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UK Visitor Visa Refusal Reasons and What to Do

If your UK visitor visa is refused by the Home Office you will receive a letter or email explaining the reason for the decision. There are several reasons why your visitor visa may have been refused, as we will explore in this article. Thankfully, by taking early and appropriate action, it is possible to overcome a UK visitor visa refusal, allowing you to come to the UK.

What to do if your UK Visitor visa is refused

If your visitor visa has been refused, it is important to check the reasons of refusal. You may have a range of possible options available based on the refusal reasons, such as:

Can you appeal a visitor visa refusal?

In most cases, you will only have the right to appeal a visitor visa refusal UK on human rights grounds under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to respect for private and family life). To appeal, you will need to make a strong case that your intended visit should be approved because it invokes your human rights. Unfortunately, in many cases, appeal judges will simply decide that you do not have the right to appeal on human rights grounds. To make this assessment, they will look at whether:

  • Your visit visa application states that it is a human rights claim
  • Your human rights claim is implied or explicit
  • You have a human rights case, and
  • Your human rights claim has any real prospect of success.

If you didn’t make it clear that your visitor visa application was human rights related, there is a strong chance your appeal may be rejected.

Judicial review

If the decision to refuse your visitor visa was unlawful, you may be able to request a judicial review of your case. A judicial review may be an option if the refusal of your visitor visa was illegal, unreasonable, due to procedural impropriety and unfairness, or it breached the Human Rights Act 1998 or EU law.

However, in reality, bringing a judicial review for a visitor visa is not recommended in most cases. Judicial reviews involve a complex and lengthy legal process and, as such, should only ever be considered as a last resort.

Reapplying for a UK Visitor visa

It is often faster, cheaper, and easier to simply prepare and submit a new visitor visa application. This is especially so if you made innocent mistakes on your UK visa application or did not provide the necessary information in your original visitor application, which led to the refusal. On the other hand, if the reasons for a UK visitor visa refusal suggest that you are not eligible for this visa type, reapplying is not likely to lead to a different result.

Apply for a different visa

If you did not make any errors in your visitor visa application and there is no way around the reasons for your refusal, you may be able to apply for different UK visa types instead.

If you plan to come to the UK for a short stay, you may be able to consider visas such as the Paid Permitted Engagement visa or Youth Mobility Visa. If you would like to come to the UK for a longer stay, you may be able to apply for a UK work visa (e.g. the Skilled Worker visa) or a family visa to join your partner or spouse in the UK. Depending on which visa you apply for, you may be able to extend your stay and even gain UK residency after a qualifying period (normally 5 years).

Common reasons for visitor visa refusal

Visitor visas may be refused for a wide range of reasons, including where the Home Office believes that you:

  • Are not a genuine visitor
  • Do not meet the suitability requirements
  • Do not meet sufficient funds or accommodation

Genuine visitor

Permitted reasons to come to the UK on a visitor visa include tourism, visiting friends or family, volunteering for a charity, attending an interview, studying, or medical treatment.

The Home Office will refuse your visitor visa application if they reason to believe you are not a genuine visitor. This will be the case if they believe you will stay unlawfully in the UK beyond the expiry of your visa, you are not coming to the UK for a permitted reason, or you will use a visitor visa as a way of living in the UK.

When assessing if you are a genuine visitor, the Home Office may look at:

  • Your personal circumstances, including your immigration history
  • Whether you have family or economic ties in your home country
  • The reasons you have given for your stay, and
  • Whether there are differences between what you stated in your application and any statement made by your sponsor.

Suitability requirements

The Home Office may refuse your visitor visa application on suitability grounds if you:

  • Have been deported from the UK in the past
  • Have been sentenced to prison – whether you are refused will depend on the nature of the crime, duration of the sentence, when you finished serving the sentence, and whether you are a persistent offender
  • Have been involved in a sham marriage in the past
  • Have provided false information and/or documents to the Home Office in the past
  • Did not provide adequate information
  • Owe debts of £500 or more to the NHS

Sufficient funds or accommodation

Your visitor visa application may also be refused if you do not have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay or have suitable accommodation. Where necessary, you can ask family members, friends, and others with who you have a genuine personal or professional relationship to support you during your stay.

How can Reiss Edwards help?

Reiss Edwards is a leading immigration law firm based in Central London. Our immigration lawyers specialise in assisting visitors coming to the UK, whether for tourism, to visit friends or family, for medical treatment, or any other permitted person. Our team of immigration solicitors can help you with:

  • Checking if you are eligible for a UK visitor visa
  • Checking if you have any other UK visa options available
  • Advising how to overcome any difficulties with your UK visitor visa
  • Applying for your short or long-term visitor visa on your behalf and of your family members
  • Dealing with any questions or requests for additional information from the Home Office
  • Overcoming a refusal of your visitor visa

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"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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