How Long Does an Immigration Appeal Take in the UK?
Receiving a negative decision from the UK Home Office on your immigration application can be deeply distressing. A visa, settlement, or asylum refusal can impact significantly on your future plans and those of your immediate family. If you have received a refusal from the Home Office regarding your immigration application, it is important to seek specialist legal advice to ensure that you understand your rights and the best steps to take. Unfortunately, not all refusals can be appealed, however, you may be able to apply for an administrative review, or in some cases, it may be prudent simply to reapply.
In this article, we will discuss the immigration appeal process and the timescales involved in bringing an appeal to the immigration tribunal.
Which Immigration Cases Can Be Appealed?
If you have received a refusal from the Home Office on your application, the refusal letter will explain if you have the right of appeal. Typically, the right of appeal is only available in relation to applications for asylum or humanitarian protection, the right to remain under EU law, and human rights claims.
Not all cases of these types can be appealed, however. And if they can be appealed, it may decide that this can only be done outside of the UK. According to the Home Office guidelines, they may 'certify' a claim in order to:
- prevent appeals delaying removal, where protection and human rights claims are 'clearly unfounded'
- support the reduction in asylum support costs by enabling the claimant to be removed once a decision is made and certified rather than continue to be supported during an in-country appeal
It may be possible to avoid certification of the claim if it can be established that serious and irreversible harm would occur if the appeal has to be conducted outside of the UK.
What Is The Process Of Bringing An Immigration Appeal?
Before proceeding with an appeal, it is first necessary to establish whether you have the basis for making an appeal. The only valid grounds for appeal are that:
- Your removal would constitute a breach by the UK of the Refugee convention
- Your removal would constitute a breach by the UK of section 6 of the 1988 Human Rights Act
- A decision was not in accordance with EU law (where the decision relates to an EEA national).
If you do have a basis for bringing an appeal, your next step will be to submit your appeal within the prescribed time limit. You will only have 14 days from the date of the decision letter if you are bringing an in-country appeal, or 28 days if appealing from outside of the UK.
The appeal application is completed online. You will need to complete form IAFT-5 if applying in-country, and form IAFT-6 if applying outside of the UK. With your appeal application, you will also need to submit a copy of your Reasons for Refusal Letter and the Notice of Decision document. At this stage, you may also include any supporting evidence you wish to provide - this is not essential at the application stage, and documents can be provided closer to the appeal hearing. This may include witness statements, a detailed covering letter outlining your reasons for bringing an appeal, or any other document or correspondence which may help your case (any documents not in English will require a certified translation).
Depending on the circumstances, you may not need to pay an appeal application fee, but if you are, this is €80 without an oral hearing, or €140 with an oral hearing. The decision on which you choose is up to you. If you choose not to have an oral hearing, you are essentially asking the immigration tribunal to make a decision based on the papers you have submitted. If you choose to have an oral hearing, you can explain your case and add clarification where it is needed.
It is always advisable to seek the help of immigration Solicitors before completing an appeal form. They can do this on your behalf, ensuring that the necessary level of detail and documents are provided.
When Will My Appeal Hearing Take Place?
Having submitted your appeal application, you will be informed of the date of your appeal hearing in a 'Notice of Hearing'. Your appeal hearing date may be several weeks after you submit your application for appeal (there is no set timescale for this). If you are unable to make the appeal hearing (e.g. if you are due to go to hospital on that date), you can ask for the hearing to be adjourned to a later day. It is advisable to send any remaining documents you wish to be considered in good time before the hearing.
It is important to ensure that you have a immigration lawyer who can represent your case at the hearing. They will explain the legal arguments of your appeal, and you will be given the opportunity to explain your evidence.
Related article - What to do if you have missed your immigration court-hearing
When Will I Know If My Appeal Has Been Successful?
You will not receive a decision on the day of your hearing, this is typically received approximately one month later. If your appeal is successful, then the Home Office may appeal, or reverse their previous decision. If your appeal is not successful, you may still be able to bring a further appeal to the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).
It is not possible to predict how long an immigration appeal may take. If you receive a positive decision at the Lower Tribunal, then you will not need to proceed any further. If you do need to proceed to the Upper Tribunal, the timescale to resolve your matter may be considerably longer. An immigration solicitors will ensure your appeal case is as robust as possible from the outset, meaning that your case has the strongest possible chance of leading to the Home Office reversing their negative decision.