I'm helping my significant other (who lives in another country) to apply for a visitor visa to the UK. They have never been here, but they got refused once before almost 10 years ago (something about lack of ties) together with the other people that applied with them (it was a group that hoped to visit the UK for a summer language school). Unfortunately, they got refused again. This is the letter:

visa refusal letter, with PII obscured

I was already mentally prepared to try to find an explanation (possibly they changed job title in 2007, and that's why the document in 2009 might have had a different date than in the latest application), so that we could apply again, with an explanation for the discrepancy that made it obvious that it was a mistake without any intention of deception. (I know that applying again would make sense only if we can provide further documentation. Hopefully more detailed employment information and a written apology would be enough to demonstrate good faith)

But then they retrieved the application from 2009, with the attached document for employment confirmation. You can see the original here:

original employment confirmation with PII obfuscated

And this is the translation:

translation of employment confirmation with PII obfuscated

As you can see, nowhere is the "1st January 2007" date mentioned, nor 2007 at all.

I'm now a bit lost: we cannot appeal, so the only thing we can do is to apply again with amended documentation, but the documentation we have contradicts the reason for the refusal!

It's been 3 weeks now since they originally sent the application, (for some reason the reply arrived today even if the letter is dated 09 May) and the flight ticket has already been purchased. To have any hope of avoiding a change of plans, I think that the only venue we have is to try to apply again (rather than an appeal), possibly with the expedited process (which I understand would take only a couple of days) to allow for more time for us to change plans in case things will go wrong.

I don't think that contacting a solicitor would really help us (given that we cannot appeal), but what should we provide if applying again? If they think that we're being deceptive, a further refusal under 3.7 would be extremely inconvenient.

The obvious thing would be to send copies of the old documentation, in which the correct year can be clearly seen. Maybe by attaching a brief letter that points out that the old application and the newer one are not in conflict.

But maybe the bureaucracy won't easily accept a mistake on their part? Maybe we should apologize even for a mistake that we haven't made? What kind of justification for a non-existing discrepancy could we ever provide? (I don't think this is a good idea).

I appreciate any feedback or suggestion you can provide. Thank you.

  • 5
    Your SO was warned to not purchase travel or accommodations before receiving the visa. You most likely are going to have to change or cancel the tickets. This application desperately needs a solicitor; trying to reapply without one is virtually guaranteed to result in that 10 year ban. Commented May 22, 2019 at 1:12
  • See travel.stackexchange.com/questions/101247/… for a good explanation about this. You effectively have a ban and will be formally informed once you apply again. Solicitors may take up your case (pointers in linked answers) but it will cost you. We have a few questions about recourse to take if refusal letter is contradictory to facts. I'll try and dig them up
    – RedBaron
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 1:38
  • 2
    Just an idea, maybe the letter was correct but the applicant filled the wrong date in the form during previous application.
    – RedBaron
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 1:41
  • I don’t agree that this automatically required a solicitor. If everything is as obvious as it looks that the ECO was completely wrong, what’s the need for a solicitor. I however agree that this will likely not be resolved in time to use those plane tickets. Nobody to blame but yourself for buying tickets. Commented May 22, 2019 at 9:25
  • I know this is a long shot however considering the cost of a solicitor, I would first try this: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/96671/…. Wrote a very concise letter with the evidence attached. In the meantime cancel those plane tickets Commented May 22, 2019 at 9:46

1 Answer 1


So, this just got resolved positively:

We got a solicitor involved, they recommended:

  • applying again
  • if that fails, a judicial review (that's a different thing than an appeal or an administrative review)

For both, knowing what information exactly UKVI used for their previous decision would be quite useful, and that can be obtained for free with a subject access request.

Instead of waiting on the SAR documents to get back to us, my SO submitted a new visa application right away (with the information that has been provided above in the question and a cover letter). The decision was positive in this case and the visa has been granted (which means that luckily plans didn't have to change),

Though this means that until we'll see the SAR documents, it will not yet be clear if they had any wrong records on their side or what was actually the explanation for the last refusal.

I might update this when I'll get that information, and I could also provide a (redacted) copy of the cover letter, if people could find that useful.


This is the cover letter, attached with the latest application:

cover letter

We also got the SAR file, and I got 2 interesting findings:

  • The mistake in the date (January 2007) doesn't appear to have been on UKVI's side: the copy of the application they have lists that date.
  • They didn't retain a copy of the employment confirmation that had been provided in 2009, for this reason I think that to clarify the original mistake it might be better to always provide our copy (even if hopefully that wouldn't be needed now that the latest application has been successful).
  • 2
    A redacted copy of the cover letter would be useful. Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 16:47
  • 4
    Great to know it ended well and in time to use those tickets. Glad you came back and answered your question. Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 16:51
  • 3
    @David I updated the answer with the letter
    – berdario
    Commented Jul 24, 2019 at 16:11

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