Applying for a UK visa demands a keen eye for detail. A simple oversight such as a typo can lead to many unpredictable issues. It is not uncommon for immigration applicants to submit their application form and documents only to realise they have made a mistake. Typically, applicants are unsure how to correct a mistake on a UK visa application.
Mistakes on a UK visa application can lead to a refusal by the Home Office, but this is not always the case. If application mistakes are thought to be genuine and innocent, refusal is not mandatory. However, if the mistakes on a UK visa application are considered by the Home Office to be false and deceptive, it is more likely to be refused. Home Office Entry Clearance Officers (ECOs) often have discretion whether to accept or refuse an application based on their judgement of each individual situation.
What is interpreted as “innocent mistakes”?
Within the Home Office’s guidance for ECOs on false representations, ECOs are required to consider whether an innocent mistake has been made. Where an ECO thinks that a minor innocent mistake has been made, they are not permitted to refuse the application on the grounds of false representation. Innocent mistakes in UK visa applications may include where:
A spelling mistake or similar error has been made (e.g. an incorrect postcode or year in a date)
An annual income included in the application is obviously incorrect, and proof has been provided of the correct income (e.g. If a person says their income is £100,000 but it is actually £10,000, and their job offer letter and wage slips show the correct amount, the ECO is likely to conclude that the application has put too many zeros by mistake).
Providing incorrect documents – e.g. providing a summary birth certificate when a full birth certificate is required
Paying the incorrect fee – in this case, the Home Office ECO is likely to request the correct payment before proceeding with the application
What mistakes can cause a visa rejection?
Visas are rejected for many reasons by the Home Office, including where mistakes have been made. Mistakes are most likely to lead to a refusal of an immigration application where the ECO considers interprets this as deception. Examples of mistakes which may be considered deception include:
Failure to declare a criminal conviction – e.g. where an applicant states that they have no criminal record, but they have a driving conviction for speeding
Where an applicant ticks “no” to the question “have you previously been refused a visa”. If their passport contains a stamp confirming past refusal, this may still be considered deception, although the applicant has provided clear evidence of their refusal. We recommend always erring on the side of caution with this type of question and fully disclosing any past refusal of entry or leave to remain.
Providing false documents – this includes not only false documents provided by the applicant but also by another person. There have been cases where immigration officials in other countries have been found to have used deception and issued documents incorrectly, hence leading to the refusal of a UK immigration application. It should be noted that in order for a 10-year re-entry ban to apply, it is normally required that the applicant themselves has used deception.
Where evidence submitted contradicts the information provided in an application form – e.g. where a tax document shows different income figures to those in the application form.
Mistakes such as those above will not necessarily always lead to refusal by an ECO. The Home Office guidance states that just because a false document was provided does not necessarily mean the applicant was deceptive. ECOs are required to weigh up on the balance of probabilities whether the applicant knew they were submitting a false document.
How can I correct a UK visa application mistake?
If you realise that a mistake has been made on your visa application, having already submitted your application form, you will need to contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) is the division of the Home Office responsible for making visa decisions. However, the way in which you address any mistake made will depend on the nature of the error in question. For example, if it is a simple error, such as a spelling mistake, you may be able to contact UKVI to ask for the mistake to be amended. In contrast, if the mistake goes to the very root of your visa application, you may need to ask UKVI to cancel your application so that you can start again and re-apply.
Often the Home Office will email you if they spotted that you made a mistake or submit a wrong document. You will be normally given 10 working days to provide the correct/additional information. Sometimes the Home Office will notify you that you submitted a wrong application for your circumstances or that you need to withdraw your application and re-apply again.
You can ask UKVI to cancel or withdraw an application for a visa or visa extension. You can then re-apply, this time ensuring that your application is mistake-free. However, whether or not you will be entitled to a refund will depend on what stage your application is at.
The way in which you cancel a visa application, and the deadline for getting a refund, will depend on the type of visa that you have applied for and how you were asked to prove your identity. You would have been asked either to attend an appointment to provide your biometrics and identity document in person or to use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ smartphone app to upload your photo and to scan your ID document.
If you were asked to attend an appointment but have not yet done so, you can cancel your visa application online and your fee will be refunded. If you applied within the UK, you will need to fill in the online form to withdraw your application. If you applied outside the UK, you will need to sign in to your UKVI account using the link from your sign-up email. If you have already attended your appointment, you will need to fill in the online form to withdraw your application if you applied within the UK, or contact UKVI to withdraw your application if you applied outside the UK, but your fee will not usually be refunded.
Contact us if you realised that you made a mistake in your application form or submitted an incorrect document. We can also help with withdrawing your application and re-applying with the correct information.