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In the last quarter of 2017, the Home Office observed that visa refusal appeals were 50% successful. The latest 2018 figures are showing that the Home Office now lose more than 50% of all refusal appeals. This is the first time since the start of recording in 2007/08 and shows a growing trend in the Home Office making the wrong decision. If you’ve faced a visa refusal, there’s now more than a 50/50 chance of it being successfully overturned.
Having your Spouse Visa refused
Applying for a UK Spouse Visa is a complicated process. The Home Office is highly experienced in discovering fraudulent marriages, and this visa route can often be more difficult than expected. Given the strict requirements on this type of visa, refusal rates are quite high. If you have been refused for a UK Spouse Visa, it is highly recommended that you seek expert immigration advice on what steps to take next.
Most often, you will have your application for a Spouse Visa refused by the Home Office due to insufficient documentation or evidence of a genuine relationship. This could mean that you haven’t provided enough evidence to satisfy them but it could also mean that the amount of evidence is suspiciously large. Even genuine couples could run the risk of having their visa refused first time without finding the right balance.
Spouse Visa refused on financial grounds
Another issue commonly faced is a failure to meet the Spouse Visa financial requirement. The UK partner needs to have a household income of at least £18,600 to be considered. You also need to prove that you have been earning this money for at least six months before application. The Home Office is required to take into account several different forms of income before making this decision. Making sure that your total income will be counted towards the requirement will maximise your chances of having a successful application or appeal.
Spouse Visa extension refusal
If you are already in the UK on a Spouse Visa and wish to extend it, there is also a risk of refusal for this application. This could be for such reasons as a lack of evidence of a continuing relationship. It is very important that you pay attention to this refusal. A Spouse Visa extension refusal letter could ask you to arrange to leave the country within a couple of weeks. This refusal can also be appealed if you feel that the Home Office has not applied the law correctly in your case.
The refusal appeal process
If you’ve had your Spouse Visa refused, there is most likely an opportunity to appeal this to the First-tier Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber. This would allow you to appeal your case, providing more documentation or arguing that the evidence given is sufficient to prove your relationship.
Appealing to the First-tier Tribunal to give your case orally in court costs £140, but to just have the judge consider the documentation without a formal court presence is £80. If you aim to appeal the Home Office’s decision, you need to send off the application form given in your initial refusal within two weeks if you’re in the UK and within 28 days if you’re elsewhere.
The Upper Tribunal
If your refusal appeal is unsuccessful at the First-tier Tribunal, there is still the opportunity to appeal to the Upper Tribunal. If you still believe that the Home Office is incorrect and has not applied the law correctly in your case, this will be the last chance to dispute their decision. Both Tribunals are independent of the government and only assess whether the law has been executed correctly in each case.
Appeals to the Upper Tribunal have a similarly tight deadline of 14 days within the UK, 1 month outside.
If you’ve had your Spouse Visa refused, there’s never been a better time to submit an appeal with IAS to get that decision overturned.