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Visit Visa Applications (Online Course)

What is covered?

With nearly 300,000 visit visa refusals last year, and the loss of the right of appeal for family visitors, preparing a visit visa application has never been more difficult. For those applying from many countries, the predictable refusal of a visit visa has become a sad feature of the UK Home Office’s clampdown on migration. This course and eBook aims to help you prepare visit visa applications that stand out from the crowd, and which will impress even the most hard-nosed Entry Clearance Officer.

In this online course we will cover:

– the current rules, Home Office guidance and caselaw on visit applications

-remedies, including applying again, human rights appeals, and judicial review

-how to prepare an impressive application

This course  has been developed by immigration expert, Julian Bild from our public training courses.
eBook included, produced May 2017

Course Extract:

Overview

Key features of the Rules include:

  • – A systemic method – different classes of visitor can participate in a different range of permitted activities (set out in V1.5 read with Appendix 3)
  • – Four types of visit, each with a specific permitted duration:
  • – Standard (up to 6 months) though
  • – if coming for private medical treatment, then up to 11 months
  • – if coming as an academic conducting permitted activities up to 12 months
  • – if coming under the Approved Destination Status Agreement (for Chinese nationals), up to 30 days
  • – Marriage/civil partnership (up to 6 months)
  • – Permitted paid engagements (up to 1 month)
  • – Transit (up to 48 hours although leave to enter under the Transit Without Visa Scheme runs until 23:59 the day after arrival)
  • – Eligibility criteria for each class of visitor (Part V4)
  • – A bespoke Suitability code (Part V3) albeit one that is almost identical to the general refusal regimes with which we are familiar in other parts of immigration control
  • – A prohibition on certain activities (V4.5-V4.10)
  • – Subject to those prohibitions, a range of permitted activities are available to all visitors (save for Chinese tourists who are on the specific ADS scheme) in Appendix 3

Relevant sources of information are the:

Home Office policy/guidance used to provide substantially more detail than now, and some of the older guidance may have useful things to say. Whilst it may no longer reflect Home Office policy, it will be hard for the Home Office to argue that older policy on substantially the same rules is no longer applicable. You can find it here:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20150423095738/https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/visiting-modernised-guidance

Procedurally it is worth noting that the Rules:

  • – Are located in Appendix V
  • – Have, compared to other section of the Immigration Rules, a user friendly style
  • – Comprise a standalone code that rarely cross references beyond Appendix V itself (thus the general refusal reasons and the general definitions in the Rules do not apply unless specifically cross-referenced – they have their own “definitions” at Appendix 1, and visa nationals are identified at Appendix 2)
  • – And that Appendix V has its own appendices.

Some principles:

  • – Visa nationals require visit visas (V1.2; see Appendix 2 to Appendix V for the list of visa national countries). A six-month visit visa costs £89.
  • – Non-visa nationals may simply travel and then seek leave to enter as a visitor at the port of entry, unless seeking to visit for more than 6 months or visiting for the purposes of marriage of civil partnership, or of giving notice of such (V1.3-V1.4)
  • – Non-visa nationals may apply for a visa (V1.3)
  • – Each visitor in a group must fully satisfy the rules
  • – A visa will be valid, unless single or dual entry, for multiple uses during its lifetime (V1.6) (thus the term “multiple entry” visa): it will usually be issued for six months. Where the person has built up a good immigration history, the HO may be willing to grant a visit visa for 2, 5 or 10 years, but which cannot be used for any single visit for more than six months. On each entry, the person will be treated as having been granted leave to enter for six months (under the Leave to Enter or Remain Order 2000). A different fee is payable according to the duration sought (2 years – £337, 5 years – £612, 10 years – £767). In a move to attract Chinese tourists to the UK, standard visit visas issued in China will be valid for two years (but for no extra fee).

Non-visa nationals – when should they apply for a visit visa?

Non-visa nationals may want to consider applying for a visa if there is a real risk they might be refused leave to enter on arriving in the UK without one. Over 5000 non-visa nationals were refused entry to the UK as visitors in 2015/16. A visa application, whether granted or refused, would have saved them the cost and frustration of travelling to the UK only to be held for several hours in the airport before being removed.

Most refusals will be based on the person having provided in adequate or inconsistent information on entry, having failed to convince the HO that they will leave the UK at the end of their visit, or not work here, or a lack of documentation addressing these issues. Where there are potential weaknesses on the face of an application for leave to enter, these will need to be addressed by good evidence. Those coming to the UK may well be interviewed on arrival, and will need to be prepared for such an interview.  Having advised a client of any potential weaknesses and how they might be addressed, ultimately it will be for the applicant to decide whether to apply for a visa or not.

Visa Application Process

The necessary steps are to (V2.2)

  • – complete the online application process (if not available, follow instructions from the local visa post/application centre)
  • – pay the relevant fee
  • – attend a Visa Application Centre to provide biometrics and submit supporting documents
  • – provide a valid travel document

The other features of the application process are that (V2.3-V2.5)

  • – the application is made on the date the fee is paid, or if there is no fee, on the date it is submitted online, or if there is neither fee nor an available online application, the date on which the application is received by the visa post/application centre (V2.3-2.5)
  • – an application is deemed withdrawn where a request is made for return of a travel document made in writing or by email, unless the visa post states otherwise (V2.7); an application may be withdrawn in writing or by email (V2.6)

Visit visas, grants of leave to enter or extensions of stay will be granted subject to these conditions:

  • – no recourse to public funds
  • – no study save for the incidental study in Appendix 3
  • – no work save for permitted activities in Appendix 3, 4 or 5

Suitability criteria

These are found in Part V3 of Appendix V  Although differently worded, they mirror exactly the General Grounds of Refusal in Part 9 of the Rules.

Mandatory refusals (“An application will be refused”)

  • – personal direction of the Secretary of State that exclusion is conducive to the public good or being subject to a current deportation order or decision to make one (V3.2)
  • – exclusion conducive to the public good (V3.3)
  • – re applications for leave to enter/entry clearance, absent compelling factors showing exceptional circumstances (V3.4)
  • – indefinitely if convicted of an offence and having served a sentence exceeding four years
  • – for five years following conviction of an offence and completion of a sentence of less than 12 months
  • – for ten years following conviction of an offence and completion of a sentence from 12 months to four years
  • – where the person has been excluded from Refugee status or Humanitarian Protection under Articles 1F and 33(2) of the RC51 (or their equivalent under the Rules for those with HP), or would, if they had claimed asylum, be so excluded (V3.4A).
  • – false representations made or false documents/information submitted (whether or not material/with the applicant’s knowledge), or material facts not disclosed, either in relation to the application or in relation to documents obtained from the Secretary of State or a third party in its support (V3.6)
  • – a previous breach of immigration laws by an applicant who was over 18 at the relevant date (defined at V3.9 as overstaying for more than 30 days (more than 90 days if prior to 24 November 2016), breaching a condition of their leave, or being an illegal entrant) within the relevant re-entry ban period (V3.7 read with the table at V3.10 of ban durations)
  • – for 12 months if the person left voluntarily at their otherwise expense (V3.10(a))
  • – for 2 years if they left voluntarily at public expense within 6 months of being notified of liability to removal or of exhausting appeal/review remedies (V3.10(b))
  • – for 5 years if they left voluntarily at public expense more than 6 months of being notified of liability to removal or of exhausting appeal/review remedies (V3.10(c))
  • – for 5 years if they left or were removed as a condition of an (expired) caution under s22 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (V3.10(d))
  • – for 10 years if they were removed from the UK at public expense (V3.10(e))
  • – There is a mandatory ban on return for 10 years for using deception in relation to an application or in obtaining supporting documents for it (whether successful not) (V3.10(f))
  • – Failing to produce a valid travel document satisfying the decision maker of their identity and nationality (V3.12(a))
  • – Failing without reasonable excuse to attend an interview, provide information or biometrics, or undergo a medical examination or provide a medical report (V3.12(b))
  • – Being unable to show that they are acceptable to the authorities in the part of the common travel area they are intending to travel on to (V3.15)

Discretionary refusals (“An application will normally be refused”)

  • – 5 addresses criminal offences where no custodial sentence was imposed:
  • – re applications for leave to enter/entry clearance, admission of, or conviction for, an offence for which a non-custodial sentence or out-of-court disposal recorded on their criminal record
  • – where their offending has caused serious harm
  • – where they are a persistent offender who shows a particular disregard for the law
  • – Following a breach of immigration law (as defined at V3.9) with aggravating circumstances such as a failure to cooperate with immigration control or enforcement, even though the re-entry ban period has expired (V3.8)
  • – Where a medical inspector has advised that it is undesirable to grant the application for medical reasons (V3.13)
  • – Where a relevant NHS body has notified the Secretary of State of the applicant’s failure to pay charges exceeding £500 (V3.14)
  • – Where litigation costs awarded to the Home Office remain outstanding (V3.14A)
  • – Where they cannot show they will be admitted to another country after a stay here (V3.16)

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