Frequently Asked Questions
Got a general question about the visa process or about us? The answers to some of our most commonly asked questions are below.
If you can’t find the answer to your question here give us a call on 0203 384 4389 and one of our team will be happy to help you.
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Q. I have applied for a visit visa in the past but can’t find the same visa category listed – Why?
A. The UKVI (UK Visa and Immigration) regularly change, stop and alter available visa types and associated criterias. If the visa type you are looking for is no longer available, it may have been replaced by an alternative or the route may no longer be valid.
Q. What is meant by ‘Home Office Fees’?
A. Often, overseas visitors are under the impression that the Home Office Fee is the cost of getting a visa. Home Office fees are simply an application processing fee charged by the UKVI for processing your application. This fee is non refundable and will be taken simply to consider your application regardless of the outcome.
Q. What is meant by ‘IHS fee’?
A. You might need to pay a healthcare surcharge (called the ‘immigration health surcharge’ or IHS) as part of your immigration application. Whether you need to pay depends on the immigration status you’re applying for and generally payment is only required for settlement type applications lasting longer than 6 months.
Q. Getting a visa is straightforward – Isn’t it?
A. Our experience has taught us some fundamental rules; Immigration problems do not have a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Each applicant is different and has a slightly different set of circumstances. For example, their nationality, age, travel history, family ties or financial position. Although UKVI guidelines will identify general requirements, they will not identify the format of the supporting documents required and neither will they explain how they are assessing the validity of the evidence. The overwhelming number of refusals we see right across the board are owing to a failure to provide specified evidence which satisfies the ECO (Entry Clearance Officer). Sadly, specified evidence is often complex and difficult to understand, requiring the attention of a competent professional to navigate easily.
Q. Why are visa applications refused?
A. As per the above answer, most refusals are due to a failure to provide specified evidence. Top 10 reasons for refusals are;
1. Correct Documents NOT supplied: It is really important that you supply all the documents required for your application. Different visas require different documentary evidence, so it is important to make sure your application is specific to you, and that nothing is missed out. It’s no good listening to someone who tells you they got a visa with A, B and C when your application also asks for D, E and F.
2. Documents NOT presented in the correct format: It’s not enough to simply send the documents in a bundle. They need to be placed in the correct, chronological order, and presented exactly as required. This includes even using the correct colour ink to fill in the forms This might seem like a petty reason to refuse a visa, but the best way to look it is this: make the Home Office’s job of reading your application as easy and simple as possible.
3. Specified Evidence Missing: Visa applications might seem simple, and the advice given on Home Office website does make it appear so. However, the guideline notes only give a general outline, and do not go into enough detail. Even a single date, or an original of an official document missing can lead to a UK visa refusal.
4. Following Advice from Non-UK “Advisers”: This is a very common mistake made by people all across the world. So many UK Visa refusal cases happen because the adviser is not qualified or experienced enough in UK immigration law. They might well know immigration law in general, or in their own country, but the UK is one of the hardest countries to get a visa for, so you do really need to get advice from experts.
5. Following advice from Family and/or Friends: So many refusals happen because people seek advice from those closest to them who just don’t have the legal knowledge. Of course, they may know the applicant very well, but the Home Office is only interested in specific legal evidence and information. It might sound cruel, but they simply do NOT care about applicants as individuals. It’s all about the numbers, the statistics and the money.
6. Believing the Home Office will be lenient or “understanding”: They won’t be. For example, some applicants might think that if the requirements for their Spouse Visa include a basic salary of £18,600 and they earn £18,500 that just trying to get around that should be “okay”. Not true. Even the very slightest error will not be met with flexibility. Treat your application like a fine, delicate Ming vase: there is simply no room for error.
7. Non-Disclosure of Previous issues: Often applicants have had previous immigration or legal issues that they decide not to disclose, such as bans or certain criminal convictions already spent – especially if a long time has passed. But the Home Office miss nothing and question everything. Worse still, if they believe an applicant has attempted to mislead or misrepresent themselves intentionally (deception) a UK visa refusal might be the least of your worries.
8. Applying for the wrong type of visa: A common example of this is when people from outside the UK wish to move to and settle in the UK. However, they mistakenly think they have to apply for a visit visa first, and then whilst the UK apply to switch to a settlement visa. “Switching” is not allowed from a visit visa, and any suggestion that this might be someone’s plan, the Home Office would also refuse the visit visa.
9. “Saving” money on “cheap” advice: Using unqualified advisers is false economy as their lack of expertise in UK immigration law can easily lead to a refusal on the basis that they simply don’t know the intricate details of the laws, or how to apply the laws correctly. A substantial number of people who come to us with a refusal tell us “my adviser said…” Unfortunately, not all advisers are regulated, and even some who are regulated – even the good ones – simply don’t have the knowledge of how to apply law in the same way a trained, experienced and qualified Solicitor will.
10. Relying on advice from Home Office/UKVI: It might seem like the best place to get advice is from the source itself. However, call handlers at the Home Office/UKVI are not trained or qualified to give legal advice, and at best all they will do is redirect you to their website, or give you the same general information. They will not be able to discuss merits of individual cases which might need specific expertise to carefully complete the application.
Q. My visit visa has been refused – Can I appeal?
A. Certain visas do not carry any right of appeal by default. Others may offer a time restricted right to appeal. There are three fundamental points to note here;
1. The reasons for the refusal must be fully understood and overcome.
2. The previous application flaws must be mitigated by way of supplementary representation.
3. There must be a right of appeal awarded.
We are pleased to announce that we will consider your refusal for free within 24 hours and confirm your options. You can upload a copy of your refusal for a free evaluation Free visa refusal assessment
Q. I need to extend my visit visa – Is this possible?
A. Technically speaking, it is not possible to extend your visit visa. There is however some discretionary allowances which may be available to visitors who need to extend their stay due to exceptional circumstances. Such ‘extensions’ are only available on a discretionary basis and they require a totally different visa application to be made. If you feel that you have an exceptional circumstance that may warrant an extension then get in touch with one of our team and undergo a free needs assessment to confirm your options.
Q. I have provided inaccurate/false information/documents. What can/will happen?
A. If the UKVI suspects that you have provided information/documents that is/are false or misleading, they have the power to enforce an automatic immigration ban of up to 10 years. This will prevent you from entering the UK and may have a significant negative impact on any other visa application made by you to travel anywhere else.
Q. I have a criminal conviction – Does this matter?
A. In short, yes! All convictions must be declared for immigration purposes. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 does not afford any protections from disclosing full details of convictions on the application. This can be a challenging and complex area to deal with and it is highly recommend that professional advice is sought at the earliest opportunity.
Q. What are your fees?
A. We pride ourselves on total transparency and adopt a 100% agreed fixed fee model. This means we will take the time to understand exactly what your circumstances are and what assistance we can offer. We do this by providing free needs assessment in the first instance. Following the assessment, we will provide you with an instant agreed fixed fee and totally no obligation quotation. You can then decide if you want to proceed. This entire process typically takes around 10-15 minutes.
Q. What is meant by agreed fixed fees?
A. An agreed fixed fee is a fee is which quoted prior to accepting an instruction. The agreed fixed fee quotation is binding and non variable which means we cannot alter the fee at any point going forward and must honour it until conclusion of the instruction. It covers all legal fees payable to the solicitor.
Q. Do you offer a drop in or free advice service?
A. Regrettably, we do not have the resources to offer such facilities as we put all of our available resources into assisting our existing clients to whom we owe exceptional service and unrivalled commitment.
Q. Can I come into your offices without an appointment?
A. In order to maintain high efficiency levels, all appointments are strictly by prior arrangement only. This ensures that existing client files get the attention they deserve as well well as ensuring that the solicitor is sufficiently prepared to handle your specific enquiries. If you want to simply discuss your circumstances in detail and have your options confirmed with you, you will need to book a legal consultation.
Q. What is a legal consultation?
A. A legal consultation is the term used to describe the process during which a senior solicitor discusses a client’s situation at length and and provides them with regulated legal advice regarding their current position, options, and identifies the eligibility and documentary requirements that would need to met to achieve the client’s desired outcome.
Q. Do you accept legal aid?
A. We are a private law firm and regrettably, we do not accept legal aid funded instructions.
Q. What are the benefits of using a law firm to handle my application?
A. This depends entirely on the ability of those individuals who are actually handling the application. We are witnessing a worrying trend whereby self titled ‘experts’ ‘advisors’ and ‘agencies’ are masquerading as experienced immigration solicitors and duping unsuspecting members of the public into believing they are qualified and regulated solicitors. Often, self titled experts are a part of the problem rather than the solution as they fail to understand the complexities of the constantly evolving immigration framework leading to high levels of refusals.
We are a fully regulated, nationwide law firm who specialise exclusively in immigration. This means that we focus all our efforts on immigration matters allowing us to acquire formidable expertise and experience in all areas of immigration. We are pleased to boast that we have grown and developed to become a globally respected and leading UK immigration law firm that has won the respect and trust of our clients as well as our competitors. Getting it right first time round saves time, money, reduces disruption and promotes a positive immigration history.
Q. Do I need to come to your offices?
A. We take instructions from clients based across the globe on a daily basis. Given that most of our clients are outside of the UK and are trying to get in, we have a robust and efficient remote process which means we handle the entire application without you ever needing to come to our office in person. For our UK based clients, we recognise that you lead busy lives and don’t have the time to take time away from your busy schedules to visit us in person. Our unique structure also allows us to operate at optimum efficiency and offer you a personalised service regardless of your location. We do of course; welcome clients face to face also by prior appointment.
Q. What are your success rates?
A. We often get asked this question. Although it has become commonplace for legal service providers to quote success statistics, we are proud to be different. Inflated statistics may seem appealing at first glance but, if you really think about it, how do they actually benefit you and what guarantees do they afford you? Exactly! Our view is that everyone is different and has different circumstances and therefore what really matters to you is how we feel about your circumstances given your aims and your history. We are happy to assess your needs for free and tell you exactly what your options are so what do you have to lose?
Q. Do you handle many visa applications?
A. We are the UK’s leading immigration solicitors and are proud to boast that we handle significant numbers of visa cases on a weekly basis and therefore, we have the insight, strategic experience and knowledge to get the job done right first time round.
Q. How does instructing you work?
A. We have a transparent and easy 4 step process:
1. Call us now for a free needs assessment – One of our friendly team will assess your circumstances and will confirm your options and take your instructions.
2. Once instructed, we arrange for a legal consultation to be carried out either by phone or in person with one of our experienced and regulated solicitors.
3. You follow our step by step guidance and provide supporting documentation – We handle the entire application including strategy, documentation preparation and application lodging.
4. Your visa is granted by the UKVI allowing you to focus on enjoying your trip.