How Much Bank Balance is Required for a UK Visitor Visa?
As with all UK visas, visitor visas are only granted where the applicant meets a set of eligibility criteria and is considered to be genuine. Proving that you are a genuine visitor is essential, as the UK border forces are well versed at identifying individuals who are trying to enter the UK for other reasons (such as to find work) and hence do not qualify as a visitor. One of the ways that UK border officials do this is by checking that those seeking a visitor visa have enough money for their trip. In this article, we will explain how much bank balance is required to secure a UK visitor visa.
What do the immigration rules say about the genuine visitor requirement?
The relevant immigration rules are laid out in appendix v (visitor), specifically in the section entitled, ‘genuine visitor requirement’. This states the following:
“V 4.2. The applicant must satisfy the decision-maker that they are a genuine visitor, which means the applicant:
(a) will leave the UK at the end of their visit; and
(b) will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK their main home; and
(c) is genuinely seeking entry or stay for a purpose that is permitted under the Visitor route as set out in Appendix Visitor: Permitted Activities and at V 13.3; and
(d) will not undertake any of the prohibited activities set out in V 4.4. To V 4.6; and
(e) must have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to their visit without working or accessing public funds, including the cost of the return or onward journey, any costs relating to their dependants, and the cost of planned activities such as private medical treatment”.
Appendix finance section FIN2.1 also states that funds will not be considered sufficient if they are held in a financial institution whereby:
- The person making a decision on the visitor visa cannot make satisfactory verification checks; or
- the financial institution is not regulated by the appropriate regulatory body for the country in which that institution is operating; or
- the financial institution does not use electronic record keeping
How much money will I need to show to be approved for a visitor visa in the UK?
It is important to note that there is no set level on the amount of funds you will need to show in order to acquire your visitor visa. The visitor visa guidance for case officers clearly states, “Check the applicant has access to sufficient resources to maintain and accommodate themselves adequately for the whole of their planned visit to the UK or for the period of any application for permission to stay. There is no set level of funds required for an applicant to show this”.
The main point is that the case officer needs to be satisfied that your application is genuine and the funds you have access to fit with the purpose of your visit. UKVI officials are advised, “At the border, you may want to ask where the applicant will be staying and ask for evidence that they have access to funds to cover the costs they are likely to incur during their visit”. It is important that you explain why you are in the UK and that your funds match your plans. The case officer will take into account the likely cost of your stay and the sources of revenue available to you (e.g., your regular salary). For example, if you are in the UK for private medical treatment, you will need to show an invoice for your treatment and funds of this level. Likewise, if you are travelling in the UK and will be staying in hotels, you will need to show you have enough money for your accommodation and food.
The guidance for border officials states an applicant’s “income or savings, minus their financial commitments, must be sufficient to meet the likely costs they will incur in the UK and reasonable expenditure in light of their financial situation”.
What documents should I provide to prove I have sufficient funds for a visitor visa?
The documents you will need to provide will depend on your circumstances, but these may include:
- Bank statements from a fully regulated financial institution showing you have held sufficient funds for your whole stay for three months (this timescale is not prescribed in the rules, but case officers are advised to take a closer look if funds have not been held for long by the applicant).
- Evidence of your regular income – e.g., bank statements and/or payslips.
- Proof of a genuine relationship if the funds are held by a third party - this arrangement must be with a family member, friend or another person with whom the applicant has a genuine personal or professional relationship. If the case officer has any concerns, they will check where and how you met and how often and by what method you communicate. The rules also state, “If the third party is an individual such as a friend or family member providing financial support for the applicant, they must satisfy you that they have enough funds available to adequately support themselves and anyone normally dependent on them, as well as the applicant”.
- Evidence of sufficient funds must be available for the care of any children visiting the UK
- Bills, invoices, reservations showing the costs you are likely to incur in the UK
Applying for a visitor visa is generally a very straightforward process. If the UKVI case officer or border official has any concerns that you are not a genuine visitor, including if you don’t have enough money to fund your stay in the UK, your visa may be refused. If you need assistance with your visa or visa refusal, speak to an immigration Solicitor, who will be able to advise you.