Immigration Appeals

If your visa application has been refused (either in the UK or outside the UK) you may have the right of appeal to the First-Tier Immigration Tribunal. An appeal, if well prepared, may be a very good way of fighting a refusal decision and getting it overturned.

Your refusal decision from the Home Office/UKVI may tell you that you have the right of appeal or that you do not have the right of appeal. But sometimes it is wrong. Sometimes there is the right of appeal but the refusal decision does not tell you. If by law you have the right of appeal then you have the right of appeal, and it does not matter what the refusal decision says. This is something that in some cases you may need to take legal advice on.

Rights of appeal work like this

  • – Asylum/human rights applications   Generally, there is the right of appeal if the application is refused.
  • – Long residence/private life applications   Generally, there is the right of appeal if the application is refused.
  • – Applications under European law   Generally, there is the right of appeal if the application is refused.
  • – Family visas (spouse/partner, child, other relative)   In most cases there is the right of appeal if the application is refused.
  • – Working visas and study visas   In most cases there is no right of appeal if the application is refused, but there are some exceptions.
  • – Settlement applications  There may or may not be the right of appeal, depending on what the application for settlement is based.
  • – Visitor visas   In many cases there is no right of appeal if the application is refused, but if the visit is for spouse/partner to visit their spouse/partner or for a parent to visit a minor child/children or for the child/children to visit their parent(s) then there should be a right of appeal, under human rights grounds.

How an appeal case works

If you have the right of appeal the first stage is that the “grounds of appeal” must be prepared and lodged with the Tribunal. This involves writing and submitting a legal argument which explains in what way you intend to challenge the decision. This must be submitted within the deadline.

Subsequently you will receive a Notice of Hearing from the Tribunal. This tells you when the appeal hearing will happen and also at which hearing centre (there are various hearing centres in the UK).

You will then need to prepare and submit bundles of papers to the Tribunal and the Home Office. The bundles should be in an appropriate format and should contain a “skeleton argument” (which is another legal argument that summarises the issues and develops them as necessary), witness statement(s) (for you and any other witnesses you want to have), and any other documents that you wish to submit which will help your case.

If you are having an “oral hearing” (ie a live hearing in front of an Immigration Judge) you can represent yourself at the hearing, or you can choose to be represented by a lawyer. At the hearing you and any other witnesses must give evidence and you and they can be questioned about their evidence and your case.

After the hearing, and usually within two or three weeks, you will receive a detailed written decision from the Tribunal (called a “determination”), which will tell you whether you have been successful or unsuccessful in your case. The losing party will have the right to challenge the decision with the Upper Immigration Tribunal if they think that the Judge’s decision contained any error. So if your appeal has been unsuccessful you may be able to challenge the decision if it seems wrong.

How we can help you

We can advise you realistically on the strength of your appeal case and on whether appealing is the best way forward for you. In some cases there may be other options.

We can prepare every stage of your case and we can provide you with representation from an experienced advocate at the First-Tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal if relevant.

We can advise you about your best options at every stage through your case. Appeal cases tend to be complex and we can guide you through the difficulties and complexities.

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