The UK visa application process (like many other countries) requires the applicant to declare their criminal history along with a host of other information that might be of concern to the country they wish to visit.
Recently the BBC reported on a UK citizen who made a serious error when completing her application for an ESTA (also known as a USA visa waiver). The applicant mistakenly selected “yes” to the question “do you seek to engage in or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage, or genocide?”
You would be forgiven for wondering how such a grave error could have been made. The applicant’s explanation is that she had first attempted to complete the online form using a tablet device which crashed. Although she believed that she had ticked “no” to the above question, by the time she tried again the next day, her selection had nudged. As a result, her application was refused and she had to pay for an appointment at the US Embassy in London to obtain a full US visa. This meant that the applicant had to postpone her travel, endure a number of stressful interviews and wait for a visa to be granted, all at extra cost.
In our experience, it is very rare that an applicant has the opportunity to correct such errors on an application form that has already been submitted to the Home Office before it is refused. If the Home Office refuses an application it will appear on the applicant’s record and can taint all future applications made by the same individual. Any attempts to address previous errors on application forms can often lead to unnecessary legal expenses being incurred. In any event, the Home Office are not known to be very forgiving when it comes to errors on application forms, be it a ‘genuine mistake’ or not.
Applicants are therefore encouraged to thoroughly check all details on their application form prior to submission. At the same time, applicants should ensure they answer questions truthfully and if in doubt, disclose any information that might affect their application. If necessary, applicants should seek legal advice with regards to making legal representations to the Home Office alongside their applications.
Gherson has over 30 years’ experience dealing with the Home Office. Should you wish to discuss your application with a member of our team, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.