When applying for a UK visa, it’s important to provide the Home Office with information that is correct and comprehensive to avoid delays or issues with processing and to avoid a visa refusal.
Mistakes can, however, happen. Once you realise you’ve made a mistake on your UK visa application, you should take steps to correct it.
In this guide for UK visa applicants, we explain the rules on correcting mistakes in Home Office applications, and discuss the potential implications of errors and false information on the outcome of your application.
Common UK visa application mistakes
UK visa application mistakes can range from simple spelling mistakes or typos, most of which may be immaterial to the basis of the application, to deliberate mistakes designed to fraudulently obtain a visa to which an applicant is not entitled. Somewhere in-between these extremes there are also those mistakes which are careless, but not intentionally deceptive, although run the risk of being construed by the Home Office as deliberate.
Examples of mistakes that could be potentially construed as deliberately misleading could include a failure to declare a criminal conviction, for example, where an applicant states that they have no criminal history, but they in fact have a driving conviction for speeding. It could also include where an applicant ticks “no” when asked if they have previously been refused a visa. This might be the case, even the applicant also provides clear evidence of a previous refusal, such as their passport containing a stamp confirming past refusal.
Another potentially misleading mistake could be where evidence submitted in support of a visa application clearly contradicts the information set out in the form although, for example, a form that cites an applicant’s income at £40,000 could just as easily be construed as an innocent error where the documentation demonstrates earnings of £4,000.
Implications of making a mistake on your UK visa application
If you submit a visa application with incorrect information, this could result in either the wrongful refusal of your application or the grant of a visa on an erroneous basis.
Wrongful refusal of a visa application
In circumstances where there has been minor but immaterial mistakes in an application, such as typographical errors, the Home Office caseworker should not refuse the application on this basis. This could be, for example, where an applicant has given an incorrect postcode or misspelt a name on their application form. However, an application may still be refused if the caseworker is not satisfied that the requirements of the rules are met, for example, if the applicant has claimed an income of £40,000, but has provided evidence for £4,000, even if the higher figure cited is an innocent mistake, the application may be refused if, on the evidence provided, the required income threshold is not met.
If your visa application is refused because of a mistake, you may be able to apply for an administrative review at a cost of £80, although an application must be submitted within 28 days of receiving your decision. It can then take up to 6 months or more to receive the result of the review and, even if a mistake was an innocent oversight, this does not necessarily guarantee that the outcome will be in your favour. You may need to reapply.
The grant of a visa on an erroneous basis
If your visa application is successful, based on a mistake that had not been discovered at the time a decision was made by the Home Office, once you realise that there has been a mistake, you are duty bound to report this to the Home Office.
In some cases, any mistake, innocent or not, may result in the revocation of your visa, especially if the information was material to the decision to grant you leave. However, in circumstances where the Home Office subsequently discovers the mistake, and you have failed to report this yourself, this is more likely to lead to a finding of deliberate deception.
Lying on a UK visa application
The consequences of lying on your visa application can be very serious, where mistakes are far more likely to lead to refusal of an immigration application or revocation of an existing visa where the Home Office interprets the matter as a deliberate attempt to deceive.
Deception is no longer defined under the UK’s Immigration Rules but can include making false representations or submitting false documents, even if not material to your application, or failing to disclose material facts, where silence or incomplete information can amount to non-disclosure. By using deception in an application for entry clearance or permission to stay in the UK, this will put you in clear breach of UK immigration law.
If a finding of deception is made against you, your visa will be automatically refused or revoked. You may also be banned from entering, or re-entering, the UK for a period of up to 10 years. Even in cases where you were not aware of any mistake, including where false representations have been made by third parties on your behalf, your visa application can still be refused on grounds of suitability. Equally, if your visa has already been granted, you can be refused entry to the UK by border officials, and detained and deported.
In all cases, but especially where any mistake is interpreted by officials as an attempt to mislead or deceive, it will then prove extremely difficult to apply for another visa in the future. This is because, even after any ban is lifted, a subsequent application is highly likely to be refused due to your adverse immigration history.
How do you 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). 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.
Importantly, even though mistakes on a visa application can lead to a refusal decision, this is not necessarily always the case. If application mistakes are thought to be innocent, refusal is not mandatory. It therefore follows that if you notify UKVI of any mistake, once this becomes apparent, the more likely the mistake will be interpreted as innocent.
Still, applicants are strongly advised to seek expert legal prior to addressing any UK visa application mistake. This is because it is important to know how best to approach the problem, and to understand the potential consequences of this on the outcome. In some cases, you may be advised to withdraw your visa application altogether, although your application fee will only be refunded if UKVI has not yet started processing your case. In other cases, a well-worded cover letter to the Home Office can often help to pre-empt any possible allegations of deception and clear up any misunderstandings.
How to contact UKVI to amend a UK visa application mistake
You can contact UKVI on the .gov website from both inside and outside the UK to amend a UK visa application mistake.
You will be asked where are you contacting UKVI from. The online tool will then ask you what you need help with or what your question is about. You will need to select the tick box for ‘something else’. You must then choose the language you want to use to speak to someone on the phone or to get a reply by email. If you would like a member of staff from the contact centre to communicate with you in a language other then English, you can choose from either Arabic, Cantonese, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Russian or Spanish.
Contact UKVI from outside the UK
To contact UKVI from outside the UK because you have made a mistake in your online application, you have the option of either sending an online query or by telephoning UKVI directly. Each online enquiry will cost you £2.74, although this cost includes your initial email plus any follow-up emails you send relating to the same enquiry. You will need a debit or credit card to use the online messaging service, and will be asked to enter your payment details before sending your message. However, you will not be charged until your message has actually been submitted. UKVI should then reply within 5 working days.
If your message is more urgent, you should telephone UKVI on +44 (0)300 790 6268, selecting option 1. Calls will cost 69 pence per minute on top of your standard network charges. If you cannot contact UK 0300 numbers, you can instead telephone +44 (0)203 875 4669. Importantly, UKVI contact centre staff cannot give you advice about your personal circumstances and have no involvement in the outcome of visa applications.
Contact UKVI from inside the UK
To contact UKVI from inside the UK to discuss a mistake on your visa application, you can telephone 0300 790 6268, selecting option 2. These lines are open Monday to Thursday, excluding bank holidays, 9am to 4:45pm and Friday, 9am to 4:30pm.
How do I ask UKVI to cancel my visa application?
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.
If you used the smartphone app when you applied, you can cancel your application online. Your fee will be refunded provided you have not selected ‘confirm and upload’, either to upload your evidence or to confirm you do not have anything to upload, or you withdraw your application before the deadline given for uploading your evidence. To cancel, sign in to your UKVI account, go to your dashboard and select ‘Withdraw this application’.
If you are eligible for a refund of your application fee, it will be automatically paid into the bank account that you used to pay your fees when you applied. This can take up to 28 days. You cannot stop a cancellation request once this has been received by UKVI and, importantly, if you are already in the UK, you may lose your permission to stay.
DavidsonMorris is a dedicated UK immigration law firm. We can help you understand your UK visa options and guide and support you through the Home Office application process. Speak to one of our UK immigration specialists today.
UK visa application mistake FAQs
What happens if you lie on a UK visa application?
Providing false information on your visa application is a basis for refusal. Even if your visa has already been granted, you can be refused entry at the UK border and banned from entering for a period of 10 years.
What is deception in visa application?
Deception in a visa application can either mean making false representations or submitting false documents, even if not material to the application, or failing to disclose material facts, for example, as to any financial or relationship requirement.
What to do if there is a mistake in visa application?
You should contact UKVI to try to amend any mistake on your visa application before a decision is made. This is because an application may still be refused on eligibility or suitability grounds, even if the mistake was unintentional.
Can I edit my visa application after payment?
It may be possible to edit your visa application, even after you have submitted your visa application fee, by contacting UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). UKVI is the division of the Home Office responsible for making visa decisions.
Last updated: 17 September 2023