What to Do If You Make Innocent Mistakes on UK Visa Application
Last updated on 28th April 2022
Mistakes on a UK visa application can lead to a refusal by the Home Office, but this is not always the case. If application mistakes are thought to be genuine and innocent, refusal is not mandatory. However, if the mistakes on a UK visa application are considered by the Home Office to be false and deceptive, it is more likely to be refused. Home Office Entry Clearance Officers (ECOs) often have discretion whether to accept or refuse an application based on their judgement of each individual situation.
Unfortunately, application mistakes are easily made, especially given that applicants are normally unfamiliar with the type and amount of questions asked. Innocent mistakes on a UK visa application can be avoided by engaging the services of an immigration solicitor such as Reiss Edwards. If you receive a refusal, our immigration lawyers will advise on the best course of action and provide the representation you need to have your matter resolved as quickly as possible.
What is interpreted as “innocent mistakes”?
Within the Home Office’s guidance for ECOs on false representations1, ECOs are required to consider whether an innocent mistake has been made. Where an ECO thinks that a minor innocent mistake has been made, they are not permitted to refuse the application on the grounds of false representation. Innocent mistakes in UK visa applications may include where:
- A spelling mistake or similar error has been made (e.g. an incorrect postcode or year in a date)
- An annual income included in the application is obviously incorrect, and proof has been provided of the correct income (e.g. If a person says their income is £250,000 but it is actually £25,000, and their job offer letter and wage slips show the correct amount, the ECO is likely to conclude that the application has put too many zeros by mistake).
- Providing incorrect documents – e.g. providing a summary birth certificate when a full birth certificate is required
- Paying the incorrect fee – in this case, the Home Office ECO is likely to request the correct payment before proceeding with the application
What mistakes can cause a visa rejection?
Visas are rejected for many reasons by the Home Office, including where mistakes have been made. Mistakes are most likely to lead to a refusal of an immigration application where the ECO considers interprets this as deception. Examples of mistakes which may be considered deception include:
- Failure to declare a criminal conviction – e.g. where an applicant states that they have no criminal record, but they have a driving conviction for speeding
- Where an applicant ticks “no” to the question “have you previously been refused a visa”. If their passport contains a stamp confirming past refusal, this may still be considered deception, although the applicant has provided clear evidence of their refusal. We recommend always erring on the side of caution with this type of question and fully disclosing any past refusal of entry or leave to remain.
- Providing false documents – this includes not only false documents provided by the applicant but also by another person. There have been cases where immigration officials in other countries have been found to have used deception and issued documents incorrectly, hence leading to the refusal of a UK immigration application. It should be noted that in order for a 10-year re-entry ban to apply, it is normally required that the applicant themselves has used deception.
- Where evidence submitted contradicts the information provided in an application form – e.g. where a tax document shows different income figures to those in the application form.
Mistakes such as those above will not necessarily always lead to refusal by an ECO. The Home Office guidance states that just because a false document was provided does not necessarily mean the applicant was deceptive. ECOs are required to weigh up on the balance of probabilities whether the applicant knew they were submitting a false document. Likewise, if a person does not include a criminal conviction, ECOs are advised not to refuse an application if this was a genuine error.
What to do if you make a UK visa application mistake?
It is not uncommon for immigration applicants to submit their application form and documents only to realise they have made a mistake. Unfortunately, applicants are typically unsure how to correct a mistake on a UK visa application. In this case, we recommend taking the following steps:
- Contact an immigration solicitor who can advise and represent you
- Prepare a covering letter and submit this with your uploaded documents to the Home Office (include your application reference number at the top of the letter), explaining the mistake made and clarifying the situation.
- Provide any additional supporting documents to show that a genuine error was made.
If a more substantial mistake had been made, it might be preferable to withdraw your application and request a refund. An immigration solicitor can recommend the best course of action based on your circumstances, and the mistake you believe has been made. We will then proceed to handle the matter and seek a timely resolution on your behalf.
If your UK visa application is rejected
If your UK visa application has been rejected on the basis of a mistake, you may be able to challenge the decision. This is especially important if the refusal comes with a ten-year re-entry ban. By submitting an administrative review outlining why a mistake was made and providing the correct information and evidence, it may be possible to have the decision overturned. An immigration solicitor can handle your UK visa rejection on your behalf. Depending on your circumstances, they may either recommend submitting an appeal, applying for an administrative review or judicial review, submitting a fresh application or applying for an entirely different type of visa.
1 GOV.UK: ECO guidance on false representation