This guidance provides a general overview of the UK visa and immigration Administrative Review (AR) for challenging Tier 1, Tier 2 work, Tier 4 student, Tier 5 and other types of refusal decisions. Accordingly, tries to answer faqs for successfully making an immigration administrative review request. Moreover, also covers the details of filing an administrative review against cancellation of leave to enter or remain at the border.

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Immigration Administrative Review against a UK Visa Refusal

Apparently, if there is an error in assessment then immigration Administrative Review for UK visa is a mechanism for challenging the refusal decision. Moreover, the UK immigration administrative review is a non-statutory scheme. And there is no legislation setting out what it covers or who is eligible to apply for an administrative review.

Eligible Decisions

Apparently, the following types of applications are eligible for an immigration administrative review:

In-country

Quite clearly, in terms of Appendix AR, the following types of in-country applications are eligible for an administrative review:

  1. Tier 4 applications made on or after 20 October 2014 by either a main applicant or dependant
  2. Tiers 1, 2 or 5 applications made on or after 2 March 2015, including indefinite leave to remain (ILR) applications
  3. any in-country application (except for visitor, protection or human rights claim applications), where the decision was made on or after 6 April, 2015

Entry Clearance

To applying for an administrative review against an entry clearance application, an applicant needs to meet the following requirements:

  1. the applicant resides outside the UK and made the application from outside the UK
  2. the application was refused on or after 6 April 2015
  3. an applicant does not have a right of appeal against the refusal, and
  4. the applicant did not make an application as a visitor or a short term student

Accordingly, all types of entry clearance applications are eligible for an AR except for short term student under part 3 of the Immigration Rules, Appendix EU Family Permit, visitor visa applications and human rights claims. Therefore, mostly point-based and EU settlement scheme, EUSS family permit applications are eligible for AR.

At the Border (Port of Entry)

In fact, decisions relating to cancellation of leave to enter or remain at the border due to change of circumstances, false representations and failure to disclose material facts are eligible for an immigration Administrative Review at the border. Moreover, decisions relating to cancellation of leave to enter or remain are also eligible for an immigration administrative review.

If a passenger signs the administrative review waiver form then loses the right to apply for an AR. Perhaps, at times when a person whose leave is cancelled at the border may wish to leave the UK immediately. However, in such circumstances, the right to apply for administrative review is a barrier to removal. Therefore, the person may choose to remove this barrier by waiving his/her right to an immigration administrative review. Accordingly, under paragraph AR2.10(a) of Appendix AR, an administrative review is no longer pending when the passenger signs a waiver form.

If a person has signed an administrative review waiver form then cannot subsequently make an AR request. Moreover, an applicant cannot use the AR waiver form if he/she has already made an AR application. Therefore, an applicant needs to withdraw the application if he/she does no longer wish to continue the AR process.

Decisions not Eligible for Immigration Administrative Review

Perhaps, in the light of the aforesaid, an AR is not available for the following types of decisions:

  1. applications under the points-based system made before the date on which administrative review commenced for that route (20 October 2014 for Tier 4 and 2 March 2015 for Tiers 1, 2 and 5)
  2. protection and human rights claims
  3. UK visitor visa applications
  4. short term student visa applications under part 3 of the Immigration Rules
  5. applications for leave to remain outside the Immigration Rules
  6. transfer of conditions (TOC), no time limit (NTL) or replacement biometric immigration document applications

Procedure

After receiving an Administrative Review Request Notice with the refusal letter an applicant needs to complete the Request Notice. And send it directly to the address stated on the Request Notice. Perhaps, in most of the instances, an application can apply for an administrative review online. However, if the referred matter is beyond the scope of an administrative review then the reviewer may deal it as a normal complaint and accordingly may inform the applicant in writing. Nevertheless, in most cases it is necessary to ensure that the decision-maker has followed the correct verification procedures.

Furthermore, in most of the instances, an applicant can request for only one immigration Administrative Review. Therefore, any further requests for the same decision are not possible. Nonetheless, if the reviewer upholds a refusal but with different refusal grounds then an applicant can request for an administrative review on a new ground. Moreover, if an applicant has new or further information, documents or other paperwork that an applicant failed to submit with the original application then will need to reapply. And pay the appropriate application fee.

Time Limit

Apparently, an applicant needs to file an AR within 28 days after receiving the refusal notice for an entry clearance application. And within 14 days after the refusal notice or biometrics residence permit (BRP) of an in-country or a decision at the UK borders. In fact, the time limit for filing AR is only 7 calendar days if an applicant is detained. However, the time limit is 28 calendar days for decisions at the juxtaposed controls in Paris, Brussels, Dunkirk, Coquelles, Calais and Lille.

Indeed, if an applicant sends a late request for an AR then the Home Office may consider if there are exceptional reasons to accept the application outside of the deadline. Moreover, if the AR request is outside of the (14 or 28-day) period and the reviewer decides not to accept the request, then will return the request notice with a letter explaining why the reviewer does not accept the request.

Fee

In terms of The Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Regulations 2016, the AR is free of charge for entry clearance applications. However, for in-country and border decisions, the cost of administrative review application is £80, which is the same as that for a paper appeal. Nevertheless, there is no additional fee for dependants, who were included in the original application. Moreover, the following types of applicants are exempt from paying the administrative review fee:

  • applicants who were exempt from paying for the original application
  • the fee for the original application was waived
  • the applicant previously applied for AR in relation to a decision on the same original application, and the outcome of the review (and any subsequent reviews) was that the original decision was maintained, but for different or additional reasons to those specified in the original decision

Refunds

Apparently, if the administrative review of the UK visa is successful. And overturns the original decision- i.e. an applicant gets a visa- then the Home Office refunds the fee as well normally within 3-4 weeks. Perhaps, an applicant also gets a fee refund in case of granted cases where the outcome of an AR is that the original grant of leave was issued for the wrong period, or subject to the wrong conditions. Moreover, an applicant also gets a fee refund if the Home Office rejects AR as invalid.

Processing Time

Perhaps, the service standard for administrative review processing time is within 28 calendar days from the date of receipt of a request from the applicant. However, if the reviewer is not able to complete the process within the 28 days then may normally notify the applicant.

Additional Documents

Indeed, applicants are not allowed to send any additional documents such as a passport or supporting documents with their request for an AR. However, if the reviewer subsequently overturned the decision then will inform the applicant to send in the passport for the affixation of the visa vignette.

General Grounds for Refusal

Indeed, an immigration administrative review also looks at the 10-year ban on the basis of paragraph 320 of the Immigration Rules on General Grounds for Refusal. However, for reviews of the 10-year ban made under paragraphs 320(7A) and 320(7B) an applicant needs to submit further information with the Administrative Review request.

False Documents

Perhaps, if an application has been refused because a false document was used or a false representation was made, and the applicant claims that he/she was unaware of the false documents or false representations then the refusal will still stand but the applicant needs to prove that he/she did not know that false documents or false representations were used. In fact, in such circumstances, an applicant needs to remove the 10-year deception ban. Otherwise, the Home Office/UKVI will refuse any future applications of the applicant automatically for 10 years.

Therefore, if the documents related directly to the applicant- for instance, employment references, qualifications or financial details- then such a claim would be likely to fail unless an applicant has a piece of clear evidence that an error has been made. For instance, if an employer, financial institution or educational establishment provides a written confirmation that the applicant was supplied with incorrect information at the time the Home Office/UKVI verified the original documentation then this is a piece of plausible evidence to remove the 10-year ban due to false documents under paragraph 320(7A).

Nevertheless, even if a reviewer accepts that an applicant did not knowingly use false documents or false representations, the refusal may still stand, but the applicant may not automatically have any future applications refused under paragraph 320 (7B) for the use of false documents or representations.

Who conducts the immigration Administrative Review?

Apparently, a different person conducts the AR. Therefore, the immigration officer who assesses the original application does not conduct the AR. For instance, an Entry Clearance Manager (ECM) conducts an administrative review for UK visa and immigration application from outside the UK. Accordingly, this means that in some cases, an ECM from another Post may conduct the Administrative Review. Therefore, in such case, an applicant may receive the result of the Administrative Review for UK visa from an entry clearance post that is different from the one that has originally considered the original entry clearance application.

What will the reviewer look at?

Apparently, the reviewer usually examines the evidence submitted with the original application. And in most of the circumstances, an applicant cannot provide new evidence. Therefore, the reviewer disregards any new evidence, unless the decision relates to paragraph 320 (7A) or 320 (7B) of the Immigration Rules on General Grounds for Refusal. Furthermore, the reviewer will return any new evidence to the applicant along with the outcome of the AR.

How the reviewer makes a decision?

Apparently, the reviewer undertakes an administrative review for UK visa in the light of the request. And accordingly, checks and reviews the original application for:

  1. the correct award of points
  2. the correct assessment of the supporting documents
  3. proper verification of the documents

Perhaps, a reviewer may overturn a decision, if the decision-maker has:

  1. failed to properly consider evidence, submitted with the original application
  2. failed to correctly apply the Immigration Rules
  3. made a mistake in processing the application
  4. failed to give adequate reasons for refusing an application. Perhaps, in this case, the reviewer may also recommend revoking the original decision. And serve a new refusal notice giving a full explanation for the refusal.

However, even if a reviewer recommends to revoke a decision an applicant may still get a refusal with new grounds. Moreover, a reviewer may certainly not recommend overturning the original decision merely because an applicant claims there is a fault with the Home Office’s underlying processes or policies.

The Possible Outcomes

Perhaps, there are only 3 possible outcomes of an AR process. Accordingly, an immigration administrative review may:

  1. upholds the decision with the same refusal reasons: , or
  2. upholds the decision but with revised refusal reasons, or
  3. overturns the decision and issues entry clearance or leave to enter or remain

If a reviewer upholds the decision and the refusal reasons also remain the same then the applicant will not be entitled to a further AR. However, if the reviewer upholds the decision but revises the refusal reasons then will serve a new refusal notice (GV51) with the AR decision letter. Certainly, the letter will elaborate on the reasons for upholding the original decision. Therefore, if there are fresh reasons for refusal which were not notified originally, then the applicant will be able to submit a further AR request limited to the fresh reasons. Furthermore, if the reviewer overturns the original decision then will notify the applicant. And also request for applicant’s passport.

Withdrawal

In fact, an applicant can withdraw an administrative review for UK visa under the following circumstances:

  1. if an applicant can only make an AR from inside the UK and the applicant asks for a passport for travelling – paragraph 34X(1)
  2. if the applicant travels outside the UK – paragraph 34X(2)
  3. the applicant formally requests to withdraw the AR – paragraph 34X(3)
  4. if the applicant makes an application for entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain – paragraph 34X(4)
1. An applicant requests for the passport for travelling

If an in-country AR application is pending and the applicant requests for the return of his/her passport for the purpose of travel outside the UK then the AR is treated as withdrawn. Moreover, if an applicant made an in-time AR application then the leave to remain in the UK under section 3C ends on the date the applicant withdraws the application.

2. Applicant Travelling outside the UK

If an in-country AR is pending and the applicant leaves the UK then the AR is treated as withdrawn automatically. And the date on which an applicant leaves the UK is considered as the date of withdrawing the AR. Therefore, Section 3C leave will end on this date. Moreover, an applicant who has withdrawn his/her AR application by leaving the UK cannot re-enter the UK for the purpose of resuming the administrative review.

3. An applicant requests to withdraw in writing

Furthermore, an applicant can also withdraw an AR by sending an email to the Home Office’s AR team. Accordingly, the Home Office will treat the AR as withdrawn on the date the AR team receives the request. Perhaps, this may happen if an applicant realises that the original decision is correct. Therefore, an applicant instead wishes to make a fresh application. However, an applicant having a Section 3C leave cannot submit a fresh application while his/her AR is pending.

4. The applicant makes a fresh application

Quite certainly, the Home Office will treat a pending immigration administrative review as withdrawn if the applicant makes a fresh application. Therefore, there is no need to email a request to the Home Office.

Success Rate

According to the report of independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, the success rate for in-country, entry clearance and at the border administrative review decisions is 22%, 8% and 21%, respectively. However, the report points out a number of flaws in the AR procedure. Furthermore, states that the success rate for in-country and entry clearance AR could have been substantially higher if the reviewers had followed the AR procedure properly. Therefore, the Chief Inspector made a number of recommendations for the improvement of the administrative review process.

What to do if AR is refused?

Perhaps, an applicant can reapply or challenge an AR decision by filing a Judicial Review (JR). If deemed admissible by the High Court, the JR considers whether the decision should be reversed on grounds of illegality, irrationality (unreasonableness), procedural impropriety, and/or legitimate expectation. Generally, a JR is preceded by service to the Home Office of a pre-action protocol (PAP) letter. In fact, in the PAP letter the applicant (in practice their legal representative) sets out the grounds for challenge, the remedy sought, and the timescale for the Home Office to respond (normally 14 days) before the lodging a JR.