What are the grounds for refusal in the UK visa process?


The United Kingdom immigration procedure relies on a set of policies and procedures defined in laws passed over the years to regulate the immigration process. The Home Office, headed by the Secretary of State, is the government department responsible for handling immigration related cases. These cases also include cases of asylum, deportation, detention and stateless persons.

The applicant submits his/her visa application and the Home Office makes a decision on it. If the application is granted, a visa is granted to the individual. If it is refused, a refusal letter detailing the grounds for refusal along with explaining the applicant’s right of appeal is mentioned. The general grounds for refusal of entry clearance, extension of stay and permanent settlement in the country are detailed in this blog.

These grounds, as defined in Part 9 of the Immigration Rules, define general grounds that the UK government has to dismiss any visa application (Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4 and Tier 5) without looking the policies of that specific visa category (like Tier 4 student visa, Tier 1 UK investor visa, Tier one entrepreneur, Tier 5 visit visa etc.). Entry clearance is the process by which the government assesses whether the applicant applying for a visa should be legally allowed to enter the UK under the Immigration Rules.

What grounds does the United Kingdom have to refuse any person entry clearance into the country?

Any individual can be denied entry into the country if he/she falls on any one of the below mentioned conditions:

  • If the individual wishes to enter the country for a purpose that is not defined in the Immigration Rules, the government can deny the individual entry clearance.
  • If an individual who wishes to enter the country is currently facing a deportation order.
  • If an individual was convicted of a crime for which he/she served a period of 4 years or more in prison, entry clearance can be denied.
  • If an individual was convicted of a crime for which he/she served a minimum period of 1 year, but not more than 4 years in prison. However, this condition will not apply if a period of 10 years has passed since the prison sentence ended.
  • If an individual was convicted of a crime for which he/she served a period less than a year in prison. However, this condition will not apply if a period of 5 years has passed since the prison sentence ended.
  • If an individual who wishes to enter the UK on any visa category (such as UK investor visa, Tier one entrepreneur, business visa, Tier 5 visit visa etc) fails to comply with an Immigration Officer’s request to produce relevant documents such as a valid passport (or any other document) that proves his/her identity, entry into the country can be denied.
  • If an immigration officer is not satisfied with the individual’s case of entering the UK through the Channel Tunnel, a rail tunnel that connects the UK with France, to any other common area of travel, entry into the country can be refused. To elaborate, the immigration officer can refuse entry if he/she feels that the individual will not be acceptable to any other part of the common travel area.
  • If a visa national fails to produce any document to the Immigration Officer, that proves his/her identity such as a passport or entry clearance that was given for the purpose of showing to an Immigration Officer, entry into the country can be denied.
  • If the Secretary of State, prior to the person seeking entry, had personally directed that the individual face exclusion from the United Kingdom for the betterment of the public good, the person can be denied entry into the country.
  • If a Medical Officer recommends that an individual be denied entry into the country based on serious medical grounds, the individual can be denied entry into the country. However, if an immigration officer makes a strong case to still induct the individual in question entry, entry can be accepted. Furthermore, this does not apply to any person who is settled in the country.
  • If the individual submits information (contained in external documents) in the visa application that is falsified or misrepresents facts, or any fake documents, entry can be denied. It should be noted that it does not matter whether the falsified or misrepresented information was relevant to the application or not as the government will still have grounds for refusal.
  • Furthermore, if the individual fails to disclose any information that should have been disclosed so that documents could be obtained from the Home Office or any third party, entry clearance can be denied.
  • If any of the below listed offences were committed by an individual who was 18 or above at the time of the offence, entry clearance can be denied. The offences are listed as:
  • Overstaying in the UK. However, if the period of overstay was less than or equal to 90 days, with the individual voluntarily exiting the country and not under the orders of the Secretary of State, this rule can be waivered.
  • A condition that was set in the visa the person entered the UK on was violated;
  • The individual entered the UK illegally.
  • The individual used deceptive means in a previous visa application to enter the UK, seek an extension on his/her stay, or to obtain documents from the Home Office or a third party. Furthermore, it is irrelevant whether the attempt was successful or unsuccessful.
  • However, if the case of deceptive means occurred 10 years ago, this rule can be waivered.
  • Certain situations exist under which the offenses can be waivered such as if the individual     left the UK on his/her own choosing over a year ago; and not under the orders of the Secretary of State. If the individual left the UK on orders of the Secretary of State, it must have been over 5 years ago. If the individual was forcefully removed or deported, it must have been over 10 years ago. Or if the individual was removed from the country as a note of caution under the Criminal Justice Act of 2003, it must have been over 5 years ago.
  • If the individual failed to comply with a request from an immigration officer to attend an interview, and did not provide a reasonable enough explanation, the government can deny the person of entry clearance.
  • If the individual wishing to enter the country on any visa category (such as UK business investment visa, Tier 1 investor visa, Tier 4 student visa, Tier 5 visitor visa etc.) is currently outside of the UK, and does not provide the immigration officer with the relevant information, documents or any medical reports that were required of him/her, entry clearance can be rejected.
  • If an individual wishes to return to the UK as a resident, and the Immigration Officer has a opinion that despite a previous criminal record, the individual still does not show respect for the law and could be of serious harm to the public proving to be a repeating offender; entry clearance can be rejected. The immigration officer can also reject the individual if he/she is not satisfied that the same individual, despite stating that he/she wishes to enter for the same reason stated as before, may wish to enter for a different purpose.
  • If an individual, who is the national of a country or authority that is not recognized by the UK government, wishes to enter the UK can see his/her entry clearance rejected. Entry can also be refused if the UK government does not deal with that country or authority, or that country/authority does not accept UK citizens in its own immigration control capacity.
  • If an individual’s passport does not legally comply with passport practice observed internationally, entry clearance can be rejected.
  • If an individual has attempted to abuse the immigration laws of the UK in the past by one of the following ways listed below, he/she can see his/her entry into the UK denied. These are listed as:
  • Overstaying his/her legal period of stay in the UK;
  • Violating a condition that was set in a previous visa the individual was granted
  • If the individual entered the country illegally;
  • If a previous application where entry was requested was discovered to have falsified or misrepresented information, or whether a successful or unsuccessful attempt was made to secure documents from a third person or the Home Office under false or misrepresented information;
  • Any other case where the individual did not meet conditions of bail, used a fake identity (or several identities), used a nationality that wasn’t his/her, not abiding by the process of re-documentation or made a fatuous application.
  • The individual failed to make a worthy case to an immigration officer that he/she will move to a different country after a temporary period of stay in the UK. However, this does not apply to any individual who meets the criteria for permanent settlement in the UK.
  • If a sponsor refuses to provide in writing, that he/she will responsible for the individual applying for temporarily stay in the UK’s accommodation or maintenance, entry clearance can be refused.
  • A child (who is less than 18 years of age) who wishes to enter the country must provide written consent from his/her parents or guardians to the Immigration Officer presiding over the case. However, this does not apply to any child who wishes to enter the UK in the capacity of seeking asylum.
  • Any individual who refuses consent to take a medical examination will see his/her entry clearance refused by an Immigration Officer.
  • If the individual received a non-custodial sentence or was convicted of a criminal offence within the year he/she applied to enter the UK that is visible on his/her criminal record. If the Secretary of State has the opinion that the individual’s actions have resulted in harm or would cause harm if he/she entered the country because of a consistent disregard for the law in the past.
  • If an immigration officer is of the opinion that the individual’s entry into the UK will not be beneficial to the good of the public. An example of this is the individual having past convictions, or any past actions result to a reason that make it undesirable to let the individual enter the UK.
  • Any person who fails to fulfill the requirement of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum act of 2002 to provide the UK government with the necessary physical data relevant to his/her application can be refused entry into the country.
  • If the NHS, or a relevant body related to the NHS, has notified the Home Office of the individual’s failure to pay past dues that amount to at least 1000 pounds, the individual’s application to enter the UK can be refused. This relates to regulations of the NHS responsible for making sure overseas visitors pay their dues.

Can an individual who has been granted entry clearance be refused entry on any grounds?

An immigration officer holds the power to still deny entry to any individual who has been granted entry clearance under certain circumstances. These circumstances, as defined in the Immigration Rules, are listed as:

  • If the individual’s visa application on any category (such as UK business investment visa, student visa, visitor visa etc.) contains misrepresentation or falsification of information related to the individual’s case which have been uncovered by the UK government, entry can be refused whether the cause was deliberate or unknown to the individual. Furthermore, if facts that were substantial to the application were not disclosed or an attempt was made to secure documents from a third person or the Home Office under this pretense, entry into the UK can be denied.
  • If a change of the individual’s circumstances has resulted in the contradicting his/her application to enter the UK, entry into the UK can be refused by the Home Office. However, if it is a case of the person being over the age allowed for entry, a case can be made to not void the entry clearance.