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Opinions of Saturday, 31 October 2015

Columnist: Acheampong, Emmanuel Opoku

Who is a genuine visitor for a UK visit visa? Part 2

In our last article, we considered certain factors that the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) may consider in assessing genuine intention for a visit. Today, we will consider other factors that the ECO may consider in assessing your intentions for the visit. We further emphasise that every applicant for a visit visa must show that they are a genuine visitor and that they will depart the UK after their visit.

Your personal, economic or financial circumstances
You must satisfy the ECO that you have sufficient personal and economic circumstances in your home country. In making this assessment, the ECO may consider your stated employment, length of employment and income. For full time employees, the ECO may wish to see a letter from your employer on company headed paper detailing your role, salary, length of employment, and leave of absence if applicable. You may also wish to provide your letter of appointment and pay slips.

However, these documents standing alone may not be sufficient evidence of your employment. For salary employees, the ECO may wish to see your bank statement showing salary credits. If your bank statement does not show salary credits, the ECO may doubt your claimed income.

For students the ECO may consider your institution, course and year of study. They may wish to see a letter from your institution on headed paper confirming your enrolment, year of study, likely completion date, and leave of absence. You may also wish to show your transcripts, marked scripts, current receipts of school fees, hostel fees, and any other receipts that confirm your studies.

In addition, a student must show how they are maintained in their home country. If you are sponsored by a parent or legal guardian, a statement by them that they are responsible for your maintenance may suffice. However, if you are sponsored by a third party like an uncle, the ECO may wish to see further details of how you are maintained in your home country, and may refuse your application if you are unable to do so. This will be the case even if the ECO is satisfied that the third party will be able to pay for your trip.

For self-employed persons, you may wish to show evidence of your business and income. This includes business documents, invoices, bills of lading, receipts of sales, tax certificates, etc. However these documents may not be sufficient evidence of your claimed business. The ECO may doubt your intention if your circumstances do not support your claimed business or income. For example, the ECO may doubt your intention if your bank statement shows large, inconsistent deposits the origins of which are unclear.

You may also show that you have landed property. This includes title deeds, land title certificates, lease agreements, Indentures, allocation documents of the said property, etc. You may wish to submit utility bills in your name over the said property. You are however not allowed to submit photos of the property. You are also not allowed to submit any evidence of car ownership in the form of documents showing your title to the car or photographs of them. If you do, the ECO will refuse to consider them.

Family and social circumstances
For your family circumstances, the ECO may consider information about your immediate or larger family. For example, evidence that you have ongoing financial commitments to your family and or any other dependents may count. In addition, evidence that majority of your family members are in gainful employment or that you have aged parents or grandparents who require your constant care and supervision may also count. If the ECO finds that you have few or no family and economic ties to your home country, and that you have several family members in the UK, this may cause them to doubt your intentions for the visit.

For your social circumstances, evidence that you belong to a credible professional or social organisation, or that you have made significant contribution to the development of your society may count.

By Emmanuel Opoku Acheampong

Disclaimer: This article only provides general information and guidance on UK immigration law. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. The writer will not accept any liability for any claims or inconvenience as a result of the use of this information.

The writer is an Immigration law advisor and a practicing law attorney in Ghana. He advises on U.S., UK, and Schengen immigration law. He works part-time as a consultant for Acheampong & Associates Ltd, an immigration law firm in Accra. He may be contacted on