UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020 Visit, Student, Spouse, Dependents

1. UK Visa Rejection Rates Across Different Categories in 2020


According to the Official Statistics, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly reduced the volume of UK visa applications, resulting in just 1,169,394 submissions – approximately a third of those recorded in the previous year. The Home Office processed a total of 1,196,584 decisions during this time, of which 996,636 resulted in approved visas. On the flip side, 193,272 applications faced rejection, 6,647 were withdrawn, and twenty-nine were left unattended, causing them to lapse. The overall UK visa approval and rejection rates stood at 83.29% and 16.15%, respectively.

However, the rejection rates varied across different categories of visas. Visitor visas saw a refusal rate of 18.84%, while Work visas were rejected at a lower rate of 4.93%. The refusal rate for Study visas was even lower at 3.78%, and Family visas had a 13.05% rejection rate. Dependents Joining or Accompanying had a close rejection rate to Visitor visas, at 18.81%.

When it came to permits, EEA Family Permits had the highest refusal rate at a staggering 65.05%, while EUSS Family Permits followed with a rejection rate of 30.38%. Transit and Other types of visas faced a refusal rate of 13.30%.

UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020: Breakdown by Application Type

Application TypeUK Visa Rejection Rate 2020
Visitor18.84%
Work4.93%
Study3.78%
Family13.05%
Dependent Joining or Accompanying18.81%
EEA Family Permits65.05%
EUSS Family Permits30.38%
Transit and Others13.30%
Total16.15%
A Complete Review of UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020: Breakdown by Application Type
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    UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020
    UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020

    2. Examination of UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020 for Visitors


    In 2020, amidst the global turbulence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 589,838 applications lodged for UK visitor visas. Of these, 627,805 decisions were processed leading to the approval of 506,644 visitor visas. In contrast, 118,292 applications were denied, 2,846 were withdrawn, and twenty-three fell into lapse. Consequently, the success rate for UK visitor visas in 2020 was 80.7%, and the refusal rate was at 18.84%.

    However, an analysis of the refusal rates by applicant nationality reveals considerable variation. The highest rejection rates were observed for applicants from Nigeria (39.31%), Pakistan (39.01%), Ghana (46.23%), and Algeria (44.01%). In contrast, applications from Russia (3.20%), China (4.96%), Thailand (5.10%), and South Africa (4.10%) saw significantly lower refusal rates. Some other nationalities with notable refusal rates included Turkey (23.42%), Egypt (22.67%), and Morocco (29.25%).

    UK Visitor Visa Rejection Rate by Country 2020

    NationalityUK Visitor Visa Rejection Rate by Country 2020
    India15.19%
    Nigeria39.31%
    Russia3.20%
    China4.96%
    Pakistan39.01%
    Turkey23.42%
    Thailand5.10%
    Ukraine12.26%
    Saudi Arabia0.91%
    South Africa4.10%
    Egypt22.67%
    Philippines14.93%
    Indonesia8.92%
    Ghana46.23%
    Morocco29.25%
    Bangladesh37.91%
    Albania34.21%
    Algeria44.01%
    Belarus3.36%
    Sri Lanka27.86%
    Other nationalities22.68%
    UK Visitor Visa Refusal Rate 202018.84%
    UK Visitor Visa Rejection Rate by Country 2020

    3. Analysis of UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020 for Students


    In the year 2020, a total of 260,324 applications for UK student visas were received, leading to 264,883 decisions. Of these, a remarkable 253,694 UK Student Visas were granted, while 10,016 applications were rejected. Furthermore, 1,171 applications were withdrawn and two applications lapsed. This resulted in an impressive success rate of 95.77% for UK student visas, with a relatively low refusal rate of 3.78%.

    Digging deeper into the data, the rejection rates vary across different student visa categories. For the Sponsored Study, Students, and Tier 4 categories, the refusal rates were 2.34%, 2.57%, and 2.37%, respectively. The rates were even lower for the Child Student category at 0.84% and the Tier 4 Child Student category at 0.58%. However, there was a noticeable increase in refusal rates for Other Study and Short Term Study (Previously Student Visitor) categories at 16.76% and 16.77% respectively.

    Student Visa UK Rejection Rate 2020 by Country

    TypeStudent Visa UK Rejection Rate 2020
    Sponsored Study2.34%
    Students2.57%
    Child Student0.84%
    Tier 4 Child Student0.58%
    Tier 4 General Student2.37%
    Other Study16.76%
    Short Term Study (Previously Student Visitor)16.77%
    Students Other3.70%
    Total3.78%
    Student Visa UK Rejection Rate 2020

    4. A Deep Dive into 2020’s Sponsored Study Visa Rates


    In the calendar year of 2020, the UK saw 237,243 applications for Sponsored Study visas. The immigration authorities made 238,328 decisions, out of which a substantial 232,192 visas were granted, and a comparatively small number of 5,565 applications were rejected. This culminated in a high success rate of 97.43% for UK Sponsored Student Visas, against a low refusal rate of 2.34%.

    When assessing the rejection rates by country of origin, it’s noteworthy that China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Korea (South), Canada, Japan, and Thailand each reported minuscule refusal rates of under 0.5%. Contrarily, higher rates of rejection were seen in applications from countries such as India (5.78%), Nigeria (3.83%), Pakistan (4.28%), Bangladesh (5.14%), and Ghana (13.86%).

    UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020 for Sponsored Study

    NationalitySponsored Study Visa UK Rejection Rate by Country 2020
    China0.18%
    India5.78%
    Nigeria3.83%
    Hong Kong0.19%
    United States0.41%
    Pakistan4.28%
    Saudi Arabia2.60%
    Malaysia0.17%
    Bangladesh5.14%
    Kuwait0.23%
    Korea (South)0.15%
    Canada0.17%
    Russia0.42%
    Taiwan0.27%
    Turkey0.85%
    Thailand0.06%
    Japan0.06%
    Egypt1.93%
    Ghana13.86%
    Indonesia0.31%
    Other nationalities2.37%
    Sponsored Study Visa UK Rejection Rate 20202.34%
    UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020 for Sponsored Study

    5. 2020 in Review: UK Family Visa Rates


    In the tumultuous year of 2020, a total of 41,901 applications were lodged for UK Family Visas. Of the 46,496 decisions made, 40,255 were in favour of the applicants, resulting in visas being granted. Conversely, a total of 6,068 applications were unfortunately rejected. These figures translate to a promising success rate of 86.58%, juxtaposed with a refusal rate of 13.05%.

    The ‘Family’ route encompasses applications from individuals seeking visas based on their relationship to a person who is either a British citizen or settled in the UK. This includes a range of applications such as spouse settlement visas, adult dependent relative visas, and parent of a British child visas, among others. It is worth noting that the ‘Family’ route does not cover ‘joining or accompanying’ entry clearance applications, which are intended for those applying for a visa due to their relationship to another migrant who is not settled in the UK or a British citizen, and who is on a path that does not include a specific visa for dependents.

    When delving into the data by country of origin, higher rejection rates were observed among applicants from Nepal (31.96%), Eritrea (30.50%), Sudan (27.72%), and Syria (27.20%). On the other end of the spectrum, lower refusal rates were observed in applicants from countries such as the United States (4.93%), South Africa (6.30%), and Hong Kong (2.39%).

    UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020 by Country for Family Applications

    NationalityFamily Visa UK Rejection Rate by Country 2020
    Pakistan7.93%
    India8.25%
    United States4.93%
    Bangladesh8.57%
    South Africa6.30%
    Nepal31.96%
    Nigeria18.69%
    Iran7.03%
    Eritrea30.50%
    Philippines9.94%
    Sudan27.72%
    Ghana22.89%
    Syria27.20%
    Turkey6.64%
    Afghanistan17.77%
    Thailand5.36%
    Hong Kong2.39%
    Sri Lanka8.60%
    Iraq8.48%
    China6.89%
    Other nationalities13.70%
    Family Visa Rejection Rate 202013.05%
    2020 Snapshot: Dissecting the UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020 by Country for Family Applications

    6. 2020 Work Visa Statistics: An Overview


    The year 2020 saw a total of 146,080 work visa applications made to the UK authorities. Out of 132,529 decisions that were taken, 125,173 applicants were granted work visas while 6,528 faced rejections. Consequently, the success and refusal rates for UK work visas in 2020 stood at 94.45% and 4.93% respectively.

    When scrutinized according to the type of application, ‘High Value’ applications exhibited the highest rejection rate at 7.49%, followed by ‘Others’ at 22.74%, ‘Temporary worker’ at 1.40% and ‘Skilled’ at 0.36%.

    Application TypeWork Visa UK Rejection Rate 2020
    High Value7.49%
    Skilled0.36%
    Temporary worker1.40%
    Others22.74%
    Total4.93%
    UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020 for Work Applications

    Work Visa UK Refusal Rate by Country 2020

    The data also reveals interesting patterns when assessed on a country-by-country basis. Applicants from Turkey experienced the highest rejection rate at 42.80%. Conversely, countries like Australia, Canada, Ukraine, and the United States witnessed relatively lower rejection rates, falling at or below 0.58%.

    NationalityUK Work Visa Rejection Rate by Country 2020
    India1.09%
    Turkey42.80%
    Philippines2.90%
    Ukraine0.24%
    United States0.58%
    Australia0.21%
    Nigeria2.18%
    South Africa0.64%
    Pakistan6.36%
    Egypt2.02%
    Canada0.24%
    Japan0.40%
    China1.84%
    New Zealand0.46%
    Russia1.26%
    Zimbabwe1.42%
    Hong Kong4.73%
    Korea (South)0.89%
    Sri Lanka2.21%
    Brazil0.81%
    Other nationalities3.54%
    UK Work Visa Rejection Rate 20204.93%
    UK Work Visa Rejection Rate by Country 2020

    7. Snapshot: Tier 2 Skilled Workers Visa Rejection Rate 2020


    In 2020, the UK authorities received a total of 72,476 applications under the Tier 2 Skilled Workers category. Out of the 78,215 decisions made, an overwhelming majority of 77,760 applications were approved while only 280 faced rejection. This translates to an incredibly high success rate of 99.42% and a correspondingly low refusal rate of 0.36%.

    A country-specific breakdown of the rejection rate indicates a pattern of low rejections across all nations. Applicants from Japan, Korea (South), and Australia enjoyed a 0% rejection rate. The rejection rates for applicants from India, the Philippines, and the United States were also significantly low at 0.14%, 0.31%, and 0.08%, respectively. Even the countries with the highest rejection rates, like Zimbabwe and Malaysia, had a refusal rate of only about 1.10% and 1.08%, respectively, thus reinforcing the high acceptance rate of Tier 2 Skilled Worker Visas in 2020.

    Tier 2 Skilled Worker: UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020 by Country

    NationalityTier 2 Skilled Worker Visa UK Rejection Rate by Country 2020
    India0.14%
    Philippines0.31%
    United States0.08%
    Nigeria0.97%
    Egypt0.04%
    Pakistan0.58%
    Japan0.00%
    Zimbabwe1.10%
    South Africa0.57%
    Australia0.00%
    China0.35%
    Canada0.09%
    Russia0.87%
    Turkey0.50%
    Sudan0.73%
    Brazil0.87%
    Korea (South)0.00%
    Ghana0.93%
    Sri Lanka0.38%
    Malaysia1.08%
    Other nationalities0.96%
    Tier 2 Skilled Worker Visa UK Rejection Rate 20200.36%
    Tier 2 Skilled Worker: UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020 by Country

    8. 2020 Overview: Tier 5 Temporary Workers Visa


    The year 2020 saw the UK authorities processing 25,074 applications for the Tier 5 Temporary Workers category. From the total of 27,309 decisions rendered, 26,500 applicants received the good news of their visas being granted while only 383 faced rejection. This denotes a favorable success rate of 97.04% compared to a minimal refusal rate of 1.40% for the UK Skilled Tier 5 work visa in 2020.

    Assessing the rejection rate by nationality, most countries recorded extremely low rates. Applicants from Belarus and Moldova were particularly fortunate, registering a zero rejection rate. The rejection rates for countries like Ukraine, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand were also notably low, all under 0.31%. While India and Nigeria had the highest rejection rates at 7.98% and 7.73% respectively, they were still significantly low in comparison to the high approval rate for Tier 5 Temporary Worker Visas in 2020.

    Temporary Worker: UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020 by Country

    NationalityTemporary Worker Visa UK Rejection Rate by Country 2020
    Ukraine0.20%
    Australia0.24%
    India7.98%
    Canada0.16%
    New Zealand0.31%
    Japan0.71%
    United States2.19%
    Korea (South)0.62%
    Hong Kong4.76%
    Taiwan0.98%
    Pakistan1.39%
    China0.19%
    Russia0.84%
    Nigeria7.73%
    Argentina0.29%
    Sri Lanka0.50%
    Moldova0.00%
    Brazil0.43%
    Egypt0.43%
    Belarus0.00%
    Other nationalities2.66%
    Temporary Worker Visa UK Rejection Rate 20201.40%
    Temporary Worker: UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020 by Country

    9. FAQs: UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020


    1. What was the total UK visa rejection rate in 2020?

      In 2020, the overall UK visa rejection rate was 16.15%.

    2. What visa category had the highest rejection rate in 2020?

      The EEA Family Permits category had the highest rejection rate in 2020, standing at 65.05%.

    3. How did the pandemic affect the UK visa applications in 2020?

      The global pandemic led to a significant reduction in visa applications in 2020, with the number of Entry Clearance Applications made in 2020 (1,169,394) being nearly three times less than in 2019.

    4. What was the UK visitor visa rejection rate in 2020?

      The rejection rate for the UK visitor visa in 2020 was 18.84%.

    5. Which category had the lowest rejection rate in 2020?

      The category with the lowest UK visa rejection rate in 2020 was the Skilled (Tier 2) Work visa with a mere 0.36% refusal rate.

    6. How was the UK student visa approval in 2020?

      The UK student visa showed a strong approval performance in 2020, with a success rate of 95.77% against a refusal rate of 3.78%.

    7. Which nationality faced the highest UK visa rejection in 2020?

      This would vary depending on the visa type. However, in some prominent categories like the Visitor Visa, countries like Nigeria and Pakistan had high refusal rates of 39.31% and 39.01% respectively.

    8. Which nationality had the lowest UK visa rejection in 2020?

      This also varies by visa type. For example, in the Sponsored Study category, applicants from Thailand and Japan had particularly low rejection rates, standing at 0.06% each.