Summer is here and UK Visas and immigration have experienced their usual influx of applications for the UK Standard Visitor Visa. Families who have spent the long, dark winter months separated from each other and friends excited about a long-awaited visit have been busy planning for summer visitors from abroad.
However, visitors from many countries must obtain a UK Standard Visitor Visa to gain entry clearance into the UK. And often, to the dismay of everyone involved, these are refused. Worse still, there is no longer a full right of appeal.
To help those making and application or who have been refused a UK Standard Visitor Visa, understanding what to do next can be perplexing. Should you appeal, reapply or challenge the decision via judicial review? The best advice will come from an immigration solicitor. This article is not intended to provide legal advice, it merely gives guidance on the current options which may be available to those whose application for a UK Standard Visitor Visa has been refused.
The basics of a UK Standard Visitor Visa
A UK Standard Visitor Visa will usually allow you to stay in the UK for up to six months. During this time you cannot:
- marry or enter into a civil partnership
- do paid or unpaid work
- receive any benefits
- use the UK Standard Visitor Visa to effectively live in the UK through frequent visits
It is the latter restriction that often results in refusals. One of the other main reasons for immigration officials turning down an application is they do not believe the applicant will leave the country after six months.
Options if your application is refused
If your UK Standard Visitor Visa application is refused, you have three avenues to pursue:
Reapply for the visa
In certain circumstances, reapplying for the visa is the simplest and most cost-effective option if your application for a UK Standard Visitor Visa has been refused. If UK Visas and immigration has turned down your application because you filled in the form incorrectly or have not supplied the correct supporting documents, reapplying makes sense. To ensure your application is correct, it is always best to instruct an experienced immigration lawyer to make the application for you. They can explain exactly what documents you need to include, such as bank statements, expediting the process.
Appealing on human rights grounds
Since 2013, refusals for UK Standard Visitor Visas can only be appealed on human rights grounds. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that when making your application, if possible, grounds for a human rights appeal are present. The best way to safeguard a human rights claim in your original application is to have an immigration solicitor advise you on your original application. Failing to do so could result in you spending a great deal of time and money on an appeal, only for the judge to rule that no human rights grounds exist to make a legitimate appeal in the first place.
The Upper Tribunal held in the case of Mostafa (Article 8 in entry clearance)  UKUT 00112 (IAC) that if a couple were married, then human rights are likely to be engaged. The threshold of when human rights will be engaged is relatively low; however, President McCloskey did state that it was not a given that simply because a family relationship was present, human rights would be engaged:
“It would therefore be extremely foolish to attempt to be prescriptive, given the intensely factual and contextual sensitivity of every case. Thus we refrain from suggesting that, in this type of case, any particular kind of relationship would always attract the protection of Article 8(1) or that other kinds of relationship would never come within its scope. We are, however, prepared to say that it will only be in very unusual circumstances that a person other than a close relative will be able to show that the refusal of entry clearance comes within the scope of Article 8(1). In practical terms this is likely to be limited to cases where the relationship is that of husband and wife or other close life partners or a parent and minor child and even then it will not necessarily be extended to cases where, for example, the proposed visit is based on a whim or will not add significantly to the time that the people involved spend together.”
judicial review is a process by which the courts exercise a supervisory jurisdiction over the exercise of public functions by public bodies. judicial review can only be used when all other avenues have been exhausted. It is an expensive and complex action, available only on specific grounds:
- procedural unfairness
Proportionality is also increasingly seen as a ground for judicial review.
To ensure you will have a right of appeal should your UK Standard Visitor Visa be refused, it is crucial to instruct an experienced immigration lawyer to help fill in your form and set out the foundations for a human rights appeal should it be required.
If your UK Standard Visit Visa has been refused, contact an immigration lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your best options.
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 0203 959 9123.
For the best expert legal advice and outcome on your UK immigration application, contact OTS immigration solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.
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Posted on: Monday, 26 June, 2017