Overview of Visa Refusal on Medical Grounds
There are scores of considerations made by the UK Home Office when considering visa applicants. Medical information is one of the foremost considerations because of the risks for the entire British public of allowing entry for people with contagious and deadly diseases.
Medical assessments for your visa and entrance to the UK can take two forms:
- Required medical examination in the UK or your home country.
- Medical inspections at the border.
All people intending to come to the UK for over six months must attend an examination. Whichever one of these assessments you undergo, you must disclose all information. If a medical condition is discovered once you are in the UK, you risk having your right to remain in the UK removed or your visa refused.
Common medical reasons for UK visa refusal
Medical grounds are a key reason for the refusal of a visa application or refused entry at the border for many prospective immigrants to the UK. The government has to be careful about allowing people with conditions that might endanger UK residents to be unable to support themselves or require substantial medical treatment entry clearance.
If you receive a refusal notice concerning your UK visa application for medical reasons, it’s typically one of the following:
- A medical condition
- failure to attend the medical examination
We will go into details for both below and look into your options if either is the case.
Pulmonary TB is a serious condition that presents as a persistent cough with bloody phlegm. If untreated, it can become severe.
This condition is widespread in many parts of the world, including:
- Sub-Saharan Africa.
- South Asia.
- South America.
If you are coming to the UK from one of these countries, you may need to provide evidence that you are not carrying Pulmonary TB. You will need to go to an approved screening provider who will run tests and can award you a TB Certificate, which will allow you to proceed with your visa application.
Your visa will be refused if the clinic finds you have Pulmonary TB. You will be advised to undergo a six-month treatment program, after which you can attend another screening.
Some exemptions will mean you won’t have to undergo TB screening. They include:
- Diplomats associated with the UK.
- Returning residents who have been absent for less than two years.
- Certificate of Entitlement holders.
Mental or Conduct Disorders
You might also have your visa refused on medical grounds if you have a mental or conduct disorder.
Mental disorders refer to mental health and neurodevelopmental issues that are diagnosable conditions. They are grounds for refusal if they pose a risk to UK residents, mean you cannot support yourself, or require significant medical treatment.
Conduct disorders are behavioural. They may lead to visa refusal even if they do not lead to a risk to UK residents. Recognised conduct disorders include:
- Drug addiction.
- Serious sexual aberration.
Even if you know one of these conditions, you must still attend a medical examination. Failure to do so is considered a failure to provide required information. This is a common reason for visa refusal. Therefore, you must show cooperation by attending all medical examinations asked of you, apart from the restricted tests detailed in the next section.
Can I Still Get a Visa if I Don’t Attend a Medical Examination?
The majority of times, failure to attend will be considered a reason to grant an instant refusal, and it is considered as problematic as including false documents in your application.
However, the government has outlined several reasonable excuses. These are not formalised within the UK Immigration Rules but are strong grounds to justify your failure to attend. They include that you could not attend the examination because of the following:
- Severe illness.
- Transport disruption.
These reasonable excuses will require you to provide substantial evidence that you are telling the truth.
Another reasonable excuse is that you are arranging for the medical report to be produced, but the doctor requires more time to complete it. This excuse will require your doctor to provide evidence of their delays.
Your visa can be refused on medical grounds during the application process or at the border when you try to enter the UK. There are four possible courses of action to choose if you still want to come to the UK. They are:
- Applying for Administrative Review.
- Filing a Judicial Review.
Alternatively, you might decide that you do not want to come to the UK. In this case, you can look for opportunities within your home country or try the immigration rules for a different country.
There are no restrictions on re-applications; you can re-apply as soon as you receive your formal refusal. The process is identical to the one you will have followed the first time you made your application.
However, you mustn’t repeat the same mistakes that may have led to your visa being refused in the first place. Make sure that:
- You attend all required medical examinations.
- You get medical treatment for any conditions that caused your visa to be refused.
- You make sure that all documents are legitimate and have not been falsified.
Although re-applications for visas refused on medical grounds are not restricted, you must remember that you are required to pay the application fee each time. If you try to re-apply multiple times, it can get very expensive.
Making an Appeal
Appealing a visa refusal on medical grounds is a very limited procedure and is only available to certain applicants. Consider an appeal if you are:
- Making an asylum or human rights claim.
- Applying under the EU Settlement Scheme.
- An S2 healthcare visitor or a frontier worker.
To make your appeal, you will need to complete an online form within the MyHMCTS system. Alternatively, someone can appeal on your behalf using a paper form if you have been detained.
In some cases, completing the appeal form alone will be enough. However, a tribunal is often required. At a tribunal, a judge will hear your case and the Home Office’s case for refusing your visa on medical grounds.
The cost of your appeal will vary. If your appeal requires a tribunal, it will cost £140. If it does not, then it will cost £80.
If your application does not fulfil the requirements for an appeal, and you believe that mistakes were made when processing your application, you can apply for Administrative Review.
An Administrative Review is where you ask for a new team to reconsider your application. It should not require further documents, as the new team will look at the original application. However, you will need to detail why you believe the original application processors made errors that led to them refusing entry clearance on medical grounds.
There are four possible outcomes for your administrative review. They are:
- The review is successful, and the refusal is withdrawn.
- The review is unsuccessful and the original decision stands.
- The review is unsuccessful, but some reasons for the refusal are withdrawn.
- The review is unsuccessful but with different or additional reasons for refused entry.
It will take 28 days for you to receive the decision about your application for an Administrative Review. Similarly, you must make your Administrative Review Application within 28 days of having your visa refused. You will also need to pay a fee of £80.
If all else fails, you might consider filing for judicial review within three months of your refused entry. Judicial review is where you bring your case to the British court system. This process challenges unlawful reasons that an application has been refused. The narrow grounds for judicial review are:
- Breaches of the Human Rights Act 1998.
To file a judicial review, send a Pre-Action Protocol letter to the Home Office defining your claim’s basis. This gives you the basis to escalate to a judicial review.
Potential outcomes of your judicial review are:
- An order that requires or prevents the Home Office to take a specific action.
- A quashing order that removes the original decision.
- Damages payments or a costs award.
How Can IAS Help?
Whatever pathway you decide to take after you suffer UK visa refusals, you have a difficult road ahead. Re-application requires careful consideration of your initial application’s failings and the health concerns you must address. Meanwhile, administrative or judicial review and appeals requires you to undertake complex legal processes.
At IAS, we are experienced, sympathetic immigration lawyers who are experts across every visa category. We have the tools and expertise to help you no matter what path you choose to take.
For more information about the courtroom/tribunal, advice, and application services we provide and how we can help you overcome a medical refusal for your visa application, call us at 0333 4149244, or contact us online.
Last modified on May 24th, 2023 at 3:54 pm
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During the pandemic, there was significant disruption to medical facilities worldwide. Many could not undertake routine medical examinations.
Many measures were brought in to reduce the strain on medical services. This included allowing applicants to self-declare their health status. Others have benefited from remote medical examinations and interviews, removing the difficulties of traveling to an examination centre.
There is no specifically defined timeframe for obtaining a medical waiver from medical examinations. It varies depending on the complexity of your case, and the state of the Home Office’s backlog.
However, you must do so in advance of making your application. It is recommended that you apply for the waiver at least several weeks ahead of making your application.
There are several factors that may not be addressed in medical examinations. Regardless of the visa type, these cannot be medical grounds for refused entry. Visa and entry decision-makers are prohibited from conducting or requiring tests that establish the following:
- If you have had children.
- If you have had sexual relations.
- If you are pregnant.
- Your age via X-ray.
- A relationship via DNA testing.
They also cannot require a pregnant woman or any children under 11 years old to have a chest X-ray.