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Visit Visa Refusals and the New Immigration Rules

Changes to the UK visit visa rules came into effect on 1 December 2020. There are minor changes to this route. 

A visitor is classified as either a visa national or non-visa national. A visa national who intends to visit the UK must apply for entry clearance as a visitor prior to arriving in the UK. From 1 January 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will be classified as non-visa nationals and will not be required to obtain a visa to enter the UK when visiting for less than 6 months.

Visit Visa Suitability Requirements

The new Immigration Rules have replaced the suitability requirements in the old rules with the provisions of Part 9 of the Immigration Rules. Under the new criminality threshold, an applicant who is seeking to enter for less than 6 months must be refused where the applicant: “(a) has been convicted of a criminal offence in the UK or overseas for which they have received a custodial sentence of less than 12 months, unless more than 12 months have passed since the end of the end of the custodial sentence; or (b) has been convicted of a criminal offence in the UK or overseas for which they have received a non-custodial sentence, or received an out-of-court disposal that is recorded on their criminal record, unless more than 12 months have passed since the date of conviction.” For further information on the changes to the general grounds of refusal, please refer to our recent published article.    

Genuine Visitor 

Under the new Appendix V: Visitor of the Immigration Rules, applicants must show that they have a genuine intention to visit.  If you are applying for a Visit Visa you will need to show that:

  • You will leave the UK at the end of your visit;
  • You will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home;
  • The purpose of your entry is permitted by the visitor route;
  • You will not be doing any prohibited activities set out in the Immigration Rules; and
  • You must have sufficient funds to cover your stay in the UK. Any funds you wish to rely on are held in a permitted financial institution.

There will be additional eligibility requirements for those who are coming to the UK for a specific reason, for example, for private medical treatment, to study, for marriage etc.

Intention to Leave the UK

The foremost question is whether an applicant will leave the UK at the end of their proposed visit. Are they making frequent and successive visits to the UK? By applying for a visitor visa, you are stating that you will return to your home country at the end of your visit. Have you shown sufficient ties to your home country? What commitments do you have in your home country? If you have not provided evidence or reasons for successive visits, these may give rise to a reason for the refusal of your application. 

Reasons for the Visit

It is important for an applicant to explain their own circumstances and the plans for the visit. Have you explained the purpose of your visit? Have you included plans for your visit? Do you know how long you will be staying in the UK? Do you know where you will be staying during your visit? Lacking in details can often lead to reasons for refusal. 


A visitor is also expected to demonstrate that he or she has sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs of their visit. However, the funds may be provided by a third party. The third party is expected to prove a genuine professional or personal relationship with the applicant, that he or she is not in breach of immigration laws at the time of the decision or the applicant’s entry to the UK as a visitor and he or she is able to support the applicant during his or her stay as a visitor. The Home Office often assesses the information provided separately from the third party’s part of the application. 

Reasons for refusal can include where the Home Office questions the applicant’s finances and is not satisfied that the applicant’s purpose is to visit. How long will you be away from your job? Are you able to explain the origin of the funds in your bank account? If you are visiting the UK with your dependants, are the funds sufficient to cover the duration of your stay? With the changes to the rules, you must ensure that the funds are held in a permitted financial institution. It is therefore important to seek legal advice as to the relevant documents required showing that you can meet the requirements and how the costs of your visit will be met.

Permitted and Prohibited Activities 

As a visitor for leisure and tourism, you are allowed to take part in a list of permitted activities. The new rules now allow visitors to study for a longer period of up to six months. However, you are not allowed to undertake paid or unpaid work unless these are permitted. If you are coming to the UK to conduct business on a visit visa, there are general activities which you are allowed to do and activities which you are not permitted to carry out. For more information, please contact our immigration barristers.  

Next Steps

When planning a fresh application following a visit visa refusal, it is important to address every reason for the refusal. In addition, you will also need to make sure that you meet all the other requirements of a visit visa and provide sufficient evidence in support. If you have new evidence to submit, you may want to provide a clear explanation if it may cause any confusion. 

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance with a visit visa application, contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below. 


To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

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