What documents should you include with your UK Visit Visa Application

In UK law, the onus is on the applicant to satisfy the Visa Officer that he or she qualifies for entry as a visitor. The law does not prescribe a set of documents that need to be submitted in support of visit visa applications and therefore it is up to the applicant to decide which documents might be helpful for the Visa Officer to conclude that he or she qualifies for a visit visa. The UKBA website offers advice in the form of Supporting Documents Guidance. This Guidance is a list of suggested documents that you might wish to consider sending with your application. These lists are neither prescriptive nor conclusive. You can find the Guidance on the UKBA website by clicking here.

We have drawn up the following list of documents that might be useful to send with your application. Like UKBA’s list, this is not prescriptive or conclusive. It was collated for your information only. Please note that the list below is for General, Family and Business Visit Visa applicants only.

General Information about yourself

  1. A current and valid passport. Obviously, you will need to have a valid passport in order for UKBA to be able to issue you with a visa. your passport does not need to be valid for at least another six months. It is sufficient if its validity fully covers your stay in the UK.
  2. One recent passport-sized photograph. Please ensure that this follows UKBA’s photo guidance. The photo guidance can be found here.
  3. Evidence that you have permission to stay in the country where you are submitting your visa application. This could, for example, be a valid visa or residence permit.
  4. A duly completed application form, which is signed and dated (electronic form in countries where you have to complete an electronic form, elsewhere: VAF1A for General Visitors, VAF1B for Family Visitors, and VAF1C for Business Visitors).
  5. Previous passport, if applicable. The reason why it is helpful to include previous passports is to show your travel history. If, for example, you have regularly visited other countries in the past and have always complied with the conditions attached to these stays (e.g. you returned to your home country before the expiry of your visa), for UKBA this could be indication that you will also comply with the conditions of your UK visit visa.
  6. Evidence of your marital status. This could, for example, be a marriage certificate, partnership certificate, divorce certificate or death certificate. Why is this relevant? Well, if, for example, you are married and your husband/wife is not travelling with you, for UKBA this could be a factor in determining your intention to leave the United Kingdom. If you have children, you could also consider including their birth certificates.
  7. Evidence of your current employment or studies.
    1. If you are employed: a letter from your employer on company headed paper clearly stating your position, your salary (and how this is paid – this is particularly important if you are paid cash) and the length of your employment; confirmation that you have been given time off work, and stating whether this time off is paid or unpaid. The letter should include the name, position and contact details for the person that has signed the letter. In addition, it is wise to submit documents that back up the statements in the employment letter such as, pay slips and tax returns. If you have recently entered new employment you should also submit details of your previous employment and salary history.
    2. If you are self-employed/have a business: business registration documents confirming the owner’s name and the date when the business started trading, accountant reports, and tax returns. UKBA will want to see that your business exists, is trading, and that it is generating an income. Hence the need to include these documents.
    3. If you are a student: a letter from your education provider on headed paper. This letter should include your full name and date of birth, the name of the course, the course length and at which stage of the course you are, it should confirm your enrolment and attendance, and that you have leave of absence.

8.      Evidence of your financial circumstances

We would recommend that you include evidence of your total monthly income from all sources, for example from employment, friends, family, personal savings and/or property. This will help UKBA assess your circumstances in your own country and will provide them with evidence of how your trip is to be funded.

– Please note that you should provide this information even if someone else is paying for your trip! Even though someone else is paying, UKBA would also like to assess your personal circumstances in your home country (intention to leave the UK).

– If someone else is paying for your trip then, in addition to your personal documents, we recommend that they provide the same information about their finances and employment. After all, the Visa Officer will want to see that your friend/relative is in a position to cover your expenses!

– If you are providing documents from a joint account, you will need to explain who the other account holders are, and why you have permission to spend money from the account. You would also need to include a signed and dated statement from the joint account holder plus a copy of the bio-data page of their passport (this is the page showing their photograph and personal details).

– If your spouse or partner is employed you would also need to send evidence of their employment and financial details.

Additional information. What you should include as evidence of your financial circumstances:

Bank statements and/or bank books of yourself and of the person that is paying for your trip (if the latter is applicable). These should always be included. They should cover a period of at least six months (prior to the application). They should clearly state your name and show what has been paid in and out of the account during this period. If there are any large deposits, you will need to explain these and submit evidence. If, for example, a statement shows a large cash deposit after you had sold your car, please explain this in a covering note and attach evidence of the sale. Please note that balance check receipts from a cash dispenser are not considered to be bank statements! After all, these just show the balance on that particular date; not how this balance was accrued. They do not back up statements given elsewhere in your application, for example, concerning your claimed income. Also note that in countries with electronic banking, a printout from your computer of an electronic statement won’t suffice. These are acceptable only if you take it to your bank and ask them to stamp and sign it to show that it has been verified. If you have bank statements as well as bank books, send both.

Bank balance or balance certificate, drawn up, signed and dated by your bank. This may be submitted but only in combination with bank statements and/or bank books (see above). Again, a bank balance or balance certificate from the bank does not show the amounts paid in and out of the account, and do not confirm statements made elsewhere in your application form, for example, statements concerning your claimed income.

Payslips. These should always be submitted. If you are a student and your parents are paying for your trip, your parents should provide their payslips. The payslips should cover a period of at least six months (prior to the application). Please ensure that if your salary is paid directly into your account, the bank statements that you have submitted clearly show this. If you get paid in cash, your pay slips should confirm this. If you subsequently deposit your cash pay into your account, please explain these deposits in a covering letter.

Tax returns (personal or business). Business people should always include their tax returns. For private workers this is advisable. The tax returns should be recent and should detail your income and taxes paid.

Business bank account statements. Business people should always include these. They do not only serve as evidence of funds but also as evidence that your business is trading and generating an income. If you do not use your business account but your personal account to pay for your trip, send statements for both accounts. Please ensure that you explain, in a covering letter, that you will be using your personal account to pay for your trip and that the business account statements are for information purposes concerning your business’ trade and income only. Equally, if you use a business account to pay for a personal trip, you would need to explain in a covering letter why you are using a business account for a personal trip. If you are the sole proprietor, include evidence of this. If there are co-owners, include letters from the co-owner(s) confirming that you can use the business account for private purposes and a copy of the bio-data page of their passport. Remember that if you go on a private trip, UKBA would not normally expect you to pay for this from your business account.

Evidence of property and/or land. If you have property, assets and/or land, evidence of this should always be included. Evidence of property/land may be a factor in determining strong ties to your home country; i.e. it may be an indication for the Visa Officer that it is your intention to return to your home country on completion of your trip (i.e. that you intend to leave the UK). Also, your property/land may well generate an income. Evidence of property/land may be provided in the form of property deeds, mortgage statements, land registration documents etc. If your property generates an income, you would need to include evidence of this. You could do this in the form of an accountant’s report, tenancy agreements (for example, if you are renting out your property), crop receipts etc. If the land/property is in more names, please include a covering letter providing details of any co-owners and how the property/land is provided. Equally, if the income earned from the property/land is shared, you should include a letter setting out who co-owns it and how the proceeds are divided. Please make sure that you back-up any statements you make in your covering letter with evidence. For example, in the form of documents that clearly show the names of the owners and how the proceeds are divided, and/or statements from the co-owners and copies of the bio-data page of their passport.

9.      Accommodation and Travel Details

It is advisable to submit documents that show your accommodation and travel arrangements in the UK, and on which date you intend to leave the UK. Please remember not to pay for any accommodation or tickets until you have received your visa!

What you could include:

–        A hotel reservation – an e-mail is acceptable as long as this contains full contact details. Hotels usually allow you to make reservations and cancellations free of charge. Check the conditions with them in advance!

–        Ticket reservation – an e-mail is acceptable as long as this contains details that can be verified (e.g. the contact details for your travel agent)

–        A letter from your travel agents confirming hotel and/or ticket reservations

Again, please do not make bookings if a refusal of your application results in financial loss. Do not pay for accommodation and tickets until your visa has been issued! It is not (not) a requirement in law to provide tickets in support of visa applications!

10.   Additional information about your visit to the UK

General Visitor/Tourist

In addition to the documents listed under 1 to 9 above, it is advisable to include one or more of the following:

–        An itinerary. A day-to-day description of what you propose to see/do during your UK trip

–        E-mail conversations concerning trips, outings, excursions but only if you have them

–        Hotel reservations, if you have them (do not pay for any reservations until you have your visa!)

–        If you are visiting a friend, always include the following information:

  •  a letter from your friend which includes his/her full personal and contact details, your full personal details, a brief description of how s/he knows you, and the period that s/he is inviting you for. This letter does not have to be notarised or stamped by a solicitor! It can be an ordinary letter or e-mail, as long as it has all the details.
  • A copy of the bio-data page of his/her passport (this is the page with his/her photograph and personal details)
  • A copy of his/her permission to stay in the UK (for example, copy of his/her valid visa, Home Office stamp or Home Office letter granting permission to stay)
  • Evidence of his/her accommodation (if owned, for example, a property deed, if rented, for example a tenancy agreement)
  • Evidence of his/her income and finances (payslips and bank statements – see above)

Family Visitor

The family members you are visiting must be permanently settled or have asylum/humanitarian protection status in the UK. They must also be related to you in one of the following ways:

– Spouse, civil partner, father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister;

– Grandfather, grandmother, grandson or granddaughter;

– Spouse or civil partner’s father, mother, brother or sister;

– Son or daughter’s spouse or civil partner;

– Stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother or stepsister; or

– Unmarried partner where the couple have been in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership for at least the two years before the day the application is made and the relationship is genuine and subsisting

If you are not related to the person you are visiting in one of the specified ways listed above or if they are not permanently settled or have asylum/humanitarian protection in the UK, then you should apply as a general visitor.

If you are a family visitor, in addition to the documents listed under 1 to 9 above, it is advisable to include one or more of the following:

–        An itinerary. A day-to-day description of what you propose to see/do during your UK trip

–        If you are visit a relative, always include the following information:

  •  a letter from your relative which includes his/her full personal and contact details, your full personal details, and the period that s/he is inviting you for. This letter does not have to be notarised or stamped by a solicitor! It can be an ordinary letter or e-mail, as long as it has all the details.
  • A copy of the bio-data page of his/her passport (this is the page with his/her photograph and personal details)
  • A copy of his/her permission to stay in the UK (for example, copy of his/her valid visa, Home Office stamp or Home Office letter granting permission to stay)
  • Evidence of his/her accommodation (if owned, for example, a property deed, if rented, for example a tenancy agreement)
  • Evidence of his/her income and finances (payslips and bank statements – see above)

Business Visitor

If you are a business visitor, in addition to the documents listed under 1 to 9, you should always include:

–        A letter of invitation from the company that you will be visiting which confirms that that they are inviting you, who you will be visiting, who you will be staying with and who is paying for your trip. Please note that if the inviting company is paying, you will need to submit evidence!

–        Evidence of any previous dealings with the company. This could, for example, be evidence in the form of previous e-mail correspondence, invoices, receipts etc.

–        If you have never dealt with the company previously, you may wish to explain in a covering letter how you found them, and offer a credible explanation as to why you feel a visit to this company would benefit your business.

General Advice on Visa Applications

A good way of preparing your application and supporting documents is to place yourself in the Visa Officer’s shoes:

–        Present your application in a neat, organised manner. Consider using a ring binder, with an index listing your documents. Consider this: what would you rather receive on your desk? A neatly organised application or an envelope stuffed with papers in no particular order? I think we all know the answer! The same applies to your application form. If you have to submit a handwritten form, please ensure that this is legible!

–        Always back up the statements you give in your application form. For example, I can say that I earn £100,000 per year and own several apartments that I rent out. In fact, anyone could say this. This is also how the Visa Officer sees it. He or she will therefore look for evidence that the income you state in your application form is indeed correct and that you do indeed rent out several apartments. Always back up any statements provided with clear documentary evidence.

–        And last but certainly not least: always be truthful. If you lie, or conceal relevant facts, the Visa Officer will find out and you risk being banned from the UK for a period of up to ten years!

Production of the documents listed in this page does not guarantee that a visa will be issued. Every application is decided on its merits. The list does, however, give you an idea of what documents you could include with your application. It is neither prescriptive nor conclusive; it is for your information only. Before submitting any visa application, you should always consult the relevant authorities direct for up-to-date and correct information.

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2 Responses to What documents should you include with your UK Visit Visa Application

  1. Zeegee says:

    What kind of documents do you need to show that you intend to leave at the end of visa?

    • Dear Zeegee,

      Thank you for leaving a comment. To assess an intention to leave, an ECO will look at an applicant’s ties in his or her home country. The stronger these ties are, the more likely an ECO will be satisfied that the applicant proposes to leave the UK on completion of his/her trip. This could, for example, be evidence that an applicant has a good job in his/her home country, that s/he has property there etc. etc. In other words, ties that would, on a balance of probabilities, require his/her presence in his/her home country on completion of any period of leave granted.

      Happy holidays,

      UKimmigrationspecialist.com

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