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Mistakes and Errors in UK Visa Applications (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this two-part series on visa application mistakes, we looked at how an ‘innocent mistake’ in a UK visa application is distinguished from a false representation in the Home Office caseworker guidance. In Part 2 we will examine some of the risks of submitting a UK visa application containing mistakes, in addition to the remedial steps that can be taken after a mistake has been discovered. 

The Risks of Submitting a UK Visa Application Containing Mistakes

Oftentimes, an applicant may not know that they have made a mistake on their UK visa application until they receive a decision. The outcome will, of course, depend on the nature of the mistake, how relevant the mistake is to the assessment of the application, and whether the mistake can be viewed as an innocent mistake in light of all evidence submitted, as set out in Part 1 of this series.

Grant of an Application Containing Inconsequential Mistakes

Where an innocent mistake has been made, but it is not found to constitute a false representation (as discussed below) and the mistake made is not material (i.e is not relevant) to the applicant’s eligibility for the visa, it may fall under the ‘innocent mistake’ exception as set out in Part 1 of this series. In these instances, where all other requirements are met in full, an application is likely to succeed without any issues arising. It is worth noting that innocent mistakes, or omissions of documents, may alternatively be considered under evidential flexibility provisions, as set out within this blog post

It is, nevertheless, worth noting that inconsistencies across applications can still result in adverse findings of credibility, which may have serious consequences on an individual’s status in the UK, and their future immigration applications. If you are concerned about a mistake made in a previous application, you may wish to discuss this with one of our immigration barristers.

Findings of False Representations and Deception

It is possible that a mistake might lead a caseworker to consider that the applicant is engaging in deception. In Part 9: grounds for refusal to the Immigration Rules, the grounds for a discretionary or mandatory visa refusal on the basis of deception or false representations are considered. Please note that for some immigration routes, including the partner route under Appendix FM, there are alternative suitability requirements to consider when submitting an application.

Under Paragraph 9.7.2 of Part 9, an application must be refused where the caseworker can prove that it is more likely than not that deception was used in the application. This requires a finding beyond mere “doubts” or “concerns” based on the information and documents submitted – dishonesty or deception must be evident in the application. You may wish to see this blog post for further information, but please note that this post contains references to outdated versions of the Home Office Guidance.

Meanwhile, under Paragraph 9.7.1. of Part 9, an application may be refused on the grounds that the applicant has made false representations, submitted false information or false documents, or failed to disclose relevant facts. For an in-depth look at false representations, please see this article. As set out in Part 1 of this series, where false representations arise, caseworkers are obliged to consider whether a mistake has been made. Unless they are satisfied that the inaccuracy caused by a mistake is the result of deception, an application should not be refused on the grounds of false representations.

Before an application is refused on the basis that false representations have been made, the Home Office should notify the applicant of their suspicions, and they must invite the applicant to provide an explanation. In Balajigari v Home Secretary [2019] EWCA Civ_673, the court highlighted the relevant duties of Home Office in ensuring procedural fairness, and confirmed that the decision maker should take into account the response provided by the applicant.

If a mistake in an application leads to a refusal on the basis of false representations, there are several steps that the applicant can take, as set out in this article.

It is also worth noting that Section 3C leave can be cancelled where it is more likely than not that deception was used in an application to remain in the UK. 

The Application is Wrongfully Granted

In some instances, a mistake may lead to an applicant being granted a UK visa where the requirements otherwise would not have been met. It is imperative that in these circumstances, the error is reported at the earliest opportunity. As set out below, both the applicant’s current leave and any future applications might be impacted by a wrongful grant.

Cancellations After an Application has been Approved

Paragraph 9.7.3. of Part 9 sets out that existing entry clearance or permission to remain in the UK may be cancelled on the grounds that the applicant made false representations, submitted false information or false documents, or failed to disclose relevant facts. The Home Office guidance also confirms that in-country cancellation can take place where this deception or false representations was identified at a later stage.

The Status Review Unit (SRU) is the department which ordinarily manages such findings, and it may decide to cancel a person’s extant leave. It is important to note that cancellation decisions made on or after 06 April 2015 cannot be appealed, nor can they be challenged by administrative review.

The Application is Refused, but the Applicant Meets the Rules

As set out in Part 1 of this series, minor but immaterial inaccuracies, such as typographical errors should not lead to a refusal. It is, nevertheless, possible that a mistake may lead to an application being refused where the mistake prompts the decision maker to believe that the requirements for the visa are not met in full.

In these circumstances, the applicant may be able to apply for an administrative review. However, ordinarily, the only ground for administrative review is that the Home Office has made a case working error. Before pursuing an administrative review, it is worth seeking specialist legal advice to assess the merits and whether the assessment would fall within the ambit of a ‘case working error’.

An applicant may alternatively submit a fresh application, in which they will need to disclose the previous refusal and the reasons for refusal. You may wish to speak to one of our barristers for expert advice on making a fresh application if your application has been refused due to an error or mistake.

What Can I do About a Mistake on my UK Visa Application?

Regardless of whether an applicant has instructed a legal representative or is preparing an application independently, they ought to take precautions to ensure that the information included in their application is correct. To this end, applicants ought to thoroughly review their application form and supporting documents prior to submission, to avoid a situation where remedial steps must be taken.

The visa application process can be stressful at times, as such it is not surprising that many applicants make innocent mistakes or overlook important details in their applications. There are several options available to applicants who have submitted an application containing mistakes.

Contact UKVI from outside the UK

If you seek to contact UKVI from outside the United Kingdom to resolve a mistake made on your visa application, you can either submit an online enquiry or contact them by phone. Contact centre staff will have no involvement in the outcome of your visa application, and they will be unable to give you advice relating to your personal circumstances.

As of writing this article, UKVI offers contact staff who speak English, Arabic, Cantonese, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish.

Online Enquiries

Submitting an online enquiry incurs a fee of £2.74 (GBP), which covers both your initial email and any follow-up emails relating to the same enquiry.  While you are required to enter your debit or credit card details before the message is sent, you will not be charged until the enquiry has been submitted. Currently, there is a standard wait time of five working days once an online enquiry has been submitted. For urgent enquiries, it is recommended that you contact UKVI by phone.

Phone Enquiries

Phone calls to UKVI from outside the UK can be made on +44 (0)300 790 6268, where you should select option one for English speaking staff. Calls cost 69 pence (GBP) per minute, on top of your standard network charges. If you are unable to contact UK 0300 numbers, you should telephone +44 (0)203 875 4669 instead. The line for English-speaking staff is open 24 hours a day from Monday to Friday. The following languages are also available, subject to the time slots below:

  • Arabic Sunday to Thursday, 5am to 1pm UK local time;
  • Cantonese Monday to Friday, 1am to 9am UK local time;
  • French Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm UK local time;
  • Hindi Monday to Friday, 4am to midday UK local time;
  • Mandarin Monday to Friday, 1am to 9am UK local time;
  • Russian Monday to Friday, 6am to 2pm UK local time;
  • Spanish
 Monday to Friday, 1pm to 1am UK local time.

Contacting UKVI From Within the UK

If you have made a mistake on your visa application, and wish to contact UKVI from inside the UK, you can telephone 0300 790 6268, and select option two. This line is open from Monday to Thursday from 9:00am to 4:45pm and on Fridays from 9:00am to 4:30pm, excluding bank holidays. For more information on the call charges, click here.

Cancelling Your Visa Application

You may wish to withdraw your visa application if you have made a mistake. Then, you can draft a fresh application and reapply. For a comprehensive guide to withdrawing an immigration application, see this blog post.

You may also be eligible for a refund when cancelling your application, though this will depend on the timing of the withdrawal. I recommend that you read this article if you seek to pursue a refund for your application fee. Refunds are paid automatically within 28 days into the bank account used to pay the application fee.

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice in relation to a UK visa application or immigration appeal, contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.


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