UK Visitor Visa Sponsor Document Requirements and Proof Of Funds
As a prospective visitor to the UK, there are a number of requirements you will need to meet before you are permitted entry into the country. Primarily, Home Office entry clearance officers are most concerned with ensuring that only those who are genuine and credible visitors are given entry. Another aspect of the checks carried out by the Home Office on visitors to the UK is to ensure that they have both accommodation and sufficient money while they are here. In this article, we will outline the evidence required to show that a third-party is able to sponsor a visitor to the UK.
The Adequate Maintenance & Accommodation Requirement
When applying for a visitor visa, you will need to demonstrate that you have the financial means to cover your maintenance and accommodation needs while in the UK, for yourself and your dependants. The Home Office will take into account whether you have sufficient funds for:
- your return or onward journey
- any planned activities in the UK
- your overall costs while in the UK (e.g. shopping, accommodation, food).
- your income and cash savings
- your financial commitments
- the income you will still receive while in the UK
- your costs in relation to your dependants
If you do not have adequate funds to cover your stay in the UK, however, it is possible to be sponsored by a person in the UK; this is referred to as sponsorship by a third-party.
What Checks Does The Home Office Carry Out In Relation To The Sponsor Of A Visitor To The UK?
Section V4.3 of the Immigration Rules Appendix V : visitor rules clarifies that travel and maintenance, and accommodation can be provided by a third party. It is not sufficient to show that the sponsor has the financial means to sponsor a visitor, they must also have a genuine relationship and intention to sponsor. Case Officers are required to check those sponsors:
- have a genuine professional or personal relationship with the visitor; and
- are not, or will not be, in breach of UK immigration laws at the time of decision or the visitor’s entry to the UK; and
- can and will provide support to the visitor for the intended duration of their stay
It is important to note that the sponsor does not have to be based in the UK, they can be outside (in which case the second of the three requirements above does not apply).
The Home Office guidance states that case officers “may want to check with the applicant or third party, where they met, and how often and by what method they communicate. If the third party is an individual such as a friend or family member providing financial support for the visitor, they must satisfy you that they have enough funds available to adequately support themselves and anyone normally dependent on them, as well as the visitor. Where you have doubts around the intentions of the third party to provide this support, you must refuse the application”. This shows the extent to which case officers may investigate the genuineness of the relationship and suitability of the sponsor to provide financial support to a UK visitor. As such, it is essential that if you are relying on a sponsor to come to the UK for a short visit, you provide all of the information upfronts as part of your application.
What Evidence Should Be Provided To Satisfy The UK Visitor Visa Sponsorship Requirements?
There is a section on the UK visitor visa application to declare that you are being sponsored during your time in the UK, to explain the genuineness of your relationship, and their ability to sponsor you, but it is always advisable to include a covering letter to allow you to elaborate. It is advisable to include a supporting letter from each party (i.e. applicant and sponsor). The applicant’s supporting letter should include:
- A declaration that you are being sponsored
- Your sponsor's name, address, and personal details
- A break-down of all of your expected costs while in the UK, including those of your dependants
- An explanation of your relationship with your sponsor, including how you met, how often you meet and/or speak, and why they are sponsoring you
Your sponsor should also provide a written undertaking which includes details of their income/savings, and hence ability to sponsor you – this may be in the form of bank statements and proof of income. It should also clarify that they willing to support the applicant (and their dependants) with maintenance and accommodation costs during the whole time they are in the UK.
As stated in V4.4 in appendix V of the visitor rules, “The third party may be asked to give an undertaking in writing to be responsible for the applicant’s maintenance and accommodation. In this case, paragraph 35 of Part 1 of these Rules applies also to Visitors. An applicant will normally be refused where, having been requested to do so, the applicant fails to provide a valid written undertaking from a third party to be responsible for their maintenance and accommodation for the period of any visit”.
If you are planning to come to the UK as a visitor, but you do not have sufficient funds to cover the costs of your stay, you can be sponsored by a third-party from inside the UK or outside. The key to ensuring you receive a positive decision is providing as much information upfront proving that your relationship with your sponsor is genuine, and they can fully support you financially while in the UK. Rather than rely on the Home Office case officer to respond back to you with any questions or points of clarification, your aim (and that of your sponsor) should be to pre-empt any questions and provide as much detail as possible.