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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.

Insufficient Documentation

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.

Tax Anomalies

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.

Final words

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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O.L

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I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

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I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR application was successful 6 weeks after the submission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think the portfolio put together by the team at Reiss Edwards has played a big part in the quick turnaround of my application".

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"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking to secure a Visa and /or Visa renewal. I will use them again when mine needs to renew. Great value".

Majlinda Berisha

"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

I was weary about getting another lawyer as I thought I was going to go through the same experience but no, it turned out better than what I had hoped or even imagined.

What I received was: constant emails and calls updating me and asking if anything else is needed. If I called and they missed my phone call I would get a call back within 10 minutes. All of my documents were carefully checked and I would get a reply the next day if anything was missing or not correct. There were times that I was impatient and asked to just send the visa off, but was reminded that everything had to be perfect and correct before submitting the application. I was told about every option I had and discussed what the best would be. I was always spoke in a nice, calm, polite manner.

The overall intelligence of this team, especially Anna Foley for me, is outstanding. I am speechless. Anna done such an amazing job on my husband’s application that although we couldn’t apply for the fast service and was told to wait for 12 weeks, we got a reply within 5 weeks.

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"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva the solicitor that was provided to us was a blessing in disguise, as our first solicitor was let go off due to pandemic. She was so supportive and understanding throughout the process, and my husband spouse visa was granted due to their effort and attention to detail. We constantly try to keep in touch with her and consider her as more of a friend now than a solicitor. Sure, to bother her and the firm more in the future".

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"My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team".

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"This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again. I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle".

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Top Notch Immigration Service

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"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly".

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"It's a shame that you don't have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards".

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"I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards".

Salisu Ibrahim

"Fantastic Solicitors!!! My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them".

Amir Sandeep

"The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help".

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