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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. Don’t give up on a visa for the UK, because in most UK visa refusal cases applicants have the right to appeal the decision.

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. 

You do, however, only have a small window of time to lodge an appeal, so it is important to act fast and seek advice as soon as possible. ICS Legal have trained and experienced UK Immigration Lawyers who have extensive experience lodging UK visas 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, as this relies on if the matter gets listed to the First Tier Tribunal. 

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. This may have been sent through the post, e-mail or through an application centre.

  1. E-mail us a copy of the visa refusal letter to

  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, it will explain whether or not you have the right to appeal your refusal. Visa appeals are most common for people who are related to, married to, or dependent on British citizens.

If you have applied for any of the points-based visas, you won’t have the right to appeal 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. 

Why was my UK Visa refused and what I can do?

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 criminal convictions or false/forged documents. 

Many independent visa applicants do technically meet the requirements of the visa but don’t know how to present the case properly to the Home Office case worker. This means that they can lose points simply for not fully demonstrating how they meet the criteria, or they do include plenty of documents to support applications for Partner Visas and the like, but do not realise that sometimes documents and statements can count against their case if not presented in the way that UKHome Office expect.

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

We know the visa application and appeals process inside and out and can ensure that every case is reviewed properly as well as picking up on possible gaps where the procedure wasn’t followed. This gives you the absolute best chance in your appeal. Having experts on your side makes the difference at every stage, whether you are just applying and want to avoid the costly and time-consuming process of a visa appeal, or whether you submitted independently and need our help proving your case to the authorities. 

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. 

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 very common UK visa refusal reasons:

  • Visitors not confident on the duration of stay, place of stay and sufficient funds to support the stay. Visitors / Migrants using false/forged documents or have lied during their interviews can be banned from entry to the UK for up to 10 years.

  • Another common reason for refusal was "you wish to go to the UK for a holiday. You have never previously undertaken any foreign travel before and I can see little reason for this trip". 

There is a case of a person whose request was rejected by an Entry Clearance Officer because they had "little or no idea what you plan to see or do". This was because the person had answered the question on a form asking why they were going to the UK, with the words "annual leave vacation". To ensure your visa is not rejected, ensure you provide all the documents in original, where possible with each photocopy of the documents listed here. Avoid scanned and faxed copies.

Note: Visa refusal rate is quite high in Southern part of India, especially for people applying from Hyderabad (due to rising in forged / fake documents. It is as high as 30% for Dependent visas and 50% for visitor visas. Although the VFS claim the same to be less than 10% overall.

Once rejected, you need to re-apply paying the full visa fees again. Some applicant's do get a chance to appeal the decision with additional information or proofs, within 28 days of receiving the refusal. If the visa is refused, and you have provided all the correct evidences, you would need to demonstrate how this application has infringed your "human rights". 

Appeals are lodged with Asylum and Immigration Tribunal, in P.O Box 7866, Loughborough LE 11 2XZ, this usually takes 2-3 months and can go even longer. or through the British High Commission application centre. 

Actual UK Visa refusal Note: (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".

UK Visa Appeals 

Once a UK visa has been refused, it is important that you seek legal advice and at ICS Legal, we will advise you on the best course of action. Prevention is better than cure, and most definitely so in the case of visa applications. It is essential that every 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.

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.

Once 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, you can send it either to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) or sometimes if you are outside the UK, to the British High Commission or Embassy in your country of application. The AIT is an independent tribunal and therefore it is not affiliated with the Home Office in any way. 

If you are within the UK, your appeal should be filed with the AIT within 5 working days of receiving the Notice of Decision if you are in detention and within 14 days if you are not. If, however, you are outside of the UK, your appeal must be received by the AIT or British High Commission or Embassy within 28 days (including holidays and non-business days) from when you received the Notice of Decision. Due to these time constraints, it is strongly suggested that you contact one of our Legal Advisors as soon as you possibly can, as they are experienced in dealing with these deadlines. 

Your Notice of Appeal is lodged. What next? 

Once you have filed your appeal forms and supporting documents, the Entry Clearance Manager or Immigration Officer will review its original decision. If the review maintains the original decision, for non-settlement cases, the Entry Clearance Manager (if you are outside of the UK) should take up to 8 weeks (11 weeks if lodged with AIT directly) to prepare the necessary documentation for your appeal. If, however, your case is a settlement case it should take up to 16 weeks (19 weeks if lodged with AIT directly) and if it is for a visit visa, then it should take 12 weeks (15 weeks if lodged directly with AIT) to prepare the necessary documentation.

Will I need to go to the court? 

If following discussions with us, you have opted for an oral hearing, you will receive a copy of the Appeal bundle of the Entry Clearance Manager or AIT documentation in advance of the hearing date. ICS Legal will prepare all the necessary documentation for your hearing during this time, even if you are not within the UK at the time. We will attend the hearing on your behalf. Therefore if you are outside of the UK your appeal will still go ahead. 

If you are within the UK, you will need to attend the hearing as the main witness. If you have a sponsor, your sponsor 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 happens after the UK visa appeal that has come and gone?

If you have attended an oral hearing, sometimes the Immigration Judge will give his decision at the end of the hearing but usually, decisions are reserved and take 3 to 4 weeks to be received in writing. All appeal decisions are given in writing and are effective from the date of written determination or promulgation. Where there has been no oral hearing the Judges’ determination will also be received in writing. 

A word of caution: be wary of getting into the trap of fake UK passports, IDs, Driving Licenses, as they have very high-security feature and can be easily detected. UK Passports have a new security chip in it having all the details of the holder and hence unlikely to be forged.

Denial of Entry:

You can be denied entry on your arrival to the UK, even though you have a valid UK visa. The Immigration Officer, on various grounds, refuse you entry, vis-a-vis your reason for entry, finances, local contact etc. The Immigration Officer will give you reasonable time to put your case forward.

Where the Immigration Officer is not satisfied you would be provided with a written letter explaining the reasons for refusal. The airline which brought the visitor in will be asked to take the visitor to their home country.

The UK Visa Procedure - Refusal of Visa

If your visa application has been refused, the Embassy will give or send you a notice of refusal. The notice of visa refusal will list the reasons for the refusal and will explain your right to appeal.

To submit the application form, supporting documents and attending the interview, you will have to wait for your visa. Don’t lose heart if your visa is refused it is not the end of the world and you can always reapply. But the Embassy is very sympathetic and understanding and when informing you of the refusal it also suggests you appeal for the refusal. The appeal is usually heard at the First Tier Tribunal in the UK by a Immigration Judge.

On Being Refused a Visa - Points Based System

If your visa application has been refused, the Embassy will give or send you a notice of visa refusal. The notice of refusal will list the reasons for the UK visa refusal and will explain your right to appeal. The notice will also advice you on where to send your appeal.

If your visa application has been refused under the Points-Based System, you don’t have a full right of appeal but you can apply for an Administrative Review. You will get an Administrative Review request notice and guidance notes along with the refusal notice. 

Administrative Review

You can apply for an Administrative Review, which is a mechanism for reviewing UK visa refusal decisions. 

Under the Points-Based System, you can appeal only on one or more of the following grounds referred to in Section 84(1)(b) and (c) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002:

  • The decision was unlawful under Section 19B of the Race Relations Act 1976 (c.74) (discrimination by public authorities)

  • The decision was unlawful under Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (c.42) (public authority not to act contrary to Human Rights Convention) as being incompatible with your Convention rights.

If you think/feel that the Embassy has made an error in refusing your visa application under the Points-Based System, you can request them to review their decision which is free of charge. The Administrative Review will look at whether your claimed indications were correctly assessed by the Entry Clearance Officer.

You should demand an Administrative Review no more than 28 days after the date when you receive the refusal notice (GV51) from the Embassy. When you receive the visa refusal notice, the Embassy will also send you:

  • An Administrative Review request notice; and

  • An Administrative Review request notice guidance notes. 

The Administrative Review request notice and the Administrative Review request notice guidance notes can also be downloaded online. You should complete the Administrative Review request notice in full and send it to the post which processed your visa application. Please do not send your Administrative Review to any Immigration Tribunals in the UK as they are not dealt with by HM Courts and Tribunal Service and may cause the significant delay in processing your Administrative Review.

Avoid sending any additional documents such as your passport, travel document or supporting documents. If the Embassy overturns their UK visa refusal decision, the Embassy will ask you to send in your passport or travel document.

The Administrative Review usually will be completed in 28 days and you will be informed of the result in writing. To make certain that the review is independent, the review result will not be sent from the post that made the original decision. You can request only one Administrative Review per visa refusal decision and if you make any further review requests for the same refusal decision, they will be rejected and will be returned to you. You can apply for an Administrative Review, only before you leave for the UK and not while in the UK.

Dependents of Applicants Under The Points-Based System

If the Embassy refuses your partner/child's/parents’ or any other dependents’ application for a visa as the dependent of a points-based system migrant, they cannot appeal for an Administrative Review, because an Administrative Review is used to assess whether the points have been correctly awarded and dependents usually don’t apply under the Points-Based System except for the applicant. Your dependent instead will be entitled to have a limited or full right of appeal.

When your visa application has been refused not under the Points-Based System, the Embassy will send you a letter informing you of the rejection called 'Notice of Immigration Decision' which will also explain your appeal rights. Certain applicants have no appeal rights for some types of visa and some applicants have full rights of appeal if their application is refused. The most frequent types of visa applicants with full rights of appeal are:

  • Partners, children and other dependent relatives of UK citizens or settled people, who are seeking to come to the UK with a view to settlement; and

  • Family visitors, who wish to visit qualifying family members in the UK.

If the Embassy feels that you have the right to appeal, the Embassy will send you an IAFT-5 appeal form with your notice of immigration decision and an information document explaining how to complete the appeal form.

In most cases, you should pay a fee of when you make an appeal.

  • For an appeal to be determined at an Oral Hearing £140.00. 

  • For an appeal to be determined on the papers provided £80.00. 

Please note that the tribunal does not accept cash or cheque payments. You can pay your fee using a credit or debit card, either online when submitting your appeal or by writing your credit or debit card details in the space provided on your appeal form. When you send your credit or debit card details on your appeal form you should avoid sending your appeal form to the tribunal more than once, as the tribunal may take more than one payment. If you do not have access to a credit or debit card and cannot arrange for someone else to make a card payment for you, submit your appeal and the tribunal will write to you to explaining the methods to make a payment directly into the tribunal’s bank account.

You are entitled to submit a number of appeals together, for family members or people travelling together and make a payment for the total fees due. If you plan to submit the appeals online then you will be prompted to enter details of each appeal and then make a single payment for the total of the fees due using a credit or debit card.  If you want to pay once to cover all your appeals by sending them to the tribunal, you should ensure that the appeals are sent in a single envelope with the all the details of the appeals you wish to pay for clearly marked on the first page of the appeal form. You must mention your credit or debit card details on each form. The tribunal will then debit your account for the combined total of the fees due for all appeals you have provided together, in a single payment.

Exemptions and Remissions

You will have to pay a fee for your appeal to be processed. Conversely, you don’t have to pay a fee for your appeal if, your appeal is in opposition to one of the following decision types for which you should check your Notice of Decision carefully to check this:

  • 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 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.

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