What is the refusal rate for family visa applications?

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Clients often ask what the rate for refusal is in their particular visa route, or from the particular location from which they are applying.

How many family visa applications are refused?

Luckily the Home Office keeps statistics on this.

We have reproduced below statistics relating to the number of individuals applying for family visas from abroad (including to join a spouse), including the origin country and the overall success rates for those countries in 2019.

Note that these statistics relate solely to entry clearance (which means people who are abroad when they make their visa application), not leave to remain applications (which involve applicants who are making their application from within the UK).


These statistics are taken from - and continue to be available - on the GOV.UK site, and are regularly updated.

Are family visa refusal rate statistics important?

For me, these statistics are important in confirming that the application process is not a rubber-stamping formality.

On average, one in every five applications is refused. In some countries the refusal rate is one in every four applications (and in some cases higher).

However, the refusal rate is not as high as in some other UK immigration routes (such as the now-closed entrepreneur route), which had an average refusal rate of almost 50% across its 10 years of operation.

The fact that such a significant number of applications are refused each year - almost 15,000, with no refund of the significant visa fees involved, and disruption of important family relationships - should be enough to persuade applicants to take the process seriously, and to seek legal advice if necessary.

Main image credit: Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash