Immigration Specialists London

UK Visa Success Rate by Country: This comprehensive analysis explores UK visa refusal and success rates by country for 2019 and 2018, covering all entry clearance applications including Visitor, Family (Spouse), Work, Tier 1 High Value Migrants, Tier 2 Skilled Workers, Tier 4 Students, and Tier 5 Temporary Workers. It also examines UK visa approval and rejection rates post-Covid-19 restrictions, with a focus on July-September 2020 (Q3). The article provides detailed insights into the trends and factors influencing visa decisions, offering a clear understanding of the overall UK visa landscape during these periods.


UK Visa Success Rate by Country 2019

1. UK Visa Success Rate 2019: Overview


In 2019, according to Official Statistics, 3,620,891 Entry Clearance Applications were submitted from outside the UK. A total of 3,628,404 decisions were made, resulting in 3,179,235 visas granted, 439,949 applications rejected, 9,155 applications withdrawn, and 65 applications lapsed. Therefore, the UK visa success rate in 2019 was 87.62%, with a refusal rate of 12.13%.

Compared to 2018, the total number of entry clearance grants increased significantly. In 2018, there were 2,902,009 grants, while in 2019, the number rose by 277,226 (9.55%) to 3,179,235 grants due to a higher number of applications.

UK Visa Success Rate 2019 by Category Breakdown

  • Total Work Visas: 96.21% (193,517 grants)
    • PBS Tier 1 High Value Migrants: 82.54% (5,664 grants)
    • Tier 2 Skilled Workers: 98.45% (113,958 grants)
    • Tier 5 Youth Mobility and Temporary Workers: 96.57% (43,576 grants)
    • Non-PBS Work Visas: 90.73% (30,319 grants)
  • Total Study Visas: 96.03% (405,353 grants)
    • Tier 4 Students: 98.32% (285,508 grants)
    • Non-PBS Study Visas: 90.98% (119,845 grants)
  • Total Family Visas: 79.78% (56,647 grants)
    • Total dependent joining or accompanying others: 92.41% (9,472 grants)
    • EEA Family Permits: 48.70% (46,111 grants)
    • EUSS Family Permits: 76.94% (6,690 grants)
  • Total Visitor Visas: 87.46% (2,417,260 grants)
  • Transit and Other Visas: 77.84% (44,185 grants)
  • Overall UK Visa Success Rate 2019
    • The overall UK visa success rate in 2019 was 87.62%, with 3,179,235 visas granted.

Impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19) on UK Visa Success Rate 2020

During July-September 2020 (Q3), after the reopening of UK Visa Application Centres (UKVAC) due to Covid-19, 292,753 Entry Clearance Applications were submitted from outside the UK. Out of 293,021 decisions made, 255,854 visas were granted, 34,390 applications were rejected, 2,774 applications were withdrawn, and 92 applications lapsed. This resulted in a UK visa success rate of 87.32% and a refusal rate of 11.74% in 2020 Q3.

For comparison, in July-September 2019 (Q3), UKVI made 1,143,819 decisions. The number of decisions in 2020 Q3 was three times less than in 2019 Q3 due to the impact of Covid-19. The UK visa success rate in 2020 Q3 (87.32%) was slightly lower than in 2019 Q3 (88.42%), primarily due to an increase in the visitor visa refusal rate from 12.3% to 22.75%.

2. Visitor Visa Success Rate 2019


In 2019, there were 2,764,288 Entry Clearance Applications submitted for UK visitor visas. Of these, 2,763,746 decisions were made, resulting in 2,417,260 visitor visas granted and 340,797 applications rejected. This translates to a UK visitor visa success rate of 87.46% and a refusal rate of 12.33%. Additionally, 5,645 applications were withdrawn and 44 applications lapsed during the year.

UK Visitor Visa Refusal Rate by Country 2019

Among the top twenty countries, the following nations submitted the highest number of UK visitor visa applications in 2019:

  1. China: 666,301 applications
  2. India: 579,149 applications
  3. Russia: 135,574 applications
  4. Nigeria: 132,996 applications
  5. Saudi Arabia: 123,282 applications
  6. Pakistan: 110,739 applications
  7. South Africa: 104,821 applications

The refusal rates varied significantly among these countries:

  • Highest Refusal Rates:
    1. Algeria: 45.47%
    2. Ghana: 42.63%
    3. Bangladesh: 40.35%
    4. Pakistan: 37.20%
    5. Nigeria: 32.16%
    6. Sri Lanka: 23.07%
  • Lowest Refusal Rates:
    1. Saudi Arabia: 0.30%
    2. Russia: 1.23%
    3. China: 3.06%
    4. South Africa: 3.11%
    5. Colombia: 3.38%

For nationalities not included in the top twenty, the average UK visitor visa refusal rate was 21.57%.

3. Student Visa Success Rate 2019


In 2019, there were 292,720 Entry Clearance Applications submitted for the PBS Tier 4 Student visa. Out of 290,378 decisions made, 285,508 Tier 4 student visas were granted and 4,414 applications were rejected. This resulted in a UK Tier 4 student visa success rate of 98.32% and a refusal rate of 1.52%. Additionally, 455 applications were withdrawn and one application lapsed during the year.

Tier 4 Student Visa Refusal Rate by Country (2019)

The refusal rates for Tier 4 Student visas varied by country, with the highest and lowest rates as follows:

  • Lowest Refusal Rates:
    1. China: 0.21%
    2. Thailand: 0.16%
    3. Taiwan: 0.17%
    4. Canada: 0.24%
    5. Singapore: 0.24%
  • Highest Refusal Rates:
    1. Pakistan: 9.27%
    2. Nigeria: 7.80%
    3. Bangladesh: 7.76%
    4. Vietnam: 2.73%
    5. Saudi Arabia: 2.04%

Overall, the UK Tier 4 student visa process in 2019 demonstrated a high success rate across most nationalities, with the overall refusal rate standing at 1.52%.

4. Family Visa Success Rate 2019


In 2019, there were 58,897 Entry Clearance Applications submitted for UK family visas. Out of 71,006 decisions made, 56,647 family visas were granted, resulting in a success rate of 79.78%. Additionally, 13,924 applications were rejected, leading to a refusal rate of 19.61%. There were also 426 applications withdrawn and nine applications lapsed during the year.

Family Visa Applications and Refusal Rates by Nationality

The family visa route in the UK includes visas based on a relationship to a person settled in the UK or a British citizen. This category includes spouse settlement visas, adult dependent relatives, and parents of British children, but does not cover the ‘joining or accompanying’ entry clearance applications.

  • Top Nationalities for Family Visa Applications (2019)
    • Pakistani: 8,985 applications
    • Indian: 4,278 applications
    • Nepali: 2,856 applications
    • United States: 2,856 applications
    • Bangladeshi: 2,581 applications
    • Eritrean: 2,562 applications
    • Iranian: 2,229 applications
  • Highest Family Visa Refusal Rates (2019)
    • Nepali: 31.91%
    • Eritrean: 29.92%
    • Ghanaian: 29.50%
    • Sudanese: 28.11%
    • Syrian: 27.65%
    • Nigerian: 27.60%
  • Lowest Family Visa Refusal Rates (2019)
    • Iranian: 9.64%
    • South African: 9.96%
    • Iraqi: 10.79%
    • United States: 11.10%
    • Australian: 12.07%

The average refusal rate for family visas among nationalities not in the top twenty was 22.31%

Overall, the UK family visa process in 2019 demonstrated varying success rates across different nationalities, with the overall refusal rate standing at 19.61%.

5. Work Visa Success Rate 2019


In 2019, there were 201,756 Entry Clearance Applications submitted for UK work visas. Out of 201,150 decisions made, 193,517 work visas were granted under the following categories:

  • Non-PBS work:
    • 30,319
  • Tier 1 (High value):
    • 5,664
  • Tier 2 (Skilled):
    • 113,958
  • PBS Tier 5 (Youth mobility and temporary worker):
    • 43,576

Additionally, 7,046 work visa applications were rejected, resulting in a UK work visa success rate of 96.21% and a refusal rate of 3.50%. There were also 585 applications withdrawn and two applications lapsed during the year.

UK Work Visa Refusal Rate by Country 2019

Among the top nationalities, the following countries submitted the highest number of UK work visa entry clearance applications in 2019:

  • Top Nationalities for Work Visa Applications (2019)
    • India: 65,776 applications
    • Philippines: 18,365 applications
    • Australia: 14,259 applications
    • United States: 13,842 applications
    • Turkey: 7,599 applications
    • China: 6,475 applications
    • Canada: 5,966 applications
  • Highest Refusal Rates:
    1. Pakistan: 12.22%
    2. Turkey: 10.99%
    3. Indonesia: 8.72%
    4. Nigeria: 7.11%
  • Lowest Refusal Rates:
    1. Japan: 0.61%
    2. Ukraine: 1.01%
    3. Australia: 1.27%
    4. New Zealand: 1.51%
    5. United States: 1.67%

For nationalities not included in the top twenty, the average UK work visa refusal rate was 6.70%.

Tier 2 Skilled Workers

In 2019, there were 115,403 Entry Clearance Applications submitted for Tier 2 work visas. Of the 115,747 decisions made, 113,958 Tier 2 visas were granted, and 1,686 applications were rejected. This resulted in a Tier 2 visa success rate of 98.45% and a refusal rate of 1.46%. Additionally, 102 applications were withdrawn, and one application lapsed during the year.

Tier 2 Skilled Work Visa Refusal Rate by Country 2019

The refusal rates for Tier 2 Skilled Work visas varied by country, with the highest and lowest rates as follows:

  • Lowest Refusal Rates:
    1. Japan: 0.28%
    2. India: 0.83%
    3. United States: 0.94%
    4. Philippines: 0.99%
    5. Australia: 1.04%
  • Highest Refusal Rates:
    1. Zimbabwe: 6.67%
    2. Jamaica: 5.32%
    3. Pakistan: 3.79%
    4. Nigeria: 3.49%
    5. Other nationalities: 3.02%

Tier 5 Temporary Workers

In 2019, there were 44,546 Entry Clearance Applications submitted for Tier 5 work visas. Of the 45,123 decisions made, 43,576 Tier 5 visas were granted, and 1,329 applications were rejected. This resulted in a Tier 5 visa success rate of 96.57% and a refusal rate of 2.95%. Additionally, 218 applications were withdrawn, and no applications lapsed during the year.

Tier 5 Temporary Worker Visa Refusal Rate by Country 2019

The refusal rates for Tier 5 Temporary Worker visas varied by country, with the highest and lowest rates as follows:

  • Lowest Refusal Rates:
    1. Ukraine: 0.38%
    2. Argentina: 0.47%
    3. Turkey: 1.01%
    4. China: 1.05%
    5. Japan: 1.10%
  • Highest Refusal Rates:
    1. Nigeria: 16.97%
    2. Pakistan: 10.50%
    3. South Africa: 8.25%
    4. Other nationalities: 6.47%
    5. India: 4.62%

6. UK Visa Success Rate: 2018 Summary


According to Official Statistics for the April-June 2018 quarter, there were 1,100,856 applications submitted for UK Entry Clearance Visas globally. Out of 1,041,108 entry clearance decisions made, 937,845 visas were granted, resulting in a success rate of 90.08% and a refusal rate of 9.67%. Additionally, 2,553 applications were withdrawn, and twenty-six applications lapsed during the quarter.

UK Visa Success Rates by Application Type (2018)

  • Tier 1 High Value Migrants
    • Main Applicants:
      • Tier 1 – General: 0.00%
      • Tier 1 – Investors: 97.87%
      • Tier 1 – Entrepreneurs: 56.24%
      • Tier 1 – Graduate Entrepreneurs: 100.00%
      • Tier 1 – Exceptional Talent: 99.19%
      • Tier 1 – Other: 0.00%
      • Other Permit Free Employment – High Value: 74.46%
    • Dependents:
      • Tier 1 – General: 66.67%
      • Tier 1 – Investors: 93.46%
      • Tier 1 – Entrepreneurs: 81.79%
      • Tier 1 – Graduate Entrepreneurs: 90.48%
      • Tier 1 – Post Study: 0.00%
      • Tier 1 – Exceptional Talent: 97.26%
      • Tier 1 – Other: 0.00%
  • Tier 2 High Skilled Workers
    • Main Applicants:
      • Tier 2 – General: 96.64%
      • Tier 2 – Intra Company Transfers: 98.70%
      • Tier 2 – Intra Company Transfers Short Term: 100.00%
      • Tier 2 – Intra Company Transfers Long Term: 99.55%
      • Tier 2 – Ministers of Religion: 83.21%
      • Tier 2 – Sportsperson: 100.00%
      • Work Permit Holders: 97.30%
    • Dependents:
      • Tier 2 – Dependent: 95.47%
      • Tier 2 – Intra Company Transfers Short Term: 100.00%
      • Tier 2 – Intra Company Transfers Long Term: 99.52%
      • Work Permit Holders: 93.94%
  • Tier 5 Temporary Workers
    • Charity Workers (Main Applicants): 80.97%
    • Creative and Sporting (Main Applicants): 93.01%
    • Government Authorised Exchange (Main Applicants): 98.68%
    • International Agreement (Main Applicants): 90.06%
    • Religious Workers (Main Applicants): 86.23%
    • Youth Mobility (Main Applicants): 97.74%
    • Dependent: 92.33%
  • Other Non-PBS Work Visas
    • Domestic Workers in Private Households
      • Main Applicants: 89.66%
      • Dependent: 36.36%
    • Other Permit Free Employment
      • Non-PBS (Main Applicants): 83.60%
      • Not Allocated (Main Applicants): 99.28%
    • Others:
      • UK Ancestry (Main Applicants): 95.06%
  • Students
    • Tier 4
      • General Student (Main Applicants): 98.38%
      • Child Student (Main Applicants): 96.58%
      • General Student (Dependent): 92.31%
    • Others
      • Short-term Study (Previously Student Visitors): 94.52%
  • Family Route
    • Family:
      • Partner: 78.53%
      • Partner (for Immediate Settlement): 92.98%
      • Child: 66.52%
      • Child (for Immediate Settlement): 53.35%
      • Other: 69.03%
      • Other (for Immediate Settlement): 26.42%
    • Joining or Accompanying:
      • Partner: 94.48%
      • Child: 94.26%
      • Other: 60.00%
  • Visitors and Other Temporary
    • EEA Family Permits: 58.34%
    • Visitors (Main Applicants): 89.35%
    • Visitors (Dependent): 92.38%
    • Transit: 92.46%
    • Other Temporary: 97.28%
    • Certificate of Entitlement to Right of Abode: 87.55%
    • Other Settlement (Indefinite Leave): 84.79%
  • Overall
    • UK Visa Success Rate 2018: 90.08%.

7. UK Visa Success Rate by Country 2018


During Q2 2018, nationals from various countries submitted applications for UK visas and immigration.

The top five countries with the highest number of applications were:

The UK visa refusal rate by country among the top ten countries were notably high for:

Conversely, the lowest UK visa refusal rate by country among the top ten were for:

UK Visa Success Rate by Geographic Location 2018

Overall, the UK visa success rates in Q2 2018 varied significantly by geography, with countries in East Asia, Western Europe, and the Middle East generally showing higher success rates compared to countries in regions like West Africa and North Africa.

8. FAQs: UK Visa Success Rate by Country


  1. What was the overall UK visa success rate in 2019?

    The overall UK visa success rate in 2019 was 87.62%, with a total of 3,179,235 visas granted out of 3,628,404 decisions made.

  2. Which category had the highest UK visa success rate in 2019?

    The Tier 2 Skilled Worker visa category had one of the highest success rates in 2019, with a success rate of 98.45%.

  3. How did the Covid-19 pandemic impact UK visa success rates in 2020?

    During Q3 2020, the UK visa success rate was slightly lower at 87.32% compared to Q3 2019. This decrease was primarily due to an increase in the visitor visa refusal rate from 12.3% to 22.75%.

  4. Which country had the highest UK visa refusal rate in 2018?

    In 2018, Nigeria had the highest UK visa refusal rate among the top ten countries, with a refusal rate of 35.68%.

  5. What was the success rate for Tier 4 student visas in 2019?

    The success rate for Tier 4 student visas in 2019 was 98.32%, with 285,508 visas granted out of 290,378 decisions made.