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Challenging Negative Home Office Decisions

Expert Immigration Solicitors

Immigration law is perhaps the most politicised area of law of all.  This results in a constant changing of both the rules to meet and the documents which individuals are required to provide.

At the same time, the actual procedure for submitting the application is no less complicated.  The information the Home Office provides to applicants is completely inadequate and sometimes out of date.

Many of the functions of the visa application process have been outsourced to private companies.  There is little joined-up thinking between the various bodies involved in processing of your visa and no clear user-guidance around the application process ( Instead, it seems that the various bodies are focused instead on maximising the money they can extract from unwitting applicants ).

To make matters worse, the quality of decision-making by Home Office staff is often woeful.  Important evidence is routinely overlooked whilst it common to see refusal letters containing blatant ‘copy and paste’ information from a template or someone else’s refusal letter.

All of this creates a ‘perfect storm’ for unwitting visa applicants and is the cause of high rates of refusal across all types of visa applications.

For the Immigration Team at Truth Legal, challenging these unfair decisions is something we relish and is an area we are highly skilled in.

If you receive a negative decision, then we will review your case and advise you on the best course of action to take.  We will then guide you through the whole process.  The exact type of challenge available varies but will be one of the following:

Administrative Review

Over recent years the Government has introduced legislation to restrict the types of application which attract a right of appeal.  Many applications now have a more limited right of Administrative Review.  These include applications made under Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 5, as well as applications as Investors, Start-ups, Innovators and as a Representative of an Overseas Business.

Administrative Reviews are undertaken by the Home Office rather than a judge.  The grounds of review are limited to whether the Home Office made a ‘case working error’.

Administrative reviews must be made within 14 calendar days (if you applied from within the UK) or within 28 calendar days (if you applied from abroad) of the date on which you receive the decision.

Although limited in scope, it can in certain circumstances be possible to effectively widen the scope of the review and introduce new evidence.  Furthermore, lodging an Administrative Review can be an important tactical ploy in order to preserve immigration status – as lodging a review in-time can extend an individual’s leave to remain.


The right of appeal is now restricted to cases involving a potential breach of human rights, most commonly in applications from family members.  You are normally notified of your right of appeal if you are issued with a refusal.

Beware, however, that sometimes the Home Office will incorrectly try to deny you a right of appeal when you should be entitled to one.  In this case it might be necessary to lodge an appeal with the Tribunal despite the Home Office not recognising you have this right.

Appeals must be lodged within 14 calendar days of the refusal being sent to you, or within 28 days if you applied for your visa from abroad.

The Home Office often make decisions on immigration applications which are extremely harsh, and which overlook importance evidence.  They often have what could be called a ‘tick-box mentality’, whereby the failure to provide one seemingly small piece of evidence can be fatal.

Thankfully individuals often have more success on appeal, where further evidence can be provided, and judges seem often more inclined to take a broader and more generous approach.  At Truth Legal we are experienced at preparing compelling cases before the Tribunal.

We have excellent contacts with, and only use, the best immigration barristers (whether junior or more senior).

Judicial Review

When there is no other available option then you might need to rely on a judicial review to challenge a negative Home Office decision.

A judicial review is more restricted then an appeal and involves a judge srcutinising the lawfulness of a Home Office decision.  Unlike with an appeal, you are not generally allowed to introduce new evidence to support your claim.

A common need for judicial review is where the Home Office has sought to deny you an in-country right of appeal by certifying your claim as ‘clearly unfounded’ or by refusing to accept that further representations amount to a fresh claim, or by refusing a British citizenship application.

Or….A New application?

All the above means of challenging a negative Home Office decision present their own unique challenges to the individual affected.  The processes can be slow, costly and limited in their remit.

Depending on circumstances, including the reasons for refusal, it might sometimes be best to simply submit a new application with better evidence.

If you receive a negative decision from the Home Office, then we will carefully review your case before advising you on the best way forwards.

Have you received a negative Home Office decision and are wondering what to do next?  Book a consultation with us today.

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