The Role Of Finances In UK Visit Visa Applications

Richmond Chambers Immigration Barristers


Richmond Chambers is a multi-award winning partnership of specialist immigration barristers. Our barristers provide expert legal advice and representation, directly to individuals and businesses, in relation to all aspects of UK immigration law. We combine the expertise and quality of the Bar, with the service of a trusted law firm.
The article clarifies UK visitor visa financial requirements, highlighting that while no set amount is mandatory, sufficient funds to cover costs are essential. It advises on supporting evidence like bank statements and explains scrutiny over financial ties and credibility in applications.
UK Immigration
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Our clients often ask how much bank balance is required for a UK visitor visa or what financial evidence is needed for a visitor visa. While there are no financial requirements or mandatory evidence for a visitor visa application, Home Office decision makers often cite financial circumstances in refusal decisions. This post aims to demystify the role of finances in visitor visa applications.

How Do Finances Relate to the Requirements of a UK Visitor Visa?

A key requirement of the visitor visa is the "genuine visitor requirement". To satisfy the decision maker that you are a genuine visitor you must convince the decision maker that you:

  • Will leave the UK at the end of your visit;
  • Will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits or make the UK your main home;
  • Are genuinely seeking entry for the purpose that is permitted under the visitor visa route;
  • Will not undertake in any prohibited activities, such as working in the UK;
  • Must have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to their visit without working or accessing public funds, including the costs of their return journey, costs relating to their dependents and any planned activities.

Looking at this list, you may assume that the decision maker will look at your financial circumstances to assess the last point: whether you have sufficient funds to cover the cost of the trip.

However, the decision makers take a broader approach. For example, you may provide evidence that you have enough money to cover the trip, but the cost of the trip is disproportionately high in comparison to your income. The decision maker may infer from this that you do not intend to return to your country at the end of your visit, but that you intend to work and to stay in the UK for a longer period.

What Will Home Office Decision Makers Consider When Looking at My Finances?

The caseworker guidance sets out the factors decision makers must take into account when making a decision about your visitor visa application, such as:

  • Your financial circumstances as well as your family, social and economic background;
  • You personal and economic ties to your country of residence;
  • Whether, on the balance of probabilities, the information and the reasons for the visit or for extending your stay are credible and correspond to your personal, family, social and economic background.

As you can see, the focus is on your ties to your country of residence. The Home Office's logic is that the fewer ties you have, the less likely you are to return to your country after your visit. The caseworker guidance gives the following example of a situation where an application would likely be refused: "the applicant has few or no family and economic ties to their country of residence, and has several family members in the UK – for example a person with most of their family in the UK and no job or studies in their own country may be considered to have few links to their home country".

Financial evidence such as bank statements, payslips, or a letter from your employer confirming your employment help build a picture of your life and obligations outside of the UK. This in turn will help satisfy the decision maker that you are more likely than not to return to your country of residence after your visit to the UK.

What if I Don't Currently Have Any Income?

This doesn't mean that you won't be granted a visitor visa. People have all sorts of links to their country of residence other than finances. For example, you may be studying, you may have family and dependants, or other community links such as religious groups.

What Sort of Documents Should I Include in Support of My Visit Visa Application?

As a start you may choose to include a letter from your employer confirming that your absence from work is authorised and that you are expected back at work after the end of your visit. You may also attach a copy of your employment contract, your payslips, and bank statements showing your salary going into your account.

Remember the decision makers want a snapshot of your financial circumstances at the time of the application. Therefore, it is a good idea to include your most recent payslip, bank statement and so forth. Bank statements or letters issued more than one year before the date of application are described as "less useful" in Home Office caseworker guidance.

How Much Detail Should I Put Into Explaining My Financial Circumstances?

Unfortunately, visitor visa applications are very laborious and time consuming. Decision makers often seize upon minor irregularities or omissions and make unhelpful inferences about the applicants' circumstances or credibility.

It is helpful to provide a cover letter putting your financial evidence in context. Before providing your bank statements, go through them line by line and check for any unusual deposits. Be prepared to explain these in a cover letter so that the decision maker has a clear overview of your finances. If any of these documents are unavailable, for example your country of residence is primarily a cash economy, explain this in your cover letter.

Decision makers will look at the cost of your visit in the context of your regular income. If the visit is very expensive relative to your income this may raise eyebrows. In your cover letter provide your calculations for the cost of your trip, as well as calculations for your regular income and outgoings. If the visit is pricey, explain how you are financing it, for example you may be dipping into your savings, you may be receiving support from a third party, or perhaps you have received a gift.

If any of your previous visitor visa applications have been refused, it is a good idea to respond to the reasons for refusal in your current application. Explain any change in circumstances or signpost any new evidence which was not provided in previous applications.

Preparing a visit visa application properly can be a complex and time consuming process. If you could like professional assistance, contact our immigration barristers for expert advice and legal representation.

What if a Third Party Is Helping Me Fund My Trip?

Some visitors do not cover the costs of their visit by themselves but are provided with financial help or accommodation by third parties.

The third party supporting your visit must be:

  • A family member, friend or other person with whom you have a genuine personal or professional relationship;
  • If they are in the UK, they must not be in breach of immigration law.

The decision makers will make the following checks and ask the following questions about your relationship to the third party:

  • Whether they have failed to support visitors in the past;
  • Where and how you met the third party;
  • How often and by what method you communicate.
  • Whether the third party has enough funds to adequately support themselves and any dependants, including you the applicant.

Therefore, the third party will need to provide a letter of support, confirming that they intend to support you during your visit, as well as financial evidence showing that they are capable of providing the support.

Is It Useful to Get a Letter of Support From a Local MP?

The Home Office guidance states that a letter of support from an MP "cannot be considered as a guarantee that the visitor will comply with the terms of their permission" and warns decision makers not to "actively seek out such an undertaking or accept an offer to provide one".

The decision makers are instructed to consider a letter of support from an MP along with the other evidence but it does not hold any particular weight.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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