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16 November 2023

UK visa guide: 8 common reasons for UK visa rejections from our immigration specialists

If you are in the process of applying for a UK visa or have already submitted your application, you might be curious about the possible reasons for visa rejection. Discover essential tips from our legal team on what to avoid in our blog.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
UK visa rejection reasons for Skilled Worker Visa, Student Visa, Global Talent Visa, Seasonal Worker Visa, and others

The United Kingdom is a popular destination with many visa routes available to those who wish to visit, study, work or settle in the country. Whether it is for a short visit on a Standard Visitor Visa, for employment on a Skilled Worker Visa or Global Talent Visa, education on a Student Visa, or for any other visa, you will have to meet certain criteria for your application to be accepted.

Some UK visa rejection reasons are much easier to avoid than others. We will take you through the potential reasons, so you can check you have done everything you possibly can to increase your chances of a successful visa application. 

1. Incomplete application

One simple reason you can get a rejected visa application is that you did not complete it properly. Whether it be that you entered incorrect information, or left empty fields that are mandatory for you to fill in, you can receive a rejection.

To avoid this, you just need to go over your application and check everything has been entered correctly, and that you have left no fields empty. 

At Woodcock Law, we can help you see if your application has been correctly completed or not.

2. Not having the required documents - one of the most common UK visa rejection reasons

Another one of the simpler UK visa rejection reasons is that you may not have provided all of the required documents. There are quite a few documents that you need to include alongside your application form, such as your passport. 

It is also possible that some documents have expired, such as your passport. It is important to ensure that all of your documents are submitted, and that any with an expiry date are all valid.

3. Not having the funds to support yourself

Most visas require you to prove that you have the required funds to support yourself after first entering the UK. For example, on a Skilled Worker Visa, you will need at least £1,270 to support yourself. 

You will need to provide proof of how much money you have in your bank account. It is quite common for people’s applications to be rejected because they do not have proof of their funds.

As part of your application, you will have to include bank statements as one of your documents. If the amounts on your bank statements differ from the amount of money you claim to have, your visa can get rejected. 

However, there are times you may be exempt from having to have the required funds to support yourself.

4. You have a criminal record

Another one of the common UK visa rejection reasons is that you have a criminal record. Whether your application is rejected or not depends upon what you were convicted for. 

The instances where you will be rejected no matter what include:

  • If you often reoffend
  • Causing serious harm 
  • If you have been given a custodial sentence of 12 months or more


You may be able to get a UK visa with a criminal record if:

  • You had a custodial sentence of less than 12 months
  • You were convicted of a criminal offence, but were not given a custodial sentence or were given an out-of-court decision


If the crime you were convicted for is not a crime in the UK, then you may not have to worry about your criminal record preventing you from gaining a visa.

For more information, read our blog on whether you can get a UK visa with a criminal record.

5. Failing to prove your English ability

All visas require you to prove that you have at least Level B1 English language skills. If you do not provide proof of your English ability, it counts as one of your UK visa rejection reasons.

If you were taught an academic degree in English, then it counts as proof. It can be a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or a doctorate; it can also be a degree or degree-level qualification that is equivalent to, or exceeds the standard of the three aforementioned academic qualifications. 

Also, being from certain English-speaking countries counts as proof of your English ability.

These countries include:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canda
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • The USA

Another option to prove your ability to speak English is proof that you have passed a Secure English Language Test (SELT). We have a blog where you can read more about the English language test for a UK visa.

The English language requirements can vary based on what visa you are applying for and your circumstances. If you are unsure what requirements you must meet, get in touch with us for assistance. 

6. Not enough proof of ties to your home country and proof that you are a genuine visitor

The Home Office may refuse your visa if you do not have enough proof that you will return to your home country once your visa ends. If you do not even have enough proof to support the reason for your trip, then your application will be rejected.

A letter from an employer or other documents, act as proof that you have reasons to return to your home country, and so have no plans to overstay on your UK visa. 

You should provide details about your personal situation at home, then the details of the activities you will be carrying out in the UK. Documents should be provided as supporting evidence of what you are doing, such as letters from your university if you are coming to the UK on a Student Visa. 

You should also demonstrate familial ties to your home country, as further proof that you will return home once your visa has expired. 

If you are unsure if you have enough proof, or are unsure what counts as evidence that you will not overstay, then contact us for help. You can also read our blog on ways you can prove your ties to your home country.

7. History of overstaying on visas

An additional one of the common UK visa rejection reasons, is related to the previous reason of not being able to prove you will return home once your visa has expired. If you have a history of overstaying on visas, whether it be in other countries, or past visits to the UK, then your visa application may be rejected.

8. Previous visa rejections

Any previous visa application rejections for the UK or other countries will also reflect poorly on you, so you could receive another rejection as a result. 

As previous visa rejections can be a result of any of the other previously listed reasons, it would be best to ensure you avoid them. 

If you need help making sure you have done everything correctly in your application and that you meet all of the requirements, we can assist you.

Contact us

Here at Woodcock Law, we have helped countless clients successfully apply for a UK visa. 

You can join these clients if you contact us for assistance with your application.

Ready for assistance?

If you have any questions about the changes or want legal advice, contact
Woodcock Law & Notary Public today. Contact us by phone on +44 (0)20 7712 1705 or
by email at info@woodcocklaw.co.uk.

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