When forms go wrong!

Anyone who has seen or attempted to fill in one of UKBA’s visa application forms will know that this can be a frankly daunting prospect!  These documents and the accompanying guidance notes are generally around 50 pages long, and the forms tend to go out of date every six months or so, with no prior warning.  Fees are changed too, again with no notification and often the application can only be submitted a maximum of 28 days before the applicant’s UK visa expires and sometimes only via post, which leads to frequent cases of overstaying.  Again, there are strict rules concerning the type of photographs which must accompany the application, and failure to submit photographs has led to applications being rejected in the past.

We have been dealing with increasing numbers of individuals who are unfortunately caught out by the difficulties mentioned above.  It’s extremely distressing for an applicant who has spent hours painstakingly completing the forms and providing the necessary supporting documents, only to be told their application has been rejected because the form itself was out of date!

We’d like to share some of our pointers for ensuring a successful application form, and for how  to handle cases where an application has already been rejected due to errors in form-filling.

Failure to ‘tick’ a required box

Sometimes missing one small tick can lead to the rejection of the whole application…which is extremely frustrating!  If this happens to you, ask your immigration advisor to make representations to UKBA on your behalf, at an appeal if necessary.  The Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) has some discretion in cases like these, although we are not yet sure how far this goes.  However, a small human error such as missing a ‘tick box’ should not prevent your application from being rejected if it meets all the other criteria!  Your immigration advisor can argue that whilst your form is not in the strictest sense, ‘complete,’ it should be treated as such and the application given the full consideration.


There are various different ways in which an application can be rejected due to issues with the accompanying fees. 

  • A bank may refuse your card payment.  This could be due to fraud checks and in order to avoid this, you should inform your bank before submitting the application that you will be releasing the stated sum.
  • You may inadvertently provide the incorrect bank details.  This can occur when you lose the bank card you initially submitted the application with.  To avoid this, if you do cancel a card after submitting an application, make sure you tell UKBA or your immigration advisor at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • Lack of funds in your account.  Sometimes, forms take several months to be processed and consequently the government does not try to draw the necessary fee from your account until months after you submitted your application, when there may no longer be the full amount required.  In these cases, UKBA should revert back to the applicant, checking when the attempt to withdraw the fee was made and when the form was submitted.  If there is a few months discrepancy, your immigration advisor can make representations to state that an applicant should not be refused on these grounds and should be given the opportunity to provide the outstanding amount.


Failure to submit photographs has led to applications being completely rejected in the past.  However, if you did submit photographs with your forms, ask your immigration adviser to take a signed statement from you to this effect, and pass this to UKBA along with another set of photographs.  Cases like these are often accepted and the application can be granted with minimal disruption to the applicant.

We hope these tips can help with your application, and as ever, if you have any further questions or queries leave a comment below!

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