentation for your immigration appeal hearing during this time, even if you are not in the UK at the time. We will attend the scheduled appeal hearing on your behalf. Therefore if you are outside of the UK your appeal will still go ahead. 

If you are in the UK, you will need to attend the hearing as the main witness. If you have a sponsor, then they can also attend the hearing as a witness in addition to you or in your absence. If you are attending the hearing, you should allow for the whole day, as appeals are not heard in a specific order on the day. 

What will happen following the appeal hearing?

When an appeal hearing is heard at the First Tier Tribunal and there has been no adjournment to that hearing, a Judge will write to both parties within 6 weeks. The Immigration Judge in his or her appeal determination will set out the reasons for the refusal, the evidences lodged by both parties, the oral evidences by the witnesses and the legal submission made by both parties. The Judge will conclude by providing his judgement, and this can either mean the appeal being allowed or is dismissed.

If the Immigration Judge dismisses your immigration appeal, then you will be given further appeal directions, whereby you can challenge the decision before an Upper Tribunal. You must be able to identify the error in law if you decide to challenge the decision made by the First Tier Tribunal.  

A denial of entry to the UK - what are your rights?

First of all, non-visa nationals who intend to visit the UK or conduct activities less than 6 months usually do not require a visa to enter the UK. Visa nationals will require a visa to enter the UK. In both cases, a Border Immigration Officer can refuse your entry to the UK if they believe that you do not meet the requirements of the visa anymore. This can be based on evidences or information provided at the time of your entry to the UK which may include an interview with the Border Officer. 

Your matter will be usually passed to a Chief Immigration Officer who will make a final decision on whether to deny you entry to the UK or not. If you have a UK visa, you may be allowed entry to the UK for a limited time period but this decision sits with the Chief Immigration Officer. 

When a decision is made, the Officer will provide a notice of decision, also known as a visa refusal letter, this will explain the reasons why they have interviewed you and the reasons to justify their reasoning’s to deny entry to the UK. If you hold a UK visa, the letter should explain whether this has been cancelled and should outline your appeal rights. 

A point based visa application refusal (Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4 or Tier 5 visas)

In a point based visa application, the most important element are the specified evidences. Discretion can be applied by the Home Office Official; however the burden of proof will sit on the visa applicant. You will need to provide detailed explanations if an evidence is not provided with full reasons. 

Where your Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4 or Tier 5 visa application is refused, the Home Office will set out their reasons for the visa refusal and will explain your right to request a review of the decision. Due to the Immigration Act 2014 changes, all appeal rights are now restricted to human rights application. 

Dependants of a point based migrant

Whilst a dependant is applying to join their sponsor in the UK, if an application for a visa is refused, it does not generate a right to appeal and will be able to request an administrative review of the decision. The Home Office decision letter will provide details of how the matter can be challenged when a visa refusal happens. 

Administrative Review

The administrative review policy was introduced to quicken the reconsideration process. The aim of this, is to identify the case working error, either as identified in the application for administrative review, or identified by the Reviewer in the course of conducting the administrative review.

The Home Office decision letter will tell you whether you have a right to conduct an administrative review and if so, the time period in which you must lodge your administrative review. If the decision was made in the UK, you will only have 14 days and if the visa was refused from outside of the UK, then you will have only 28 days to put forward your administrative review. The letter from the Home Office will tell you how you can apply for the administrative review. 

You will be required to pay a fee to lodge this administrative review and this currently stands at £80. Please check the Home Office website prior lodging your administrative review to confirm the relevant fees. The Home Office will only refund the fees back if the decision is overturned due to a case working error or your administrative review was rejected. 

If you are in the UK, have lodged your application prior to the visa was to expire and now have a pending administrative review pending, your immigration status is protected under Section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971. The Home Office will not seek to remove you from the UK until a decision is made on the administrative review. 

When you submit for reconsideration, the Home Office will usually not ask you to send any of your original documents, but experience tells us that, depending on the grounds of refusal, you can include evidences that would determine that there was a case working error. 

Once the administrative review has been lodged, the Home Office will take around 28 days to review that decision. If the Officer intends to take longer, he or she will write to you and confirm this. So that you know that someone else have reviewed that decision, the name of the Officer will always be enclosed on the decision letter itself. You are only permitted to lodge one administrative review per decision unless a new decision is made by the Home Office. 

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