Immigration Specialists London

UK Visa Rejection Rate by Country 2020: This article provides an in-depth analysis of the 2020 UK visa rejection rates across various categories, including Visitor, Study, Tier 4 Student, Family (Spouse) Settlement, Work, Tier 2 Skilled Worker, and Tier 5 Temporary Worker visas. Focusing on applications made from outside the UK, it highlights approval and denial trends, offering a comprehensive understanding of the UK visa rejection rate in 2020 and its implications for applicants.


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UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020

1. Overview


In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic drastically reduced the volume of UK visa applications to 1,169,394, about a third of the previous year’s total. The Home Office processed 1,196,584 decisions, approving 996,636 visas and rejecting 193,272 applications. Additionally, 6,647 applications were withdrawn, and 29 lapsed. The overall UK visa approval and rejection rates were 83.29% and 16.15%, respectively.

UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020 varied by application category:

  • Visitor visas:
    • 18.84%
  • Work visas:
    • 4.93%
  • Study visas:
    • 3.78%
  • Family visas:
    • 13.05%
  • Dependent Joining or Accompanying:
    • 18.81%
  • EEA Family Permits:
    • 65.05%
  • EUSS Family Permits:
    • 30.38%
  • Transit and Others:
    • 13.30%

These statistics highlight the impact of the pandemic on visa processing and approval trends across different categories.

UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020
UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020

2. Visitor Visas


In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted UK visitor visa applications, with 589,838 applications lodged. The Home Office processed 627,805 decisions, resulting in 506,644 visas granted and 118,292 applications denied. Additionally, 2,846 applications were withdrawn, and 23 lapsed. Consequently, the success rate for UK visitor visas in 2020 was 80.7%, with a refusal rate of 18.84%.

UK Visitor Visa Rejection Rates by Country (2020)

An analysis of rejection rates by nationality shows considerable variation:

  • Highest Rejection Rates:
    1. Ghana: 46.23%
    2. Algeria: 44.01%
    3. Nigeria: 39.31%
    4. Pakistan: 39.01%
    5. Morocco: 29.25%
  • Lowest Rejection Rates:
    1. Saudi Arabia: 0.91%
    2. Russia: 3.20%
    3. South Africa: 4.10%
    4. China: 4.96%
    5. Thailand: 5.10%
  • Other Notable Rates:
    1. India: 15.19%
    2. Turkey: 23.42%
    3. Egypt: 22.67%
    4. Bangladesh: 37.91%
    5. Philippines: 14.93%

These statistics highlight the significant disparities in visa refusal rates among different nationalities in 2020.

3. Student Visas


In 2020, the UK received 260,324 applications for student visas and made 264,883 decisions. Out of these, 253,694 student visas were granted, while 10,016 applications were rejected. Additionally, 1,171 applications were withdrawn and two lapsed. This resulted in a success rate of 95.77% and a refusal rate of 3.78% for UK student visas.

UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020 by Student Visa Category

Rejection rates varied across different student visa categories:

  • Sponsored Study:
    • 2.34%
  • Students:
    • 2.57%
  • Child Student:
    • 0.84%
  • Tier 4 Child Student:
    • 0.58%
  • Tier 4 General Student:
    • 2.37%
  • Other Study:
    • 16.76%
  • Short Term Study (Previously Student Visitor):
    • 16.77%
  • Students Other:
    • 3.70%

These statistics illustrate a high overall success rate for student visas in 2020, with certain categories such as Child Student and Tier 4 Child Student exhibiting particularly low refusal rates. Conversely, Other Study and Short Term Study categories faced significantly higher refusal rates.

4. Sponsored Study Visas


In 2020, the UK received 237,243 applications for Sponsored Study visas and made 238,328 decisions. Of these, 232,192 visas were granted and 5,565 applications were rejected, resulting in a high success rate of 97.43% and a low refusal rate of 2.34%.

Sponsored Study Visa Rejection Rates by Country

Rejection rates varied significantly by country of origin:

  • Lowest Rejection Rates:
    1. China: 0.18%
    2. Hong Kong: 0.19%
    3. Malaysia: 0.17%
    4. South Korea: 0.15%
    5. Canada: 0.17%
    6. Japan: 0.06%
    7. Thailand: 0.06%
  • Highest Rejection Rates:
    1. Ghana: 13.86%
    2. India: 5.78%
    3. Pakistan: 4.28%
    4. Bangladesh: 5.14%
    5. Nigeria: 3.83%

Other notable rejection rates included the United States at 0.41%, Saudi Arabia at 2.60%, and Turkey at 0.85%.

These figures illustrate the generally high approval rates for Sponsored Study visas in the UK, with some countries experiencing higher rejection rates than others.

5. Family Visas


In 2020, there were 41,901 applications for UK Family Visas, resulting in 46,496 decisions. Of these, 40,255 visas were granted, and 6,068 applications were rejected. This translates to a success rate of 86.58% and a refusal rate of 13.05%.

Family Visa Route Overview

The ‘Family’ route includes applications from individuals seeking visas based on their relationship to a British citizen or someone settled in the UK. This covers a range of applications such as spouse settlement visas, adult dependent relative visas, and parent of a British child visas. It does not include ‘joining or accompanying’ entry clearance applications, which are for individuals applying due to their relationship with another migrant who is not settled in the UK or a British citizen.

Family Visa Rejection Rates by Country

Rejection rates varied by country of origin:

  • Highest Rejection Rates:
    1. Nepal: 31.96%
    2. Eritrea: 30.50%
    3. Sudan: 27.72%
    4. Syria: 27.20%
    5. Ghana: 22.89%
    6. Nigeria: 18.69%
  • Lowest Rejection Rates:
    1. Hong Kong: 2.39%
    2. United States: 4.93%
    3. Thailand: 5.36%
    4. South Africa: 6.30%
    5. Turkey: 6.64%

Other notable rejection rates included Pakistan at 7.93%, India at 8.25%, and Bangladesh at 8.57%.

These statistics highlight the varying success rates for family visa applications in the UK, reflecting the diverse experiences of applicants from different countries.

6. Work Visas


In 2020, there were 146,080 work visa applications submitted to UK authorities. Of the 132,529 decisions made, 125,173 work visas were granted while 6,528 applications were rejected. This resulted in a success rate of 94.45% and a refusal rate of 4.93% for UK work visas.

Work Visa Rejection Rates by Application Type

  • High Value:
    • 7.49%
  • Skilled:
    • 0.36%
  • Temporary Worker:
    • 1.40%
  • Others:
    • 22.74%

Work Visa Rejection Rates by Country

The data reveals significant variation in rejection rates based on the applicant’s country of origin:

  • Highest Rejection Rate:
    • Turkey: 42.80%
  • Lowest Rejection Rates:
    1. Australia: 0.21%
    2. Ukraine: 0.24%
    3. Canada: 0.24%
    4. United States: 0.58%

Other notable UK visa rejection rates by country in 2020 included:

  1. India: 1.09%
  2. Philippines: 2.90%
  3. Nigeria: 2.18%
  4. Pakistan: 6.36%
  5. South Africa: 0.64%
  6. China: 1.84%
  7. Brazil: 0.81%

7. Tier 2 Skilled Workers


In 2020, the UK received 72,476 applications under the Tier 2 Skilled Workers category. Out of the 78,215 decisions made, 77,760 applications were approved and only 280 were rejected, resulting in a success rate of 99.42% and a refusal rate of 0.36%.

Tier 2 Skilled Worker Visa Rejection Rates by Country

A breakdown by country reveals consistently low rejection rates:

  • 0% Rejection Rates:
    1. Japan
    2. South Korea
    3. Australia
  • Notable Low Rejection Rates:
    1. United States: 0.08%
    2. Canada: 0.09%
    3. India: 0.14%
    4. Egypt: 0.04%
    5. China: 0.35%
    6. Philippines: 0.31%
    7. Pakistan: 0.58%
    8. South Africa: 0.57%
    9. Turkey: 0.50%
    10. Sri Lanka: 0.38%
  • Highest Rejection Rates (still relatively low):
    1. Zimbabwe: 1.10%
    2. Malaysia: 1.08%

Overall, the Tier 2 Skilled Worker visa category in 2020 showed a high acceptance rate across all nationalities, underscoring the UK’s strong approval rate for skilled workers.

8. Tier 5 Temporary Workers


In 2020, the UK processed 25,074 applications for Tier 5 Temporary Workers visas. Out of 27,309 decisions, 26,500 visas were granted while only 383 were rejected. This resulted in a success rate of 97.04% and a refusal rate of 1.40%.

Tier 5 Temporary Worker Visa Rejection Rates by Country

Rejection rates were generally very low across most nationalities:

  • 0% Rejection Rates:
    1. Belarus
    2. Moldova
  • Notable Low Rejection Rates:
    1. Ukraine: 0.20%
    2. Australia: 0.24%
    3. Canada: 0.16%
    4. New Zealand: 0.31%
    5. China: 0.19%
    6. Argentina: 0.29%
    7. Japan: 0.71%
    8. Taiwan: 0.98%
  • Higher Rejection Rates (still relatively low):
    1. India: 7.98%
    2. Nigeria: 7.73%
    3. Hong Kong: 4.76%
    4. United States: 2.19%
    5. Other nationalities: 2.66%

Overall, the Tier 5 Temporary Worker visa category in 2020 demonstrated high approval rates, with most countries experiencing minimal rejection rates.

9. FAQs


UK Visa Rejection Rate 2020

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

    The overall UK visa rejection rate in 2020 was 16.15%, with an approval rate of 83.29%.

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

    EEA Family Permits had the highest rejection rate in 2020, with a refusal rate of 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 countries had the highest rejection rates for visitor visas in 2020?

    Nigeria (39.31%), Ghana (46.23%), and Algeria (44.01%) had the highest rejection rates for UK visitor visas in 2020.

  6. 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.

  7. 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%.

  8. How did the rejection rates for Sponsored Study visas vary by country in 2020?

    Rejection rates for Sponsored Study visas in 2020 were very low for countries like China (0.18%), Hong Kong (0.19%), and Malaysia (0.17%). Higher rates were seen for Ghana (13.86%), India (5.78%), and Pakistan (4.28%).

  9. What was the success rate for Tier 2 Skilled Worker visas in 2020?

    The success rate for Tier 2 Skilled Worker visas in 2020 was 99.42%, with a rejection rate of only 0.36%.

  10. What was the success rate for Tier 5 Temporary Worker visas in 2020?

    The success rate for Tier 5 Temporary Worker visas in 2020 was 97.04%, with a refusal rate of 1.40%.

  11. Which countries had the lowest rejection rates for work visas in 2020?

    Countries like Australia (0.21%), Ukraine (0.24%), and Canada (0.24%) had some of the lowest rejection rates for UK work visas in 2020.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.