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What Happens at an Immigration Hearing?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 18 Aug 2017 |
 
Immigration Appeal Home Office Tribunal

An immigration appeal is heard by one or more judges in a number of locations in the UK. There are no juries in immigration appeals tribunals. Judges are legally qualified, and there are sometimes other members of the tribunal (non-lawyers) who also hear appeals.

An Immigration Hearing

An immigration hearing is held by way of an appeal once an application has been made and refused. This may be because of a prior:

  • refusal to allow someone entry to the UK
  • refusal to give someone leave to remain in the UK
  • refusal to allow someone asylum in the UK
  • refusal to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal
  • decision to deport someone who is already in the UK

Types of Hearings

There are two types of hearing, the Case Management Review hearing (CMR) and the full hearing. A CMR is only held in the case of country asylum appeals and cannot be adjourned. If you do not have your own representative it is very important that you attend your CMR because if no one attends the judge may decide to determine your case without a full hearing. If you need an interpreter to translate the proceedings for you, you must let the tribunal know in advance so that they can arrange one for you. If you have a legal representative they should be able to arrange this for you. Tribunal Service interpreters have more rights than other interpreters, so for obvious reasons they are a better choice.

What to Expect

You should arrive at least 20-30 minutes before your hearing date. When you get to the centre for your appeal there will be a number of cases listed for hearing at the same time. You may have to wait some time before your case is called on, but the clerk of the court will be able to give you an idea as to how long you will have to wait.

It is important to have some money with you in case you want to buy drinks or refreshments, although you will usually be provided with water in the hearing room once your case has been called on.

The hearing is usually held in a room with desks and chairs. It does not look like a traditional courtroom, like the ones normally used in television dramas. The judge(s) sits at the front of the room at a desk or table and the other people sit at tables and chairs in front of him. The Home Office representative (the respondent) will usually sit on one side of the room, and the person appealing (the applicant) and his or her legal representative (if they have one) will sit on the other side.

If you require an interpreter they will sit next to you. An interpreter must interpret the proceedings fairly and without bias. They will give their translation of the proceedings to you in a low voice or whisper during the proceedings, either while people are speaking or after a statement has been given. Any witnesses will be called into the room to give evidence as and when they are required. They are not allowed to hear the proceedings prior to giving evidence, and can only remain in the hearing after they have given evidence with the permission of the judge. As hearings are in public, there may be members of the public and very occasionally journalists present in the room too.

The Decision

The judge(s) does not decide whether or not your appeal has been allowed (successful) or dismissed (unsuccessful) at the hearing. You will be informed as to the outcome of your case in writing. If there has been an oral hearing, this will be within two weeks of the hearing date. If the appeal was on paper only, the decision is sent approximately two weeks after the hearing.

Appealing the Judge’s Decision

There is no general right of appeal although both parties, either the appellant or the Home Office, may be able to make an application for judicial review. This is a review of the case on the basis that the judge got the law wrong. There is a very strict timescale for making this type of specific application (within 5 days of receiving the decision) and it is vital that you seek advice from a lawyer before pursuing this option.

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[Add a Comment]
I got the refund of £140 from FTT directly into my account after approximately two weeks of the decision. I think you will get the money in bank account if you have paid by card and you will receive cheque if you had paid by postal order.
Sam - 18-Aug-17 @ 6:57 PM
I got an email not a letter so therefore I cannot give you exact time frame as it may depend on your case and where your hearing was. You should contact home office directly if it's taking too long which it has for your case as the tribunal should only take 2 weeks to get back not months. Home office have to go by the tribunal time frame which is 28 working days after you receive the letter. The money I don't know how they give back whether it's directly to bank or cheque. Again this is something you should contact tribunal for I'm going to check with my solicitor on this. I'll write on here once I know. Hope this helps.
IKR - 17-Aug-17 @ 9:32 PM
How long does it take for ftt to refund the money back?
Nice - 17-Aug-17 @ 9:06 PM
@IKR thanks for you advise I represent myself in court. I couldn't pay for a barrister. 28 working days from the time I got my determination letter? Are 28 day from the time I received the letter from the post decision casework unit? Thanks
Nice - 17-Aug-17 @ 9:04 PM
Nice. Yes it should be paid back to you. If your decision is allowed by ftt then wait for up to 28 working days to see if home office will step back or will they go to upper tribunal. If they step back and allow then it shouldn't take long. Keep checking your emails. Good Luck
IKR - 17-Aug-17 @ 8:24 PM
Hi guysi had my appeal in feb and i waited 4 months before got my determination letter. which was allowed,I got a letter from the post decision casework unit on the first of August to confirm that they have received the letter Ftt. Will the £140 I paid for my appeal will it be paid back to me? And how long will it received my visa? Thanks.
Nice - 17-Aug-17 @ 7:53 PM
I recived £140 from the FTT few days ago. My appeal was allowed, Does that mean the UKVI is not going to challenge the judge's decision?
Sam - 17-Aug-17 @ 2:48 PM
Where on earth do I submit supporting documents for spouse visa. On the conformation email it says to submit at the VAC in India but the VFS website it says since jan 30 2017 all supporting documents go to Sheffield. From the 12 December 2016, customers applying for UK settlement should send supporting documentation directly to UKVI in Sheffield, UK by post (full postal address is below). Supporting documents will no longer be accepted at Visa Application Centres in India for any settlement applications submitted from 30 January 2017 onwards. Separate instructions for Priority Visa Settlement applications below. You or your representative/sponsor should send all supporting documents within 20 working days from biometric enrolment for standard fee applications, to the following address: PO Box 5852 Sheffield S11 0FX This is so unclear its horrible!
GTA - 16-Aug-17 @ 11:43 PM
I just received call letter for my child settlement visa Time line Appealed: 9 March 2016 Hearing:20 June 2017 Overturned: 19 July 17 Call letter :15 August 17 Regarding Visa Application:GWF0..... For: ...... The decision to refuse your visa application has been overturned and our office is now ready to issue you a UK Visa.To complete this process we require you to undertake the following steps: 1. Please submit your passport to the Visa Application Centre (VAC) where you made your original visa application . (For applicants who applied in the United States of America only)You will need to courier your passport to us at – International Operations & Visas Sheffield Visa Section Vulcan House Iron, 4th Floor 6 Millsands Sheffield S3 8NU and provide a prepaid courier envelope and an account number so that your passport can be returned to you. (Please note that FedEx is not an acceptable courier company). 2. Please also submit a copy of this e-mail so that the Visa Application Centre will accept your passport. 3. If you require a TB certificate for travel, please ensure you have this with your carry-on luggage, in order for you to present to the Immigration authorities on arrival. You will then be contacted when your passport and UK visa is ready to collect. Kind regards, UK Decision Making Centre
Like - 16-Aug-17 @ 9:42 AM
I just received call letter for my child settlement visa Time line Appealed: 9 March 2016 Hearing:20 June 2017 Overturned: 19 July 17 Call letter :15 August 17 Regarding Visa Application:GWF0..... For: ...... The decision to refuse your visa application has been overturned and our office is now ready to issue you a UK Visa.To complete this process we require you to undertake the following steps: 1. Please submit your passport to the Visa Application Centre (VAC) where you made your original visa application . (For applicants who applied in the United States of America only)You will need to courier your passport to us at – International Operations & Visas Sheffield Visa Section Vulcan House Iron, 4th Floor 6 Millsands Sheffield S3 8NU and provide a prepaid courier envelope and an account number so that your passport can be returned to you. (Please note that FedEx is not an acceptable courier company). 2. Please also submit a copy of this e-mail so that the Visa Application Centre will accept your passport. 3. If you require a TB certificate for travel, please ensure you have this with your carry-on luggage, in order for you to present to the Immigration authorities on arrival. You will then be contacted when your passport and UK visa is ready to collect. Kind regards, UK Decision Making Centre
Like - 16-Aug-17 @ 9:42 AM
I just received call letter for my child settlement visa Time line Appealed: 9 March 2016 Hearing:20 June 2017 Overturned: 19 July 17 Call letter :15 August 17 Regarding Visa Application:GWF0..... For: ...... The decision to refuse your visa application has been overturned and our office is now ready to issue you a UK Visa.To complete this process we require you to undertake the following steps: 1. Please submit your passport to the Visa Application Centre (VAC) where you made your original visa application . (For applicants who applied in the United States of America only)You will need to courier your passport to us at – International Operations & Visas Sheffield Visa Section Vulcan House Iron, 4th Floor 6 Millsands Sheffield S3 8NU and provide a prepaid courier envelope and an account number so that your passport can be returned to you. (Please note that FedEx is not an acceptable courier company). 2. Please also submit a copy of this e-mail so that the Visa Application Centre will accept your passport. 3. If you require a TB certificate for travel, please ensure you have this with your carry-on luggage, in order for you to present to the Immigration authorities on arrival. You will then be contacted when your passport and UK visa is ready to collect. Kind regards, UK Decision Making Centre
Like - 15-Aug-17 @ 11:57 PM
Hi All, Here is my timeline, if this may help you guys. I applied FLR (M) back in November 2014, got refusal based in November 2015 and there two allegations were raised by SSHD i) suitability and ii) relationship is not genuine. Appealed to FTT in November 2015, got first hearing listed for January 2017 which was adjourned as respondent presented some documents on the hear day and Judge did adjourn the hearing. I got my case relist notification back in April for the August 14, 2017. Me and my partner went there they did interview us separately almost all the information matched with each of us but few bits were mismatch but overall was good. It was 2 hours long hearing, we been asked a lot of question about our families and in case if I sent back to my country how that will affect the life of my partner. In the end, Judge said he will write the determination latter in a foreseeable time frame as its all depend on work load. No such deadline was given to us. So good luck to all those are waiting. Wait isn’t over yet for me at least ?
ikkie - 15-Aug-17 @ 11:02 AM
If you decide to represent yourself, be confident and stay calm. These are the questions I was asked, why can't you go and live in India? How many brothers and sisters has he got? What does he do there now? When did you decide to get married? When did you tell your parents? When did he propose ? then my father was asked questions about his character. the judge will give you time to say what you want at the end, so speak your heart out. hope it all goes well for you.
Mil - 13-Aug-17 @ 11:06 PM
If your based in London I suggest you contact a barrister ( direct access basis)in London chambers. Solicitors charge more than barristers do...good luck.
Mil - 13-Aug-17 @ 11:00 PM
My husband visa was rejected because I didn't pick the phone up to confirm my relationship or that I meet the financial requirements, despite all my paperwork confirms everything. My solicitor appealed on my behalf and I feel he isn't very good and too expensive. I am going to go to the hearing for my husbands appeal and represent alone. I don't know how I go about it. Any advice???? Please help :(
Niz - 13-Aug-17 @ 9:29 PM
@Mil I'm currently on the 1st tier appeal just got reply back in writing from original ECO who claims that only 1 piece of evidence was sent even though I hold proof of sending and them receiving. I'm waiting for oral hearing at this time but should never have gotten this far if the immigration wouldn't have neglected my evidence, twice!! I'm based in Manchester.I have contacted my MP who has contacted the home office but very frustrating times
MOL - 8-Aug-17 @ 10:48 PM
@MOL you have a chance to appeal? You shouldn't have put in a second application. I know most solicitors say do that but I don't see any point as they can refuse it again on the same grounds best is to appeal. are you in London I can recommend a really good barrister in London ?
Mil - 8-Aug-17 @ 4:07 PM
Hi All, Has anyone been in the situation that evidence sent has been completely neglected ?I sent approx 16 pieces of evidence and on the refusal the ECO stated he received 1.This is the second time evidence has been neglected in my case and wonder if it's some sort of victimization towards myself or evidence tampering.
MOL - 8-Aug-17 @ 2:52 PM
@Sam 10 days from the day you received your determination letter f the ftt.
Nice - 7-Aug-17 @ 9:01 PM
Hi Nice thank you. So, can home office still appeal. How is it possible that home office received the decision of the tribunal six week after you got one. Probably they did not wish to challenge the tribunal decision and grant you the leave. Do you know how long they will have got to challenge the decision after you have received the decision?
Sam - 6-Aug-17 @ 3:16 PM
Hey guys does anyone know how long it takes once you have sent the application to the first tribunal to apply for permission to appeal at the upper tribunal? Thank you. Glad to hear your news nice :)
Mil - 6-Aug-17 @ 3:09 PM
@Sam congratulations, on Friday I receiveda confirmation letter from the home office that they have received my appeal decision from ftt I have been waiting for the past 6 weeks since I had my decision allowed.
Nice - 6-Aug-17 @ 6:30 AM
Where is Don? Probably preparing his case against the home office :) Thanks Sam... I don't know what's going to happen with us we don't have much luck at the moment... :)
Mil - 4-Aug-17 @ 11:36 AM
Thank you Mil. Where has The Don disappeared? I was following all of you comments even I had nothing to comment at that time.
Sam - 4-Aug-17 @ 4:05 AM
UKVI had refused my spouse visa because they thought or they knowingly pretend that the relation was not genuine and subsisting. Hey, Mil I hope that you will get positive decision from Upper Tribunal as you husband left on his on accord even though he had overstayed. I had the history of overstaying but I did not leave the country as my wife was pregnant. I did not even think about my expired visa because what really was important for me was not to be away from my pregnant wife and being first time father got me extremely occupied.
Sam - 4-Aug-17 @ 4:02 AM
@sam congratulations! :) that's great news. :) @courtroom thanks.. I know My husband has done the right thing going back (was extremelyupset when I wrote the previous message) just have to keep on fighting for my right... :)
Mil - 3-Aug-17 @ 8:55 PM
Hi All, My spouse visa appeal is allowed. I am very thankful of god and really happy today. I always prey for positives changes in everyone's life and so on all of yours. I hope the ukvi won't appeal the judge decision to allow my appeal. My timeline was (incase it helps); Refusal letter: Feb 2016. Sent appeal with in 14 days andHearing was on 15/07/2017. Decision recived: Today(03/08/2017. Big thanks to the Court room Advice team for the opportunity too
Sam - 3-Aug-17 @ 4:31 PM
Mil- Your Question:
Refused the letter -appeal dismissed due to my husband being here illegally. ( him going back in 2015 seems like it wasn't a good idea, I've had to deal with this stress for nearly two years) I know he was wrong we apologised but still we didn't get anywhere. should I have let my husband stay here and got pregnant would he have got the his stay. I am aware this has happened to many people because of their children they have been allowed to stay.Have been allowed to apply to first tribunal for permission to appeal to the upper tribunal. have to send it off in 14 days. if there's still no justice then.

Our Response:
We cannot comment on whether your husband should have remained in the UK as an undocumented person . However, many individuals with a family life in the UK are asked to leave or deported regardless of family life. The current policy is that migrants who have overstayed their leave by more than 28 days and then apply for further leave in the UK are automatically refused. You can see more via the gov.uk link here .
CourtroomAdvice - 3-Aug-17 @ 10:14 AM
Refused the letter -appeal dismissed due to my husband being here illegally ... ( him going back in 2015 seems like it wasn't a good idea, I've had to deal with this stress for nearly two years) I know hewas wrong we apologised but still we didn't get anywhere... should I have let my husband stay here and got pregnant would he have got the his stay ... I am aware this has happened to many people because of their children they have been allowed to stay.... Have been allowed to apply to first tribunal for permission to appeal to the upper tribunal ... have to send it off in 14 days .... if there's still no justice then ....
Mil - 1-Aug-17 @ 4:43 PM
@appu I didn't receieve the letter. (Should have done as they posted it on Friday) I called the tribunal and the lady said the decision has been made but we can't see if it's a yes or no! I was like what!!! She said my colleague may have had access to the information but I don't! Plus we are not meant to share the decision on the phone until it's been 2 days after the letter has been sent out... can you believe this? I don't know what to make out of this... I've spent the weekend crying my eyes out, the letter gets delay...I don't know what to think anymore...of course I will share what I'm doing next ....
Mil - 31-Jul-17 @ 2:19 PM
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