UK Visa Refusal Reasons: the Top 5 rejection reasons for visitors

Refusal Reasons UK Visa for family visitors and general touristsIn terms of Appendix V for visitors, this relates to the most common UK visa refusal reasons stated in the refusal letter for all types of UK visitor visa application such as standard visa applications for visiting family, tourism, business meetings etc. Certainly, a UK visitor visa application is refused due to the inability of an applicant to meet the eligibility and suitability requirements under Appendix V for Visitors of the Immigration Rules. Accordingly, the post covers the following topics:

  • What are the Top 5 UK visa refusal reasons and how to mitigate?
  • When an applicant’s suitability becomes doubtful?
  • A general note on UK visitor visa refusal reasons

For professional case processing and representation contact specialist immigration solicitors.

What are the Top 5 UK visitor visa refusal reasons?

Apparently, the 5 most common UK visa refusal reasons due to the failure of an applicant to meet the eligibility requirements are:

  1. Doubtful Intentions of an applicant – UK visa refusal reason under paragraph V 4.2 (a) and (c) of Appendix V
  2. Purpose of Visiting the UK is either doubtful or not covered under the rules – refusal under paragraph V 4.2 (c) of Appendix V
  3. Is a visitor visa applicant making the UK his/her main home? – refusal under paragraph V 4.2 (b) of Appendix V
  4. Doubts about the activities during the visa –  UK visa refusal reasons under paragraph V 4.2 (d) of Appendix V
  5. Insufficient funds for the trip – refusal under paragraph V 4.2 (e) of Appendix V

Moreover, at times applicants also get a refusal on suitability grounds under Part V 3 paragraphs V 3.2-11 of Appendix V for visitors.

1) Doubtful Intentions of an applicant

Perhaps, the top UK visitor visa refusal reason relates to the doubtful intentions of an applicant of visiting the UK. And also doubts that the applicant will not leave the UK at the end of the trip. Therefore, the most common UK visa refusal reason mention in the refusal letter is under paragraph V 4.2 (a) and (c) of Appendix V.

How to mitigate the UK visa refusal reason under V 4.2 (a) & (c)?

Certainly, the burden of proof is on the applicant to prove that application is a genuine visitor and will return to home country after the journey. Accordingly, the decision maker (ECO) decides a UK visitor visa application on the balance of probability. And during the assessment process, examines an applicant’s credibility and intentions. And also checks whether an applicant meets the requirements under Appendix V of the immigration rules. Therefore, in order to establish genuine intentions and capability of returning home, an applicant should provide clear, concrete and conclusive evidence that the applicant is leading a good life in the home country and has strong professional, social and family ties.

2) Purpose of Visiting the UK is doubtful

Apparently, another very common reason is the inability of the applicant to clearly specify the purpose of visiting the UK. Perhaps, if the underlying purpose of visiting is not clear then it creates doubts regarding the intentions of visiting the UK.

Similarly, if the purpose of visiting the UK is not covered under the Immigration Rules then the applicant may attract rejection under paragraph V 4.2(c) of Appendix V for visitors.

How to mitigate the UK visa refusal reason under V 4.2 (c)?

If you get a refusal under paragraph V 4.2 (c) then in a reapplication you may provide documents showing any plans you have made, such as tour details, trip itinerary, flight details, letter of invitation, evidence of sponsor’s immigration status in the UK.

3) Is a visitor visa applicant making the UK his/her main home?

For repeat visitors to the UK, the decision maker checks the frequency and duration of stay in the UK. And evaluates: whether a repeat visitor is making the UK his/her main home or not. Accordingly, can refuse an application under paragraph V 4.2 (b) of Appendix V.

How to mitigate the UK visa refusal reasons under V 4.2 (b)?

Apparently, a visitor can stay in the UK up to 180 days per visit. However, it is better not to prolong your visit to the UK unnecessarily. Moreover, if you have a long-term visitor visa then don’t travel very frequently to the UK.

4) Doubts about the activities in the UK

Apparently, if there are doubts that the applicant may undertake prohibited activities set out in V 4.5 – V 4.10 then the application attracts refusal under paragraph V 4.2 (d) of Appendix V. Perhaps, a refusal under V 4.2 (d) takes into account the personal circumstances of an applicant such as his/her age, marital status, employment or work status, travel history etc.

How to mitigate the UK visa refusal reasons under V 4.2 (d)?

Perhaps, fresh applicants with a limited travel history are more prone to get a refusal under paragraph V 4.2 (d). Therefore, applicants having limited immigration history can provide other types of evidence such as availability of funds, business details and family ties so as to substantiate their application. It is not necessary to be a frequent traveller to get a UK Visitor Visa.

5) Insufficient funds for the trip

Certainly, an applicant needs to provide evidence of sufficient funds for meeting the trip cost without recourse to public funds. However, an inability to do so may lead to a refusal under paragraph V 4.2 (e).

Large transactions in the bank account

Perhaps, most applicants get a refusal under V 4.2 (e) because the ECO has doubts about the origination of funds in the account. Apparently, most applicants think that showing high balances in the bank account may enable them to get the visa. Therefore, they beef-up their bank statements. However, they forget to justify the source of such funds in the bank account. Therefore, don’t try to artificially augment your balance statement.

What if an applicant had recourse to public funds in the past?

If an applicant in the past has accessed public funds in the UK then needs to provide details of why the applicant recourse to public funds? Accordingly, needs to provide conclusive evidence that why there will be no need of resorting to public funds if the applicant is granted a visitor visa?

How to mitigate the UK visa refusal reasons under V 4.2 (e)?

You should supplement your bank statements with information relating to employment, business, income and assets. For instance, you can provide a letter from employer, pay slips, tax returns, business registration documents, business bank account statements, property deeds and rental agreements to show the origination of funds.

When an applicant’s suitability becomes doubtful?

An application is assessed keeping in view all the relevant factors. Therefore, if an application fails to satisfy either one or more than one mandatory suitability grounds, then the application is prone to be refused without any assessment on suitability grounds, even if the applicant meets the visitor eligibility requirements.

If an applicant fulfils the requirements of mandatory suitability, then the ECO can decide an applicant’s eligibility i.e. either to grant a visitor visa or to refuse the application on discretionary suitability grounds.

Mandatory suitability and UK visitor visa refusal reasons

The UK visitor visa refusal reasons on mandatory suitability grounds for entry clearance applications are as under:

Appendix VUK visitor visa Mandatory refusal reasons for failure to meet the Suitability Requirements for Entry Clearance
V 4.2(c)The applicant is seeking entry as a visitor for a purpose not covered under Appendix V of the Immigration Rules
V 3.2(b)The applicant is the subject of a deportation order
V 3.4(a)The applicant has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of at least 4 years
V 3.4(b)The applicant has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of at least 12 months but less than four years unless a period of 10 years has passed since the end of the sentence
V 3.4(c)The applicant has been convicted of an offence for which they have been to a period of imprisonment of less than 12 months, unless a period of five years has passed since the end of the sentence
V 3.12(a)The applicant has not produced a valid passport
V 3.2(a)The Secretary of State has personally directed that the applicant’s exclusion from the UK is conducive to the public good
V 3.6False representation, false documents and/or non-disclosure of material facts Failure to attend an interview (for details refer Deception Ban UK under paragraph 320(7A): Can I Apply Again?) Moreover, the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) may also consider whether paragraph V 3.7 of Appendix V for visitors is applicable. However, the ECO needs to refer the application to the Entry Clearance Manager (ECM) before making a decision.
V 3.7-11The applicant has previously breached UK immigration laws (and was 18 or over at the time or the most recent breach). For further details refer Re-Entry Ban UK: what to know, how to challenge?. However, the ECO needs to refer the application to the Entry Clearance Manager (ECM) before making a decision.
V 3.12(b)(i)Failure to comply with a request made on behalf of the entry clearance officer to attend for interview without providing a reasonable explanation.
V 3.12(b)(ii-iv)Failure to provide information, biometrics, medical report or to undergo a medical examination without reasonable excuse are mandatory grounds for refusal for visitors.

Discretionary suitability and UK visa refusal reasons

The UK visitor visa refusal reasons on discretionary suitability grounds for entry clearance applications are as under:

Appendix VUK visitor visa Discretionary refusal reasons for failure to meet the Suitability Requirements for Entry Clearance
V 3.12(a)The applicant does not produce a valid passport or travel document – the state is not recognised by the UK government.
V 3.8applicant has previously been an illegal entrant, overstayed, breached a condition attached to their leave, or used deception in a previous application for entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain
V 3.16The applicant has not satisfied you that they will be admitted to another country after a stay in the UK.
V 4.4The applicant’s sponsor refuses to state in writing that they will maintain and accommodate the applicant
V 4.12An applicant under the age of 18, has not provided with the written consent of his/her parent(s) or guardian.
V 3.5(a)The applicant has been convicted of or admitted an offence for which they received a non-custodial sentence or other out of court disposal that is recorded on their criminal record within the 12 months prior to the date on which the application is decided
V 3.5(b-c)In the view of the Secretary of State the applicant's offending has caused serious harm, or the applicant is a persistent offender who shows a particular disregard for the law.
V 3.3Refusing the applicant entry to the UK is conducive to the public good. For example, because of the applicant’s character, conduct or associations, it is undesirable to give the applicant an entry clearance.
V 3.14Refusing the applicant or applicant’s entry clearance to the UK where one or more relevant National Health Service (NHS) bodies have notified the Secretary of State that the person seeking entry or leave to enter has an outstanding healthcare debt or cumulative debt of £1000 or more incurred between 1 November 2011 and 5 April 2016, or debts of £500 or more incurred on or after 6 April 2016, or further charges after 6 April 2016 bringing the total outstanding NHS debt since 1 November 2011 to over £1000.
V3.14AWhere the applicant has failed to pay litigation costs awarded to the Home Office.

Suitability requirements for leave to remain as a visitor

The UK visitor visa refusal reasons on suitability grounds for leave to remain applications are as under:

Appendix VUK visitor visa refusal reasons for failure to meet the Suitability Requirements for Leave to Remain
4.2(c)Applicant seeking leave to remain for a purpose outside the immigration rules
V3.6 or V 3.9(d)Refusal of a leave to application under Appendix V due to the use of deception, material facts not disclosed, false documents and false representation
V3.2(b)Subject to deportation order
V 3.4AExclusion from the Refugee Convention and from humanitarian protection (for details refer: Human Rights UK Visa
V 3.9(b)An applicant fails to comply with conditions of stay
V 3.5(a)The applicant has been convicted of or admitted an offence for which they received a non-custodial sentence or other out of court disposal that is recorded on their criminal record within the 12 months prior to the date on which the application is decided
V 3.9(b)Failure to maintain and accommodate without using public funds or comply with conditions of stay
V 3.3Refusal of a leave to remain as a visitor if it is not desirable to let person remain in the UK or due to criminality, security, character, behaviour and travel bans, war crimes, criminal prosecution
V 3.5(b-c)Criminality, Persistent offenders, Offending which caused serious harm
V 4.4No written sponsor undertaking
V 3.16No ability to return
V 3.12(b)Failure to give information in reasonable time
V 3.12(b)(i)Failure to attend interview
V 4.12Child under 18, no written consent
V 3.14Failure to pay NHS charges
V3.14ALitigation debt

A general note on UK visitor visa refusal reasons

Perhaps, there are quite a few posts (if not all) that seem to have incorrect information relating to UK visa refusal reasons due to:

  1. Mixing up the UK visa refusal reasons for different categories in one post
  2. Providing information relating to frivolous refusal reasons
  3. Terming isolated instances as refusal reasons

Therefore, instead of guiding the applicants in the light of Immigration Rules, such available information has become a constant source of misguidance.

Mixing up the UK visa refusal reasons for different categories

Apparently, when we talk about UK visa refusal reasons, we actually mean to say UK visitor visa refusal reasons under Appendix V for visitors. However, some posts mention refusal reasons relating to spouse visa such as relationship requirements as a UK visa refusal reason, which is grossly misleading.

Providing information relating to frivolous refusal reasons

In the context of UK visitor visa refusal reasons, a frivolous reason is the one which is not covered under Appendix V, Immigration Rules and the refusal letter. For instance, apparently, some website states ‘wrong application’ and ‘payment of fee’ as a UK visitor visa refusal. However, these are quite erroneous refusal reasons. Certainly, an applicant first needs to pay the UK visitor visa Application Fee online before taking out the print out machine-readable (barcoded) application form. Therefore, there is no chance of refusal of a UK standard visitor visa due to the application fee. Moreover, the online procedure of filing is the same for all types of UK standard visitor visa applications. Therefore, it is highly improbable that an applicant could file a visitor visa application on a wrong application form! Moreover, the staff of the UKVAC has the responsibility to cursorily check the appropriateness of the application.

Terming instances as refusal reasons

Certainly, the UK visitor visa application assessment takes a holistic account of the circumstances of an applicant. Accordingly, a decision is made on a balance of probabilities. Therefore, it is not expedient to mention isolated instances such as limited travel history, unclear itinerary, lack of salary deposits in the bank account, lack of detailed cover letter etc as UK visa refusal reasons.

For instance, an applicant having a limited travel history, with strong family and business ties has a better chance in getting a UK visitor visa than a person with frequent travel history but weak ties to the home country. Therefore, in order to get the UK visitor visa, an applicant should focus on his/her strengths rather than on weakness!

How many ‘instances’ do the Top 5 UK visa refusal reasons cover?

Perhaps, apart from a refusal on suitability grounds, the top 5 UK visa refusal reasons nearly cover all sorts of ‘instances’ that may lead to a UK visa refusal. Why? The decision maker assesses and decides a visitor visa application in the light of the Immigration Rules. Accordingly, if an application does not fall for refusal on suitability grounds, then all the remaining reasons for refusal are covered under paragraph V 4.2 (a-e) of Appendix V!