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How to apply for a UK Visitor Visa

Some people might think that applying for a UK visitor visa is easy or straightforward, but this may not be good advice. The requirements are in some ways less complicated than for other visa types: there is no English language requirement and there are no strict mathematical requirements for money held in the bank. And the visa fee is quite cheap (the fee for a six-month visa is £95) and there is no IHS health surcharge. 

But on the other hand decision-makers (ie Entry Clearance Officers) find it quite easy to refuse visitor visa applications. Typically, refusal decisions revolve around issues of “genuineness”. Genuineness is a good quality in life generally, and with visa applications in particular, but with visitor visa applications it takes on a particular complexion: does the applicant really intend to leave the UK at the end of the visit? 

If, for example, the applicant has few close relatives in their home country but several close relatives in the UK, then the application is likely to come under close scrutiny. This is why it is very important for applicants to show that they have strong ties – family and financial – to their home country. To take an obvious aspect, somebody who is employed and can prove it with good evidence is likely to be in a better position than somebody who is not and cannot.

And, sometimes, a refusal decision may take a rather obscure slant. The Entry Clearance Officer, after a close examination of the applicant’s bank statements, may come to the conclusion that, although there are plenty of funds showing in the account, their origin is not sufficiently clear. This somehow seems to impact on the applicant’s genuineness and may lead to a refusal. 

And sometimes other issues may come up. If for example, an applicant wants to visit a relative in the UK who is seriously ill, the Entry Clearance Officer may not be sympathetic, because they fear that the applicant wants to come to the UK and act as a carer for the relative for the long term. So this is not necessarily the best way to present an application. 

And in other cases, the applicant has a previous visa refusal on their record (either for a visitor visa or some other kind of visa) and this tends to cause problems, in some cases severe ones. The new application needs to be made in a way that deals with the issues in the refusal decision

For these sorts of reasons, you might like to instruct a lawyer to prepare your visitor visa application so that it can be done to the best effect. Our immigration lawyers in London have good experience of visitor visa applications and we will be able to help you.



Oliver Westmoreland

OISC Level 3 Immigration Lawyer

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