On What Grounds Can My UK Visa Application be Refused?
Anyone who has been on the receiving end of visa refusal from the Home Office will know the crushing sense of disappointment, which is quickly followed by anxiety for what the future will now hold. Many not initiated into the world of UK immigration, might think that a rejection decision is made for good reasons. Perhaps the person applying has a criminal record, has breached the terms of their previous leave to remain or have some other clear-cut reason. The truth is that many refusals are issued for minor reasons. In one recent case which comes to mind, an application for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) as a spouse of a UK national was refused because the Home Office would not accept an English Language certificate used for the prior initial spouse visa application and the subsequent extension. The applicant is a Turkish national whose English, both written and verbal, is impeccable, and has held a full-time professional role for a UK employer for many years (a role which requires her to speak to representatives from other businesses all around the world and coordinate and negotiate complex logistical arrangements in English). The entry clearance officer who spoke to her personally would have known her spoken English was beyond reproach. That person has lost the £2,000+ she has paid and will have to reapply. In this article, we will outline some of the reasons why UK visas are rejected, and how, with solid preparation, you can ensure your application has the best chance of success.
Perhaps the number one reason why UK visa applications are refused, as in the case of the example outlined above, is that the Home Office is not satisfied with some aspect of the paperwork, documentation, or evidence provided. This could be for a multitude of reasons, including:
- A missing piece of documentation
- An item of documentation has not been translated into English
- A translated document does not have the translators name, details, signature, and/or is not dated
- An item of documentation provided is a copy, not the original
- There is missing information on an item of evidence provided
- There is information on an item of evidence which contradicts the application
- The item of evidence is not clear
When submitting an application, the Home Office will provide a list of all of the items of documentation they will need to support your application. The key to submitting a successful application is ensuring that every single item is provided, that each item contains the information required and meets the specification provided by the Home Office, and that if there is a good reason why an item cannot be provided, a covering letter explaining why is included. If you are in any doubt regarding the evidence you need to provide, make no assumptions that the Home Office will bend the rules to accommodate you. Speak to immigration Solicitors who will be able to advise you on whether your application is likely to succeed in the absence of a piece of evidence, and if it will not, can advise you on the best approach.
Many applications are refused under section 322 (5) of the Immigration Rules, which states, “the undesirability of permitting the person concerned to remain in the United Kingdom in the light of his conduct (including convictions which do not fall within paragraph 322(1C), character or associations or the fact that he represents a threat to national security”. On face value, this may sound like a reasonable reason to reject a visa application, and it would if it were only used to prevent the entry of those suspected of terrorist activity or individuals with a violent criminal history. In practice, this section of immigration legislation has been used by Home Office entry clearance officers to issue visa refusals due to minor tax record discrepancies. This may happen if, for example, the amount of income declared on an application is different to that on the HMRC’s official records. This can then be used as a basis for a suspicion of ‘deception’ and criminality, hence triggering section 322 (5) and ultimate refusal. If your tax records are of a complex nature and/or if you are unsure if you are entering the correct figures in your online application form, it is best to check with an immigration advisor before clicking the ‘submit’ button.
Genuine Mistakes by the Applicant
It is common for applications to be submitted to the Home Office with errors which are then picked up by the entry clearance officer and used as a basis for refusal. Common mistakes include:
- Miscalculating the amount of continuous time spent in the UK – the rules on continuous residence can be quite complex, and hence a slight error might mean an applicant is not eligible for the visa they are applying for.
- Miscalculating income – Many applications require financial requirements to be met. In some cases, it will be clear whether a minimum income threshold has been met, but it is all too easy to make a miscalculation. It might be that while your income is now high enough if you have not had the required level of income for six months or more, you will not be eligible.
- Entering incorrect information on the visa application form – it may be as simple as entering an incorrect name, date of birth, or incorrect national insurance number.
The guidance documents used by entry clearance officers (and also used by immigration lawyers) often run to hundreds of pages and have numerous paragraphs, sections, and sub-sections. It is no wonder then that many applicants are refused for not meeting the rules. In the context of the UK’s ongoing hostile immigration environment presided over by Home Secretary Priti Patel, it is absolutely essential that any application submitted provides no basis for refusal. Don’t take anything to chance. If you would like to have your application reviewed prior to submission, do seek the advice of immigration Solicitors. Without doing so, you risk losing thousands of pounds due to refusal and then having to prepare and submit a new application, and pay again.
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