Who needs to apply for a Visit Visa?

If your country of nationality is listed on the Visa National list you will need to obtain a visit visa, issued by the Home Office, prior to your to travel to the UK.

UK visit visa applications face a high risk of rejection, regardless of any family ties in the UK. The Home Office will often be suspicious of individuals seeking to overstay their visas once in the UK. It is therefore often crucial to show that you are a ‘genuine visitor’ and that you intend to leave the UK when you say you will.

Although refusal rates appear high, strong evidence of an intention to return to your home country will generally improve your chances of success.

What constitutes a strong tie?

There appears to be some common misunderstanding around what makes a successful visit visa application. We often hear from individuals who believe their key evidence is a sponsor’s letter and their sponsor agreeing to financially support them during the visit. Others believe that the presence of family or friends in the UK strengthens the application.

However, in our view, given most applications are seemingly refused due to ‘intention to return’ and/or being a ‘genuine visitor’, the key is to show strong ties to your home country.

Strong ties to your home country can be in the form of family, employment, financial, business, property, or any other reason which means you must return to your country of residence.  This helps to show that your intentions to visit the UK for a short period of time are genuine and you are not at risk of overstaying after your visa has expired.  We find that evidence of employment, finances and property can be compelling.

How can I evidence my genuine intention to return?

There is no limit or guidance on the type or amount of evidence you should provide.  The Home Office also will not proactively request any evidence from you. You should therefore provide as much relevant evidence as you can, to strengthen your application.

Some examples of evidence could be ownership of property or business based outside of the UK, secure permanent employment, birth and marriage certificates evidencing your family ties in your home country.  The better evidence you provide, the greater chance of success.

Be careful when providing bank statements showing your income. We have had countless clients come to us with negative decisions, where concerns about large credits/deposits in the applicant’s bank account forms the basis of a refusal.  It is therefore best to explain and evidence the source of any such large credits.

It may also help if you provide a personal statement confirming your reasons for your visit, provide evidence of your family member in the UK, and evidence of where you will stay during your visit.  You should also consider asking your family member to provide a statement to confirm the information provided about them in your application form.

Given the above, how likely am I to be successful?

If you can provide good evidence as mentioned above, especially evidence of strong ties to your home country, then you will improve your chances of success.  However, as with all UK immigration applications, there is no guarantee of this.

How do I apply for a visit visa?

You will need to submit your visit visa through the gov.uk portal. A link can be found here.

At the time of writing, a standard six-month visa will cost £115. For a two-year visa it’s £400, a five-year visa is £771, and a 10-year visa is £963. We would generally suggest going for a six-month visa initially, and then once you can show you have complied with your visit to the UK, consider requesting a longer visa.

After you submit your visa application, you will need to attend a biometrics appointment at a visa centre. Normally you can upload your documents prior to your biometrics appointment. Alternatively, staff at the centre can normally scan your documents, for an additional fee.

We can help!

At Truth Legal, we can assist you with your visit application. We can help take the stress out of the process and maximise your chance of being granted your visa.

If you would like to discuss your situation, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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Catherine Reynolds
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