uk visa enquiry

What Happens With My Visa if I Have a Criminal Conviction?

For reasons related to an individual’s character, conduct or associations, immigration officials and the Home Secretary reserve the right to refuse permission for foreign migrants to enter the UK, or revoke permission for migrants who have already been granted a UK visa. Alongside this, the Home Secretary has the power to refuse entry to a foreign migrant even if there’s been no indication that they intend to visit the UK. There are no legal or statutory rights of appeal unless you have made an application under human rights, but you can challenge their decision with a Judicial Review. In August 2005, the Home Office published a list of “unacceptable behaviours” that can result in exclusion or expulsion by the Home Secretary. These behaviours include:

  • Using any means or medium to express views which foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence or other serious criminal activity.
  • Seeking to provoke others to commit such acts, or which foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.

Arriving in the UK with a criminal conviction

Everyone who arrives in the UK is checked against police, security and immigration watch lists. Border Force staff may refuse entry to the European Economic Area (EEA) and non-EEA nationals on the ground of previous criminal behaviour. Non-EEA nationals may be subject to a  a ‘re-entry ban’ for a specified length of time, depending on the length and nature of the sentence. However, criminal convictions do not automatically give justification for expulsion of EEA nationals from the UK. This is because EU law dictates that the decision to refuse entry or expulse someone from the UK must be based on an assessment of the individual facts of the case.

UK deportation rules

A deportation order may be made against a foreign national under UK immigration law. This deportation order authorises an individual’s removal from the UK and makes them liable to be held in custody before they’re removed from the UK. This order also means the foreign national in question cannot return to the UK and is ineligible for another UK visa.

Reasons for Deportation from the UK

Foreign nationals may be removed from the UK if the Secretary of State believes it is in the interests of the public good. You may be deported for a number of reasons. Firstly, the foreign national may be the civil partner, spouse or child of the individual who is the subject of a deportation order. Secondly, the foreign national if s/he is over 17 and has been convicted of a criminal offence which carries with it a prison sentence. The court sentence must state that it is recommended for the foreign national to be deported once they have served their sentence. There are some instances where the judge recommends the foreign national is deported at the same time as they’re sentenced to prison. For more serious offences, the judge will probably recommend that the foreign national is deported. Even if the judge has not recommended deportation, when a foreign national is reaches the end of their sentence, the Prison Service must notify the immigration authorities of his impending release. If there has been no recommendation for deportation by the sentencing judge, a foreign national is considered for deportation if they’re sentenced for longer than one year (two years in the case of a European citizen). Immigration authorities take the offender’s age, links to the UK and the seriousness of their offence into consideration when decided whether to deport them. If you’re looking to visit the UK or move here, get in touch with us today. Our advisors will help you apply for the best visa to suit your needs.


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Visa and Migration is a private OISC regulated company (F201500999) and is not an official Government body. If you would like to prepare and submit your UK immigration application yourself you can do so by visiting the UKVI website.