Why would I be refused?
Dear Mr Bassie,
I am thinking of applying for a visitor's visa to enter the United Kingdom (UK). Can you tell me on what grounds entry clearance or leave to enter the UK would be refused?
There are a number of grounds on which entry clearance or leave to enter the UK would be refused. For instance, the fact that entry may be sought for a purpose not covered by the Immigration Rules; or that the person seeking entry to the UK may currently be the subject of a deportation order; or he or she has been convicted of an offence for which he or she has been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of at least four years; or that person has been convicted of an offence for which he or she has been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of at least 12 months but less than four years, unless a period of 10 years has passed since the end of the sentence.
If a person has been convicted of an offence for which he or she has been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of less than 12 months, unless a period of five years has passed since the end of the sentence and unless refusal would be contrary to the Human Rights Convention or the Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, it would only be in exceptional circumstances that the public interest in maintaining refusal will be outweighed by compelling factors.
Another reason for refusal would be failure by the person seeking entry to the UK to produce to the immigration officer a valid national passport or other document satisfactorily establishing his identity and nationality; or failure to satisfy the immigration officer, in the case of a person arriving in the UK or seeking entry through the Channel Tunnel with the intention of entering any other part of the common travel area, that he is acceptable to the immigration authorities there.
Refusal may also follow where there is a failure, in the case of a visa national, to produce to the immigration officer a passport or other identity document endorsed with a valid and current UK entry clearance issued for the purpose for which entry is sought.
It should also be noted that a refusal may occur where the Secretary of State has personally directed that the exclusion of a person from the UK is conducive to the public good; save and except in relation to a person settled in the UK or where the immigration officer is satisfied that there are strong compassionate reasons justifying admission.
Another reason for refusal may occur when confirmation from the medical inspector that, for medical reasons, it is undesirable to admit a person seeking leave to enter the UK.
In addition, refusal may occur where false representations have been made or false documents or information have been submitted, whether or not material to the application, and whether or not to the applicant's knowledge, or material facts have not been disclosed, in relation to the application or in order to obtain documents from the secretary of state or a third party required in support of the application.
A refusal will also follow where the applicant has previously breached the UK's immigration laws and was 18 years or over at the time of his most recent breach. These breaches may include overstaying; breaching a condition attached to his or her leave; being an illegal entrant; using deception in an application for entry clearance, leave to enter or remain, or in order to obtain documents from the secretary of state or a third party required in support of the application, whether successful or not. However, an exception may be allowed if the applicant overstayed for 90 days or less and left the UK voluntarily, not at the expense, directly or indirectly, of the secretary of state; used deception in an application for entry clearance more than 10 years ago; left the UK voluntarily, not at the expense, directly or indirectly, of the secretary of state, more than 12 months ago.
Another exception may occur if the applicant left the UK voluntarily, at the expense, directly or indirectly, of the secretary of state, more than two years ago; and the date the person left the UK was no more than six months after the date on which the person was given notice of the removal decision, or no more than six months after the date on which the person no longer had a pending appeal or administrative review; whichever is the later.
Other exceptions include if the applicant left the UK voluntarily, at the expense, directly or indirectly, of the secretary of state, more than five years ago; he or she was removed or deported from the UK more than 10 years ago or left or was removed from the UK as a condition of a caution issued in accordance with Section 22 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 more than five years ago.
It should be noted that where more than one breach of the UK's immigration laws has occurred, only the breach that leads to the longest period of absence from the UK will be relevant.
Furthermore, failure, without providing a reasonable explanation, to comply with a request made on behalf of the entry clearance officer to attend for interview will result in refusal to enter/remain.
John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:firstname.lastname@example.org