Visa Appeals – Different types of appeal
This page should be read in conjunction with our “Do I have the right of appeal” page (click here to open this page in a new window). This page explains the different types of appeal in the UK immigration system.
Different categories of UK visa appeals
Usually, when we talk about whether or not a UK visa refusal attracts the “right of appeal”, we talk about the “full right of appeal”. There is, however, also another category of appeal, the “limited right of appeal” also referred to as the “residual right of appeal”. In a nutshell, the difference is this; a full right of appeal gives you the right to appeal against the reason for the refusal. In contrast, a limited, or residual, right of appeal does not. You can only exercise a limited/residual right of appeal on two grounds, namely if you believe that the decision to refuse your application is unlawful on human rights grounds and/or on race discrimination grounds.
Apart from these two categories of appeals, the UK immigration rules also provide for an “Administrative Review”. This applies to Points Based System applicants only. This is not an appeal; it is a review of the refusal decision by an Entry Clearance Manager. Whilst an Administrative Review (AR) is not a right of appeal, we will cover the Administrative Review as well.
Limited/Residual Right of Appeal
What is it?
All visa refusal decisions attract a right of appeal on residual or limited rights of appeal. These are defined as appeals on race discrimination and human rights grounds. These grounds are residual because they derive from non-immigration legislation. If you applied in a visa category that does not attract a full right of appeal, you will have been issued with refusal notice form GV51 LRA (LRA = Limited Right of Appeal). The form will clearly state that you have a limited right of appeal only. It will not, however, explain how to exercise that right of appeal. Nor will your notice of decision be accompanied by an Appeal form.
If you wish to submit an appeal on race discrimination and/or human rights grounds and were refused with a limited right of appeal, you can request the Embassy/Consulate/High Commission for form IAFT-2 (via the commercial partner where direct contact with the Embassy is not possible). The Embassy must provide you with an IAFT-2 appeal form and re-serve the reasons of refusal (without making any changes) on a GV51 FRA (Full Right of Appeal) refusal notice. You will have 28 days from the date of receipt of the GV51(FRA) to lodge the appeal with the Tribunals Service (see our “Do I have the right of appeal” page for the procedure – click here to open that page in a new window).
Which applications attract a limited/residual right of appeal?
Basically, all visa refusals attract a limited/residual right of appeal in the sense that even if you have the full right of appeal, you can still raise human rights and race discrimination grounds. From July 9 2012 those that are refused with a limited/residual right of appeal only are:
1. General visitors
2. Applicants refused a visa to visit a non qualifying relative (contrary to applications submitted before 9 July 2012, an aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or first cousin will no longer be able to lodge a full right of appeal, even if the relative they are visiting has the required status)
3. Business visitors
4. Academic visitors
5. Doctors on clinical attachments and dental observers
6. Student visitors
7. All points-based system categories
8. Dependants applying at the same time as the principal applicant, when the principal applicant is refused
9. Refusal under paragraph 320 (1) – 320 (6).
Full right of Appeal
As explained in our “Do I have the right of appeal” page, the following categories of applicant attract the full right of appeal:
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 our “Do I have the right of appeal page” – you will find the information at the bottom of that 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.
You will have been issued with form GV51 FRA (FRA = Full Right of Appeal), your appeal rights and the appeal procedures will have been explained on the form, and you will have received an appeal form (form IAFT-2). The appeal process has been outlined in our “Do I have the right of appeal” page (click here to open that page in a new window).
If you have applied under the Points Based System, you have a limited right of appeal (see above), not a full right of appeal. This means that you cannot appeal against the refusal decision as such; you can appeal on race discrimination grounds and human rights grounds only (see procedure under Limited Right of Appeal above). You do, however, have the right to request an Administrative Review (AR). The AR is not a right of appeal. As a result, the decision to refuse your application will not be reviewed by an Immigration Judge at the Immigration Tribunal either. Instead, an AR is a review carried out by an Entry Clearance Manager.
What is an Administrative Review?
If you think that the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) has made an error in refusing your visa application under the points-based system, you can ask an Entry Clearance Manager (ECM) to check the ECO’s decision. This is an administrative review. The review will, for example, look at whether your claimed points were correctly assessed.
The administrative review is free of charge.
You must ask for an administrative review no more than 28 days after the date when you receive the refusal notice (GV51). When UKBA sends you the refusal notice, they will also send you:
- an administrative review request notice
- administrative review request notice guidance notes
You must complete the request notice in full, and send it to the address stated on the request notice.
You must not send any additional documents such as your passport, travel document or supporting documents. Any additional documents you sent will not be considered; the ECM checks if the decision of the ECO was correct at the time s/he reached the decision; i.e. on the basis of the documents that were available to the ECO at the time you submitted your application. If UKBA overturns the refusal decision, they will ask you to send in your passport or travel document.
The administrative review will be completed within 28 days. You will be notified of the result in writing. To ensure that the review is independent, the review result may not be sent from the Embassy/Consulate/High Commission that made the original decision.
You may request only 1 administrative review per refusal decision. If you make any further requests for the same refusal decision, UKBA will not accept them and will return them to you.
If you are already in the UK, you cannot apply for an administrative review.
Dependants of applicants under the points-based system
If UKBA rejects your partner or child’s application for a visa as the dependant of a points-based system migrant, they cannot request an administrative review. This is because an administrative review is used to assess whether points have been correctly awarded, and your dependant did not apply under the points-based system.
Your dependant will instead have a limited or full right of appeal. Whether s/he has a limited or full right of appeal will be stated on the refusal notice.
The text above is an adaptation of the contents on the UKBA website as at 20 August 2012.
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.