UK visas: Do I have the right of appeal?

My UK visa application was refused. Do I have the right of appeal?

If UKBA refuses your application, they will send you a letter informing you of their decision. This is called the notice of decision. The notice of decision will also state your appeal rights.

Applicants for some types of visa have full rights of appeal if their application is refused. The most common types of visa applicant with full rights of appeal are:

1. Family visitors (only those that have applied to visit so-called “qualifying family members” have a full right of appeal. For a definition of “qualifying family member, please see the information at the bottom of this page);
2. Settlement and dependant categories (including PBS dependants). This applies to dependants where the main applicant has been issued entry clearance and is in the UK (e.g. the sponsor was issued with a PBS Tier 2 visa, is in the UK, and you have applied to join him/her), and to applicants that wish to join “settled” (i.e. the sponsor is a British citizen or a person that has Indefinite Leave to Remain) family members in the UK;
3. EEA family permits (exception: if you have not provided evidence of the EEA national’s nationality and/or of your relationship to the EEA national, a refusal does not attract the full right of appeal);
4. Overseas domestic workers.

Applicants under the Points Based System (PBS) do not have the full right of appeal. In stead, they can apply for an “Administrative Review”. If an application for a PBS visa category is refused, UKBA will also issue a Notice of Decision, which will contain guidance on how to apply for the Review. In a nutshell, an “Administrative Review” is a review conducted by an Entry Clearance Manager. Unlike applicants with a full right of appeal, this process is not therefore conducted by the Appeals Tribunal but by an Entry Clearance Manager.

If you have the full right of appeal, UKBA will send you an IAFT-2 appeal form with your notice of decision, and guidance as to how to complete the appeal form.

In most cases, you must pay a fee when you make an appeal. To find out what the fee is and when it needs to be paid, see the guidance accompanying your notice of decision or the Ministry of Justice website.

Examples

1. You have applied to join your husband/wife/civil partner in the UK. You do have a full right of appeal.

2. You have applied to visit your uncle in the UK. You do not have the right of appeal.

3. You have applied for a Tier 4 General Student visa. You do not have the right of appeal. Instead, you can apply for an Administrative Review.

Making an appeal

If you want to appeal and you have the right to appeal, you must:

  • complete form IAFT-2 and send it with your notice of decision to the address or fax number at the bottom of this page; or
  • complete and submit an online appeal form on the Ministry of Justice website .

You must complete the form in English.

You should explain why you think the decision is wrong. It is in your interest to complete the form as thoroughly as possible. You must provide a current contact address.

If you appeal using form IAFT-2, you or your representative (if you have one) must sign the form or it will be returned to you.

If you have documents supporting your grounds for appeal, you should send these with the form. These documents must be in English or accompanied by a certified translation.

Your form must be received no later than 28 calendar days after the date when you received your notice of decision.

What happens next?

You appeal will be accepted when the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) (FTTIAC) receives your payment. The FTTIAC will then notify the visa office that refused your application, by sending them a notice of receipt.

An entry clearance manager (ECM) at the visa office will review the decision to refuse your application, in light of your appeal form and any supporting documents that you have sent. If the ECM is satisfied that your application meets the Immigration Rules, they may overturn our original decision and issue you with a visa or entry clearance.

If the ECM does not overturn the decision, an entry clearance officer (ECO) will write a statement explaining why the ECM has upheld the decision to refuse your application. UKBA will send this and all your papers (known as ‘the appeal bundle’) to the FTTIAC. UKBA will prepare and send your appeal bundle within:

  • 20 working days for non-settlement and family visitor cases; or
  • 90 working days for settlement cases.

These timings exclude postage times to and from the visa office.

The FTTIAC will:

  • list your appeal for hearing;
  • send copies of all the relevant papers (including the ECO’s written statement) and supporting documents to the visa office and to your representative or sponsor; and
  • advise you of the date and time of your hearing. UKBA has no control over when your appeal will be heard.

An immigration judge will hear your appeal in the UK. When considering your appeal, the judge will look at all the evidence provided by your representative and by the ECO. He or she will determine your appeal on the individual details of your case in line with the Immigration Rules.

The judge will inform the FTTIAC of his or her decision no more than 10 days after the hearing. The FTTIAC will then send that decision (known as a ‘determination’) to everyone involved.

If your appeal is successful

If the judge allows your appeal, his or her determination will be sent to the relevant visa section, which will in turn contact you.

It can take up to 4 weeks for determinations to reach the relevant visa section, and a further 8 weeks for them to be processed. The visa section will write to you using the contact details provided on your appeal form.

Contact the First-tier Tribunal

To submit an appeal by post or fax, send it to:

First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
PO Box 6987
Leicester
United Kingdom
LE1 6ZX

Fax: (+44) (0)116 249 4214

To find out about the progress of an appeal, or for more information about the appeals system, contact:

First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
PO Box 7866
Loughborough
United Kingdom
LE11 2XZ

Phone: (+44) (0)845 600 0877
Fax: (+44) (0)1509 221403
Email: customer.service@tribunals.gsi.gov.uk

Fee awards

If you have paid a fee for your appeal and are successful the Tribunal may make a fee award against the UK Border Agency up to the amount of the application fee that you paid. If the Tribunal decides to make a fee award, payment will be made as soon as possible. As the new automatic online payment systems are being introduced throughout 2012, there may be some delay in processing payments.

UKBA estimates that payments will be made within 90 days until mid-2012, and more quickly after that.

* Family visitors – appeal rights

If you submitted your application to visit family on or after 9 July 2012, your application will only attract the full right of appeal if you visit a “qualifying family members in the UK”. Qualifying family members are:

  • Spouse, civil partner, father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister;
  • Grandfather, grandmother, grandson or granddaughter;
  • Spouse or civil partner’s father, mother, brother or sister;
  • Son or daughter’s spouse or civil partner;
  • Stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother or stepsister; or
  • Unmarried partner where the couple have been in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership for at least the 2 years before the day the application is made and the relationship is genuine and subsisting.
  • Under these Regulations a FRA will only apply where the applicant is applying to visit a qualifying family member and that family member also has settled status in the UK (as defined in para 6 of the immigration rules)
  • been granted asylum (under para 334 of the immigration rules; or
  • been granted Humanitarian Protection status (under para 339C of the immigration rules).

In addition:

Children adopted under an adoption order recognised in UK law are treated as if they are the natural children of the adoptive parents.

For information about the different types of appeal (this page also offers information about Administrative Reviews) click here. For more information about the time involved in appealing, click here.

The above is an adaptation of the text on the UKBA website. Remember, immigration law is complex and subject to continuous change. The information provided here may be out of date, or just based on personal experience/knowledge. The use of these pages is therefore entirely at your own risk. Before applying for any type of visas, you should always seek information from the authorities direct via their official websites. You will find some useful website details on our Links page.

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