According to official statistics (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-january-to-march-2017/summary-of-latest-statistics) the UK received approximately 3.2 million visitors in October 2017 alone and bringing with them a whopping £1.9 billion spending. According to the BBC the total visits to the UK in the entirety of 2017 were expected to have been 39.7 million with spending of £25.7 billion and contributing an astounding £127 billion to the economy.
Anyone planning on coming to the UK as a visitor should think about whether a visit visa is needed as without one they could receive a civil penalty . Nationals of some countries may not need a visit visa although if they find themselves stopped and questioned at the UK Border they may want to consider applying for one. It should be borne in mind that you may be refused entry at the border by an Immigration Officer even where you are a non-visa national (e.g. a US or an Australian national) and non-visa nationals will always be required to apply for a business visit visa for work etc.
Latest Home Office published statistics summarise that in the year ended September 2017 a total of 3.02 million visit visa applications were submitted with 12.8% being refused. Of those being granted, 77.3% were tourist visit visas, 8.3% were study visit visas, 6.1% were work visit visas, 4% were short-term study visas, 1.4% were family visit visas, 0.7% were transit visas and 2.2% were other visit visas.
For the same period, top nationalities for successful visit visa applicants were China and India accounting for 47% combined as well as Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey accounting for 15% combined.
It should also be noted that of refusals some countries fare disproportionately worse than others notably Bangladesh, Egypt, The Gambia, Ghana, India, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey. Nationals of these countries find their visit visa application is somewhat more likely to be refused than nationals of countries such as South Africa or Thailand.
Of the visit visa applications that were unsuccessful, what can be done next? Important reforms introduced in to the Immigration Rules by the Home Office in 2012 did away with the majority of appeal rights for visit visa refusals and since then there have only been a very small proportion of visit refusals attracting right to appeal.
It is still possible to argue right to appeal in some cases for married couples and putting to the Tribunal that they have jurisdiction however the appeals process is long, drawn-out and often disproportionate to the needs of the applicant who wishes to visit the UK sometime soon.
Similarly, going through with a challenge to the visit refusal by way of judicial review is extremely time-consuming, expensive, potentially involves costs implications and is disproportionate to the aims of the applicant in visiting the UK for a short period.
More realistic is the use of pre-action protocol correspondence in challenging the decision to refuse a visit visa application and to this end we are experienced in submitting the relevant paperwork to the Home Office and getting the desired outcome in a matter of a couple of weeks.
We at Vestra Lawyers are also adept at challenging ten-year bans which have been imposed on an applicant by a previous refusal. For example, a client may come to us with a recent refusal dated, say, 9th April 2018 and including an allegation that they have relied on a false document in support of their application thereby banning them from further visit applications until 9th April 2028. It is possible in coming to us that we can have this turned around despite the presence of the ban as long as the allegation is not true.
For many British and settled persons in the UK, their elderly parents and grandparents living abroad and who are not themselves British would like a way of reciprocating their family’s visits to them especially where they are retired and have time on their hands. Working families in the UK with children find it hard visiting abroad to see their parents and grandparents as often as they would like.
Holding a long-term family visit visa (two, five and even ten year multiple-entry visit visas) is often the ideal solution and a powerful visa to have enabling the applicant to come and go to the UK over a lengthened period of time as long as not more than half their time is spent here.
At Vestra Lawyers, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you with these types of applications. Contact us today to speak to our specialist solicitors.
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