A visit visa refusal can be frustrating to deal with. In most cases, it can be unexpected and puts your forthcoming holiday or business plans to an immediate halt. It may also cause reputational issues if you were to meet a potential client in the UK.
A visit visa can be refused for various reasons. In most cases, the advice would be to reapply and provide any missing information. In other cases, it may be more appropriate to consider whether you should challenge the decision.
The refusal of a visit visa can only be challenged by way of Judicial Review. However, before an applicant considers this route, they should carefully consider whether there are sufficient merits to do so. It may be appropriate in most cases to seek legal advice to determine this.
Judicial review of visit visa decisions is conducted by the Upper Tribunal. The applicant must first notify the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO), by sending a Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) letter, that they intend on commencing Judicial Review proceedings. This letter should contain an outline of the grounds of challenge and provide a reasonable time for the ECO to respond. In some cases, the ECO may withdraw the decision after considering the PAP letter. Therefore, it is important that the PAP letter is sufficiently detailed.
If the ECO does not concede after the PAP is sent, the applicant may then proceed to make an application for permission for Judicial Review. The applicant must continue to consider the ongoing merits of making this application. Once the application is lodged, the ECO may either defend their decision, and file summary grounds of defence, or they may offer to withdraw their decision.
If the applicant is successful, or if the ECO concedes after Judicial Review proceedings are commenced, the applicant may be able to recover some of their legal costs. If the applicant is not successful, they may be liable to pay the ECO’s costs.
Dealing with a visit visa refusal can be stressful, however, if the applicant is carefully able to consider the reasons for this refusal letter, in most cases a solution can be found.