Appealing UK Visa Refusals and Immigration Decisions


If your UK visa application gets rejected you’ll receive a letter from the Home Office explaining the reasons behind the refusal and outlining your options to challenge it through an appeal or Administrative Review. It’s crucial to take action typically within 14 days if you’re in the UK or 28 days if you’re outside the country.

Challenging an immigration decision involves disputing the Home Office’s findings by pointing out mistakes, misinterpretation of laws or violations of your rights.

Based on data, from the UK government, 15% of visa requests were turned down in 2021 totaling 247,280 refusals.

Additionally, approximately half of all appeals lodged were successful. Therefore there’s a 50% chance of getting a UK visa after it has been rejected, depending on how complicated your situation is.

Common Grounds for UK Visa Refusals


The UK Home Office often rejects visa applications for a variety of reasons. When deciding on immigration matters they assess your appropriateness, the validity of your application, and your eligibility, for a UK visa. Below are some common reasons for UK visa refusal:

  1. Failure to meet financial requirements, such as minimum annual income and maintenance savings.
  2. Scoring points within the UK points based system (PBS).
  3. Providing details to the Home Office, such as errors in your application or presenting fake documents.
  4. Failing to adhere to the Home Office’s requests, for information. Unsuitability, including unspent criminal convictions, poses a potential threat to national security.
  5. Instances of rough sleeping.
  6. Exceeding the maximum permitted stay in previous visits.
  7. Outstanding debts owed to the National Health Service (NHS).
  8. Past instances of breaking immigration regulations, like staying than permitted in the United Kingdom.
  9. Being prohibited from entering the UK.
  10. Involvement in a sham marriage or relationship.

For example if there are differences, in the income data you provide compared to what HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has it could result in your visa being rejected, which happens frequently. We review the steps to take and provide strong support to the Home Office on your behalf.

Who is Eligible to Challenge a Home Office Decision?


Your decision letter from the Home Office will specify whether you have the option to contest their decision. Depending on your situation and the kind of visa you’re applying for you might have the chance to proceed:

  1. Administrative review (AR) – in case there was a mistake, by the Home Office in rejecting your application.
  2. Appeal.

In many instances, you’ll only be entitled to request an Administrative Review. This is applicable to all Points Based System (PBS) visa applications and visas for dependant family members. PBS visas encompass most work and business visas.

You might be able to challenge the decision by the Home Office, at the First tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) on grounds related to rights:

  • Rejected an asylum or humanitarian protection claim.
  • Revoked your protection status.
  • Dismissed your human rights claim.
  • Revoked your British citizenship.
  • Declined or annulled your status, altered the duration or terms of your stay, or deported you under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
  • Denied or revoked your EUSS family permit.
  • Rejected or revoked your Frontier Worker Permit.
  • Declined or revoked your S2 Healthcare Visitor visa.

If your immigration lawyer thinks the Home Office got the law wrong in turning down your application you could consider requesting a Judicial Review. Keep in mind that you might not have the option to appeal if your application, for a visitor visa or short-term student visa is denied. An immigration solicitor can assess your appeal rights in this scenario and suggest available options.

If your immigration attorney suggests it you might consider submitting an application or applying for a different type of visa instead of appealing especially if the rejection was due to insufficient preparation of your initial application. Reapplying could be an easier option.

Additionally, it may be possible to both appeal and submit an application concurrently if you are applying for entry clearance from, outside the UK.

Process for Appealing UK Immigration Decisions


To improve your odds of securing a UK visa following a rejection it is essential to follow the steps outlined in the UK immigration appeal process:

  1. Consider legal assistance ─ Though not obligatory, enlisting the help of an immigration lawyer can greatly boost your chances of building a case for appealing an immigration decision.
  2. Confirm appeal eligibility ─ Verify whether you have the right to appeal.
  3. Review refusal reason ─ Carefully assess the grounds for your visa refusal.
  4. Get your appeal case ready by putting all the details of your appeal and collecting the necessary information and paperwork.
  5. Fill out ─ Send in an online appeal application within 14 days if you’re in the UK or 28 days if you’re, outside the UK (starting from when you received your decision).
  6. Make sure to include any supporting documents when submitting your appeal application.
  7. Indicate hearing preference ─ Specify in your immigration appeal application whether you opt for an oral hearing to further explain your case or prefer a decision based on submitted information.

Once your immigration appeal application is lodged online, it will undergo review by an Entry Clearance Manager (ECM). If you provide supporting evidence for your appeal there is a chance that it may result in a favorable decision at this point. In case a decision cannot be reached the appeal will move on to a hearing conducted by the First tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).

If you have asked for a hearing or if your case has been referred for one you will be sent a ‘Notice of Hearing’. The date for the hearing might be set weeks after you submit your application with no specific timeframe. If unforeseen circumstances prevent you from attending the hearing you can ask for it to be postponed to a date. It is recommended that any additional documents you want considered be submitted before the hearing.

While not mandatory, seeking assistance, from an immigration solicitor to manage your appeal is highly advisable. Immigration solicitors have expertise in appeal grounds evidence requirements and case preparation enhancing your chances of achieving an outcome. They’ll also represent you at Tribunal/Court hearings, ensuring a comprehensive presentation of your appeal case and addressing any court inquiries proficiently.