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Visa Refusals & Immigration Appeals

The Immigration Act 2014 severely restricted the right for an individual refused a visa to seek judicial redress through a statutory right of appeal to an independent judge against the Home Office's decision.

The statutory rights to appeal an immigration decision were removed for the following categories in three stages:

  • Tier 4 General applications made on or after 20 October 2014;
  • Tiers 1, 2 & 5 applications made on or after 2 March 2015; and
  • against any other immigration decision, made on or after 6 April 2015 but not where the application was submitted prior to 6 April 2015, unless the decision to refuse a visa made by the Home Office includes an asylum or human rights decision.

Full statutory immigration appeal rights are preserved for asylum, EEA/EUSS and human rights cases.

At the same time as the above immigration appeal rights were removed, a new legal process of 'Administrative Review' was introduced to enable an applicant refused a visa to request the Home Office to review its initial decision against an immigration decision. It is important to note that the Administrative Review is not conducted by an independent judge, but through a different caseworker who made the initial decision.  

An individual who makes an immigration application prior to the expiry of their visa, and the Administrative Review application within the legal time limits, may preserve their immigration status whilst the Review is pending, however they cannot vary their leave into another immigration category.

Preserving an immigration status is important as it can, where relevant enable an individual to continue working whilst the immigration appeal is pending to be heard by the First Tier Tribunal.

It is also important to consider pursuing an Administrative Review application where available, a failure to do so may have negative consequences if an individual then decides to seek Judicial Review of the initial decision at a later time.

It is important to have your case fully assessed and appeal the immigration decision within prescribed time limits with the relevant information where available.

As a full service law firm, RLegal can assist with the preparation of either an Administrative Review, statutory appeal or a Judicial Review application and the presentation of the case before the First Tier Tribunal, (Immigration and Asylum Chamber), (“First Tier IAC”) or the Supreme Court where necessary.

We have over 20 years experience of filing successful UK immigration appeals before the First Tier IAC and higher courts against visa refusals. We will give you a full legal assessment of your case and take the worry out of what can be a very difficult and distressing process.

For more information, please contact us or click on the links below.

For applications made outside of the UK whether or not you are granted a right of appeal against a visa refusal will depend upon the immigration category in which you have applied.


Administrative Review

Some decisions made overseas only allow the applicant to request an internal review. If this is the case, you should consider requesting a review as this has potential for overturning the decision.


Statutory Right of Appeal

Where a statutory right of appeal has been given, the immigration appeal must be submitted within 28 days of the date of decision. This is done by completing a prescribed form stating the grounds of appeal on which the decision is disputed and providing supporting documentation.


An Entry Clearance Officer may then review the initial decision in light of the grounds of appeal and any fresh evidence that has been submitted. In limited circumstances the decision may be overturned at this point. Otherwise, the case will proceed to be listed for a hearing before an independent judge at the First Tier IAC.


The process of appealing a decision taken to refuse a visa outside the UK can take between 6-12 months or more.

Administrative Review process

The visa refusal must be challenged within 14 days of the receipt of the immigration decision or the biometric card issuing the visa. The applicant must complete and online form and pay the required fee.


Statutory Right of Appeal

For an application refused in the UK, an immigration appeal must be lodged within 10 working days of receipt of the immigration decision. The case will then proceed to be heard before an independent judge at the First Tier IAC in the UK.


The process of appealing a decision made within the UK can take between 3-6 months to resolve. An individual can remain in the UK lawfully whilst their appeal is under consideration, however, if they travel outside the UK during the process they will be deemed to have withdrawn their appeal.



Once the appeal against the visa refusal has been lodged, applicants (or appellants as they are then referred to) will be notified of a date for the hearing in the UK. At the same time, they will be invited to provide further evidence to support their case and will be given a time frame for submission of evidence. It is important that all directions from the court are strictly adhered to.


On the day of the immigration hearing, the case will be listed before an independent judge and the Home Office will be represented by a Presenting Officer. The appellant will also have the right to be represented at court. They will usually be represented by a barrister (counsel) who has been instructed by the appellant’s solicitor. Evidence will then be presented to the judge and each side will put forward legal arguments. The judge will then consider the evidence prior to issuing a decision.


Unless it is an application for bail, decisions will not normally be made on the day. The Judge should provide a written decision within 10 working days following the hearing.

Judicial review is the means by which an individual can seek redress against public bodies (such as the Home Office or the relevant Immigration Tribunal) where there are no appeal rights or any such rights have been exhausted.

An applicant must have good legal grounds to pursue such an action and adhere to strict court rules and procedures. Failure to do so can result in denial of the application, the case being struck out and perhaps worse negative cost implications. Specialist legal advice should be sought if you are at this stage.

It should also be noted that applications for Judicial Review do not allow an individual to continue working.

RLegal solicitors is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and we therefore have rights of audience before the High Court. We have successfully represented many clients following refusal of a visa by lodging an immigration appeal.

- Comprehensive legal advice on the merits of appealing a visa refusal.


- Provide legal advice as to whether there is an appealable immigration decision, the legal issues and any supporting evidence which is required in support.


- Formally lodging the appeal within the strict statutory time limits.


- Preparation of the grounds of appeal against the Home Office decision.


- Completion and submission of all forms and submission of the fees required to lodge the appeal.


- Assistance with compiling the evidence required to support the appeal including advice on supporting evidence, preparation of witness statements, chronologies, skeleton arguments, responses to court directions and preparation of the court bundle where required.


- Instructing counsel to represent an applicant on the day of the hearing.


- Ongoing liaison with the authorities where possible.


If you would like to discuss your UK immigration appeal case in more detail, please contact us on +44 (0)20 7038 3980, email us at or use our online enquiry form. The solicitors at RLegal have extensive experience of representing clients for Administrative Reviews, immigration appeals and Judicial Review applications. We represent clients from both within and outside of the UK and are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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