Experts In UK Immigration Appeals

If your immigration application is refused, you may be able to appeal that decision. Our London-based law firm can take you through the immigration appeal process from start to finish – and we have an outstanding record in overturning Home Office decisions.

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UK Immigration Appeal In The First Tier Tribunal

The UK’s Home Office is responsible for managing the UK’s immigration system, including making decisions on all immigration applications, when an individual’s immigration status should be revoked and whether an individual ought to be removed from the country.

If you are unhappy with a decision the Home Office has made on your claim, you may have the option of challenging the decision by appealing to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). Our solicitors can help you to submit your notice of appeal.

You will be notified if the Tribunal agrees to hear your appeal – in which case, you will be asked to provide further supporting evidence.

At this stage, too, we can assist you in strengthening your case. You must be careful to prepare witness statements and relevant supporting documents you would like to present in Court and that you believe could be pivotal to the outcome of your immigration appeal. 

If the First-tier Tribunal turns down your application, you might – albeit in limited circumstances – have the option of referring the case to the Upper Tribunal. For more information about this from our immigration lawyers, please call 0208 215 0053.

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How can you assist me in my appeal to the First Tier Tribunal?

It is possible for you to handle your own appeal – whether from within or outside the UK. However, entirely forgoing assistance from a solicitor or immigration advisor for your appeal would be risky, as the Immigration Act 2014 has significantly affected the right of appeal in immigration cases.

As a result, your particular appeal rights could be much more limited than you had originally anticipated. Before making an appeal to the First-tier Tribunal, you are advised to seek specialist advice on UK immigration matters from a solicitor qualified in this aspect of UK law.

Our award-winning legal firm operates from easily accessible premises in London and, for over 25 years, has been assessing a wide range of UK immigration cases. This specialist, in-depth experience positions us well for advising you on how you can best preserve your appeal rights.

During the appeal process itself, we can also help you in preparing statements and documents to use for arguing your case in Court.

What is an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal?

Although the Home Office makes many decisions, only a small number of these give applicants a right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal. These decisions include when the Home Office opts to:

  • Refuse a protection claim, otherwise known as an ‘asylum claim’ or ‘humanitarian protection’
  • Revoke an individual’s protection status
  • Refuse the applicant’s human rights claim
  • Deny the applicant a residence document or deport them under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016
  • Revoke an individual’s British citizenship

You would also have a right to appeal if the Home Office decides to refuse or revoke your:

  • Status, vary the length or condition of your stay or deport you under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Travel permit or family permit under the EU Settlement Scheme or limit your rights to enter or leave the UK under these permits
  • Your permit, or deport you if you are a frontier worker
  • Your leave, or deport you if you are an S2 healthcare visitor

During the appeal, the Tribunal will act independently of government. Usually, if the judge rules that the Home Office made a mistake, the Home Office will revise its previous decision.

How can I appeal against a Home Office decision?

This appeal process would begin with you giving notice to the First-tier Tribunal. To do this, you must complete and send the Tribunal a form specifying your grounds for appealing.

You must send this completed form within a specific timeframe, the length of which will depend on what type of appeal right you have been handed.

Generally, the time limit for an appeal to be made under an in-country right of appeal is 14 days of the Home Office’s decision, while that deadline is extended to 28 days if the appeal will be submitted under an out-of-country right of appeal – but there are exceptions.

If your appeal application must be heard urgently, you should write to the Tribunal explaining why, and include evidence of compelling or compassionate grounds – like letters from a doctor or hospital. Write ‘expedite requests’ on the top of any documents you submit with your application.

Provided that you have paid the Tribunal fee (if you are indeed required to pay one), a judge will then review your evidence before deciding whether your particular appeal application should be heard sooner than the traditional timeframe.

What happens after I submit my appeal to the First Tier Tribunal?

If you have sent an urgent application, you should contact the Tribunal to check if your application was received. You can do this by emailing or faxing 0870 739 5895.

If the Tribunal agrees to hear your appeal, you will then be able to submit further evidence in support of it. It’s important that any such evidence you do send strongly supports your position, as the Home Office is likely to submit further information in an attempt to justify its own position.

Exactly how you should prepare for the hearing can depend on the nature of the case you are arguing. Typically, though, you would prepare an appeal statement addressing the Home Office’s reasons for reaching its decision.

The Tribunal will also notify you of your hearing date. This would be your cue to start preparing thoroughly for the hearing, including readying any statements or documents you would like to use during the hearing.

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Do I have to attend the Appeal Hearing?

If your appeal is granted a hearing, you will be told by letter or email how to attend it. If you are unable to attend the hearing in person, various alternative options would be open to you – including opting for a ‘paper hearing’, where a judge makes a decision based only on the papers provided.

Another possibility is attending the hearing remotely via a video link or phone. Don’t worry if you are not too technically minded, as the letter or email will instruct you on how to prepare for attending the appeal hearing remotely.

If you are unable to attend the hearing in any capacity, you could ask one of our immigration appeals solicitors to represent you. You might be asked to participate in a ‘pre-hearing’, which the Tribunal would use to ascertain whether you are ready for a ‘full’ hearing.

Can I ask the Home Office to reconsider their decision?

If the Home Office has rejected your visa or immigration application, you can simply ask this ministerial department to reconsider the decision before you consider resorting to making an appeal to the First-tier Tribunal.

Directly contacting the Home Office to ask for their decision to be reconsidered can otherwise be referred to as requesting an ‘administrative review’. If you want to take up this option, you must submit the request within 14 days of the date you received the refusal.

You also need to pay a fee and, in asking for the review, explain with full reasons why you think the Home Office’s decision is wrong. Typically, you won’t be allowed to submit any new information in the administrative review request if this information was not submitted with the original application.

Although immigration appeal fees are payable with various UK immigration appeals, you should bear in mind that our fixed-fee service would enable you to tap into our lawyers’ expertise cost-effectively.

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Contact our Immigration Solicitors In London on 0208 215 0053 or
via to make your enquiry.

What is a Skeleton Argument?

In the period between the Tribunal agreeing to hear the appeal and assessing it, the appellant will typically submit what is called a ‘skeleton argument’. This is so-called as it focuses on outlining key elements of the appellant’s case.

You might sometimes see a skeleton argument referred to in this context as an Appeal Skeleton Argument (ASA). The skeleton argument comprises three main components:

  • A brief summary of the case
  • A schedule of issues
  • The reasons why the appellant disagrees with the decision

In project managing your appeal against an immigration decision, we can draw up the skeleton argument on your behalf and upload this ASA – along with any documents supporting your immigration appeal – online in preparation for the hearing.

What happens on the day of the Hearing?

At the hearing itself, an independent immigration judge will assess the Home Office’s decision and consider arguments both for and against it before determining whether it should be overturned. Usually, an immigration appeal hearing is attended by:

  • A judge, possibly alongside other Tribunal members
  • A clerk and other Tribunal staff helping to run the hearing
  • The appellant’s legal representative, if they have one
  • A Home Office ‘presenting officer’ intended to argue the Home Office’s case
  • Any witnesses called to provide evidence
  • An interpreter, if the appellant has asked for one

If this judge concludes that the Home Office decision was indeed wrong, the Home Office is likely to react by adjusting its previous decision to comply with the new ruling. However, if the judge concurs with the original Home Office decision, that decision is likely to remain intact.

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UK Immigration Appeals Frequently Asked Questions

1. What if I have not been given a right of appeal to the First tIer Tribunal?

Sadly, in many instances, a UK visa immigration or visa application can be denied without the applicant being left with any right of appeal. Alternatively, you might have been given a right of appeal you would only be able to exercise after leaving the UK.

In either of these scenarios, there might remain the possibility of challenging the decision through the use of what is called ‘judicial review’. For people uninitiated with this area of UK law, it can be a rather daunting one – which is why, if you are considering taking this ‘judicial review’ route, we urge you to contact our immigration appeal lawyers for further guidance.

Our lawyers know how to challenge the Home Office by way of judicial review and consequently achieve the sought-after outcome for our clients, whose questions we can answer clearly, precisely and at length – enabling us to treat each case with care, dignity and complete transparency.

Some Home Office decisions come with what is called an ‘in-country’ right of appeal. This would entitle you to remain in the UK while you wait for the appeals process to reach its full conclusion.

Usually, someone applying for a visa or particular immigration status from within the UK will be handed an in-country right of appeal. However, this does not always happen – and if you are yet to make your first immigration application to the Home Office, we advise you to discuss your situation with one of our lawyers to help establish what particular appeal rights you could be given.

If you are given an out-of-country right of appeal, you would only be able to bring your appeal from outside the UK – even if you actually live in the UK at the time you are handed this right of appeal.

You would be given an out-of-country right of appeal by default if your application turned down by the Home Office was not based on:

  • An ‘international protection’ claim
  • A decision to revoke refugee status or humanitarian protection
  • A human rights claim

However, the picture of exactly which types of refused applications would result in an out-of-country right of appeal is not always immediately clear. We would especially strongly recommend that you contact us for advice if you are faced with a particularly complex immigration case.

If you are acting under an in-country right of appeal, you will typically need to lodge your appeal with the First-tier Tribunal within 14 days of the Home Office’s decision on your original immigration or visa application.

However, if you are instead taking advantage of an out-of-country right of appeal, your appeal will usually have to be lodged with the First-tier Tribunal within 28 days of the Home Office decision. If you are required to leave the UK before you can lodge your appeal, the deadline for submitting your appeal claim will be 28 days from the date you leave the country.

While it is technically possible for appeals to be sent outside of these specific time limits, the First-tier Tribunal is unlikely to be willing to hear an appeal beyond the pre-specified deadline in all but exceptional circumstances.

If you lose the appeal, you may be able to appeal to the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). However, you could only make this appeal on the basis that the First-tier Tribunal’s decision was unlawful, such as if UK immigration law was misinterpreted in the judgement.

Even if you genuinely believe an error of law to have occurred in your case, you would not be able to progress to the Upper Tribunal without first making an application to the First-tier Tribunal requesting ‘permission to appeal’ against its determination.

For this permission to be granted, you would need to demonstrate that the Tribunal judge’s decision arguably made an error of law and that this error materially affected the appeal’s outcome. For example, you might think the judge overlooked crucial evidence or applied the wrong law.

A First-tier Tribunal judge – but not the one who heard the original appeal – will look at this application. However, if they decide you lack a viable case to argue to the Upper Tribunal, you will have unfortunately reached the end of the road in the appeals process. For more information, advice and guidance on this, please call 0208 215 0053 to speak to our immigration solicitors.

As the appellant, you can request that your appeal be determined strictly ‘on the papers’. This means that the immigration judge will assess your case only on the strength of the paper evidence presented to them by both competing parties: you (the appellant) and the Home Office.

However, if you ask for your appeal to be determined through an oral hearing, you would be required to attend a Tribunal hearing in person or at least remotely. An immigration judge will be present at the hearing and take into account all of the presented evidence – including oral evidence.

While it would be possible for you to serve as your own legal representative at an oral hearing, you could benefit immensely from arranging for one of our solicitors to represent you and present your case. The Home Office will appoint a legal representative of its own to argue its case at the hearing.

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