If your UK visa or immigration application has been refused, your leave to enter or remain has been cancelled at the UK border, or you are not satisfied with the period or conditions of leave you have been granted, our administrative review lawyers can advise on the merits of applying for administrative review and, if appropriate, challenge the Home Office decision by way of an application for administrative review.

What is Administrative Review?

Administrative Review is a process whereby an applicant can challenge a Home Office immigration decision on the ground that it is wrong because it contains one or more case working errors. 

Not all Home Office decisions can be challenged by way of Administrative Review.  Administrative review is only available when an eligible decision has been made.

The only ground for administrative review is that the Home Office has made a case working error, as defined in the Immigration Rules.  

Following an application for administrative review, the Home Office will review its decision and, if it agrees that a relevant case working error has been made, correct it.

What Is the Difference Between an Administrative Review and an Immigration Appeal?

Administrative reviews and immigration appeals are both mechanisms for challenging visa and immigration decisions of the Home Office.  

However, not all visa and immigration decisions carry a right of appeal – and not all visa and immigration decisions can be challenged by way of administrative review. You can only appeal to the First-tier Tribunal if the decision you are seeking to challenge is not eligible for administrative review and you can only apply for administrative review if the decision you wish to challenge does not carry a right of appeal.

In an immigration appeal, the immigration decision being challenged is first reviewed by the Home Office.  If the Home Office decides to maintain its decision then the case will proceed to a hearing before an independent Judge sitting in the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).  The appeal hearing will usually be an oral hearing, at which the parties attend and are legally represented.  Witnesses may be called to give evidence and the parties are generally able to submit additional evidence.  

Administrative review, meanwhile, is an internal Home Office review process.  It involves a paper review of the decision under challenge by a Home Office team that is independent from the team who made the original decision.  There is no oral hearing and the circumstances in which new evidence may be submitted are limited.

In an immigration appeal, the Immigration Tribunal will generally reconsider the case in its entirety, although the issue(s) to be determined may be limited by the scope of the Home Office refusal letter, the agreement of the parties and/or directions of the court.  The overarching duty of the Tribunal is to fairly determine whether the Home Office decision under challenge breaches the UK's international obligations.  

In an administrative review, eligible decisions are reviewed by the Home Office to establish whether there is a case working error (as defined in the Immigration Rules), either as identified in the application for administrative review, or identified by the reviewer in the course of conducting the administrative review.

Who Has the Right to Apply for Administrative Review?

Not all Home Office decisions can be challenged by way of administrative review. Administrative review is only available when an eligible decision has been made.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of the main immigration applications which, if refused by the Home Office, will generate an eligible decision which can be challenged by way of an application for administrative review:

If you have made an application under any of the above immigration routes and your application has been approved, but you believe that an error has been made in relation to the period or conditions of leave granted, this can also be challenged by administrative review.

Some decisions on applications under the EU Settlement Scheme are also eligible decisions which can be challenged by way of an application for administrative review.

If you have made an application which is deemed to be a human rights or protection claim (including  asylum private life long residence and  Appendix FM family member applications) or you applied for an  EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit, then the decision will not be capable of being challenged by way of administrative review.  However, you may have a right of appeal to the  First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).

If you have applied as a  visitor, then the refusal decision will not be capable of being challenged by way of administrative review.  However, you may be able to make a fresh application or apply for judicial review.

Decisions to cancel leave to enter or remain at the UK border due to a change of circumstances, false representations or a failure to disclose material facts are also eligible decisions, provided the result is that you have no leave to enter or remain.  This includes decisions to cancel leave to enter or remain which is in force as a visitor.

Your decision letter should state if you can apply for administrative review, but if you are not sure whether your Home Office decision is eligible to be challenged by way of administrative review then you may wish to contact our administrative review lawyers in London for further advice.

Grounds for Administrative Review

The only ground for administrative review is that the Home Office has made a permitted case working error, as defined in the Immigration Rules.

What Is a Case Working Error?

Administrative review will only consider the following claimed case working errors:

  • The Home Office's decision to refuse or cancel entry clearance or leave to enter or remain based on alleged false representations, false documents or information, failure to disclose material facts or previous breach of conditions was incorrect;
  • The Home Office's decision to refuse an application on the basis that the date of application was beyond a time limit in the Immigration Rules was incorrect;
  • The Home Office's decision not to request specified documents (for example, under the points-based system evidential flexibility rules) was incorrect;
  • The Home Office decision maker applied the wrong Immigration Rules or otherwise incorrectly applied the Immigration Rules (for example, by failing to consider some or all of the evidence submitted properly);
  • The Home Office decision maker failed to apply relevant published policy and guidance in relation to the application (for example, when assessing the credibility or genuineness of the application);
  • The Home Office decision maker made an error in calculating the correct period or conditions of immigration leave.

It is possible to apply for administrative review either because the alleged error could have made a difference to the decision or because the alleged error could unfairly impact on a future application (i.e. because a future application may now be refused on general suitability grounds).

The grounds for applying for administrative review are different if you applied to the  EU Settlement Scheme, as a  Frontier Worker, as an S2 Healthcare Visitor or as a Service Provider from Switzerland.  If this applies to you then contact our leading administrative review lawyers in London for further information.

How to Apply for Administrative Review 

Applications for administrative review must generally be submitted online, in accordance with the requirements of the Immigration Rules.  

The administrative review application fee must be paid (unless an exemption applies) and all mandatory sections of the online application form must be completed. Documents specified as mandatory on the online application or in related guidance must be submitted. 

If the administrative review application is incomplete, it will be rejected. You may wish to seek legal advice from a specialist administrative review lawyer before applying.

The Home Office will not consider any new evidence or information, unless it impacts upon the decision under review and it:

  • Proves that you did not practice deception in the application under review, where this was a ground for refusal;
  • Proves that there was no change of circumstances, if leave was cancelled at the UK border for this reason; 
  • Proves that the application was made within a time limit specified in the Immigration Rules, when an alleged failure to apply in-time provided a basis for refusal; or
  • Should have been requested by the Home Office when considering points-based system evidential flexibility.

The process of applying for administrative review is different if you applied to the  EU Settlement Scheme, as a  Frontier Worker, as an S2 Healthcare Visitor or as a Service Provider from Switzerland.  If this applies to you then contact our leading administrative review lawyers in London for further information.

Time limit for Applying for Administrative Review

If you are in the UK and applied for permission to stay from within the UK, you will have 14 calendar days (or 7 days if detained) from the date when you received your decision notice or biometric residence permit to apply for administrative review.

If you are outside the UK and applied from outside the UK, you will need to apply for administrative review within 28 days of receiving the decision that you wish to challenge.

Administrative Review Processing Time

Administrative review applications are currently taking at least 6 months to be processed by the Home Office.  

Administrative Review Fees

The Home Office charges a fee of £80 for an administrative review application.   There is no additional fee for reviewing the decision(s) in relation to any dependent(s) who were properly included in the original application.

Certain applicants may be exempt from paying the administrative review fee, whilst others may qualify for a fee waiver. 

Immigration Status After Applying for Administrative Review

If you made an in time application, and applied for administrative review within the time limit for administrative review of the decision, you will continue to have immigration leave until you are served with notice of decision of the administrative review. 

If you are an overstayer at the point of making a valid administrative review application, the Home Office will not seek to remove you from the United Kingdom while you have an administrative review pending.

Fresh Applications and Administrative Review

If you submit a new application for entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain while an application for administrative review is pending, your administrative review application will be treated as withdrawn.

If you submit a fresh application for entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain and then apply for administrative review of a previous decision, your administrative review application will be refused.

Possible Outcomes of Administrative Review

There are 4 possible outcomes following an application for administrative review:

  • The Home Office agrees that the decision being challenged contains a casework error and the decision is withdrawn;
  • The Home Office does not agree that the decision being challenged contains a casework error, the decision remains in force and all reasons given for the decision are maintained;
  • The Home Office does not agree that the decision under challenge contains a casework error, the decision remains in force, but one or more reasons given for the decision are withdrawn;
  • The Home Office does not agree that the decision under challenge contains a casework error, the decision remains in force, but with different or additional reasons to those given in the decision under review.

What Will Happen if My Administrative Review Is Successful?

If the Home Office finds that the decision of the original decision maker contained a casework error, then it will go on to consider whether correcting the casework error would change the outcome of the original decision.

If the Home Office is satisfied that the error in the original decision changed the decision, it will withdraw the decision and refund your administrative review fee.

If the Home Office decides to withdraw an incorrect decision then they will normally correct the error and issue a new decision.  If the new decision is that the application should have been granted, you will be granted leave that is appropriate to the original application.

Your leave will start from the date of the withdrawal of the incorrect previous decision.  If your administrative review challenged the period of leave granted or conditions of leave, you will be issued with a new BRP.

What Will Happen if My Administrative Review Is Not Successful?

If the Home Office concludes that the decision made on your visa or immigration application (or the period of leave granted or conditions imposed) was correct then you will receive a notice explaining that the decision under challenge has been maintained.

There is no right of appeal against an administrative review decision and it is not possible to request a second review, unless the result of the first review found new reasons for refusal. In this situation you will be entitled to a further administrative review in relation to the new grounds. Your decision letter should tell you whether you can apply for a second review.

It may be possible to seek judicial review of the outcome of the administrative review.  You may wish to seek legal advice from a specialist administrative review lawyer.

How Our Immigration Barristers Can Help

Our immigration barristers work directly with individuals and businesses, within the UK and overseas, to prepare high quality applications for administrative review of Home Office decisions.

If you are looking to apply for administrative review of a decision to refuse your UK visa or immigration application, or a decision to cancel your leave to enter or remain at the UK border, our immigration barristers combine specialist legal advice and advocacy, with a professional and supportive approach.

Whether you require advice on the merits of applying for administrative review or help with preparing and lodging an administrative review application, our expert administrative review lawyers work directly with our clients, drawing on years of experience of preparing and presenting successful administrative review applications.

We recognise that every client's circumstances are unique and our administrative review lawyers provide tailored immigration law solutions designed to meet individual needs.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.