Top 6 Reasons why Your Visa has been Refused

UK Visa Refusal Reasons

The process of applying for a visa can be an extremely time-consuming as well as expensive. Therefore, a visa refusal from the Home Office can be absolutely devastating to the applicant.

With increasing prices on all visa applications and no guarantee that you won’t have to reapply, it is crucial for many individuals and families to get the visa application right the first time.

For that reason, we have compiled a list of the top six UK visa refusal reasons.

UK Visa Refusal Reasons

Our expert immigration solicitors see these common mistakes on a daily basis, so we can tell you how you can avoid them.

Was your visa application refused? We are here to help you assess if you can appeal the decision.
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Why was my UK Visa Application Refused?

Your UK visa might have been refused for a number of reasons. The most common reasons for your UK visa application being unsuccessful are:

  • Failing the English language requirement test
  • Incorrect organisation of documents
  • Insufficient evidence of relationship (spouse and other partner visas)
  • Applying for the wrong type of visa
  • Failure to disclose convictions
  • Following improper advice

Luckily, in many cases you still have options as you may often be able to appeal the visa refusal or send in a new UK visa application correctly.

  1. Failing the English Language Requirement Test

The minimum score you must achieve on the English language requirement test for the majority of visas, including the General Tier 2 Visa and British Citizenship application, is B1.

However, in some cases you may need a slightly higher score of B2.

English Level B1

The English level B1 is the third level of English in the Common European Framework of Reference. This means that the individual must speak English at an intermediate level.

The English speaker knows more than just the basics, however would unlikely be able to study or work exclusively in English.

  1. Incorrect Organisation of Documents

Whereas it might sound frivolous that the Home Office would pay attention to details as small as the organisation of your evidence and documents, they will.

In fact, they could refuse your application for something as minor as using the wrong colour ink alone.

Order of your Documents

Documents must be stored in chronological order, with the required information displayed clearly.

It may be worthwhile to request the help of an immigration law specialist or solicitor to go over your application with you to ensure you have everything arranged correctly.

It is also worth pointing out that the correct presentation will provide you with clarity for yourself, as you will be able to clearly see that you have not forgotten any information.

  1. Insufficient Evidence of Relationship

If you are trying to secure a spouse visa, the most common reason for denial is insufficient evidence of your relationship.

You must prove to the Home Office that your relationship is genuine and subsisting.

Visa Documentation Requirements

You can use documentation proving you and your partner have been living together, that you have gotten married or had children.

You can also prove you are committed to one another by showing your finances are arranged together and that you hold a joint bank account or joint mortgage.

Applying as a Spouse of a UK Settled Person

Unfortunately, the reality of bringing your spouse over to the UK is a complex and lengthy process, and the Home Office will be going over your application with a fine-tooth comb.

If they find any information which may contradict your evidence, or if any statements or evidence cast any doubt over the validity of your relationship, you will be refused your visa.

How you will be Assessed

It is vital to remember that employees at the Home Office do not personally know you.

That means all they know about you is in the documentation you send in your application.

They will question everything and are trained to find any flaws in your visa application and evidentiary documentation.

  1. Applying for the Wrong Type of Visa

As previously mentioned, Home Office reviews of visa applications are particularly unforgiving when it comes to simple administrative errors.

There are specific visa types set out for each reason you would be given access to the UK.

Each visa requires you to meet certain eligibility requirements and supporting documentation. Applying for the wrong visa means you will likely not meet these eligibility requirements and therefore will be refused.

When Visitor Visas are likely to be Refused

Applying for a visa from outside of the UK can make the procedure significantly more complex, as a lot of applicants opt for a visit visa before anything else, wrongly believing they will be able to switch to permanent settlement when in the UK once they are here.

Our expert immigration solicitors do not recommend applying for a visit visa prior to another visa application.

Individuals are not allowed to ‘switch’ from a visit visa to a more permanent visa, and if Home Office are suspicious that you are planning to do this, they will refuse your visa application.

  1. Failure to Disclose Convictions

You must include details of any past convictions when applying for a visa, as the failure to do so will undoubtedly lead to you being accused of deception and refused your visa.

If you are accused of attempting to deceive the Home Office, you will not only find your application rejected but you will also be unable to seek entry to the UK for a further ten years.

The Effect of Previous Convictions and Sentences on your Visa Application

Those who have served a sentence of four years or more in prison will never be granted access. Those who received a non-custodial sentence, similar to an ASBO in the UK, can likely apply for a visa after three years have passed since the end of their sentence.

Anyone who has faced one to four years of imprisonment can apply 15 years after their sentence has concluded, and anyone who faced up to 12 months imprisonment can apply seven years after their prison time.

  1. Improper Advice

Whilst the visa process can already be an incredibly expensive one, hiring the help of a professional to go through your application at an additional charge might seem unnecessary.

However, far too many individuals rely on casual advice from friends and family members and this can often be ill-advised.

Working with a vague ‘adviser’ will not give you the support and reassurance you require. Immigration solicitors who have extensive knowledge of the law can help you get the best chance of success as they will know exactly what details entry clearance officers will be looking for.

Advice from the UKVI General Enquiry Help Line

You should remain wary of seeking advice from the UKVI General Enquiry help line, as the advice they give will likely not be specific to your situation. This is due to them not being able to access your details, and they are not involved in the decision-making process whatsoever.

At AWH Solicitors, our team of immigration solicitors are able to provide you with expert guidance relating to a variety of immigration matters and visa services.

Whatever the reason for your visa refusal, in many cases there are still options. We can help you assess what option is right for you. 
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Can I Appeal my UK Visa Refusal?

You may find that when your decision letter arrives, the outcome is not what you hoped for and your visa has been refused.

If this is the case, your letter will also inform you of your chances to appeal the decision, as this will be dependent on the type of visa you applied for.

Generally, the below visas applications carry a right to appeal:

  • Settlement visas
  • Family visas
  • Human rights, refugee protection or asylum applications

If you find you can and wish to appeal the decision, it is fundamental you do so within 28 days of receiving your letter of refusal.


Can I get an Administrative Review on my Visa Refusal?

All other visa types do not have automatic appeal rights. However, you can apply for an administrative review of your refused application if this is applicable.
An administrative review will be carried out by an entry clearance officer instead of the appeals tribunal.


Let us help you appeal your visa refusal. 
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