Help! My application was refused. Can I get my fees back?
The short and simple answer is; no, generally speaking, you cannot.
The reason for this is the fact that the fee is a processing fee. This means once your application has been processed, the fee is not refundable, irrespective of the outcome of your application.
UKBA’s refund policy as published on their website is as follows:
We charge a fee to consider your application, or to provide a service, and not to issue a decision. The appropriate fee is charged when the application is received. The fee will not be refunded if you withdraw your application, if you change your mind, or if your application is refused. It is your responsibility to make sure you want to apply before sending us the submission sheet and supporting documents.
In certain circumstances, your organisation may be exempt from paying a fee for an application. If you pay a fee when not required to do so, we will refund it.
The quote above was taken from the UKBA website in August 2012.
Does this mean that I can never get a refund?
No, it does not. If you can prove a case of, for example, serious maladministration on the part of UKBA, you can request a refund of the processing fees, and sometimes even receive compensation for any additional cost incurred as a result of this maladministration. Apart from retaining all your receipts, you would first need to exhaust the usual procedures (i.e. seek a review of the decision by an Entry Clearance Manager pointing out that an error was made, complain to UKBA etc. Please ensure that you keep copies of any correspondence!). If that does not help, you can write to the Ombudsman.
Example: you have submitted a PBS application, which requires a certain income level. The documents that you submitted, and that were thus available to an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) at the time of application, clearly confirmed that you met the requisite income requirement. However, for some reason, the ECO did not consider this income document, as a result of which your application was refused on the grounds that you failed to meet the income requirement. In this case, there was an error made on the part of the ECO.
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 The information provided here may be out of date, or just based on personal experience/knowledge.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.