How to Withdraw a UK Immigration Application
There are various reasons why you may need to withdraw an immigration application. Perhaps an emergency has arisen prompting a change of plans? Or maybe you noticed that you made a mistake filling out the form? Conversely, you may wish to ensure that you do not inadvertently withdraw an application which you want to be considered, for example by requesting the return of a passport for travel. In this post we will be discussing the rules and guidance around withdrawing an immigration application.
When can I withdraw my immigration application?
The Immigration Rules state that an applicant may ask to withdraw their immigration application at any time before a decision is made on the application.
If the request to withdraw the application is accepted, the date of withdrawal is the date on which the request was received by the Home Office. The withdrawal cannot be stopped once it’s been received by UK Visas and Immigration.
If you are in the UK you must make a valid application before your leave expires. If you have to withdraw your application, remember to reapply before this date to avoid becoming an overstayer.
You may also be able to vary your application. To do so you must submit a further valid application, this will be treated as a valid application and only the most recent application will be considered.
If you were told to attend a biometric enrolment appointment, the appointment at which you give your fingerprints and photo, but you have not yet attended the appointment you will usually be able to get a refund for your application fee.
If you have already attended a biometric enrolment appointment, your application fees will not usually be refunded.
If you used the smartphone app, you can get a refund if:
- You did not select “confirm and upload” in the app- either uploading your evidence or confirming that there is no evidence to upload.
- You withdrew the application before the deadline to upload your evidence.
After UK Visas and Immigration confirms your application has been withdrawn it may take up to 28 days for you to get your refund, so remember to check your bank account.
What is the process for withdrawing an immigration application?
The process for withdrawing your application depends on several factors:
- Whether you are applying from inside or outside the UK;
- Whether you have already attended your biometric enrolment appointment;
- Whether you used the smartphone app.
If you have not yet attended a biometric enrolment appointment and you are applying from within the UK, fill in this online form.
If you have not yet attended a biometric enrolment appointment and you are applying from outside the UK, sign in to your account using your unique link and go to ‘Section 6: further actions’. There you will find an option to cancel your application.
If you have already attended a biometric enrolment appointment and you are applying from within the UK, fill in this online form.
If you have already attended a biometric enrolment appointment and you are applying from outside the UK, you will need to contact UK Visas and Immigration. You can find the contact details here.
If you used the smartphone app, whether inside or outside the UK, sign in to your account where you will find an option to ‘Withdraw this application’.
What is the difference between a withdrawn application and a void application?
A void application is different to a withdrawn application. A void application is where it would not be possible to grant the applicant the permission for which they applied. For example, an application is void if the applicant dies before the decision is made, if someone who is exempt from immigration control makes an application, or if someone with indefinite leave to remain makes an application for limited leave to remain.
Can the Home Office refuse my request to withdraw my application?
Yes, the Immigration Rules do not require the Home Office to agree to requests to withdraw applications. The Home Office may decide instead to decide the application.
Home Office guidance states that the most common reason why they may refuse to accept a withdrawal request is where there is a suspicion regarding deception. For example, they may refuse to accept a withdrawal request if they suspect that the application has knowingly submitted fraudulent documents.
Can I travel while my immigration application is being processed?
This is the common way in which an applicant can inadvertently get their application withdrawn.
The Immigration Rules state that where an application for permission to stay made from within the UK is being processed and the applicant travels outside of the common travel area the application will be treated as withdrawn on the date the applicant left the common travel area.
Therefore, it is important to check the processing times before you make an application and plan your travel around them. If you urgently need to travel you can check whether priority services are available for your immigration application.
If you have made an application from outside the UK, you may purchase the passport passback service and travel to the UK while your application is being processed. However, you may have issues crossing the border.
For example, if you make an application on a route which leads to settlement, the Border Officer may not be satisfied that you are a genuine visitor. This is because a genuine visitor intends to leave the UK at the end of their visit, an intention which is at odds with your application. To avoid any issues you may want to carry your return ticket with you and be ready to explain the situation.
What if I am an asylum seeker? Do the same rules apply?
The rules regarding when an asylum application is withdrawn are very different.
If you want to explicitly withdraw your application you can submit a valid withdrawal form or simply contact the Home Office explicitly confirming in writing that you wish to withdraw the asylum claim.
However, the Home Office will also treat your asylum application as implicitly withdrawn if:
- You fail to maintain contact, or provide up to date contact details;
- You leave the UK without authorisation at any time prior to the conclusion of your application for asylum;
- You fail to complete an asylum questionnaire when requested to do so;
- You fail to attend any reporting events and you are unable to demonstrate within a reasonable time that failure to do so was due to circumstances beyond your control;
- You fail to attend a personal interview and you are unable to demonstrate within a reasonable time that failure to do so was due to circumstances beyond your control.
What if I need to travel while my asylum claim is pending?
If you need to travel while your asylum application is pending you will need to ask the Home Office for authorisation.
You must include the purpose of the travel and the duration of travel outside of the UK. Home Office guidance states that requests will be accepted “in the most exceptional circumstances” such as “serious illness or death of a close family member or access to medical treatment abroad as it is unavailable in the UK”.
If you request your passport back and travel without authorisation your asylum application will be treated as implicitly withdrawn.
What if my asylum application has been wrongly withdrawn?
Home Office guidance states that explicit withdrawals of asylum applications will only be cancelled if:
- You or your legal representative provide evidence that you lacked the mental capacity to understand the decision to explicitly withdraw the claim;
- You send a request to cancel the withdrawal within 60 days of the date on which the withdrawal was administered on Home Office systems.
The guidance goes on to give a non-exhaustive list of situations where an implicit withdrawal of an asylum application will be cancelled and the asylum claim will be reinstated:
- Where you were being cared for in hospital and so missed correspondence sent to your home address;
- Where you were not issued a warning or sent the relevant paperwork confirming that your claim would be withdrawn if you failed to maintain contact with the Home Office;
- Where you were bailed to no fixed abode and were not informed that you must update the Home Office with your residential and correspondence address to progress your claim;
- Where you did not receive the relevant paperwork as it was sent to the incorrect address due to a Home Office administrative or IT error;
- Where you were unable to access your correspondence due to domestic violence. The Home Office has a presumption that victims of domestic violence should be believed and will not ask you for corroborating evidence at this stage.
It has been reported that high numbers of asylum applications have been implicitly withdrawn after a recent change in the Immigration Rules, so if you believe that your asylum application has been wrongly withdrawn make sure to contact the Home Office to maintain your lawful immigration status.
Contact Our Immigration Barristers
If you believe that your immigration application has been wrongly withdrawn or if you are seeking to withdraw your application, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.