My appeal has been allowed. I thought it would be helpful for a lot of people out there to post my whole experience and timeline here as I have done everything by myself with a lot of help from this forum.
Below is the complete timeline of the lengthy process:
Type of visa applied for
: Fiancée (Settlement
– Marriage) – Non-priority
Online application submitted on
: 4 April 2019
: enrolled at 9 April 2019
at VFS New Delhi
Documents were scanned at VFS New Delhi on 9 April 2019 and returned on the same day.
Application forwarded to British High Commission on
: 11 April 2019
(notification received via text message)
With my application, every document was submitted. But we only submitted my sponsor’s 8 months of financial documents (bank statements, payslips) and current employer’s letter. We had to submit documents of 12 months and also previous employer’s letter because sponsor changed jobs less than 6 months before application date. We did not know this at the time of application. When we realised this, my sponsor telephoned the paid customer service of UKVI on 29 April 2019. He was told on the phone that any required documents will be requested by the ECO. On 15 May 2019, I got an email from UKVI saying the same thing.
Application prepared for entry clearance
: 30 May 2019
After this date I waited to be contacted by ECO for documents but no one did.
Received notification of decision via text message and email
: 27 June 2019
Collected passport on
: 4 July 2019
Date on notice of decision
: 25 June 2019
Emailed UKVI Complaints Hub
: 4 July 2019
Appeal lodged against ECO
: 20 July 2019
Type of Appeal
: On PAPERS
I lodged the appeal on my own. Read this document carefully: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... de-eng.pdf
I'd definitely recommend getting legal help if not confident enough to fill the appeal form yourself.
Also contacted MP to request for the matter to be looked into. She tried very hard, was very helpful, even wrote a supporting letter for our appeal but it didn’t help.
Received notice of appeal from First-Tier Tribunal
: 7 August 2019
It mentioned that Home Office has got 15 weeks to reconsider their decision
. I could also send in extra evidential documents in support of the appeal during this time.
I telephoned the tribunal, was informed last date for Respondent to submit bundle
: 20 November 2019
August and September were spent in a bunch of email exchange between us (my sponsor, his mother, MP and I) and the Home Office. We all tried to convince them that they had made a mistake. They refused to acknowledge their mistake. We even sent them the original missing documents via email multiple times, but they didn’t budge. Instead they ended up messing all my details in their replies. So much for a department which is adamant that it doesn’t make a single mistake in their application assessment.
Telephoned the tribunal on 21 November 2019, got to know that the Home Office did not submit bundle. I was told that 8 weeks after that day, we’ll get to know my appeal hearing date. During this time, both parties can send supporting documents.
Received letter from tribunal dated 17 December 2019
on 27 December 2019
. It said that the hearing will take place on or after 12 February 2020
. Also, the Home Office had until 14 January 2020
to submit their bundle and I had to submit all documents to tribunal and Respondent 2 days before the hearing date
I submitted all the documents as well as my Witness Statement
and Chronology of Events
on 13 January 2020.
Telephoned the tribunal on 10 February 2020. Home Office had not submitted the bundle yet. They said, I did not have to but I will get extra points if I submit the Home Office bundle as it constituted the same documents that were in my original application because this will make the judge’s decision easier and also erase any chance of postponing the appeal further
. I submitted the documents that Home Office had to submit on 10 February 2020 with a cover letter mentioning that I am doing this because the Respondent is “apparently unable to”.
Appeal hearing date is finalised as 12 February 2020
. Telephoned tribunal on that date. They said, it will take 10 working days for the judge to get all the papers and approximately 2 weeks after that a decision will be made.
Telephoned them next week, they said judge got papers on 20 February 2020
(6 working days after 12 Feb).
Sponsor received decision via email on
: 5 March 2020
Appeal has been ALLOWED
Notice dated 5 March 2020
(exactly 2 weeks after 20 February 2020
Telephoned tribunal on 6 March 2020. They said Home Office got 14 days to appeal tribunal decision
. If they don’t then they’ll contact me to issue visa.
What I had taken away from my experience is that you would need a lot of commitment and patience. I also want to mention that this only relates to paper hearings.
My sponsor and I decided on a paper hearing because technically, it takes less time than oral hearings
. Also, to add on to that, no representation from either side in allowed in a paper hearing. This might work in your favour as it did in mine. I knew that there was a major chance that the Home Office representative might try to twist the case in an oral hearing to suit their narrative.
I want to mention that I did not hire a lawyer or seek any kind of legal advice from anyone.
The Home Office is completely unhelpful in all aspects. Everything I knew was from reading forums and advice columns and other related websites. The tribunal customer service are honestly, the sweetest people. They are so helpful and are very friendly and will advice you up to a certain extent regarding appeals. But they are not legal experts as well. They clear your doubts based on whatever experience they’ve got working their job. So, I’d recommend everyone to talk to them instead of the rude Home Office employees.
The judge mentioned everything that I had submitted in support of my appeal in decision letter. From their language, they seemed pretty impressed that I had written my witness statement and Chronology of Events without any legal help. I read this post by bananafish
and used the same format for my witness statement: uk-tier-1-post-study-work-visas/my-expe ... 39201.html
You have to convince the judge that your stance is correct through your statement. This is definitely one of the most important parts of the appellant bundle. (The judge was definitely not happy with Home Office antics which is clear from what they wrote
wrote in their post, immigration-for-family-members/successf ... 86601.html
you CAN submit new evidence, if that’s the solely reason for your refusal.
If this is the case, make sure that you submit as many supporting documents as you can. It is always better to have more documents than less as sometimes they postpose hearings because not enough supporting documents are provided.
The whole process has been truly stressful in the worst ways. Especially when I knew that I was correct, and the Home Office was wrong, but they just refused to see and acknowledge their error. From my personal experience, I do think that they refuse applications based on the most minute errors so that the applicant makes another application which means more money for them.
I hope this post is helpful for many others. I will update with further progress once I get my visa. Please feel free to ask anything.