Tom Fletcher

Tom Fletcher

British Ambassador to Lebanon

Part of UK in Lebanon

14th November 2012 Beirut, Lebanon

Top Secret …. how to get a UK Visa

I recently wanted to apply for a visa for a close colleague who needed to travel to the UK at short notice. But I couldn’t – she has not worked for us long enough to meet the visa requirements. Why do I end up telling this story so often on the circuit? Because I want to prove to people that, when it comes to visas, we are a wasta-free zone: the Ambassador cannot buck the system. Quite right.

I want more Lebanese people to visit the UK, and much of our work is focused on showing that Britain is the best place to further your education or business. Issuing a visa is not some kind of favour or act of charity, but is in our national interest. We want you to get to know us better, as – like Lebanon – a country of outward looking traders and pioneers. A country more confident in itself after an extraordinary Summer (I recently met a Lebanese student who had tattoos of London 2012 and HM Queen, despite not yet having visited).

Last year we received nearly 15,000 visa applications from Lebanese nationals, a 6% increase on 2010 and a 17% increase on 2009. Great. 85% of these applications were successful. Great. We turn around 90% of applications within 15 days. In September 2012, one of our busiest months, we processed 99% of visit visas within 15 working days, with 81% in 5 days or less. I don’t want to knock the competition – much – but that is seriously competitive. This year we also introduced a new priority service for applicants needing to travel at very short notice. We are open for business.

So please don’t be put off from applying. But, when asked as I so often am for help with visas, I share a secret. The key to a successful application is not to lobby or to hire an unscrupulous agent, but to … read the guidelines thoroughly, submit the documentation requested, attend the Visa Application Centre, and wait a short while. You can find more detailed instructions, top secret, for your eyes only, on our website

We are constantly on the lookout for further improvements to this system. Personally, I would like to see a simpler process and politer rejection letters. Applicants should feel that we want them to succeed, but that we owe it to our taxpayers to ensure that they have met justifiably tough criteria. Throughout, they should expect, and will receive, full respect – we’re running a service.

I’m determined that every application is judged fairly, rigorously, transparently, and on its merits. Not on whether the applicant is related to a Minister, or meets the Ambassador at dinners, but on the facts on the page, and the supporting documents provided.

So, when it comes to applying for a UK visa, know that no others, especially not the Ambassador, can use their wasta to get ahead of you in the queue.

161 comments on “Top Secret …. how to get a UK Visa

  1. I apply for u.k visa… on 28feb 2017 a britisher lady take my interview… then i submitted my document on 20th march and submitted my passport aslo..my all work is done and from that day uptill now i am just waiting for my visa… but yesterday they again take my 2nd interview.. but i give 3 or 4 answers minor wrong not whole answer is wrong… but rest of the answers are correct. i just wanna know that they will send approval for my visa… just tell me what they will do…

  2. We are writing complaints and no one from the UK embassy is here to reply or give advise to us , ive wote to Tom Fletcher to look into this VISA issue but he has not responded , im married to a british man and I submitted all the documents needed at the embassy and they denied me the visa and yet I visited UK 2 times before and actually came back before my visa got expired , so im asking the embassy how can you get married to a british man and they expect you not
    Even to go visit my husband? Do they want me to go visit my husband when hes dead?
    Advice- TOM FLETCHER

    1. Tom Fletcher was ambassador to Lebanon, but he left the post two years ago. This blog post is from 2012 and doesn’t appear to have been designed to provide visa advice in general, but to let people know that in Lebanon at the time there wasn’t a way of speeding up or circumventing the application process.

      I’m sorry that you haven’t had any help here but you are looking in the wrong place and need to address your concerns to UKVI.

      If anyone from FCO is reading this, maybe you should disable comments now?

  3. I am a UK resident and got married here in London. I applied for my mum visit visa so that she can come for a month to attend the wedding. They refused it and said that she doesn’t have any ties. I applied two more times saying that she has a family in pakistan but they refused it all three times. I took the case to tribumal which took 9 months to give me a date for hearing. I explained everything to the judge about the case. He said that you have an option to withdraw the case because if I give decision in favour of Home Office they will blacklist your mum and will never allow her to come to Uk. I said I am a victim here and have no option but to persue. Judge told me that they refuse visas because so many people don’t go back to their own country. I told him that you can’t generalise everyone, also how can they judge someone intentions. He refused my case saying that she doesn’t have financial ties in pakistan. To be honest it seems like they only allow people with money, social ties are not important for them. Not even on the special occasion. No money was returned and time was wasted with alot of headaches. I had to skype my wedding to my mom who had tears in her eyes just because she couldn’t attend her elder son’s wedding.

  4. Hi Tom , sorry to bother you, but i found your website and was quite impressed. I used your advice and used the guidelines to help us with one question on the uk visa application form, online, for an Azerbaijani applicant, in Baku, which ofcourse is now sent to Turkey for processing. The question we cannot answer is this – how much money are you planning to spend on your visit to uk? We want to put zero, for her, because we are paying for everything whilst she is in uk. She has next to zero savings, and is our niece, and naturally we are sponsoring her. The online form will not let us put zero. Please can you advise what our answer should be for this question in order to get a sucessful visa application?
    Tim kingswood
    Crawley
    West sussex

  5. To be completely honest, and to sound astonishingly cynical, it all boils down to money. The Home Office is a big money making machine, charging astonishing amounts to apply and then doing everything they can to refuse the application, forcing people to re-submit…or even worse…to waste money on appeals cases. Back in April 2016 the Tories tried to increase Appeals case charges by 500% but quickly had to perform a U-turn as this was noticed too easily for them to slither it in unnoticed.

    For some reason, the government seems to be playing into the hands of the negative propaganda and the anti-immigration narrative, presumably to appease the xenophobic attitudes of voters.

  6. I’m Kenyan having a fiancée who is UK resident, he asked me to send my passport copy for his attorney to apply for my visa through the foreign affairs. I’m just wondering is that possible? If yes what are the procedures?

  7. Hello,
    Could someone help me, please.
    I am from Ukraine, i have got a refusal for a visitor visa, because I didn’t write the correct days of leaving Uk with my previous visas. I travel a lot all around Europe, and as Uk doesn’t have a passport control when people are leaving, I didn’t remember the exact days so I wrote by mistake the wrong days. Do I have a chance to apply again including a Motivation Letter?

    Thanks

    (Hope someone will respond me)

  8. You actually make it appear so easy along with
    your presentation however I find this matter to be really one thing which I
    think I would by no means understand. It kind of feels too complex and
    extremely vast for me. I am looking ahead in your subsequent put up, I will try to get the grasp of it!

  9. The letter of rejection we received had spelling mistakes and poor English grammar, I guess they use local (non-British) agents to do this work. Probably work on a quota system, having to issue only a limited number of visas every week, and all others rejected, whatever their merit.

  10. Hi there
    But i think some applications not taken seriously. i applied giving bank statement with more than 50000 GBP balance and with movements nearly 300000 GBP for the past 6 months , along with an invitation from a company in Sheffield that was having an auction held in lockerbie.
    they refused because as they say i didn’t sent any proof of income ( they said they needed bank statement and i sent one ) the second reason that i booked a hotel in Lockerbie while the company was in Sheffield ( the auction was held in Lockerbie )

  11. I sponsored my uncle and aunt (aged 70+) for a 4 week visitor visa from India. I have a been British Citizen for over 60 years. I sent a sponsorship declaration form indicating my salary, house ownership and sponsoring the whole trip. counter signed by a JP together with three bank statements. I also sent proof of my citizenship. My uncle submitted his bank statements, land and house documents together with his fixed deposit certificates.
    The visa was rejected because none of the above documents were seen by the Visa Processing Officer. The rejection letter from the Visa Officer says “No supporting documents supplied”. Yet they were all returned with the rejection letter.
    We do not want to re-apply as the same thing could happen again and we have to pay the visa fees again too.
    Who do we and where do we lodge a complaint of mal-administration? Is there an email address or a phone no. we can contact? Hope someone can help. Kindest regards Mohan Mistry

  12. I wrote a message yesterday 24Oct2016 showing how insensitive the UK immigration is. I have not receive the passport even today 25Oct2016 and there is still no information of any sort of when will I receive it, the event I was to attend is from 26 to 30Oct2016 so…… Even as per the consumer act when an agency be it Govt or otherwise takes money for a service it has to provide accordingly, but here it seems its only one way traffic of taking the money from the applicant and do not bother of the services. I dont understand then, why does UK agencies are the front runners to bid for holding events, conferences and meeting in UK, if their immigration does not want such things to happen in UK and are proactive in keeping people away by all means. But maybe UK gains from it, like now the Hotels, transport, etc have the money for no services offered .

  13. I hold Indian passport but is a resident in Kenya and work with a Bilateral mission in Nairobi. I applied for UK visa on 10Oct2016 for a conference to be held in Liverpool from 26 to 30 Oct 2016. I made all the travel arrangements including air tickets, room reservations, train tickets…..(because the immigration asks for proof that I have the ‘ability’ to pay) costing me around several thousands of USD. At the time of writing this comment it is 2:20pm Nairobi time 25Oct2016 and my passport has not been returned AND not EVEN an information of when will it be returned, or any information for that matter provided to me. The immigration have not even communicated that if at all I will receive the passport back before 30 Oct2016 the last day of the conference. The TLS center in Nairobi who is the front contact with the applicants, never replies to anything and do not provide a contact number or even an e-mail of a customer care. So how does the UK immigration wants me to plan for my trip?????? And who will pay for my substantial monetary loss; but gained by the UK hotels and transport for no services offered. This is something disgraceful…..the department seems to be running with no timelines and keeping the applicants at ransom. I travel frequently across the globe including countries considered to be ‘underdeveloped’ but have never faced such a situation of ‘suspended animation’, I should admit, not even for UK visas previously applied. So what am I supposed to do now…………………………keep waiting till eternity???????

  14. I am Jordanian just applied for short visit as tourist, including hotel booking, bank statement, proof of own house and got 6 months visa, then another 6 months visa and then 5 years visa. all process was no more than 3 days get back my passport withb stamp. UK compare with other embassys is fast and speed.
    Just you need to show you are able to to spend for your trip and tell the truth you will get the visa.

  15. Im very much disappointed with the officers at the british embassy in kenya ! Issuing a visa is a big problem even if you have submitted all the required documents ! British Prime Minister recently said that family members are allowed to visit their families in the uk ! So I dont know why I have been denied me a visa to go visit my old husband in the uk and I submitted all my documents plus my husbands ! Can the officers at the british embassy in kenya concider married couples issues of Visas . We are working so hard to get the money we are pouring at the embassy ! Can the Officer in charge of the Visa Section do something about married couples ! Im really suffering when my husband is in the uk and I cant go and visit him ! Why do africans being denied visas and europeans come to kenya easily ?????? I have used alot of money at the embassy and no Visa no refund . If you need my reference number I will send it to you here . Im waiting for your responce and please dont ignore Tom Fletcher.

  16. I’m a British Indian. I’m 35 weeks pregnant and today I found out my parents visitor visa application has been rejected apparently my father doesn’t have enough ties in India and my mother is a housewife and also simply because my father’s application got rejected.
    My parents in India, lives in a house with my brother who also supports them financially but the property is on my mum’s name and they look after my brother’s kid while my brother and sister in law goes to their jobs.

    I’ve provided all the required documents (including my Mat-B1) for sponsoring their visit, stay and travel expense, our payslips, bank statements showing enough funds and invitation letter with my contact details.

    If the deciding officer had any concerns he should have asked them in the interview that why would they come back to India after the visa expires but instead he asked them the reason of going to which they answered I’m expecting a baby.

    6 years ago I had my son and they had submitted the same documents an they got the visa and they returned back to India in 3 months.

    I’m also a tax payer here in U.K. and I’m more than capable to support my parents, we are not after any kind of benefits. I had given my full details in the application and if they don’t leave UK after their visit I” happy to pay fine for that but I don’t believe it’s a fair system. To me and my parents, we are not even allowed to see each other specially when I’m expecting a baby. It’s just a money making scheme for U.K.

    If UK is so concerned about immigrant will try to take advantage of the benefits then they should make changes to their benefits system and not give benefits to any immigrant regardless of their circumstances rather than stopping parents from even visiting their own children and grand children. This is such and inhumane decision.

  17. The worst part about applying for a UK visa is the complete lack of information. The “UK Visa Guidelines” lack information on the nitty gritty requirements of what documents are required for the visa interview and application and what documents one should submit for example the number of copies, whether they should be original or copies, whether they should be certified by an Advocate, what format they should be in. The staff at the visa application centre in nairobi were completely unhelpful and could not assist with the simplest questions ie whether I should submit my parents’ original IDs or passports or whether copies would suffice. They basically had no role and we may as well have dumped the documents in a box and moved on to have our fingerprints taken. The whole process is far too detached and impersonal. The UK home office contact is completely useless as well as they only reiterate what is in the guidelines only at a much higher fee. I paid for my NHS fee three times before I finally got my visa and there was no contact to reach to follow up on the refund!!!!!! It has singularly been the most time wasting process of my entire life. Had I not paid my fees in full I would not have bothered. The fees in USA are much higher compared to the UK but the requirements are less stringent *read less baseless and with absolutely no logical reasoning*…for example the 28 day maintenance of funds rule which is really quite ridiculous. I wish I had applied to the USA. I am definitely not studying or visiting the UK again. I am better off studying in the USA or South Africa in future.

  18. I m indian , i got married in april with uk PR holder guy after marriage when my husband get back to uk , on airport immigration officers was not allow to him for entery in uk . Because they told to him you PR was hold on December 2015 . And my husband who dnt knw about it all after this when my husband takes legal action then they allow to him
    Otherside I widraw my dependent file bcz chances of rejection , Govt uk give him permission for stay in uk while his case will not solved ! Now i am in dilemma what can i do
    Is tourist visa is good for me ? I dnt have other options!

  19. I just wanted to go and visit my husband in the UK for two weeks in December and come back to continue with my work here in kenya . My husband is really longing to see me during december holidays. I’m looking forward to your response . Mr. Tom Fletcher.

  20. Im a kenyan citizen woman married to a British citizen I applied for a Visiting Visa for two weeks to go and visit my husband in the UK then coming back to work but I was denied a visa and I submitted all the requirements needed , the reason is that the embassy contacted my husband through his mobile phone in the morning but he didnt remember one answer he was asked , that was the only reason . Im planning to apply for another visa soon so that I can go visit my husband in december holidays . I have been to UK 2 times before. Please im looking foward to your kind response Mr . Tom Fletcher .

  21. Can you please tell me, if my partner lied on his visa form will he be permanently barred from UK? We want to tell the truth. He was desperate and took advice from a bad source. I am so upset and angry with him. We have been together for 3yrs and were hoping to get married. Someone told me that if you marry then previous indiscretions on visa form are overlooked. Is this true?
    Many thanks.

  22. My brother is in london he is in very critical condition there i need a urgent vissa how can i apply from pakistan.. i have also a hospital letter

  23. This article is old. I don’t think the success rate is this high now. Six of us applied for UK Visa for attending a competition but only one was given visa at the end. The one who was given the visa had visited US and other countries in the past. The other three went India and the last two went to no country at all in the past. So, it seems UK Immigration favors the people who are already wealthy and visited some other country(/ies). It is really unfortunate when murderers or dishonest politicians are getting political asylum in your country but you cannot give some students permit to stay for seven days fearing they will not leave the country. Big fathers son commits terrible accident in his BMW killing several passer by and he is in UK the next day. Out law enforcement cannot get him because how mighty your country is. But since we are students and come from a lowly family who study on government scholarship we are scums, con artists and have ulterior motives (as intended in the refusal letter) and we get rejected every now and then for simplest of cause.

    Sometimes it feels like your system is a money making scam. I hope as a country you guys fall hard.

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  25. Can you please have a straightforward checklist when it comes to tourist/family visits? My mom got refused as the visa officer didn’t think she had family ties or income. We clearly mentioned in the form about her receiving monthly allowance from me and she had daughters and grandchildren….is there a paperwork for each family member ?and how do you proof family ties? Have you asked us in the guidance for specific documents? NO…just silly open ended points which is subject to different interpretation and so that visas can be refused. She did visit the UK 4 years ago.
    How do families establish ties in a piece of official original document? Absurd….

  26. Hello , please if you can help me or just give me advice on my situation ill be thankful for you!
    My husband applied for my visa on April from Morocco. we’ve put all the documents required , after 2 months they answer me , of course my application was refused but the problem is that they made huge mistakes In the report issued it appears that there has been a major mistake and someone has made the decision based on someone else’s application. We’ve made loads of complaints against UKVI and I’ve received an email from Paris visa saying that they will send me a new refusal letter within 2 or 3 days … After 21 days I finally received it but the problem again is they sayin that my husband does not earn in the year the amount required …!!!but my husband earn more than the required amount ….I don’t know how did they make this big mistake !! Can you please help me !

  27. Hi,im Marge,I need some advice about my refusal visit visa and no right to appeal?.On my letter decision,they refused its because I think is about of my bank statement.They confused its because i am un employed but I have savings.My boyfriend is my sponsor and he looking after for all documents I need like his invitation leter,copy of his passport, his bank statement,accomodation etc. It’s said also they are not satisfy to prove he is my boyfiend and not meet yet. We been 6 years already and we used to travel abroad also. It’s my 1st time he invite me to vacation in Uk and we staying to his mother house. The problem is i don’t have evidence of ties to home country – like ownership of property(title?). I used to rent house only which is my boyfriend paid for it.Usually my boyfriend help me and looking after for all my expenses as well, that’s why i have savings at bank without job because my boyfriend provide me also..Can you pls help me and advice what do i need to do..Or any requirements do i need about evidence ties to home country aside property?? And is it ok if i can provide some picture with me and my boyfriend together? Is it can allowed to make a separate explination leter for the 1st refusal?Thank you for all your help

  28. Hoping someone can offer me advice.
    I am a British citizen employed by a Japanese university as a professor.
    I have been granted one year’s research leave on full salary and decided to spend that year in the UK.
    To my absolute amazement I found that my Japanese wife can not receive a visa to accompany our family (the children are British) to the UK for the year.
    After a long process she was eventually advised to apply for a settlement visa but was then turned down on the grounds of having no income in the UK…
    Foreign academics and their families are, rightly, supplied with visas for research purposes. But a British citizen finds that he is excluded.
    UK Visa have themselves said that there are no rules that cover my wife’s situation.
    In such a case, what should we do?

  29. I am from India and i applied for tier1 Entreprenuer visa in line with my team partner by 7th april 2015. I got prompt refusal stating that my partner never applied for visa and my business plan is incomprehensive. I subsequently applied for administrative review. Now the question is why would Mr. ECO make such comment? My partner appplied at the same time from mumbai and submitted his document at VFS on 9th april.his application is still pending. He has recently got an interview call for 4th june. This prooves that ECO failed to track his application. About the business plan the ECO went about it. I doubt he did not even see it. It is such a pity the individual interviewed me was very aggressive and sarcastic. He disrespected calling my team partner a cheap guy. I never expect that of no one especially an ECO.

    My business plan is sound and completely viable and credible. Towards getting entry cleaning i sold my precious land and attached the registered copy of that to proove source of fund. I took a huge risk as i spent my 6 month on Business plan and sold my precious land with 25pc defecit. I now realized that i should not have done it. I am left stranded. My parents who trusted my ability are not happy seeing that ECO made false statement. In fact i see it as a bad luck!

  30. My fiancee is a Yemeni national currently staying in Lebanon on a month visitor visa. She cannot of course return to Yemen and we intend to get married anyway – either inside or outside the UK.

    Can the British Embassy in Beirut facilitate / finalise the application as she cannot go to Cairo where these things would normally be processed?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated – there is no information available publicly for such cases.

  31. im planning to invite my husband two kids and mother in law to attend my graduation on July. what is their chances to be granted a visa from uk.

  32. Completely agree with all those who has to suffer without any apparent reason. Completely humiliating and unreasonable process (new bio-data, payments, retention of passports, etc.) Here in Singapore is exactly the same. I really don’t understand how come all this comes from one of the most supposedly advanced, cultural and democratic countries in the world. If to get the same from North Korea for example – at least you can understand where it is coming from, but from UK – the country which icons we idolised when we were young ? I don’t know. In Singapore, which is sometimes critisized for allegedly low level of freedom, the govenment is tens times more efficient and polite when it comes to deal with immigration control. Even in Russia, which i strongly oppose in its external and internal policies, the overall visa process is much simplier and shorter and more-human-face. Wish you somehow realise this nonsence and really modify this stupid practices.

  33. It seems to me that the UK Visa office is nothing more that a criminal operation, designed to be as offensive, as it is obstuctive. I am now going through a process of appeal after having the initial application refused on what can only be described as grounds of incompetance to understand the very documents they request! The right hand clearly does not know what the left is doing and the whole process has left me feeling like I have been gang raped by individuals whom I will never know other than by a bureaucratic title or operator number……. Or if you want their correct titles…… Cowards! I was warned by a Colonel friend of mine that when it comes to departmental selection of university graduates, Defra get the best, followed by the sceurity services, and whatever dullards are left end up going to the Immigration Service……… Seems he was right.

  34. Help with advice or information please

    My wife applied for spouse visa in may 2013. Of course it was refused. There were three hearings one in april 2014, august 2014 and the last one in October 2014. My wife won the court on human rights act. The determination team uk has sent the SAT minutes to the british embassy Tirana since 26/01/2015. I also spooken direct to the determination team asking if everything was in order on the SAT minutes for the visa to be issiued and they did confirm that it was.

    To date 02/03/2015 my wife has not been contacted yet by the embassy. I have contacted my self the UKVI several times via web email and called them two times but not much help. The only thing that UKVI are good at is keepig you on the phone for as long as they can to get the meeter runing and take your money.

    My question is to anyone that can help: How long does my wife has to wait leagally for the embassy to contact her? Also if there is a way to get the embassy to do their job with out beurocracy?

    I have tried the MP and legal representative but nothing as yet.

    Please any iformation that could help with my situation would be very welcome.

    Regards

    Lazer Pepa

  35. Dear Sir,
    I have applied to UK Transit Visa by Dec 16th 2014. And by Jan 14th 2015, I have received notification regarding visa approval and my documents will be dispatched within 2 days, but today it is Jan 26th and still I see no progress after that, what could be the reason why I am not getting my documents? Is there any way to you to help me on this? I have applied visa from USA.

    Thank you!

  36. hello
    wish you all guys good luck, as you can prolly tell from my name I am not a British subject by descent, but rather a naturalised British citizen.
    I certainly wish you all get your entry clearance, but to be honest, most people want to come to this country to work, make money, and have a better life, I for one wanted that about 30 years back, and I got it.
    But things have changed here, it’s not what it was before, we have influx from East Europe that makes life so hard even for British people, so it’s not what you have in mind, don’t think you will find it easy, or even doable here.
    You can’t do anything here on a visitor’s visa, you simply can’t work, live or get a better life as it was say in the 70’s.
    I came only because my English wife wanted to move here so we can bring up our child here, and also because it’s better here than where I came from at the time, but you can’t do that anymore.
    I think you can work at your home country, make a good income and get better life without having to come to the UK.

    Just my opinion, and btw thanks to the gentleman who opened this thread.

  37. Sorry, but the application process itself for a UK visa is already an indignity; first thing to say. Second: there are (or at least were two different laws or regulations for visa and so called family permits because (sarcasm) there ist still this annoying EU membership. And although there is an important difference between a visa and a family permit it is treated absolutely equal, at least from the applicant’s perspective. This means, although an EU citizen has the right to travel the UK he/she is facing humilation by UK border agency once it comes to an non-EU spouse. Adding what UK nationals with and without foreign origins say about their (now) own visa regulations: The only reason some people still apply successfully is because they have something the UK obviously wants from them. And for the others: the whole system is there to upset in particular other EU members or to demonstrate UK power … sad!

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  39. Hello Sir
    I had refused my visa in Nov.2013, due to financial mistake. Sir i want to apply again. can you help me sir what I have to Do.
    Hope you mail me Sir
    Regards Sunil Verma

  40. To all the concern individuals;
    I am applying a Shengen Visitors Visa sponsored by a friend who is a retired University director in Munich, we meet online, Facebook as we have lots in common, I like geography, nature and online research, for the past 3years, my friend and sponsor talked thru Skype, email and facebook messages. Just last June this year he visited our place to take a good look and experienced the culture geographical sites and history of Cebu and what is this more fun in the Philippines campaign, and he invite me to visit him to his town, Cham-Germany. First applied was refused, 2nd a nightmare refusal. Wit all the documents I hand and since my travel is sponsored, what else does these consular officers need for the applicant, they are so RUDE, ARROGANT,STERN, THINKING THEY ARE A GOD sitting there asking you questions interrupt you mid way in a very CONDESCENDING TONE and HUMILIATE YOU BY TURNING THE MIC ON FOR ALL THE WORLD TO KNOW HOW THEY SPIT IN YOUR FACE! HOW THEY TALKED YOU DOWN AND INSULT YOU IN A VERY COLD BLOODED MANNER! AND TO THAT POST ABOVE, HOW CAN ANYONE CAN CON YOUR FUCKIN SHIT SYSTEM MISS??! IF A COUNTRY WON’T WANT VISITORS TO SO WHY PUT AN OFFER TO IT?! FLYING TO AND FRO IS NOT EASY AND COST EVERY INCH ENDEED UP BEING REFUSED!
    I wonder if any of these complaints gets into the faces of the ARROGANT CONSULAR DESK OFFICERS!

    MARIA

  41. I also forgot to add, I provided a letter from my employer confirming I was in full time employment with them and have been for the past 9 years.

  42. What a load of rubbish. My boyfriend applied for general visitor visa to spend Christmas and new year with me in UK and was turned down . We provided them with Everything.
    His trip was being funded by his parents. He provided bank statements from them showing they clearly has more than enough money to fund a 2 week trip. Also provided evidence of their employment. He provided his own bank statement with over $2000 in his account. He provided his car documentation showing he had an asset to return to. He is a 3rd year university student and provided a letter from his university confirming his leave of absence and also that his final exams were taking place the following week after he was due to return.
    I provided a letter of invitation for him. I also provided my own bank statement (with over £10000 in my account), I also provided them with all my mortgage documentation, council tax bill and mortgage deeds as proof of he had somewhere to stay. I also included a copy of my passport and provided evidence that I had visited him in lebanon 6 times over the previous year to show our relationship is genuine and we do in fact know each other well. Was this enough? Obviously not.
    Reason for refusal was he couldn’t provide ‘evidence’ he would return when he said. That is such a cop out. NO ONE can provide 100% proof they will return. Surely these people processing them should have an ounce of common sense? From all the documentation provided it was clear he leads a priviledged life in Lebanon and is getting a first class education. Do they really think he is going to give up this life to skulk about the UK with no existence? Oh, and he had already registered for his next semester at uni and had provided proof of payment of this ($15000 in fees paid). If he had no intention of coming back, would he really have paid this?
    The fact is, this is all about getting revenue and they had no intention of approving it in first place. Why can’t you just be honest? We don’t want you in our country to visit. We will just take your money. So now, Christmas is completely ru ined and I will be flying over to beirut yet again rather than me showing him about this country that I am hating more by the second.
    Your article is lies lies lies Tom.

  43. I applied for a visiters visa for my Egyptian husband. It cost £275 and he attended the meeting in Cairo. At the time I had a very good job, high salafy and owned my own house.
    After a 3 month wait my husband waa called to Cairo to be told it was refused. My husband did not know why and no feedback was given. He was just given a letter explaining how to appeal.
    on my next visit to Egypt I applied for an appeal online which cost anothee £145.
    I made it very clear that it was just a holiday in the UK until I moved out to Egypt in August. I had already booked my flights to leave. The last week before I left the UK I finally heard that the appeals meeting was on the 21st AAugust.
    I had during the wait tried to contact the immigration border agency a number of times and even got my local MP to write to support my husbands application.
    It was all ignored and no responce was given apart from a letter from ukba to say I had withdrawn my application as I couldnt attend the appeals meeting.
    the whole process was a waste of time and cost £410.
    After moving to Egypt to enjoy my life with my husband he died 9 months later. I feel that the UKba stole time from us both.
    I returned to the UK totally devastated and lasted 6 months there.
    I am now back in Egypt as I have no interest in living in the uk.
    it is all a complete farce and money making con to take advantage of vulnerable people. I am disgusted by the whole shambles.

  44. Hi,
    The Visa system is all about numbers these days. The Tory Party’s promise to cut down on immigration. In the past ECO or the Embassy always wrote to for example the employers to find out if the sponsorer, worked their, or they would write to HMRC to establish the correctiveness of employment documents. But Now despite of having all the documents (wage slips, bank statements, Employment Contract, Employment Confirmation letter from employer and letter from HMRC) are overlooked and visa’s refused on the “BALANCE OF PROBABILITIES”. The reason for refusal is given as ECO is not satisfied that the sponsorer is in employment. WHAT A FARCE!!!. When the same case goes to appeal the Home Office does not even bother turning up and visas are granted. If within 3 months an application is not granted a visa, then that application is not decided or better put away for at least 6 months. By the time appellant makes an appeal it is already 7 months. In the case of Islamabad High Commission where the appeal is lodged with so that ECM can reconsider it, the appeal is kept there for 6 months, the reason for the length of time taken and I quote “Due to the shortage of staff the appeal has not been reconsidered by ECM”. At this stage is already 13 months since the initial application. In 13th month a court date is given which is 6 months later. After 19 months when the court date finally arrives and the home office fail to send a rep to court, the Tribunal judge takes nearly 3 months to reply, granting the applicant the visa. That’s 22 months. From here it takes around further 3 months for the High Commission to write to applicant to submit the passport for visa and send the documents back to applicant. That is 25 months wasted for a newly wed couple just to get together, and for a reason which is purely politics. DAMN YOU UK BORDER AGENCY..

  45. I just recently applied for a student visa and was refused because the entry clearance officer, who was supposed to be keen on assessing all the documents provided, failed to do his job.

    Here’s what happened.

    I was qualified to get the remaining 10 points due to the fact that I had the amount required by the UKBA. I submitted a 3 pages bank statement to further provide an evidence that I held the required amount in my account for 28 days. And it was clear in the explanation to refuse my visa that the entry clearance officer just saw the first page of the bank statement.

    And now the money I paid to apply for the visa and the administrative fees deducted from my payment in the university will just be put to waste just because the ‘respected and highly qualified’ entry clearance officer failed to do his job accordingly.

    So thanks for wasting my money and time.

  46. Honestly I am feeling sorry for the poor idiot who will read this article and actually believe that the UK immigration office are ‘friendly’ and try to make the best they can to process and assist your application.
    I have received my acceptance of visa in one week. But honestly seeing how this country is closed to stranger and tourist, I am having serious doubts about my future studies there. Universities and colleges are just being more and more oppressed by new immigration rules.

    The immigration rules are getting tougher and tougher. Why not to tell people from the begin not to apply instead of wasting they’re time, energy, and money?

    A family member who applied one month before me didn’t receive any acceptance yet. This gets even better.
    His college got suspended three days ago when he has been waiting for almost 5 weeks without even receiving a notification about his application.
    When I read about it, apparently if the institution gets revoked ( when the student applying already paid, submitted, and invested time and effort on the application ) is directly affected and his application gets refused EVEN THOUGH HE MET THE VISA REQUIREMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING THAT WASN’T IN HIS CAPACITY.

    INTERNATIONAL STUDENT FRIENDLY? WHO ARE YOU KIDDING? I APPLIED TO MANY OTHER STUDENT VISA WHERE I GOT ACCEPTED AND THERE IS NOT STUDENT VISA IN THE WORLD ( EXCEPT FOR AMERICAN OR ANYTHING RELATED TO ENGLISH SYSTEM) THAT HAS THIS KIND OF UNFAIR TREATMENT.

    Therefore we tried to contact numerous agencies because the Home Office takes weeks to reply, and even sometimes doesn’t even reply. This is very frustrating and stressful, we contacted the college and they keep telling us they will get their license re-installed. But how to trust something that it is not certain when is your education that relies on it. Having not received any information or answer from the Home office, and the college seems determined, we have two choices. Weather wait and see if the college gets its license back which could take month and means that he could miss a great deal of courses and if it gets revoke his visa gets automatically refused or, withdraw the application and apply for a university and new visa application all over again ( when it wasn’t’ even the student fault.)
    A PERSON IN THIS SITUATION WHAT IS HE SUPPOSED TO DO WHEN THEY ARE NOT EVEN CAPABLE OF GIVING CLEAR INSTRUCTIONs OR ASSIST SOME QUESTIONS ?

    TELL ME , HOW CAN THIS BE CONSIDERED AS FAIR?
    I Find this article disappointing in some many levels. When i first applied i read it and i was encouraged to do it, but now well…
    I really never encounter such rude immigration laws for international students. This an abomination.

  47. UKBA/UKVI seem to have a licene to be unlawful. Recently I am German national and moved recently from Nairobi (Kenya) to accept a work offer. My Kenyan wife applied for an EEA family permit and attached to the application all evidence required by EU law (original legalized marriage certificate, my UK payslips and employment confirmation, copy of my German ID card). The application was simple refused, without clear explanation and without prior consultation or attempts to clarify. The ECO “was not satisfied”, but anyhow reassured us, that this “refusal will not prevent the EEA citizen from exercising his EU treaty rights …”. EEA family permit are a right of EU citizens and their spouses in context of the EEA free movement rights. The UK has to issue such a permit and the burden of proof lies with the ECO. Why is UKBA so independent and can violate EU law?

  48. Goodday
    I am appalled by the high handed attitude of the Visa staff at the British Embassy in Bangkok.
    My Partner of 7 yeas has made 2 application without success.
    The reasons are pathetically weak and the mysterious Visa Officers ( who sign by 1 initials and not their names) actually stated that a letter from the owners of our Apartment, who has known us for all those 7 years, COULD BE A FORGERY! Now why did the staff not make a phone call to verify?
    My Partner works Freelance with cash in hand so no proof of her work…..but I stated that she has NO NEED TO WORK and does so because she enjoys it.
    They then have the audacity to say ” IAM NOT SATISFIED THAT YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES ARE AS YOU SAY!”
    If you ask a question their policy is to reply after 20 Days!
    Also, the Agency are renown for removing documents so as to create a further application….more business!
    The Visa staff are a disgrace.
    Allan

  49. Mr Fletcher,
    Discovered your blog whilst browsing to increase my awareness of “first-time” Child Passport Applications.

    On reading through quite a number of posts, I’d like to share a past experience with you.

    I’m British, and two years ago married my wife, a Philippine national, and we live in the Philippines.

    Three years ago my wife (at that time my fiancé) and I travelled to Manila to attend the offices of VFS for her interview for a visitor’s visa to the UK.
    We decided to check out the route and journey time from our hotel to the British Embassy the day before her visa interview, and going to the reception gate for visitors, were politely informed that we needed to go to another nearby address, the VFS office. Both she and I had failed to read the appointment location address correctly!

    This scenario of the embarrassed couple was obviously recorded by the highly visible surveillance cameras and likely the laughter of all.

    The next day I went with my wife to the VFS offices, and had to wait in the reception office with my wife’s handbag, whilst she was interviewed.

    Two weeks later, we received a response from the UKBA saying that “the entry clearance officer had denied her application for a visa, he was not satisfied that we had EVEN MET ONE ANOTHER”.

    To put it bluntly, we were disappointed and bewildered. A very good friend later told us that applicants should always submit as many relevant photographs that can be mustered, the camera never lies and a picture says as much as a thousand words!

    To this day, I am still unable to find anything that tells of a right to ask for a reconsideration – it must be very well concealed in the Gov.UK website pages. All I could locate was a page that said there was no right of appeal.

  50. My father’s visa application to visit me and my family in the UK was refused, in error it seems. The refusal letter says the immigration officer could not see evidence of income correlating payslips and tenancy agreements in the bank statements. It is so not true. I help prepare my dad’s application and it seems to me that the visa personnel had found it more convenient not to see what was needed to be seen. They have also not seen balance of £7000 savings which were mentioned that were there to cover the costs of my father’s trip. They ignored history of previous travels to the UK too when he previously stayed only two months on a six month visa. Part of the letter is amusing, it reads they were not satisfied that my father can pay for his accommodation. I made it clear in supporting invitation letters and legal declarations that I would be accommodating my father. I own a property of my own and all the documents even land registry documents were provided. I am told that there is a rota in Istanbul and a certain number of applications should be refused even with dirty trick. I am happy to publish all the details if someone asks.

  51. As with others I chanced upon this blog searching for some information. In my case it was VFS who seem to be the contractor handling initial screening and forwarding of formal applications in/from many countries.

    Thank you Tom. It made a good read, and I appreciated your candour about wanting to see a simpler application process, and acknowledging there is always room for improvement. Hopefully what follows may help.

    The UK application is 10 pages and the Schengen application is 2 pages. The UK application uses the word “may” 47 times. The longer a document is the more likely it is going to confusion. That is a very simple adage. A long document with constant usage of “may” and “could” is likely to be unfair. I will return to the likely consequences of the arbitrary nature of the application process below and make some positive suggestions of how to remove many applicants from being at risk of rejection and subsequently challenging. From the above it sounds like many are successful.

    The reason for commenting is that what struck me through reading all the comments is that a very significant majority of the complaints raised could have been avoided. Some very simple additions to the process would save time and personal upset for applicants and their associates/families.

    Firstly, I understand that the bond proposal from The Home Office was quickly shelved in November 2013. It was probably shelved for political reasons, but it to be blunt it needs reinstating as an option. I reiterate as an option. It would save much time processing “High Net Worth’s”.

    Secondly, too many of these postings relate to rejection of sponsored applicants who clearly have the full required financial support. An “Affidavit of Support” option with a set indemnity would solve that issues at a stroke, and again relieve pressure on the system.

    Now, as I said previously, I appreciate you robust support for the UK’s immigration process. However I regret to say from the experience I have just gone through in applying for my partner through the Hong Kong centre – it is shot with holes. And you do not need to take my word for it. I submitted a whole flow presentation with screenshots and within 24 hours I had a call from the embassy profusely apologising and acknowledging my first submission. I found this thread researching what I now identify as two supplementary submissions having identified even more appalling errors in website flow, contradictory pages and unacceptable English usage!

    Let us start with the most inexcusable part of the online application, the actual application website. It clearly states “Beta”. Whichever minister approved that, should be ashamed of allowing such a shameless cop out. There is no definition on earth of “Beta” that could apply to a site that has no alternative, and does not offer testers some form of reward for time spent using the site. Based on my findings it is not even close to “RC”.

    The other issue which the Home Office needs to address very quickly is that of VFS. The Hong Kong centre issues applicants with a checklist to sign off only when they attend the appointment. The Checklist is significantly different from the official one on the gov.uk website. Applicants who have travelled a distance really have little option other than to sign or face the Application not being passed to the UK authorities. That “may” be viewed as coercion. If this same process is being used in other VFS run locations I see very reasonable grounds for claiming refunds for failed applications.

    Finally, in my view the biggest endemic unfairness from an applicant’s view in the whole process other than the website is the method of providing assistance to questions. Helplines are being charged at £1.37 per minute. The EC has stepped down firmly on unfair telephone charges. I see no justification of charging £1.37 per minute – effectively over £80 per hour. How much do the operators earn? And based on my experience of both the telephone system and e-mail responses I am absolutely sure the operatives I have dealt with would not even pass a B1 English Language test for UK residency purposes.

    A very rough intervening comment I acknowledge. But regrettably coming from a UK taxpayer, all correct. The whole process needs dealing with fast. I appreciate the politics of immigration and security. But as with China where the system got changed fast there is a need for action. Otherwise investment in the UK will be impacted. And as regularly stated in the comments above people can spend their money elsewhere.

    Schengen area springs to mind;

    Schengen application fee £48. UK application fee £83.

    Schengen Application Form 2 pages not 10 pages as UK;

    and likely no need to travel overseas at considerable expense to visit a VFS application centre.

    “BETA”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Beat It ———- please sort out before The UK becomes an even bigger laughing stock worldwide than it already is in Hong Kong over delays in handling passport renewals.

  52. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy that I stumbled across this during my hunt for something relating to this.

  53. My daughter is currently applying for a Tier 4 visa, as she has been accepted to a university in the UK. We have all of the documentation, but do not know how to answer a couple of the questions on the visa form. Is there really no one to call for help on this? I regularly work with Chinese visas for my job, and honestly find them easier than this … ?

  54. I have to keep you updated because I’m simply AMAZED at the results of the spell you performed for me in getting my partner back to me in good health. Everything is going so well and EXACTLY how you said it would be. Even though it took a little time to fully progress, it was so worth it because things are just about at perfection! How you took my situation and completely turned it around to give me exactly what I wanted is beyond me, but something I will never question and just be completely grateful for me coming across you. God Bless you for helping so many people get what their heart desires. You truly gifted! . you can also contact him for help as well (arigbospelltemple@gmail. com)

    .

  55. Sorry but Uk is not a pleasant or welcoming country to visit at all. I am not lebanese but an Indian millionaire and have travelled extensively all over the world – ive had several Uk visas including a high value investor grade visa and on each of the visas i was treated insultingly at UK borders – first learn to treat visitors and people entering Uk with respect then give lectures about your welcoming attitude. Entry officers at Uk border posts are aggressive, insulting, openly racist, and very disgusting people to deal with… even in the US they are much nicer. I travel regularly to france / rest of europe and have lived in Paris for several years and never once had a problem. The french have been nothing but nice and welcoming and I have avoided going to UK the past 3 years because of your horrible insulting attitude. If a non white foreigner wants to live in Uk then they have to suck it up and accept a very humiliating treatment and deal with racism constantly …this is what the majority of immigrants in UK go through and I guess they must be desperate otherwise no one would deal with such a horrible system. Im a jetsetter, moving around the world, i fly first and business class everywhere I go, I am from an aristocratic background and look and behave like an aristocrat yet I face the most humiliating and insulting attitudes at UK airports and while applying for their ridiculous visas. Have you seen Uk lately and the quality of immigrants filling up the streets..? Genuine people avoid Uk these days – the only people wanting to move to Uk are the ones who want to do something wrong there because those are the only ones who will put up with such an insulting attitude. I have made a hundred complaints about Uks unwelcoming attitude towards me and all I get is a sorry …it shouldnt happen in future and each time i went in the past it happens again. I spent a few months on my investor visa and left that country because I refuse to put up with low life immigration officers at Heathrow who treat people like dogs and get away with it…..this is why your country is filling up with refugees and others in a desperate situation rather than genuine tourists, students or investors….and the reason why this blog also exists…no one I know has a pleasant experience with Uk…why should we spend so much money and go to a country to be treated in such a manner? Your tourist visa process is another insult…if one is well travelled all over the world, has a strong financial base and a clean history why then should they be harassed and insulted so much for a visa? I apply for a tourist visa to Uk and they call me for an interview and then make me sit for hours to be interviewed – despite the fact that i am constantly travelling and no other country seriously has ever treated me in such a horrible way. I dont feel like going to Uk ever again to be honest – its a constant struggle to prove yourself to these over suspicious people with an island mentality. As for Uk being the best place to do business, keep troubling people from trying to do business there it is no longer a good place and business failure rates in Uk are seriously high. Crime and violence rates are also seriously high for a reason,..obviously UKs tight visa screening process clearly isn’t working well.

  56. Hi,

    Why UKVI can’t provide emergency visa service to Non-EU nationals who lost/stolen their visa/BRP in Europe ?

    Why UKVI need 15 days to issue a Replace BRP visa when they have all biometric and other information in their system ?

    Thanks
    P Dey

  57. My Iranian sister-in-law applied to visit us in the UK for a month. She travelled to Turkey to lodge the docs and to attend interview. She was refused on the basis of ‘insufficient funds’ although clearly she does, and she also has a letter from us accepting all financial responsibility for her – plus details of our finances. This is family. When I go to Iran I live free. The refusal says that she was not interviewed, when clearly she was. Apart from the rejection, she has not received the proper service she was entitled to and paid for, which includes reading the docs which clearly demonstrate that she is fully supported during her intended stay. Bloody dreadful, appallingly bad, and a neglect of her human right to access her family. Has the UK won something? I think not. Only the small minded and spiteful prize.

  58. i applied for uk visit visa and i was refused because i stayed last year for two months and i mentioned in the application i will stay for 10 days and they told me how i refunded my self and why you stay for long time and i came before my visia experies two months it was going to finish in novemebr and i came at the 10th of september it was a fault of me that i din’t gave them a complete in foramtion about my last visit it just when i was granted the uk visa in summer of 2013 my grandfather gave me 7000 egyptian pounds as a surprise so i planned to stay for more than one month because i was having a good money and also i went before so i know the country very well

  59. Can you PLEASE advise MR Fletcher, as to why my Christian Fiance’s Parents, sister, brothers and grandmother have been REFUSED a SINGLE entry visit visa for the UK? This has just ruined our wedding day!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My father wrote a sponser letter- he earns 6,500 pounds per month and pay for their flights and will stay at my parents home for 10 days! I submitted all our marriage prep, all my fathers documents for his house, the properties that he owns- my Fiance has the marriage visa they submitted this..what the hell is wrong with the UK border agency????????????????????????????

  60. I am a British subject who lives in Amman. My British passport is expired and I want to travel to England in order to renew my passport. My question is, can I travel to England using my expired passport or not? Please advise.

  61. I have for four decades traveled and worked overseas. If I wish to stay in a foreign country it is customary for me or my employer / client to lodge a bond that assures compliance with the law and, in due course, final departure from that country. Why oh why cannot the UK introduce a bond for general visitors. In my own case I am trying to sponsor a visit for a period of 4 weeks as a tourist. Nothing more and the visitor will return to the country of residence to resume university studies. Three times a pre entry clearance has been denied … resulting in stamps in the passport that are read as ‘undesirable’ by any immigration officer in any country. The so called service provided by UKBA to applicants and their sponsors is appalling. Mine is an issue over a simple tourist visit … I totally sympathise with applicants attempting to reunite married couples and familes.

    Just search Google on ‘complaints to UKBA’. How can a government department appear immune to such complaints over so many years.

  62. Tom, I stumbled across your blog post on an unrelated search but it (and the comments) have made for interesting reading.

    I am awaiting a settlement visa and after three months all I can ascertain from the free email status service is that it hasn’t been touched.

    The move to VFS and HGS has made an already difficult process very opaque and very frustrating. And I can’t escape the feeling that with so many private companies involved, no-one has precise oversight of the process, or responsibility.

    AUD$1,600 is a lot of money for a stamp. Three months is a long time to be separated from my husband. It’s also a totally unacceptable time to be without my passport. Which is stuck in Manila. And would require up to 20 working days to get back, even in an emergency.

    -sigh- So I wait.

    PS: would the last British person to abrogate their responsibilities to a foreign private company please turn off the lights?

  63. Can you explain why my earlier comment to this blog has not been moderator approved for publication?

    I believe I made a valid point about pre-clearance applications and the impact of denial stamps in applicants passports. Stamping a passport is possibly OK if the passport holder has presented themselves at the border and attempted to enter – not clear why an applicant who submits a pre entry clearance application before making any travel arrangements should have their passport stamped “undesirable”. As a consequence the holder is queried and questioned by immigration in other countries.

  64. My own experience differs greatly from the impression given by HE Fletcher’s post.

    I am sponsoring a Liberian student who is in receipt of a Chinese Government Scholarship for studies at Shanghai University. I sponsor her because her own government has denied financial assistance (in Liberia, who you know IS important). She has applied 3 times for a general visitors visa for a short visit to the UK. As her sponsor ( I previously worked in Liberia) I have supplied my own details, UK citizen by birth and resident, details of my bank accounts and ability to sponsor, address with utility bills etc. I have made every effort to ensure that between the two of us – applicant and sponsor – we have supplied sufficient information to satisfy the most rigorous of checks.

    She has been denied a visa each time by the Shanghai visa centre because (a) she cannot prove financial independence (the law says either the applicant or the sponsor not both); (b) she cannot prove sufficient ties with China to convince the officer that she will return to China after her visit (for heavens sake, she’s learnt to speak Mandarin to HSK 5 standard in 12 months and is now a second year student at SHUFE Uni); (c) she has no work or income in China other then her scholarship (she’s not allowed to work in China) (d) she has not shown sufficient ties to her home country, Liberia, to convince the officer that she will return to Liberia after her course in China.

    How does a young student demonstrate ties with her home country – they say she has not submitted evidence such as ownership of property or investment income.

    Three times I have sent full details of my bank accounts (they insist on original documents) to be attached to a visa application. I now find out these papers have been handled and stored not by a British consular officer but by a foreign contracted agency.

    She most definitely would return to China to complete her studies and at the end of her course is intending to return home to seek employment with a Chinese Company in Liberia.

    There is no right of applicant or sponsor to question the reasonableness of a denial. No right of appeal. My MP who has taken up my complaint says that the UKBA are a law unto themselves and treat MPs queries with as much contempt as the aggrieved applicant or sponsor. (I have seen the correspondence). So I am angry but as yet unable to do anything about ‘the system’.

    However, the point of this posting and a note of warning to other applicants – she now has three stamps in her passport saying that pre entry clearance for a UK visa has been denied. I have now been told that these stamps almost guarantee that she will be denied entry to any country in Europe and are likely to be noted by a duty immigration officer at any border

    Bear in mind she was not denied entry at the UK border, she was not found in a lorry at Calais, she merely did the right thing and applied for pre entry clearance for a visitors visa to the UK so she could stay for four weeks. As a consequence she has been labelled ‘undesirable’.

    Mr Fletcher, I applaud your intentions and sincerity but sadly my experience is that the treatment handed out to some applicants who were previously very well disposed to the UK is insulting. As her sponsor, a British citizen who has worked all over the world and invariably welcomed by my hosts, I am very embarrassed as well as angry. I for one would be very interested in any campaign being organised to get a review of these procedures.

  65. As a Hong Kong national who got refused entry 2 times and has been given business visa and visitor visa successfully later on, I would like to stand up for Tom that he definitely has made a fair point.

    Hong Kong is a ex-British colony, so any HK citizens can enjoy a visa-free entry to the uk and stay for 180 days. In my early teenage years, I studied in the UK on a year-long exchange program in England without being required to get a student visa back in late early 2000.

    3 years ago I was travelling around Europe and UK (in between I did come back to HK and then jetted off again). Just one month before my stamp on my passport would expire, I was returning to London Gatwick from Salzburg. I got refused to enter the uk for being mistaken as an overstayer and for not presenting a physical copy of a return ticket to HK (I had it in my iPhone tho). Obviously I was detained, and sent back to Salzburg. And I forked out a lot to fly back to HK.

    9 months later I wanted to visit my on-and-off bf in the UK. When I touched down in Heathrow with employer’s document (I worked the world’s second biggest alcohol company), with approval letter of my paid time-off, bank statements, etc. I got refused again.

    Since then, I have learnt that I need to apply for an entry clearance whenever I am going to the UK. 1.5 years on, I was sent to Birmingham on a business trip. I got my business visitor visa sorted beforehand.

    2 years on, my fiance is now whisking me off to Kent to meet and greet our usher and groomsmen as he is an Englishman. I just got my visitor visa approved with all the correct supporting documents in original copies, plus my fiance’s UK passport copy, and a joint saving account statement to prove our relationship is genuine.

    Honesty is the way to go. Don’t try to con the system!

  66. Is this the only forum where one can express one’s frustration and disappointments with the UK visa staff incompetence and ineptness? And do any of these complaints register on the people responsible for UK visas?

    My daughter, who is South African, applied for a UK visa from Germany where she lives to attend my brother’s wedding. The first attempt failed to give her an appointment time because she applied on the last working day of the contracted agency. Her multiple attempts to find out how she should get an appointment resulted in her paying a telephone consultant (an exorbitant sum it must be said) who advised her to cancel that application, apply for a refund and reapply. But, surprise surprise, the button for refund also didn’t work, and her attempts to email the various visa offices sent back automated responses.

    Then, when she reapplied, she asked if the visa process could be speeded up given that the errors were not hers. She was bluntly told she could either cancel the application without refund or wait the 10 to 15 working days for it to be processed. The day before the flight (10 days into the application process), she attempted to track where the visa was up to. But she found she was unable to track it and so was compelled again to call a telephone consultant, only to be told that the processing had not begun, and, despite what the website and application officials told her, would in fact take up to 12 weeks.

    Needless to say, she will miss my brother’s wedding in Scotland, where our entire South African family are gathering. I am deeply upset and furious with the British government’s extraordinary disregard for the people involved in these process. Surely it can do a better job than this? If it really would prefer not to have visitors to the country, please could it state that on its visa website in bold, so that we can choose holidays in other more welcoming countries, and waste neither our time nor money, and with a lot less heartache.

  67. I applied for UK visit visa but got rejected whereas my all documents were compltetly attached.my father was my sponsor but home office said that i have not demonstrated that i am supported by anyone. and they also stated that i have not stated that i am residing with any family members in pakistan whereas i attached my family registration certificate,my fathers id card containing my residential adress photographs etc. Even then they rejected.thats not fair at all.please tell me can i call or mail home office to discuss about my decision why they rejected it????

  68. As a British citizen, I’m happy that the visa requirements are stricter, but in all honesty, the tighter rules came in way too late.
    I must however applaud Tom for running a speedier service. A good and efficient service reflects kindly on the Embassy and the country as a whole. I wish the visa service in other countries would follow your example.
    My wife and I are planning a trip to the UK, see a few sites and visit family, so my wife of twenty years is in the process of applying for a tourist visa. I haven’t been back to the UK in over 15 years, my wife (now retired) has been a more frequent visitor than I (she loves Glasgow). I understand that because she was given a visa in the past, does not guarantee a visa now, so if she gets turned down, no problem, plan B, we’ll spend our holiday in New Zealand.
    But considering the cost of the visa application and no refund if denied, feedback should be given, I’m sure many applicants would appreciate and it would show a level playing field.
    To all those applying for a UK visa I wish you good luck.

  69. I have also applied for AD how long it will take can any one tell I was refused under 247 paragraph which is stated that Eco is not satisfied that I’m genuine student ”
    Because I been uk before and can’t complete my last studies cause my last college was revoked and I been asked for reapply for visa to compete my study but refused under section 88 2 c “which is stated my application is longer than it’s permitted under degree course”cause my first visa was 18 months duration and after revocation I applied for two years so refused and I sent my refusal for Administrative review and with no change ask for apply for fresh application so when I received my passport I came back and applied again in pakistan but refused “which is stated that I therefore not satisfied that what student was doing after closed/revoked his college total days 88 days” as I did send them my previous refusal letters which clear what I was doing and I apply again for Administrative review.
    Looking farward your kind response..

  70. I applied for a family visitor visa from Nigeria to visit my Aunty and family in the uk in January 2914 but u was refused on the grounds that she didn’t sign my application letter and I consume my monthly income. I reapplied and addressed these issues explaining to the ECO that I normally move my salaries to my personal savings accounts and I also attached these statements and my aunty signed the new invitation letter.

    To my surprise I was refused the visa again on the grounds that I stated I had £2500 for the trip which is more than I have in my accounts. I showed an invested u had of over 5,000 in pounds but they didn’t looks at it.

    Pleas advise me as I am thinking of writing to the visa office at Sheffield where the refusal notice came from.

    Please your candid advise is needed

  71. Dear Sir / Madam

    my friend interview visa was 18-25 march in U.A.E.
    but he cannot go to Dubai address what will be happen? because he don’t have enough time for get U.A.E visa.

  72. I recently wanted to apply for a Visas for a close colleague who needed to travel to the UK at short notice. But when it comes to applying for a UK visa, know that no others, especially not the Ambassador, can use their wasta to get ahead of you in the queue.

  73. the only question is when you have a sponsor letter, good bank balance , property, then why we get refusal, as main part is sponsor means they are the guarantee if we dont return back to our country , they will catch them and no sponsor would like to give sponsor without trusting.

    so where does the question come of refusing visa, i think uk embassy are not a fair at allll.

  74. Hi,
    Iam afraid to say that this is not right, the visa is getting refused just for the sake of refusal.
    My mom in Lebanon applied for a visa to come to the UK , to be bedside be when I get a birth specially taking care of my 3 old son.

    She applied twice and get both refused and guess what both letter of refusal are copy paste even when both application was different type of visas , it still referred to the first refusal letter type.

    The resin of refusal was the funicular status , we already my self and my husband stated they we will cover all the expenses and attached all the supporting letter, how you expecting a 55 year lady to work when she never worked before.

    We send a supporting letter from NHS midwife and My GP.

    But aim sorry to say nothing of these have even get read .

  75. After living for several years in Beijing, and working in an international educational company which deals with UK visas regularly, I can say with some certainty that it DOES help to know the right person or to BE the right person in order to get favourable services from the UK visa authorities. I have come across many occasions where people have been granted a UK visa faster (even in half a day) than what applies to most people. If you have more money or know someone influential, you can get a visa unofficially fast-tracked.

    I think that it’s good that this is becoming formalised by offering VIP business visa services to anyone who qualifies and pays for it.

    The problem I think is that although the UK wants to be “open for business”, there is too much emphasis on the top 5% who are in big business or super rich, who can pretty much buy UK entry clearance. The UK fails entirely those who are small, young, inexperienced but who have the potential to create new business links and benefit the future economy.

    My company has dealt with US, Swiss, French and German visa authorities for our staff and customers. The Swiss embassy did a very thorough check on what our company does, and how our services benefit Swiss and Chinese ties. We had to go through some meetings and show evidence, but once we had convinced them that what we do would be valuable for young people in China and for the Swiss economy, the visa process was very simple, clear and predictable. The UK visa process was entirely different. We have to show endless amounts of documents, but no real facts about what we are doing. There is a system, which was hidden beneath hundreds of phone calls, emails and all the rest, which means that after a few years we build up a reputation and as long as we’re not put on a blacklist we can more or less predict the processing time and be quite sure that we will not be refused.

    We bring about 1.4 million pounds directly to the UK economy each year from China, and the immigration process gradually recognises that we are trustworthy, however we were just as beneficial to the economy and just as trustworthy at the beginning as we are now.

  76. I think i may of put my letter in the wrong place, this is an update to our particular circumstances, , all any of us hope for, is that our application is looked at fairly , not with the sole purpose of looking to refuse,

    THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ THIS LETTER,
    My name is Bernard Evans, My wife is Yu Yun Wang
    unlike many people I feel time has some urgency in my case,
    I was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer some time ago, and my life expectancy was put at not more than 5 years at that time,
    I do not expect any special consideration ,
    But i do expect a Fair and unbiased view of our spouse visa application,
    This we very clearly did not get,
    These are not only my words but also the words of legal and other people that have also looked at our refusal, one comment was this is completely insane, they have given no valid reason to refuse but have still refused,
    You must forgive my candor, but I have very strong feelings about how UK citizens and their families are being treated , in what is clearly unlawful refusals to reach targets, it seems now several appeal judges have made scathing attacks on the ukba for this clear disregard to law ,
    I fully expect you are a very inteligent person to be holding your position, so I also have no doubt you are fully aware of what is going on in the Beijing embassy, I personally have spoken to several people and it seems they are also having the same fabricated reasons given in refusals, so forgive me if I do not believe this is just coincidence, or incompetence
    I have included the reasons for refusal in my recent spouse visa application,

    JUST A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT THE REFUSAL WE RECEIVED

    Nothing is ever simple , I feel as it seems do many others, that the UKBA at the embassy in Beijing are acting some what sinister, I have read so much and I find it impossible to believe they can make so many mistakes, and frequently the same so called reasons to fail,
    list as follows , but by no means comprehensive, of our application,

    1.They failed to include income that was clearly shown in two places on our visa application with supporting evidence ( they returned the evidence with the refusal but said they did not have it )
    Places it was shown were on bank statement, and also on my council tax bill, so it was clearly excepted by local government, common sense alone will tell you one would not invent income that will cause one to pay part of their council tax,

    2.They failed to include my pension that was clearly shown, in two places on our application with supporting evidence ( they returned the evidence with the refusal ) again shown as a regular income monthly on my bank statement, and again the letter from my pension company was included clearly showing my pension,

    3.They included income that was not ever even submitted on our application,,,, why ? So they could say we can not use third party income, But we never included third party income , ( Just some thing they added for no reason other than to put on the refusal ) for what reason would they choose to invent third party income, when we clearly never included any gifts or other income on our application, ???

    4.They say the benefits calculated are for my own personal needs, but the directive clearly states the formula the ECO must follow to calculate if there is sufficient for two people from the available shown income , is incoma at (A) minus Housing cost at (B) = the amount of income support an equivalent british family of that size can receive, at (C) in our case there clearly is sufficient, but the ECO did not do this calculation nor did he do it on the refusal as is required,

    5.I would also point out that even with out my pension and storage income we still meet the required amount as per the directive,

    6.They said my wifes english was not good enough, “she passed a higher grade than is required for her visa “A2 but only required A1 so why is this a reason to refuse, ( we have been talking together for 3 years ) ( in English )

    7.They said she did not have a job to go to, TOTAL LIE BUT NOT RELEVANT ANY WAY, YOU CAN NOT INCLUDE JOB OFFERS IN YOUR APPLICATION, WHICH WE DID NOT DO, BUT WE DID STATE THAT ON HER ARRIVAL SHE WILL BE HELPING TO START OUR NEW BUSINESS DOING B&B,
    They clearly know you can not include a job offer so how can they refuse saying she did not have a job offer,

    8.They refused to follow their own very clear directive on the rules for this type of visa application, chapter 8 section FM 1.7A (5.1) A, B, C, D, AND E, as is shown and worded as IN CALCULATING WHETHER THE APPLICANT CAN BE ADEQUATELY MAINTAINED, THE DECISION MAKER SHOULD FOLLOW THE FOLLOWING STEPS (5.1) A, B, C, D, AND E,

    9.They failed to answer the refusal in the correct manner as is clearly stated on their own directive, should the visa fail for this type of application,
    Again it clearly say on their directive the following wording must be used, see Chapter 8 section FM 1.7A (5.2) also they must show the calculation in the refusal, this was also not done, had they done this it would be clear they have refused this application for no valid reason, ( as you would expect , it was not )

    10.They failed to include any appeal details with refusal letter, ( it took us almost 4 weeks of asking what to do to finally be told we had to appeal to the uk, and was told we need the original refusal letter in our appeal, which of course was impossible to reach the uk in the time left, ( we did our appeal on line )

    11.They failed to include reconsideration details with refusal letter, At the time there was listed on the site details of how to send a reconsideration request into the embassy, these have since been removed,

    They now claim they have not received our reconsideration letter even though we gave them the name of the person who signed for it at the embassy,

    They are also saying we can not send a reconsideration letter, yet we got all the details of this from their site prior to it being removed,

    Even though they made so many mistakes, they treat you like you are a criminal,
    They are saying we can appeal and this will then be forwarded to them from the uk, ( for reconsideration )
    They have now said we are not allowed to contact them again as this will be in breach of their rules for an appeal,

    I truly find it impossible to believe that a government agency can get so much wrong with one application,
    do they really have such incompetant people doing this very important work,
    I have read recently that ukba staff are given a bonus dependant on their refusal rate, is this in fact true ?,
    I have also read that they are expected to achive a 70% refusal rate, IF THIS IS TRUE, THEN IT IS UNLAWFUL, HOW CAN YOU PUT A PERCENTAGE ON HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE REFUSED , UNLESS OF COURSE YOU REFUSE PEOPLE THAT SHOULD NOT BE REFUSED,

    So I am now wondering if this is standard practice that they have been given a directive to follow, which in effect says refuse every thing, JUST REACH YOUR TARGETS, if it should pass invent reasons to fail, ( which as can be seen from our own refusal is in fact clearly what they are doing ) say you have not received papers you have received, but they then send you back the papers they claim they never had,

    I have now written to my MP , as of yet not even a reply , so i will be writing again,

    We have sent in our appeal, after numerous emails to the embassy we have finally had a reply saying they have received it , The first tier tribunal said it was sent the end of October, the Embassy said it was received the end of December, BUT AT LEAST THEY HAVE SAID THEY RECEIVED IT NOW, after a 2 month wait for a reply, and frequent other follow on emails,

    I fully expect because I have complained my reconsideration will not be looked at unbiasedly.

    If you require to see copies of all mail and emails sent to the embassy please let me know ,.

    1. Dear Bernie,

      Thank you for your message. I’m not allowed under Home Office rules to get into the detail of individual applications, and certainly not on a public platform. But I will pass your views to UK Visas so that they can respond directly.

      I can reassure you that we aim to run an objective, fair, transparent system.

      Best wishes,

      Tom

      1. I am my sisters sponsor and currently asking the embassy in abu dubai to review her application because they have done the same to us. Stated we did not provide supporting docs when we did. I asked them a number of times if they going to review and all I get is general responses saying they review if there are mistakes, limited appeal rights and or apply again. Very unhelpful especially when she is hoping to visit outer unwell father before it is to late. It like I dealing with robots that have a malfunction.

        My sister has been to the UK twice before and returned to her country without any issue.

        Can anyone help?

  77. I’ve tried (in vain) to obtain clear and simple answers as to how my fiancee obtains a visitor’s visa to visit the UK……..
    BUT…
    UKBA have appointed VFS as their interface with all applicants and VFC just seem to complicate what should be a very simple point A to point B to point C etc etc procedure.
    I have “googled” VFS and note they were founded in India, have their main office in London and part of the Kuoni Group.
    Questions…Who appointed VFS? Who audits VFS? How much does VFS make from the scam that “they are providing a valuable service to governments and the public?
    Thanks

    1. Dear Ian, I’m afraid I’m unable to get into individual cases on this platform, and heads of mission are not allowed to be part of the visa process. I’ll share your message with UK Visas. Yours, Tom

  78. I saved for a whole year to afford a trip to London but that seemed to be dissatisfactory, even though I had a scheduled return flight on my itinerary and was staying with a local who confirmed it.

    Upon arriving in Heathrow, Border Patrol did not care for the answers I gave when asked what I intended to do in the country, which was to visit my boyfriend, a man I met on YouTube in June of 2011 and have now spoken to each day for just over a year, on the phone. So he proceeds to ask me how we met and upon learning we met online, tells me, “you are not a couple until you’ve lived together.” I don’t see how that is any of his concern. Then he inquires about the amount of money I have with me. When he finds out it’s only $123, he begins asking me about my family back home and how much money they make and who works in the household. Again, I don’t see the relevance. When he hears how poor they are, he began insulting my clothing, told me I was “obviously poor,” insulted my poor family, insulted my intelligence, insulted my relationship with my British boyfriend and refused to let me see or speak to him. When I asked the man how much money I ought to have, he snidely responded, “you just need enough.”

    I was treated like a complete moron and repeatedly patronized and talked down to. When I asked for the nearest bathroom I was asked, “why do you suddenly need to go to the bathroom?” I have NEVER been treated like that in my life and I live in America. My people are supposed to be the rudest of the rude. Well, UKBA is on a whole new level of rude.

  79. My Husband is from Albania. We are home owners. I am British we have two children and he has a UK Pass port. We have two successful businesses and are tax payers. We wanted his 16 year old brother to come and visit and it was rejected because he did not have a job, own his home and might therefore abscond when he gets here. What 16 year old British person has these things..it is crazy. Albania I very poor country. His brother is now 23. WE financially support him as along with his parents. WE would like to bring him over here to work, so that he can learn a skill and help us financially support his family..but this can not be done….drives us mad as we have such a financial burden and he is wasting his life..

  80. Dear Mr. Fletcher,

    I am very happy to hear of any wasta-free zone in Lebanon. However, I would like to highlight the vagueness and the lack of consideration to individual cases in your visa policies. I understand that according to the UKBA website, tourist visa applications may take up to 3 months which is completely ridiculous. I hope you understand where I am coming from given the freedom of travel you enjoy as a European citizen. I will share my case just to educate other people and make them aware on the “ridiculousness” of the UK visa processing time (not that I expect any impact on the visa application). My parents applied for a tourist visa to attend my graduation ceremony taking place in London on the 17th of December. However, it’s been 1 month and they haven’t got back to them and probably they won’t come back before the festive season is over! They spent the past month waiting for a “visa”, they missed their flights, and they will miss the graduation ceremony(an event that is worth them coming over for because as you know the UK is very keen on offering the best quality of education and attracting international students).

    Kind regards,

  81. The Beirut Worldbridge service is so bad. First of all they bever abswer calls. I kept calling for a whole week. Secondly. Their staff is rude especially a tall guy with a classic haircut was so rude to me.. He sits ln the first clubter… Mr ambassador, what u say is so untrue and make u look like soneone who wants to miead people and I dont know how u can do this to ppl…. Haram.. Stop it

  82. Hello,
    I am applying for a UK business visa for travelling for a discussion from Honeywell-Bangalore, INDIA to Honeywell-Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.
    As per checklist they sent me one scan copy of the letter.
    Will the printout of that letter work?

  83. Hi ,
    I’m an overseas student studying in Australia. I have summer break for 5 months. I wanted to visit my Mother in Uk. I got refusal of Entry Clearance. What should i do ?
    SHOULD I APPEAL OR LODGE A FILE AGAIN?

  84. To the British Embassy Lebanon,
    Really you are a joke, % 85 success rates!!! The UKBA do NOT like anyone to visit the UK, you should STOP your nasty policy to prevent people to come and visit the UK, YOU are NOT made of a cold country. Those people have need to come for so many different reasons. YOU keep saying public funds!!!!!!!!!!! Will you stop lying to people over public funds and starting to welcome more peoples into the UK because without those people you are NOTHING! simple as that, Now you can go Ambassador for some more lie…………

  85. My daughter is married to a syrian her in cyprus. she was doing an NVQ her on the british bases. she recently found out she was preganant, and wants to go back to the uk to have her baby, and will return and live with her father in uk.
    the UKBA make it so difficut for her to take her husband with her.. it is so frustrating and confusing,, the UKBA change the goalposts with evry application
    !!!!!!

  86. I have been to the UK for about 10 times and have not even stayed over 2 weeks on each occasion. I am happily working in Ghana and I wonder how the UK Embassy was able to refuse my visa application. I think ECOs are now handling visa applications in their own interests but not that of the UK. They are denying the UK of some revenues they could have made from my visit. I spend close to 10,000 pounds on each visit to buy items to be sold in Ghana. These monies are doing some good to the UK economy. I still don’t understand why a consular will deny such person a visa. Now I am thinking of trading from a different country who will open its doors to me.

  87. I applied for my wife and daughter to get a visa to the uk from China. Due to legal grounds they accepted my daughters visa (right of abode) but refused my wifes visa. So now I have to go to china and pick up my daughter, fly her to England and then use article 8 of the human rights to visit family and right of access to a child. unfortunately my daughter will be without a mother until she is given a visa and I cannot work as she needs me to look after her.

    The situation is bad and is going to get more expensive and painful for all those involved until we can get my wife over. if we are refused again i will have to take my family to china and live and work there, meaning 2 british citizens have been banished from the uk due to some bureaucratic b.s.
    deeply unhappy with UKBA for the pain they have already caused.

  88. Hello,

    Can you advise on procedures/documents required for a UK citizen with Permanent Canadian residency wanting to marry in Lebanon. Thank you.

  89. My fiancée who is British invited me to the UK twice and i was refused based on the fact that my fiancée didn’t have enough funds to support me. My fiancée visited me in Ghana in October 2013 and we got married. I want to know what process i have to go through as i don’t want to be refused this time. Help is urgently needed. I work as a Legal Secretary in a Law Firm.

  90. Well Tom Fletcher, could you perhaps use your “wasta’ to get the VFS agents to turn down applications that so obviously do not meet the requirements.
    My experience was that I asked the VFS staff at Istanbul and Singapore are they sure I may apply for a Settlement Visa when my UK born husband of 14 years is living with my children and I outside UK. I was told at both VFS office that I may. On the refusal document after due process, the Judge had said we may “buy our house and settle the children in school on a tourist visa and convert within UK”. We did that and discovered that is not allowed.
    Really 2 VFS officers plus a Judge got it wrong, so how do the mere public get it right!
    After a lot of drama, I now have a “Exceptional Limited Leave to Remain” which according to the FCO website not given any more, so every time I travel, the immigration officer has to verify it.
    Although we have been married forever, and the per the website, I am entitled to “Leave to Remain” after 4 years, because of all the misinformation given by the FCO representatives, I have to wait 8 years, and incur another 2 lots of fees on top of the 3 paid and legal fees.
    Forgive me for conclude FCO is about making money!

  91. If you are travelling to the United Kingdom, for the sixth time, what are the chances you can be refused entry clearance? previously I have visited 5 times and I came back as I have a permanent job. I was a student there previously and I would like to visit again this year for a week and a half.

  92. Hi.

    I recently applied for an adult dependant visa for my father which was denied.

    My sisters wedding is next week Saturday so we applied for a holiday visa for my father to make it for the wedding, however it was still denied.

    My sister and my father are both exceptionally heart sore.

    I understand a holiday visa is a contradiction to the adult dependant visa but surely the fact that it is his daughters wedding he should be allowed in?

    I need help urgently.

  93. After nearly 24 hours it seems like there was an error in translation and my son and his wife have completely misunderstood so my anger was in vain. Please feel free to delete all comments!

  94. I was born in London of English parents. I now live in the IOM. I had five children in marriage. The oldest went around 2 years ago to China to teach English as a foreign language. He met and married a Chinese girl, they both have jobs and a house in China. In December my final daughter gets married she wanted her brother to give her away as her father now lives elsewhere in Europe. Among the conditions of her Visa application are that I write a letter inviting them. Perfectly reasonable you might think. But then to prove I exist I am to thumb print the letter. My fingerprints are not on record as I have never been arrested by the Police. I doubt very much that this requirement is in any way legal.

  95. Hello everyone,

    Recently this summer I’ve got a 6 months student visa, went to a language school in London and came back. On my way back, I was thinking I should go back to London and finish my foundation year there. I applied to a foundation year college, my IELTS grade was 6.5, and now I have to apply for my visa.
    I am really afraid they won’t give me a new student visa, since I can’t use the 6 months of the first student visa, I have to renew it so I can enter any other school. I am really afraid they won’t give me a new one, since I a kind of late to school there and maybe they will think that I am late to school and won’t give me a Visa renewal. Please contact me on 70096977, I need some consultation.

  96. hello, ineed some help. my parents applied for a visiting visa which was initially rejected. however on appeal we recieved a a letter syaing that the rejection has been overturned. this happened more than 8 weeks ago and i have yet not heard from the visa section yet. what do i do now. ? does it take this long usuall for the tribunal to contact the visa office. furthermore. who can i ask officially regarding the status of the same. ? eagerly awaiting some help. thanks
    kind regards
    roman ahmed

  97. My fiancee put his application for a visit visa to the uk over 4 weeks agon and still we’ve heard nothing. We were aiming to go at the end of august ffor my dads birthday but sadly we have missed that. Why is it taking so long is it a good thing or a bad thing? He has been rejected once before so does this effect it?

  98. I couldn’t disagree more. We applied nearly 3 months ago in Riyadh for a renewal of my wife’s recently expired visitors visa in lieu of the start of the kids summer hols. Their vacation has nearly but finished and we still haven’t received my wife’s vis. We’ve been married nearly 15 years and have 3 kids who are all British through me. I have complained to VFS & even viisted the British embassy but all to NO avail. We own prperty & are relatively comfortable financially. We visit the UK almost every year & in the past her visas have come through in a matter of days. She has never over stayed and has never even incurred a parking ticket. To cut a long story short. It’s just shambolic & highly unprofessional!!

  99. Your vision is great, that’s to help people like me.Please help me am i Filipina with a British fiance, i’ve been with him for 12 years now, i was married before in the philippines but been illegally separated from my first husband because annulment is expensive in the philippines, my fiance is divorced(uk)he wants to bring me to Scotland to introduce me to his family and his best friend is getting married thhis december 2013, he needs me to visit him in scotland now he has heart operation and i want to take care of him, please help me.

    More power

  100. You’ve have great vision keep it up.I am from Philippines with a British fiance, he is ill right now he is in scotland, he needs me to take care of him, i am in the Philippines leaving here since birth, we’ve been together in the philippines for 12 years, he comes here to visit me, he wants me to join him in Scotland, he wants to introduce me to his friends whose getting arried in December and also introduce me to his family, please help me, i want to visit him in Scotland.

    More power,
    Marilyn

  101. I’m a Lebanese who was born and bred in a commonwealth country. I do owe my education and culture to the crown.

    Have been visiting the UK in recent years, and boasted of the efficiency of the embassy (later world bridge) in granting visas.

    This year, sadly, the priority service was initiated at the world bridge office in Beirut. A service which seems to create double standards. The efficiency of the office has seriously dropped, as the regular applicants have to wait much longer for their visas. If I were to refer to the book of ethics which I grew up with, this service will be classified as unethical

    It’s like a sign in a coffee shop saying “If you pay LBP 2,000 more, you’ll get your coffee before the others otherwise you queue if you want to pay the official price”.

  102. Dear Sir
    I am a specialist ear, nose & throat surgeon from Iraq. I have applied for UK visa to participate in a training course for 2 days and to meat the editirial team of ENT news magazine where I will be one of the contributors, my question is about the speed of decision making and whether it makes any sense. I have received an email from the embassy in Amman telling me that the decision has been made, although I was checking the tracking number daily and it was just arrived one day before the decision was made, I don’t know the result of this decision and I knew that the embassy did not even contacted the magazine team !! I hope the result of this fast decision is positive and I am waiting for it.
    Regards

    1. please can we keep in touch
      im Syrian graduated doctor
      i have some questions and need u to answer
      thanks
      my skype is dreyadjbr1

  103. Your Excellency,

    I came across this old post while searching for answers regarding a year-old issue, who’s effects I am still paying the price for today.

    I do understand and applaud efforts made to ensure the fairness and transparency of applications to the United Kingdom, but I do believe when the system fails (as many do), a fair reconsideration should not only be warranted but also facilitated, which is not the case at the moment. If there is a strong case for someone to show an error has been made, there is no means to communicate or correct this with the parties involved at the Embassy.

    As a London-born, holder of a Diplomatic passport, the embassy refused to consider my passport claiming it was “wanted by the Interpol” – a passport which I had been using to travel everywhere months before. Upon closer inspection it was found it was not a diplomatic passport, but instead a regular Lebanese passport with the same number that was forged. This was one year ago when I was preparing to move to Paris to do a master’s degree and applied for a 2-year (an rather expensive) Visa so I can make use of my breaks and proximity to visit her. As requested by the embassy, I was issued a new passport, provided a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, all documentation was provided. However, to add insult to injury, my Visa was rejected.

    Upon expecting my option I went ahead with the appeal procedure, attempting to acquire answers regarding this matter. After this long procedure (8-months), and many missed visits with my classmates, and to visit my sister who has a working permit in the UK, I received the answer from The First-Tier Tribunal judge. Although the judge could not overturn the decision, to quote some of his findings:

    “Indeed it is difficult to understand why he would not be allowed to visit the United Kingdom as a tourist or as a family visitor”.

    “There was ample evidence… and that the purpose of the visit was to visit his sister…” “The apellant should be able to visit her”.

    In this case, and as per the judge’s review of my case, it does seem that my application was not judged fairly. Aside from the financial cost of the application, I had missed several opportunities, which I was highly looking forward to during my studies in France, to visit the UK. However, there was no way to get back in touch with the embassy in order to obtain some answers, especially when a judge from the First-Tier Tribunal seemed to have the same questions.

    Sometimes, despite having the proper paperwork, all the necessary documentation, and being a repeated visitor to the UK, applicants are not provided rights to visit the UK. Whether all entry clearance officers are using the same measure of “fair, transparent, rigorous”, might be questionable, but I believe there should exist a facilitated way for persons to get their applications reviewed, if they make a strong case.

    Thank you an regards.

  104. i am from nepal . i entered three time in uk for journlist. i am a freelence journalist
    i got visit C- business visa for six months. My visa was finished then i again i am going to apply because last time within 6 months i have probation period
    my probation period was finished , Again they gave a contract to me for 1 year. One meeting will be going to held 21th july what i will do to get visa for me. please thanking for your positive atitute

  105. Hi,

    I am really surprised by the 85% success rate and by the fair and on-merit considerations mentioned in this post because my experience and of those who I know (quite few) is the complete opposite.

    I am a British citizen, been living in the UK for over 15 years, own my own house (and some other properties as well) and have my own business

    Recently I sponsored my parents to come and visit me in London for few weeks and provided all the required documents including my bank accounts (all high five figures balances). They were refused.

    The same happened to my sister who got married to someone who lives in the UK, to my brother who is a British citizen when tried to bring his wife, to my cousin and to many other friends and relatives

    The best thing they all got refused and then all won the appeal later.

    if these applications were considered carefully none should have been refused in the first place, these appeals cost money and refusing these applications without a proper consideration cost the tax payers.

    In my case the judge was astonished as to why my parents were refused the family visitor visa, not only she allowed the appeal but also ordered the home office to refund my appeal fees

    I wonder if the refusal is related to the fact that my parents are Palestinian-Lebanese not lebanese nationals ?

    May I suggest checking the percentage of refused plaestinian-lebaneses and how many their appeals were allowed later?

    For family visitor visas I believe all British citizen relatives should be treated equally regardless of whether they are lebanese or palestinians and should be considered on merit

    Another issue it is taking too long for the embassy to notify successful appealants, and the ambassy does not provide any means to check why it is taking too long, the standard answer is ‘we’ll call you when we get notified’. Took my sister over six months and had to write back to the judge who wrote to the home officeembassy.
    My parents still have not been notified after two months of their appeal being allowed, I hope they do not miss the summer.

    I have written to my MP expressing concerns on the proposals to abolish the appeal process for family visitors in the future – I think this process is essential

    Sorry to sound harsh but this is the reality

    Regards

    1. hi there..

      I was so pleased to read your post… would you be kind enough to explain to me how you went about the appeal?

      I am a British National married to a Lebanese lady for 9 years and she has just been refused an entry to visa to travel with me. We have a 3 year old son who is British (cannot be Lebanese, but that’s a whole different story!). Now he and I will have to travel without my wife/his mother.

      We own a house in Lebanon and were denied because they did not believe the salary letter of my wife or her bank statement!

      thank you very much

      Mark

        1. Mr Fletcher

          I wonder if you are able to answer this for me.
          I am a South African woman. Lived in the UK some 14yrs ago on a student visa. I returned to SA In 2005 on my own, as my visa had expired.

          In 2015 I applied for a visitor visa to visit old friends and was refused for:
          1. No proof that I did not overstay in the UK previously. (Which i did in the admin review, after the refusal).

          2. UKVI said I made an application in the UK in 2012 which is UNTRUE, and I proved this by way of a letter from my current employer and letter stating I was in SA at the time in question. My question is,
          where was their information sourced from? seems like fabricated reasons are being used for refusals)

          This year 2017, my friend of over 30yrs and i get a job as support workers in the UK with sponsorship from the company, so we apply for the Tier 5 visa and I am refused for the following:
          1. The signarures on the certificate I submitted as evidence were not authentic……..EXCUSE ME??? again, where did they get this info from because that is ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE and evidential flexibility was not exercised to verify it’s authenticity. (Another fabricated reason to refuse) why though? Is this legal? Please note, my friend did not even submit any evidence.

          2. Because I am not currently actively doing support work in SA.
          But neither was my friend……However, I on the other hand, have done support work in the past, hence my certificate after completion of a Disability course In the UK some 13yrs ago.

          Both administrative reviews were upheld with no explanation as to why. I feel evidential flexibility was never exercised. I have never lied or submitted false documentation.
          This entire process has been mentally and financially draining.

      1. Hi Mark,

        If your wife is applying for a spouse visa then what matters is your employment in the UK not hers in Lebanon

        I think all you need is some proof of your income in the UK i.e. pay slips or tax returnsbank statements if self employed –

        Usually the court is helpful and on your side – if you missed the appeal window of 14 days – then reapply for the visa and appeal if refused again

        I find the visa staff in Lebanon very very unhelpful – my brother wanted to bring his mother in law recently as his wife is doing a medical operation and needs somebody to help her with the kids – he sponsored her sending all original copies of his bank statements and proof of house ownership etc…
        He has his own business and drives a Ferrari so no problem with his financial status.

        She was refused the visa because she did not submit her own bank statements disregarding the fact the he is sponsoring her travel

        Unfortuanate but something is defintley wrong

        1. Thanks for all these points.

          My point in the blog is to try to explain that the key is to provide the information. Having applied for visas here, I know that this is a long and detailed process – it needs to be. I often hear from people that the visa officer should give them a visa because they come from a certain family, because they know a politician, or because they drive a Ferrari. The process has to be fair to everyone. frustrating I know. But fair.

  106. I live and work in Surabaya, Indonesia, but I would like to say something here
    I have a full time job, I have traveled to Hong Kong and Japan with my family on holidays and to the US on a company assignment
    We were thinking of going to the UK and France this year.
    We don’t mind going through the application process for the UK visa
    We don’t mind having our finger prints taken and our eyes scanned
    But what really puts us off is the fact that the VFS office is only in Jakarta, some 500 miles away
    I’d have to have at least a day off work and my daughter would have to have at least a day off school for that
    And given the VFS office hours, the process would include spending 1 night in Jakarta
    If there were a Disneyland in Britain, we might push ourselves and go for it
    But because the Disneyland is in France, we might just go to France and the Netherlands (it has a consulate here in Surabaya) and forget about visiting London altogether.
    Almost all of the local travel agents have dropped London from their offering
    I understand that the UK needs to tighten its border, hence the finger printing and iris scanning
    But please, open more VFS offices. Just to make it a bit easier.
    Thank you.

  107. Hello, and thanks for this very clear and to-the-point blog.
    I just want to point out that, even though this system (specially with the independent application center) does indeed speed up the whole application process, it does remove a critical component which is the human interaction. I was refused a visa with the explanation that “there was not sufficient support or proof that I will leave UK and return to Lebanon.” Sometimes what is asked for is not “special treatment” or “wasta” rather just the chance to talk to a person and tell them “Listen, I’ve been to UK several times and always return on time. I live here (Beirut), I work here, my whole family and life is here. So I just want to go and attend my course and come back to my family and my life.”
    I hope this makes some sense 🙂

    Cheers!

    1. Thanks Raffee, that is a very fair point. I hope you feel you get that opportunity at the interview. Our team are all very human, and aim to be real people not machines. Good luck and thanks for being frank with us.

      1. Thank you for the reply Mr. Ambassador. I’m sorry to be wasting your time, but what interview? Worldbridge don’t do interviews. Am I missing something?

      2. Point is…..we may as well deal with machines especially with regards to the staff at the visa application centres whose role is to basically receive documents and stay quiet! You may as well have people queue at the visa application centre, have them put their documents in sealed envelopes and dump them in a container. I literally did not see the need for human interaction when handing in my documents. The only staff member who was useful was the one having fingerprints taken and the one setting up the computer for the skype interview. The entire process is far too detached and impersonal.

  108. Hi,

    My regards to those of your staff, especially those locally engaged, who may remember me from my 6 month stint as ICLO in 2004 which, I may add, was a welcome return to the Lebanon after I was last there with my late father, a member of the Embassy and on his first posting, from 1952 to 1955 and an appropriate end to my career in the UK Immigration Service.

  109. Is being considerate and aiming to make a process simpler for a good cause, called wasta? Doesn’t wasta have a good side when things are transparent and legal?. Using a favor system to fasten a bureaucratic procedure might be the right thing.

    Yes I totally agree to fight wasta, particularly when it trespasses the legal and ethical considerations.

    You have said “I want more Lebanese people to visit the UK, and much of our work is focused on showing that Britain is the best place to further your education or business” & “We are open for business”, but regarding my case: I am a recently graduated General Surgeon from the AUBMC Beirut, Lebanon, holder of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honorary award, and member in the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

    I have traveled to the U.K. with a student visa on October the first 2012 for a fellowship interview, after which I got accepted in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital as an Honorary fellow in the department of Pediatric Surgery, and as a Specialist registrar after I complete my official registration in the U.K.

    It was stated to me that visa extension and switching to a clinical attachment visa while I am in the U.K. is not complicated and favored since it will be a win/win situation for both the hospital & myself. The hospital will utilize my talent & skills and I will be have better professional development.

    In October the sixth 2012, I applied for visa extension and switching to a clinical attachment meanwhile I stayed in London, with my passport remained and is still with the U.K. Home office.

    My aim was clear and direct: train in the U.K. and then get back to Lebanon to help the Lebanese community with a better medical service and save more children.

    More than nine weeks have passed so far being imprisoned in London with high level of weekly room rental just waiting to hear from the Home office about my visa application updates.
    I tried to call, to send emails to inquire about the progress of my application, none of which worked

    My aspiration to develop my professional skills are being wasted due to this VISA procedure and the lack of professional feedback or even tracking system on VISA process.

    I am here in a vicious cycle of the passport. No passport means that I cannot apply for the IELTS exam, which prevents me from GMC (General Medical Council) registration to start my job here.

    I believe that it is very demoralizing and unfair not to get answers for your questions when you urgently need them, I tried to call the Home office several times, all what I got was an answer machine politely asking me to refer to the official website, and in the website I could not find answers to my inquiries.

    Thank you

    1. I think it is rather generous allowing Lebanese physicians to work and train in UK hospitals considering that the Lebanese authorities does not allow Palestinians to practice medicine in the Lebanon, no matter how skilled they are!

  110. I submitted my application for EEA Family Permit last month (2610) but a week before that, I booked my first appointment and brought my documents (around 2 kilos heavy and 3 to 4 inches thick – not including the copies). But the Visa centre did not accept my application because the ECO said I need to apply for Settlement visa. I prepared my application with the help of an accredited immigration legal adviser, read all the documentations I found on the UKBA website even the staff guidance on how to handle such applications and believe I am applying for the right visa category. I was distraught when they wouldn’t even accept my application.

    Settlement visa wasn’t for me because I am already settled. I was married in France (I had my 10yr residence card then) where my children were born then we moved to the UK to be with my elderly in-laws. We now own a house in London, We are exercising treaty rightsI am self-employed and my British husband work full time and more importantly we can support ourselves without recourse to public funds. I passed the Life in the UK test because before leaving for our holiday that turned nightmare, I was preparing to send my permanent residence card application since my residence card was about to expire (now expired).

    When I sent a request to know why, they told me the ECO was on holiday so I had to wait. I sent an email to the complaints & feedback address telling why I must be allowed to apply for EEA family permit. The following week, I was told it’s ok to book the appointment. I did and now I am waiting – 10 working days and counting.

    I just got an email saying that my application is “deferred for further enquiries”. without knowing how long I’ll be away from my family. So far, I’ve been separated from them for 76 days, I last kissed my family on the 31st of Aug on the train platform in Dusseldorf Germany. I missed my daughter & husband’s birthdays, my daughter’s been crying herself to sleep all the time, my normally behaved son is being naughty and my usually unfazed husband is so stressed he’s been advised to take it slowly so he won’t get sick. My clients weren’t happy with me and I was supposed to photograph a wedding in October- that client wasn’t happy and it’s also making my other clients with events booked for next year very nervous.

    I was told by several persons to 1.) See a former immigration director here in the Philippines, 2) Attend the remembrance service in Manila because the Ambassador usually invites people to his home so that should be an opportunity to speak with him about my situation 3) Submit a Settlement visa application instead 4) Write to our MP 5) Several friends suggested that if I agree they will all write to their MPs and even invite those who know me 6) The father of the bride (client) hinted he can help since he know people

    Was I wrong to say no thanks I got this? And perhaps prolong my family’s suffering?
    The only person who did not offer any advice but only helped my husband when he can’t take the kids to work are my sister in law and her husband. They worked for a British mission in HongKong years and years ago. I know there are loads of UKBAagents who are great at what they are doing but from this experience, I also know that there are those who doesn’t.

    I am sorry I wrote this very very long comment. I am frustrated and I just want to go home.
    Thank you for reading.

  111. Interesting and welcome comments. As someone who deals with UKBA in a professional capacity regularly here in the UK under ‘highly trusted’ employer label I must admit that the regulations are still a minefield and time has to be set aside to ensure compliance. The UKBA/FCO websites often ‘hide’ additional info with regard to new or revised forms and even my HR department admit to missing some vital info at times. I am currently awaiting a spouse visa decision which has been in process for 3 months and have only just been asked for one additional paper (I had submitted another which I felt was equally acceptable in the original application). Now I face problems in that I cannot fax or email this paper due to communication problems with the Embassy in Cuba (and they called me to request it). Frustrating even for those who feel they know what is required within the law and that the level of paperwork required for processing by staff is enormous. I would like to see a system which is easier to navigate for users anywhere – as a personal and business ‘customer’ of UKBA I have to admit the process can be difficult and also some kind of user-friendly electronic tracking of applications would be useful although perhaps not possible everywhere and would create even more work.

  112. As a retired Chief Immigration Officer who has served as a Visa Officer or Entry Clearance Manager in several posts overseas, including Beirut (although not at that time on the visa processing side), I have to applaud your straight-talking message on this sometimes difficult subject. The message has always been that UK Visas are issued or refused in accordance with the law, not on the basis of who you know.

    My regards to those of your staff, especially those locally engaged, who may remember me from my 6 month stint as ICLO in 2004 which, I may add, was a welcome return to the Lebanon after I was last there with my late father, a member of the Embassy and on his first posting, from 1952 to 1955 and an appropriate end to my career in the UK Immigration Service.

    1. A fine defence by HMA. But over 2000 refusals pa (no money back) is too many. (It seems no attempt is made in boarderline cases to correct a genuine mistake or to verify the authenticity of the documentation by any personal contact with the originators. Is this what the law stipulates? Or is revenue of over £1m insufficient to provide a good service?)

      1. I second that. My step fathers holiday visa was rejected over the Xmas period of 2010. My mother is British, so she could come over but what wife would leave her husband behind over Xmas? There was no valid reason for the visa rejection. In fact, the Home Office reversed their decision some 7-weeks later, but by then it was too late. My mother had work commitments, as did I. So I never got to see my mum or step dad of 35-years until I went to visit them in 2012.

        I wish I could go into detail about this case, but it would take too long. Needless to say, it would bring into question the so called “straight talk” on how to do it right by Tom Fletcher. Sorry friend but for the cast majority, getting a UK visa, even when you have ticked all the boxes, is nightmare from hell. UKBA? Home Office? Over paid and under worked in my opinion.

    2. sadly this is clearly just not true, the ukba decide on their own merit what laws to follow and what laws to ignore, they fail to provide appeal details, fail to provide addresses to send appeals or reconsideration letters, fail to suppy appeal forms, for both uk and other country applicatiions,
      when you phone the embassy you are directed to thir web site which tells you to contact the place your visa was refused, clearly this is done to delay every thing until you are out of time to appeal, after over 100 calls and countless emails, we are strill no further on, all because the ukba person who did our visa application , clearly decide i was on his hiit list for the day,
      and invented reasons to deny our visa,
      sadly i fear this will be the case with so many other people,
      it seems clear to me that you are blinkered by your own past experience in the ukba, but today it is clear that they make up their own rules, and ignor court rulings as well

      1. I agree. The immigration process could CLEARLY be much better, especially website details. For example, NOWHERE does it say that under British Immigration law, British people are not considered to be European (i.e. we cannot apply for EEA family permits, for our family to enter the UK, as Europeans can).

        The process could also be made more flexible i.e. biometric data (payment) AFTER visa approved (who needs biometric data for someone who isn’t travelling???!)

        Also, on refusal of visas, there is no advice such as “you have applied for the wrong visa; consider…” It is THIS VISA HAS BEEN REFUSED ON THESE GROUNDS..

        The cost of phoning them is ridiculous, and they say nothing more than is on their website.

        An illustration of how poorly visa applicants are treated is simply to look at the regular court cases where the Borders Agency have made wrong decisions or the immigration law has to be changed because it is illegal. There are so much case law developing around immigration now that it is hard to keep track of (e.g. Rui Zumbrano).

        We have a home secretary (Theresa May) who was trying to get powers to strip people of their nationality if they committed a crime in the UK (one of the most barbaric actions you can imagine), and the UK government have promised to reduce immigration. The Conservative government DO NOT WANT IMMIGRANTS IN THE COUNTRY.

      2. I have had the same problem I am a british citizen denied a settlement for my wife even though we have been married longer than the required time every excuse they could find was applied to us I have sent marriage papers and her bios 3 times they told me last time they could not be sure she was legal in the usa even with a valid green card then they said they could not be sure she was the same person how could they not see it with her bios that they have . no human rights at all, sad.

    3. sadly this is clearly just not true, the ukba decide on their own merit what laws to follow and what laws to ignore, they fail to provide appeal details, fail to provide addresses to send appeals or reconsideration letters, fail to suppy appeal forms, for both uk and other country applicatiions,
      when you phone the embassy you are directed to their web site which tells you to contact the place your visa was refused, clearly this is done to delay every thing until you are out of time to appeal, after over 100 calls and countless emails, we are still no further on, all because the ukba person who did our visa application , clearly decided I was on his hit list for the day,
      and invented reasons to deny our visa, and refused to follow the rules as laid down in the ukba guides.
      sadly i fear this will be the case with so many other people,
      it seems clear to me that you are blinkered by your own past experience in the ukba, but today it is clear that they make up their own rules, and ignor court rulings as well

      1. THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ THIS LETTER,
        My name is Bernard Evans, My wife is Yu Yun Wang
        unlike many people I feel time has some urgency in my case,
        I was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer some time ago, and my life expectancy was put at not more than 5 years at that time,
        I do not expect any special consideration ,
        But i do expect a Fair and unbiased view of our spouse visa application,
        This we very clearly did not get,
        These are not only my words but also the words of legal and other people that have also looked at our refusal, one comment was this is completely insane, they have given no valid reason to refuse but have still refused,
        You must forgive my candor, but I have very strong feelings about how UK citizens and their families are being treated , in what is clearly unlawful refusals to reach targets, it seems now several appeal judges have made scathing attacks on the ukba for this clear disregard to law ,
        I fully expect you are a very inteligent person to be holding your position, so I also have no doubt you are fully aware of what is going on in the Beijing embassy, I personally have spoken to several people and it seems they are also having the same fabricated reasons given in refusals, so forgive me if I do not believe this is just coincidence, or incompetence
        I have included the reasons for refusal in my recent spouse visa application,

        JUST A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT THE REFUSAL WE RECEIVED

        Nothing is ever simple , I feel as it seems do many others, that the UKBA at the embassy in Beijing are acting some what sinister, I have read so much and I find it impossible to believe they can make so many mistakes, and frequently the same so called reasons to fail,
        list as follows , but by no means comprehensive, of our application,

        1.They failed to include income that was clearly shown in two places on our visa application with supporting evidence ( they returned the evidence with the refusal but said they did not have it )
        Places it was shown were on bank statement, and also on my council tax bill, so it was clearly excepted by local government, common sense alone will tell you one would not invent income that will cause one to pay part of their council tax,

        2.They failed to include my pension that was clearly shown, in two places on our application with supporting evidence ( they returned the evidence with the refusal ) again shown as a regular income monthly on my bank statement, and again the letter from my pension company was included clearly showing my pension,

        3.They included income that was not ever even submitted on our application,,,, why ? So they could say we can not use third party income, But we never included third party income , ( Just some thing they added for no reason other than to put on the refusal ) for what reason would they choose to invent third party income, when we clearly never included any gifts or other income on our application, ???

        4.They say the benefits calculated are for my own personal needs, but the directive clearly states the formula the ECO must follow to calculate if there is sufficient for two people from the available shown income , is incoma at (A) minus Housing cost at (B) = the amount of income support an equivalent british family of that size can receive, at (C) in our case there clearly is sufficient, but the ECO did not do this calculation nor did he do it on the refusal as is required,

        5.I would also point out that even with out my pension and storage income we still meet the required amount as per the directive,

        6.They said my wifes english was not good enough, “she passed a higher grade than is required for her visa “A2 but only required A1 so why is this a reason to refuse, ( we have been talking together for 3 years ) ( in English )

        7.They said she did not have a job to go to, TOTAL LIE BUT NOT RELEVANT ANY WAY, YOU CAN NOT INCLUDE JOB OFFERS IN YOUR APPLICATION, WHICH WE DID NOT DO, BUT WE DID STATE THAT ON HER ARRIVAL SHE WILL BE HELPING TO START OUR NEW BUSINESS DOING B&B,
        They clearly know you can not include a job offer so how can they refuse saying she did not have a job offer,

        8.They refused to follow their own very clear directive on the rules for this type of visa application, chapter 8 section FM 1.7A (5.1) A, B, C, D, AND E, as is shown and worded as IN CALCULATING WHETHER THE APPLICANT CAN BE ADEQUATELY MAINTAINED, THE DECISION MAKER SHOULD FOLLOW THE FOLLOWING STEPS (5.1) A, B, C, D, AND E,

        9.They failed to answer the refusal in the correct manner as is clearly stated on their own directive, should the visa fail for this type of application,
        Again it clearly say on their directive the following wording must be used, see Chapter 8 section FM 1.7A (5.2) also they must show the calculation in the refusal, this was also not done, had they done this it would be clear they have refused this application for no valid reason, ( as you would expect , it was not )

        10.They failed to include any appeal details with refusal letter, ( it took us almost 4 weeks of asking what to do to finally be told we had to appeal to the uk, and was told we need the original refusal letter in our appeal, which of course was impossible to reach the uk in the time left, ( we did our appeal on line )

        11.They failed to include reconsideration details with refusal letter, At the time there was listed on the site details of how to send a reconsideration request into the embassy, these have since been removed,

        They now claim they have not received our reconsideration letter even though we gave them the name of the person who signed for it at the embassy,

        They are also saying we can not send a reconsideration letter, yet we got all the details of this from their site prior to it being removed,

        Even though they made so many mistakes, they treat you like you are a criminal,
        They are saying we can appeal and this will then be forwarded to them from the uk, ( for reconsideration )
        They have now said we are not allowed to contact them again as this will be in breach of their rules for an appeal,

        I truly find it impossible to believe that a government agency can get so much wrong with one application,
        do they really have such incompetant people doing this very important work,
        I have read recently that ukba staff are given a bonus dependant on their refusal rate, is this in fact true ?,
        I have also read that they are expected to achive a 70% refusal rate, IF THIS IS TRUE, THEN IT IS UNLAWFUL, HOW CAN YOU PUT A PERCENTAGE ON HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE REFUSED , UNLESS OF COURSE YOU REFUSE PEOPLE THAT SHOULD NOT BE REFUSED,

        So I am now wondering if this is standard practice that they have been given a directive to follow, which in effect says refuse every thing, JUST REACH YOUR TARGETS, if it should pass invent reasons to fail, ( which as can be seen from our own refusal is in fact clearly what they are doing ) say you have not received papers you have received, but they then send you back the papers they claim they never had,

        I have now written to my MP , as of yet not even a reply , so i will be writing again,

        We have sent in our appeal, after numerous emails to the embassy we have finally had a reply saying they have received it , The first tier tribunal said it was sent the end of October, the Embassy said it was received the end of December, BUT AT LEAST THEY HAVE SAID THEY RECEIVED IT NOW, after a 2 month wait for a reply, and frequent other follow on emails,

        I fully expect because I have complained my reconsideration will not be looked at unbiasedly.

        If you require to see copies of all mail and emails sent to the embassy please let me know ,.

        1. above is recent update on details , i have also sent this to the embassy, no doubt doing my case more harm than good

        2. after i have read your post, i feel so much better that they rejected my visa once.
          that was the first time i ever applied for UK visa and the worst part is i only going there for one night from Paris to watch a football match.
          all my tickets hotel are already paid.
          i go to Europe every year and i have no problem on getting schengen visa at all.
          and the best part is guess what is written on my rejection letter?.
          “DUE TO YOUR NATIONALITY YOU ARE NOT ALLOW FOR ANY APPEAL”
          what is wrong with my nationality? i am an Indonesian still holding Indonesian passport but i have been living in Singapore for the past 20 years and have been a permanent resident for 10 Years.
          so what is wrong with my nationality being an Indonesian??

    4. I applied for tier 4 student visa from bangladesh to the uk on 4/2/14
      My visa was refused on 23/2/14 due to they say my ability to speak english. Firstly i would like to comment the refusal letter states a compleatly different college then to the one i have a cas for and secondly the first interview was in english the second interview there was 2 people through video link one was bangali and the other white
      I was asked at the begining of the interview which language i wanted to be asked the questions to which i replied which ever you want i dont mind i was then told its completly up to me which language i wanted to speak in so i chose bengali the interview lasted about 5 minuets this was the second interview by the way. How could they refuse me on such grounds? If i do an admin review do you think there is a chance?

      1. I applied for EEA Family Permit as my wife lives in the UK. She is Belgian national. ECO refused my application with an unfair and irrelevant ground that shows ‘You’ve applied to settle with your sister and brother-in-law whose are Portuguese national. You’re 31 years old (but I’m 28) and you’ve resided in the same address for more than 30 years (I’ve never been there).’ LOL

        Mr. ECO, please take a look the application form at least 1 time before refusing.

    5. I have a question please help me, my wife is in london, i have apply for spouce vise but it has been refuse twice. And now my wife is pregnant , and i am looking forward to go to london to assist the birth of my baby , do you think that i can get a tourist visa ? Or an visitor visa??? Please help me i need an advice

    6. Hi can u help with a visa my partner is from Egypt and wants to come to the uk we don’t know the best visa for him

    7. The government specifically make it difficult for people to enter the UK to reduce immigration numbers, and this has nothing to do with justice. Consider these:
      1. British people have less right to enter the UK with a non-european family than a European person entering with a non-european family.[EEA family permit allows europeans to enter with a non-european partner. British people must MARRY them AND they must speak english].
      2. It is common that the borders agency keep original documents, which they should return (passports, birth certificates etc)
      3. The ability to appeal a visa decision for some visas (e.g. family visitor visa) has been removed; preventing a court of law making a judgement on a biased decision.
      4. You pay for biometric scans before a visa is approved, and if visa is refused, you have to start the whole process again and pay for the whole process again (even if it is days afterwards).

      My partner has had 4 biometric scans, and still no approved visa. We have children together and she lives in Portugal, and we are long term partners, and I earn over 35k (I live in UK and am British). The government are trying to achieve immigration targets for political reasons. They kept our daughter’s birth certificate and we asked for it back 4 times, with no response, and even wrote a complaint letter, with no response. My right to be with my family is being denied (we cannot marry, as she has problems getting divorced – has taken 4 years and still not completed). So; we have a future of separation and me seeing my children grow up without a father present.

    8. hello mrs Roberts
      this my own experience i want in past visite uk for short stay 10 days without intention to stay for long ; three aplly be refused with a stupid justification , not yet realise this metode of thinking, On the other hand the visa granted to the owners of the money simply ,
      Note : i have british freind, with invitation letter and all documents , i am administrative in algerian administration with all my documents ,
      now my My idea about the Principles of Britain completely changed for the worse of course

    9. Do guidelines for ECOs actually mean anything? Because all I see is an excuse for a system with mandatory and discretionary refusal categories – the latter seeming to be interpreted by ECOs as a cart-blanch to have a bad human day, and do with what they like with applications.
      https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/529333/GGFR-sec2-v26.0.pdf
      I have been involved in the creation of many systems, but this one is a mess. I’ve especially been an advocate of systems that are more organic to ensure that personnel remain engaged with the systems, and not just tick the right boxes without engaging their brains, or actually DOING something.
      What we see from the Home Office is a perfect example of how NOT to make systems more organic. Key, over-arching statements have been used to DISENGAGE personnel. What is worse is that it has become normalised, and it has been normalised for an alarming length of time, because they are seldom held to account.
      ECOs are given discretionary powers WITH CONDITIONS, but all the ECOs seem to read is the discretionary part. To compound the sorry situation, they have introduced “The balance of probabilities…”
      Do tell…has any ECO ever been asked for a justification of the scientific measurement of their application of: “The balance of probabilities” on applications? What a lot of super-subjective balderdash. Assumptions like this must be anchored to statistics and facts. Instead they are used like a sledgehammer to crack a nut in over-arching ambiguity, and whims.
      Competitive, you say? I note your competition criteria is turnaround time. How telling. I thought your benchmark would have been the number of worthy lives you’d saved from heartbreak and stress, OR the no. of soul mates you’d re-united by bringing all these worthy people together by visa, and by at by granting them the human dignity of DUE PROCESS.
      It’s a disgrace. Seriously – is this the best that the supposed intelligentsia of a so-called civilised society can do?
      Never in all my years of creating systems have I seen such a pathetic attempt to bring order to a complex situation. The result is a straining of gnats while letting camels pass. Worthy people whose loudest chant might be: ‘harm to none and love to all’ are refused as (inferred) deviants by some never elaborated, mythical ‘balance of probability’. Why? Because it has been normalised, and it is either because they can’t be bothered to do the checks or contact applicants about document shortfall as per the Home Office Guidelines (see above link), or they are under so much pressure to clear their desks that they are not brought to heel about it. Shame on you.
      The result is the allowing of entry to an uncanny number of major deviants whose only tenet is to know how to play the game. A system with no checks is no system at all. DO THE CHECKS. It is a matter of National Security.
      The system is broken, and until the spirit of the UK government returns to a posture of actually caring about collateral damage, and taking their eyes off the numbers, then the UK will remain broken. I think most people know what to do with UK best at this…best at that spin. Believe me folks – I’ve travelled the world, and I can say that the UK is in spiritual AND material free-fall. What remains is a hologram; a veneer construct of glories past – presented to the rest of the world, but that savvy Brits know to be completely false.
      The real intelligentsia has fled this land. Soon the hologram will vanish, and the veneer will be swept away in an instant, as its systemic failures suck every drop of fertility from this once productive land – assisted no doubt by a resettled populace of ne’er do wells, criminals, and terrorists who are, and always will be, as British as green grass is red.
      Systemic brokenness is thrust upon us Brits in every walk of life, because our education system; our universities perpetuate it.
      Graduates come out of university believing themselves to have a mission to overlay their establishment learnings (its brokenness) over all that has passed before them. At best, they are dismissive of anything not the construct of a university or university fellow (Before you start – that word is gender-neutral)- Not realising that they have actually been dumbed-down: Portions of their brain have been re-programmed. They don’t realise that they are actually the carriers of a killer cancer. Instead, they insist we must all suffer from their debilitating disease.
      Anyone with half a brain and lucky enough to be firmly grounded in reality are looking at this trance-like systemic, tribal overlay worship, and going: ‘Not this soldier, mate’.
      Can you deny that this has been your experience with the Home Office Immigration Department?
      I urge all worthies to stay away.

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About Tom Fletcher

Tom Fletcher was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Lebanese Republic in August 2011. Tom was born in Kent, and studied at Harvey Grammar School (Folkestone) and Oxford University (Hertford…

Tom Fletcher was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Lebanese Republic in August 2011.

Tom was born in Kent, and studied at Harvey Grammar School (Folkestone) and Oxford University (Hertford College), graduating with a First class degree in Modern History. He has an MA in Modern History, and is a Senior Associate Member of St Anthony’s College for International Studies, Oxford.

He is married to Louise Fletcher and they have two sons, Charles (born 2006) and Theodor (born 2011). Tom enjoys political history, cricket (Strollers CC), and mountains, and is the co-founder of 2020 (a progressive think tank).

Tom was awarded the Companion of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 2011 New Year’s Honours, for services to the Prime Minister.

Tom posts on Lebanon and the Middle East on this site. For posts on innovative statecraft, please visit Naked Diplomat-Foreign Policy without the Frills.

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