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Applying for a UK visa from Australia and New Zealand – what you need to know to avoid being refused

by Sam Hopwood | Mar 20, 2019
  • We find that UK visa applications often get refused because the applicant has failed to understand the UK immigration rules. The criteria and process when applying for a UK visa are complex, the fees are considerable, and the consequences of a visa refusal can be extreme. So, you want to ensure you get it right the first time. Below are a few of the most common mistakes to avoid when making your application.
    City-of-london

    Gone are the days when you could walk into the UK embassy in your local capital city and speak to a consulate staff member about applying for your UK visa. Now all UK visas are applied for through VFS Global – a third-party company that is employed to process visa applications.

    There are no local contact details, phone numbers or email addresses for VFS Global or UK Visas and Immigration. All the information you need to know is in the immigration rules, but finding what you need in its 1,100 pages can be challenging. Even if you do find what you are after, you’ll have to check whether the rules are still correct. As many as 1,300 changes have been made to the rules within one year.

    See also: Why having a partner on an Ancestry visa is the best

    In my 14 years of practice, I’ve probably spoken to over 700 people who have done their own visa application and have had their application rejected. Some mistakes can be easily avoided, while others occur because people don’t take the time to understand the requirements and process of applying for a UK visa. If you’re about to apply for your UK visa, here are some common reasons why your visa application might be refused.

    1. You applied for a long-stay Visitor visa. As an Australian or New Zealand citizen you aren’t permitted to do that. This is a common reason for refusal as according to the UK immigration rules you are not a genuine visitor.
    2. You applied for a UK visa, but you have a parent born in the UK. This would place you outside of UK immigration control and as such you are perhaps ineligible to apply for a UK visa.
    3. You have applied for a UK visa and you have been assessed as having poor character due to previous crimes or driving offences.
    4. You have applied for a visa for your child but failed to establish sole responsibility. Even if you have custody and permission from the courts, if you don’t have sole responsibility then it is likely your child will be refused.
    5. You have applied for a visa and failed to supply a document, like a bank statement. Unfortunately, the UKVI will not contact you to ask you for that document.
    6. You have applied for a UK visa, but you were just short on the financial criteria. Even if you are £1 short on any financial criteria you will be refused.
    7. You have applied for a Visitor visa and the decision-maker does not believe you have enough motivation to return. This is quite common and hard to overcome. It’s based on the decision-maker’s opinion.
    8. You went to the UK and applied for a visa. Unless you have the right to reside in the UK, then you are not entitled to apply for a visa from the UK.
    9. You have applied under Appendix FM E-ECP to join your married spouse who is a UK citizen but have been refused under E-ECP.2.6, which states that “the relationship between the applicant and their partner must be genuine and subsisting”. What does genuine and subsisting mean? In one refusal letter I recently read, the decision-maker referred to a lack of evidence of “companionship, emotional support, affection and an abiding interest in each other’s welfare and wellbeing”.  
    10. You applied for a visa and supplied all the correct information and you were refused because the decision-maker has not interpreted the information correctly. Unfortunately, this happens and it’s really unfair.

    See also: Your current job could be your ticket to the UK

    When in doubt, ask the experts

    The best advice I can give to avoid having your visa refused is to consult with an experienced UK immigration advisor. Even when you endeavour to understand the requirements of your visa before your application, they can often change.

    If you’re unsure about anything in your application, it is much safer to check with a UK immigration expert first. If you take these steps before you apply, you will be able to sail through the application process with ease. However, if you apply and your application is rejected, you may find yourself unable to enter the UK without additional checks ever again.


    Should you have any questions about the visa application process, feel free to give one of our registered immigration advisors a call on +61 (0) 38651 4500 or send us an email at ausoffice@sableinternational.com.

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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