Many people are left devastated by visit visa refusals. But few applicants are aware the Home Office may withdraw their decision to refuse to grant leave to enter the country following the receipt of a pre-action protocol letter from a top London immigration law firm.
At OTS Solicitors, we have near-on 100% success rate in reversing rejections of Standard Visitor Visa. We have also received exceptional reviews from clients who have been extremely happy with the results our best immigration lawyers have achieved for them. In addition, we have been mentioned in the Legal 500 for immigration and human rights law.
Below is a review we recently received from a client who had been unsuccessful in obtaining a Standard Visitor Visa until he instructed us.
“Having tried for some time to source a specialist immigration firm that I could conduct [sic] my wife's immigration hurdles I visited OTS in Fleet Street some months ago initially meeting Hans Appadu and being impressed with his resolve and concise legal knowledge on the subject. He passed me over to a para-legal colleague, Saida Ahmed who from the start conducted herself gracefully despite my clear frustration at the prejudicial immigration hurdle I was facing. Having had 3 Visitor Visas rejected (my wife is Cuban) and a seemingly impossible Spouse Visa financial hurdle Saida and I bundled an improbable 140 page Visitor Visa application together. The OTS letter alone was 30 pages long describing my wife's circumstance as well as mine, but essentially Saida provided the bulky case law that had been omitted by myself in our 3 previous failed applications. Although the saga is only at the Stage 4 Grand Prix with a whole raft of further hurdles to climb I am pleased to report that my wife's Visitor Visa to UK was granted for 6 months this week. Without OTS and Saida working effortlessly in this regard our logjam would undoubtedly have continued. My wife and I are eternally grateful to OTS and Saida and will continue to use their services for the next Grand Prix and those thereafter. It feels that the Spouse Visa treatment by the Home Office and UKVI is prejudicial to British Citizens who marry Spouses outside UK/EU putting '000s at the back of the queue. I have challenged Mrs May on this and her scant disregard typifies the intransigence of big government to the plight of Spouses of British Nationals. Shame on you Mrs May ! Well done to OTS though.....and thanks again.”
What are the eligibility requirements for a Standard Visitor Visa?
A Standard Visitor Visa is granted to people who want to come to the UK for a short period as a tourist, for business purposes (such as attending a conference) or for personal reasons, for example, to receive private medical treatment.
If you are successful in obtaining a UK Standard Visitor Visa, you can come to the UK for up to six months.
If you are a citizen of any EU Member State, America, Japan, Australia, New Zealand you may not need a Standard Visitor Visa to enter the UK. This also applies to most South American countries and the Caribbean.
To be eligible for a UK Standard Visitor Visa, you must demonstrate that you will leave the UK at the end of the six-month period. You must also show you can support yourself and any dependents throughout the duration of your visit and you can pay for your onward trip out of the UK.
If you can show UK Visa and immigration that you need to return to the UK as a regular visitor, you can apply for a long-term visit visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years. You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit. An example of a situation where a long-term visit visa may be an appropriate solution for you is if you have family, i.e. children and grandchildren in the UK and you wish to visit them regularly.
Why are Standard Visitor Visas refused?
The most common reason for the failure of Standard Visitor Visa applications (apart from filling in the form incorrectly) is UK Visas and immigration are unconvinced you wish to enter the country as a genuine visitor, and you will not leave once the visa expires.
The Home Office Visit Guide provides guidance on the considerations immigration officials must use when deciding whether an applicant is a genuine visitor; including:
- the applicant’s immigration history and whether they left other countries when their visa expired
- the length of previous visits to the UK
- the applicant’s financial, family, and social background
- how credible the applicant’s reason is for visiting the UK in light of their background
- the pattern of the applicant’s travel over the last 12 months and how often they have been in the UK during that period
- the political and economic situation of the applicant’s country of nationality
The last factor is controversial and is inconsistent with case law. For example, in AA and Others (Sectors Based Work: general principles) Bangladesh, the tribunal held that:
- the situation in the country the applicant comes from is not of relevance to the decision of the entry clearance officer (ECO)
- applications cannot be refused because of generalised suspicions, and
- each applicant is entitled to consideration of their own individual circumstances and individual intentions
In Moore v Entry Clearance Officer, Pretoria, the tribunal held that high unemployment in South Africa was not a proper basis to doubt an intention to return after a working holiday in the UK.
Another common reason for Standard Visitor Visas to be refused is that the applicant plans to undertake business activities which may be considered by the ECO to be work.
Prohibited work is defined as:
- being employed in the UK
- doing work for an organisation or business in the UK
- being self-employed and carrying out work to that effect
- participating in a work placement or internship
- direct selling to members of the UK public
- providing goods and services
A visitor must be careful to ensure that when engaging in permitted business activities, such as attending training or a conference, they do not undertake any actions that may be construed as prohibited work.
How can a pre-action protocol letter assist if a Standard Visit Visa application is refused?
Often the best method for an immigration solicitor to employ if UK Visas and immigration refuse a UK Standard Visit Visa is to send a Pre-Action Protocol letter. This is a warning to the department that you will challenge the decision in court on grounds laid out in the letter (although the term ‘letter’ is used, usually multiple documents are sent setting out reasons for the challenge).
In many cases, UK Visas and immigration will withdraw their refusal and grant the Standard Visit Visa.
You can find out more about the process in our infographic below or you can call our office on 0207 936 9960.
OTS Solicitors is one of the most respected immigration law firms in London. By making an appointment with one of our immigration solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today.
If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this blog, please phone our London office on 0207 936 9960.
For the best expert legal advice and outcome on your UK immigration application, contact OTS immigration solicitors on 020 7936 9960 or contact us online.
We are one of the UK’s top firms for immigration solicitors and civil liberties lawyers. We can advise on a broad range of immigration issues including Appeals and Refusals, Judicial Reviews, Spouse Visas, Student Visas, Work Permit Visas, Indefinite Leave to Remain, EEA Applications, Asylum and human rights, British Citizenship, All types of visas, Business Immigration Visas, Entrepreneur Visas and Investor Visas.
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Posted on: Friday, 13 October, 2017