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10 common reasons for a UK visa refusal

25 April 2013

Every week we are being approached by clients to assist them with a UK visa appeal.  Following the changes to the settlement route introduced in July 2012 this visa category has a rather high refusal rate. Similarly, visitor visas are probably the most commonly refused visa applications. The reasons for refusal vary from case to case however insufficient documents seem to be the most common issue.  We would like to share our wisdom and made you aware of common pitfalls:

1.     Understanding of the rules and requirements

The rules and requirements are constantly changing and at Migra & Co we follow the UKBA news and constantly update ourselves on the changes to the regulations. We have worked in immigration for several of years but we know that the law is constantly evolving and it is vital for us to stay ahead of those changes. From our experience we know that the lack of full understanding of the rules often leads to an incorrect/incomplete application being submitted.    If you are submitting your application always check the immigration rules and the guidance.  Relying on information from the past might not be the best approach. Read the rules carefully and once you understand the process  you should be ready to start working on your application. 

2.     Documents

This one shouldn’t need much explaining,  everyone knows that original documents must be submitted in support of the application. However, as you probably know the UKBA  website only provides generic documents check list which are not tailored to the applicant’s specific circumstances.  There is no such thing as “One fits ALL in immigration”.  If your friend/brother/cousin submitted an application using exactly the same documents this does not mean your application will be successful too. Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) reviews the forms and supporting evidence and makes a decision on the basis of the information in the bundle. He/she will not call/email you to ask questions regarding your case. If the circumstances/your situation is not clear to them they will refuse the case without any further queries.  They believe that you are responsible to provide them with all the necessary documents/information to allow them reach a decision swiftly. 

3.     Accuracy

Accuracy is the key to success. Again, fairly obvious point but surprisingly this often is a reason which leads to an application being rejected. Always fill in the form carefully and double-check all the information. Make sure you are consistent when providing information in your personal statements.

4.     Using correct form and paying the fee

Again, this is as simple as that.  Using incorrect form or lack of completed Appendixes is likely to lead to a refusal but also loss of the fees paid. The immigration authorities will not refund you the fees paid even when you pick the wrong immigration category. The Visa centre puts the onus on the applicant to make sure the form and the fees paid are correct.

5.     Agents – you get what you paid for

Don’t let the price be only factor in your decision making process. As with every service, you get what you pay for.

There are many advisors/solicitors in the UK and overseas providing UK immigration advice. There are highly reputable providers with excellent track record who will guide you through the process and deliver on their promises. However, we saw many examples of poor quality of work, which resulted in loss of money and precious time. Not to mention those cases where the client had to leave the UK because of incompetent advice received from their advisor/solicitor.  It is important to pick the right person for you. You are likely to spend at least few weeks working with them to prepare your application so it is important that you have a good working relationship. Make sure you speak to few reputable companies, get quotes and pay attention to how quickly they respond (this will be a clear indication of the speed of service you are likely to receive). Plus, if the agent/solicitor does not ask questions about your situation and promises you visa without seeing documents/knowing your circumstances we would run a mile from them. Don’t make a decision solely on the price. Some agents undercut the price to make a sale but are you really sure you want THE CHEAPEST service in town?

6.     Advice from friends/family

We all value advice and recommendations received from friends and family. They are trying to help you through this stressful time and offer a valuable assistance. However, unless your friend/family member is a qualified solicitor/advisor on the UK immigration law I would recommend that you do your own review of the law/get an expert to at least review your application before submitting it to the UKBA/Visa Centre. 

7.     Deception – even a small inconsistency in the application can have a big impact on the final outcome

Make sure that your details in the form are correct and ALWAYS be honest in your statements. We stress to the client’s that deception /misleading statements can lead to a 12 months to 10 years ban. Plus, once the information is found to be inconsistent it will be more difficult to obtain an approval in the future. 

8.     Advice provided by the UKBA staff

Be weary of the information you receive over the phone especially when the person does not want to disclose their full name. The staff answering calls at the UKBA General Enquiry line are not qualified to provide immigration advice.  They are only authorized to answer simple questions that are straightforward and don’t relate to any particular cases. As we know from our own experience the advice received is often inconsistent or just simply wrong. The same can apply to ‘helpful’ staff at the ports of entry. 

 9.     Presentation

We know from experience that the presentation is important. We submit clients’ application in a plastic bundle with a cover letter explaining under what immigration rules you apply and how our client meets the requirements. The cover letter can be used to address any concerns/issues or unusual circumstances, which will help an ECO to reach a decision on the case.

10.    Copies

Before you send your documents to the Visa Centre/UKBA always make copies of all documents and passports for your records.  This is in case you need any of the documents after the submission. Also, some of the documents such as forms/letters of support will be kept by the authorities and it is important if the application is unsuccessful and  you wish to appeal.

It is best to get it right the first time around so preparation and planning in advance is important. Do your research and spend time looking at the rules and requirements?  If in doubt, seek professional advice. It will save you time and if you appointed a reputable agent/solicitor they should put you at ease and assurance that the process with go smoothly. At Migra & Co we excel in client care and the knowledge of the immigration and we always deliver on our promised. We would like to help you to get your visa quickly and without any hassles. Please contact our Chinese/Russian speaking consultant for an initial advice.

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Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.