If you have applied for a UK visa and your application has been refused, your first reaction may well be “how do I appeal?” The terms of many refusal notices can be a distressing mix of the impersonal and the insulting, and there is only a limited time in which to appeal.
However, it is often worth thinking about the alternative of making a new application, in the context of your overall visa aims. Some things to consider:
- The visa appeals process can take a long time. If you are overseas, the first thing that happens when you appeal to the First Tier Tribunal is that your appeal is sent back to the Entry Clearance Manager for review at the office that made the original decision. It can take 2-4 weeks for your appeal to reach the Entry Clearance Manager, who then has up to 12 weeks (for settlement applications) to review the decision and send documents back to the Tribunal. Once the Tribunal has received the papers, it can list the case for a hearing. At the moment the listing process is taking up to 9 months meaning that it could be over a year before your case gets in front of a judge.
- Consider what evidence you have to support your appeal. “Post-decision” evidence can be acceptable if it proves facts as they were at the time of the decision (for example, evidence of continuing contact between partners or spouses can help to prove that a relationship was genuine at the date of decision). However, you won’t usually be able to rely on this kind of evidence if you only met the requirements of the rules after the decision date. A good example of this is your English language test: you cannot prove that you met the requirements if you only took your test after your application was refused, even if you passed.
- If you now meet all the requirements of the Immigration Rules for your visa category, a new visa decision could take as little as 2 weeks, depending on where you are applying from.
- Consider submitting an appeal and making a new application simultaneously. If you are appealing and making an application from outside the UK this is perfectly permissible. If your second application is refused, you could still use the earlier appeal to get your case heard by an independent judge.
- Some decision-making posts are amenable to direct representations, which can be worthwhile if your case is very clear. However, it is a good idea to set yourself a deadline by when you will revert to the fresh application process, otherwise you can get carried along the appeals process for several months.
Note that this post is most relevant to people making settlement visa applications: Points-Based applicants must rely on the “Administrative Review” system, and many visa categories carry no right of appeal unless your right to private and family life are breached by the decision.
Contact me if your application has been refused and you want advice about what to do next.