Addressing a re-entry ban in a visit visa application
Applying for a visit visa, granting permission to stay in the UK for up to 6 months, may seem the most straightforward way of coming to the UK for a short time and for a variety of reasons – to visit family or friends, to conduct business, or for short term study. Unfortunately, many people find their applications refused. Our specialist Immigration solicitors regularly advise and support applicants who have had a visit visa refused because of a re-entry ban.
Why are visit visa applications complicated?
Visit visas are far the most common type of UK visa applied for. This is partly due to the fact that the category covers a number of visas that were previously individual visa types in their own right. However, this aside, a visit visa theoretically involves fairly straightforward applications from individuals looking to come to the UK for 6 months or less. While the process may seem less complex than the application process for some other visa types, visit visa applications still involve the collection and presentation of evidence to demonstrate that you are a genuine visitor.
The process has become more complex because since 2015, there has been no general right of appeal against a refusal of a visit visa – yet Entry Clearance Officers can refuse a visit visa for a number of reasons, some of which are essentially subjective.
While the refusal of a visit visa may simply be inconvenient for some, but for many others, it can cause real hardship, either because it prolongs separation from loved ones, or because it can cause commercial issues for business.
What is a re-entry ban?
One of the reasons that your visit visa application may be refused is because you have made the application while a ‘re-entry ban’ is in place, preventing you from coming back into the UK. A re-entry ban is put in place when an individual has breached the UK Immigration rules in some way in the past and has then left the UK. The length of time the re-entry ban is in place is determined by the particular breach of the Immigration rules that you committed, and the circumstances of when and how you left the UK following the breach. Circumstances that will affect the length of the re-entry ban include whether you left the UK voluntarily or not, and whether your departure was paid for by the UK Government or whether you funded your departure.
A re-entry ban may be for 12 months, 2 years, or 5 years.
How can a UK Immigration lawyer challenge a re-entry ban?
On the face of it, it seems that it would be impossible to obtain a visit visa in circumstances where a re-entry ban is in place. If this is a situation you find yourself in, it is vital to obtain legal advice from the best Immigration solicitors possible, and as early as possible in the process. This is because they will understand the process of application and will be able to advise you on the best way to present your case for a visit visa. In most cases, there are only limited opportunities to appeal against a refusal of a visit visa. In all other cases of refusal, it is only possible to apply for administrative review, a frustrating process for many because it does not allow you to submit new evidence to counter a decision, perhaps that you are not of good character, or because you have not submitted the correct documents. It may be easier to simply reapply, correcting the errors in the original application that the refusal has highlighted. This won’t be an option if you in the face of a re-entry ban, unless you wait until the re-entry ban has expired. For this reason, if your status means your application for a visit visa is likely to be complicated, taking early advice from a Legal 500 Immigration solicitor will put you in a far stronger position.
If your visit visa has been refused because of a re-entry ban, it is still possible to bring a challenge to such a decision by careful drafting of communications with the Home Office. Here at OTS Solicitors, we specialise in drafting robust, and bespoke, pre-action correspondence to the Home Office, meticulously prepared to address the individual details of your case.
We have seen the positive impact of a well-argued pre-action protocol letter for many of our clients, resulting in visit visa refusals being reversed so that travel to the UK can go ahead.
Should you need help and support from a team of top Immigration lawyers in London as you prepare to submit a visit visa application, or because you have been refused a visit visa and would like advice about how to proceed, please contact us at OTS Solicitors. We are recommended for Immigration and Human Rights matters in the Legal 500 and will be pleased to work with you to resolve your Immigration matter, whatever that might be. To book a consultation with one of our London immigration solicitors, call 0203 959 9123 today.