- An Overview of UK Visitor Visa Refusals
- Is the UK Visitor Visa the Right Choice for You?
- Common Reasons for UK Visitor Visa Refusal
- What to Do If Your UK Visitor Visa Is Refused?
- How Soon Can I Reapply for a UK Visit Visa After Refusal?
- Do Refusal Rates Vary by Nationality?
- How Can IAS Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
An Overview of UK Visitor Visa Refusals
It is not uncommon to learn about a UK Visitor Visa refusal. This is because many people who apply do not meet the requirements to get their visas approved.
Getting a visa refusal can be hard to take, considering the amount of time and resources poured into making an application. But all hope is not lost as there are things you can do in the incident of a visitor visa refusal. The first is to consider and understand the UK visitor visa refusal reasons before taking further steps.
Is the UK Visitor Visa the Right Choice for You?
If you want to visit the UK for business, tourism, and study (for no more than 6 months), you will need a UK Visitor Visa. This visa grants you the right to stay in the UK for up to 180 days. This is also the visa you will need if you are coming to visit family and friends in the UK.
You cannot work or claim public benefits as a UK visitor visa holder. You cannot also get married. If you want to get married, you’ll have to apply for a Marriage Visitor visa. If you also want to study longer than 6 months, you’ll have to apply for a Study visa. If you are in transit, you can apply for another kind of visitor visa called a Visitor in Transit visa.
To get your UK visitor visa approved, you must prove that:
- you’ll leave the UK when your permit expires
- you’re financially capable of supporting yourself (this includes paying for accommodation) and your dependents, if any. Alternatively, you can show that the person you’re visiting can house and support you throughout your stay.
- you’ll not make frequent visits to the UK
- you can pay your fare to and from the UK
Common Reasons for UK Visitor Visa Refusal
There are many reasons why the Home Office can refuse an application for a UK visitor visa. UK Immigration laws back these reasons. The Home Office approves or refuses a UK visitor visa based on each applicant’s suitability. If any applicant fails the suitability test, their visa application is refused.
The Home Office refuses visas because of the applicant’s lack of funds, lack of evidence to prove the purpose of the visit, lack of ties to the home country, criminal record, previous refusals, submission of false information, and on health grounds.
- Applicant’s Lack of Funds
- Lack of Ties to Home Country
- Insufficient Evidence of Purpose
- Criminal Record
- Previous UK Visa Refusal
- Submission of False Information
- Health Grounds
Applicant’s Lack of Funds
For your visa application to be approved, you’ll need to show that you have enough money to support yourself. You’ll also need to show you can support any dependent going with you.
You’ll have to show you have no issues feeding, paying for accommodation, and flying to and from the UK. This proof of funds counts in convincing the Home Office that you’re not coming to the UK to work.
You can prove that you have enough funds to take care of yourself by submitting bank statements. Alternatively, a third party (the person you’re visiting) can write to the Home Office promising to be responsible for you. If you use a third party, you must prove to the Home Office the relationship between you and your sponsor.
Lack of Ties to Home Country
The UK immigration officials want to be sure you’ll return to your country when your visit ends. Failure to prove that you intend to return home will result in visa refusals. You must show evidence of your ties to home by showing employment or admission letters.
You can show that you have a business or property in your country. It is also permissible to show you have some responsibilities that will take you home, like your family, marriage, or royal duties.
Insufficient Evidence of Purpose
Your UK visitor visa application can be refused if you don’t prove the genuineness of your purpose for visiting. If the immigration officer cannot determine why you are going to the UK, your application will be refused. The Home Office needs to be sure you are coming for tourism, a visit, business, or a short stay.
One of the major UK visitor visa refusal reasons is a record of a criminal offence(s). The Home Office will refuse your application if you are a convicted criminal.
If you have once overstayed during your visit to the UK or have been deported for breaking immigration laws, the Home Office will refuse your visa application.
Again, if you have a travel ban, your application will be refused until the tenure is served.
Previous UK Visa Refusal
Getting a UK Visa application approved is usually harder when there has been a refusal.
Submission of False Information
Each application that comes to the Home Office is properly evaluated for suitability. So, if there is false information about you on your application, it will be detected, and your visa application will be refused. Bank statements or other supporting documents and marriages are the most common things applicants falsify.
If you fail your medical test (Tuberculosis test), your application for a UK Visitor Visa will be denied.
What to Do If Your UK Visitor Visa Is Refused?
If your UK visitor visa is refused, you will get an email stating that your application was unsuccessful. The notice will also tell you why. It will also offer you options on what you can do to get a favourable response.
If you get the refusal email, there are some options you can explore. For example, you can appeal the decision, review the decision or reapply for the visa after addressing the reasons why the initial application was refused.
Here’s what to do:
- Appealing the Decision
- Review the Decision
- Reapply for UK Visitor Visa After Rejection
Appealing the Decision
According to the new immigration laws modified in 2013, you can appeal the visa refusal. But that can only be possible if the refusal contravenes human rights laws. You are usually told if you can appeal the decision in your refusal letter or email.
Usually, you have 14 days to appeal the decision if you’re in the UK and 28 days if you’re outside of the UK.
Note that the only time UK immigration rules can accept an appeal based on human rights claims is when the refusal affects family life. For example, a parent applying to visit their child who was separated from them due to war. Another example is a child who is going to visit an aged and sick parent who cannot move around on their own.
If the refusal interferes with family life, then you can appeal it.
Appealing a decision is a tedious process, even more tedious than the initial application. First, to appeal a decision, you must submit all the documents you used to apply for the visa. Then you draft the reason why you are appealing the decision.
Next is to fill out a form and pay £140 if you want a hearing and £80 if you don’t. Then send the form to the Immigration tribunal and wait for the tribunal to call your hearing. This usually takes 8 weeks. During this time, you are supposed to gather all evidence and documents you’ll need to defend your application.
If you are in the UK, you can attend the court case, but your lawyer can stand in for you if you are not. You will get the response to your appeal via mail or through your online portal.
If the process is too complicated for you or if you need help clarifying the complexity of your refusal, don’t hesitate to contact an immigration lawyer for guidance. Call us on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online today.
Review the Decision
You can ask for a review of your UK visitor visa refusal if you feel and can prove the refusal broke UK immigration laws. This process is also called judicial review and can take longer than an appeal.
You can also ask for a review if there was a mistake in the decision-making process. For example, you submitted a TB test certificate, but somehow the ECO missed it and refused your application.
Here are the steps required to get a Judicial review:
Send a Pre-Action Protocol Letter
In this letter, the applicant explains clearly how the decision of the Home Office was wrong or unlawful. Once this letter is issued, the Home Office has 14 days to respond. If they don’t respond or maintain their position on the decision, the applicant can request judicial review.
You will be penalised if you file your request for judicial review without filing a pre-action protocol letter. Filing a pre-action protocol letter will cost you £80. We can help you maximise your success with a well-thought-out pre-action protocol letter from our lawyers. Get in touch today.
When the applicant applies for judicial review, the Upper Tribunal assesses the application. If they see a case, then there would be a judicial hearing. If the Upper Tribunal rejects the application, the applicant can apply for a hearing at the Upper Tribunal.
Reapply for UK Visitor Visa After Rejection
This is the easiest way to handle UK visitor visa refusal. The mail conveying your visa refusal spells out what caused the rejection. And this is exactly the tip you need to reapply. Once you correct all the issues raised by the Home Office, you can submit a new application.
You could reapply if the visa was rejected based on insufficient proof of funds. But this time with a bank statement (s) containing more money than you originally submitted.
Your chances of getting your visa approved drop with each rejection. So, you must submit a tight application for the second time. Ensure you address all the issues raised by the Home Office before applying again to avoid wasting resources.
How Soon Can I Reapply for a UK Visit Visa After Refusal?
There is no set time when you can reapply for a UK visitor visa. But it is essential to reapply when you have met all the suitability requirements. If your application was rejected before, then whatever you present again must be stronger.
Include additional documents that can prove that:
- you can sustain yourself in the UK. This can be done by submitting your bank statements or getting your host to undertake for you.
- show evidence of how you are tied to your country. For example, you can show an employment letter, school admission letter, or proof of your business.
- provide your travel itinerary. Here you can show the Home Office the hotel you have booked, your return ticket proving you will be leaving the UK after your visit, and places you hope to tour.
Once you get these together, you can reapply again.
Do Refusal Rates Vary by Nationality?
Yes, refusal rates vary by nationality. While every application is considered individually and without bias, some nationals tend to have higher visa refusal rates than others. This is usually because of the history the citizens of those countries have with immigration rules.
There are some countries whose nationals have a high and unwanted record of breaking immigration rules. These rules range from overstaying, working when they are not supposed to, or longer than permitted and applying for a visa without sufficient funds.
Applications from citizens of these countries with bad immigration records are usually subjected to more rigorous scrutiny. Also, citizens of poor, war-torn countries have more to prove than citizens of wealthy and peaceful nations.
Citizens of Saudi Arabia, China, Belarus, North Korea, South Africa, Serbia, and Qatar have approval rates above 90%. In comparison, citizens of Botswana, Somalia, Afghanistan, Namibia, Eritrea, and Yemen have less than 50% approval rates.
If you are a citizen of these countries with low approval rates, you have to go the extra mile to prove the genuineness of your application.
This is done by proving beyond doubt that:
- you’re visiting the UK purely for business or leisure purposes and not for work
- you’ll exit the UK once your permit duration ends
- you’re capable of supporting yourself and any of your dependants during your stay
- you’re capable of paying for any other cost you’ll incur while visiting.
It is also essential to ensure that all the information you provide the Home Office is accurate and comprehensive. Your application will be refused if there are errors, falsifications, or unverifiable details.
No one smiles at the face of visa application rejection because of the time, energy, and resources it takes to prepare an application. But don’t lose heart if you applied for a UK visitor visa and it was refused.
We have competent lawyers at IAS with years of experience and are well-versed in UK immigration laws. In addition, we are experts in dealing with UK visit visa rejections.
Contact us today and our team will review your case and guide you on the next steps. We will advise you on the cost and time to appeal or seek a review. Our team will help you assemble an exceptional case and represent you whether you are in or out of the UK. We can also help you build a robust application should you want to reapply.
For more information about how we can help you or if you’d like to speak with one of our immigration lawyers, call us on 0333 305 9375 or contact us online today.
Last modified on October 24th, 2023 at 3:57 pm
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An MP can write to the Home Office to support a visitor visa application. However, this does not make your application stand out in any special way. The visa will still be rejected if your application has other irregularities, irrespective of the MP’s input.
You can contact your MP if you applied for a visa and it takes too long for the Home Office to respond. Your MP can wade the bureaucratic waters easier and faster and determine the delay.
You do not need travel medical insurance to apply for a UK visitor visa. However, the Home Office advises that applicants always take out medical insurance, especially if they have pre-existing health conditions.
The UK visitor visa application fee will not be refunded if your application is refused. This is because the fee you pay is what the Home Office uses to process your application and verify your documents.