GUIDE: How to Acquire A Visitor’s Visa to Travel to the UK

A lot of people out there wish to at a point in their life travel to the UK—mainly to visit a friend or family or for tourism.


All around the world, people travel to the UK for sightseeing—sometimes to visit the elegant Buckingham Palace, the iconic London Bridge or to take a stroll through London’s Hyde Park

It was reported that in 2016 alone, 37.6 million overseas visitors came to the UK and spent about £22.5 billion in the UK. That’s a lot of money and the UK government wants even more of this.

Therefore, the UK is always opened to genuine visitors.


If you wish to come and visit the UK, you are always welcome but you may need a type of visa called a Visitor’s visa to be able to take this trip.

As the name suggests, this visa is intended for people who are coming to the UK to visit—it is not meant to be used by persons looking to come and work in the UK, live permanently in the UK, or engage in other activities not permitted under the visitor’s visa route.


You can come to the UK for a short period of time on this kind of visa to attend a conference, visit a family member, attend the graduation of a friend or a family member, attend a wedding, a party—and tour around the UK.




This visa allows you to stay in the UK for a maximum of 6 months per visit. Therefore, even if you hold 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, or 10 years’ visitor’s visa—you are only permitted 6 months legal stay in the UK per entry.




If you come to the UK and stay beyond 6 months per entry, you have overstayed your visa—even if it is a 2-years visa—and you are in violation of the UK’s Immigration Rules.


Although many people secure visitor’s visas and visit the UK every day, a lot of people are also refused visitor’s visas—for the fact that they are unable to satisfy the assessing individual, the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO), that they are genuine visitors—who will leave the UK at the end of their visit.

The Relevant Rules/Laws:


Genuine intention to visit


V 4.2 The applicant must satisfy the decision-make that they are a genuine visitor. This means that 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 for a purpose that is permitted by the visitor routes (these are listed in Appendices 3, 4 and 5); and


(d) will not undertake any prohibited activities set out in V 4.5 – V 4.10; and


(e) must have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to their visit without working or accessing public funds. This includes the cost of the return or onward journey, any costs relating to dependents, and the cost of planned activities such as private medical treatment.


These three (3) things are important to secure a visitor’s visa. You will have to demonstrate that:


You are a genuine visitor who will not engage in any of the prohibited activities when you visit the UK

That you will definitely leave the UK at the end of your visit, mostly to go back to your home country—and that you have stronger ties in your home country such that you will be returning. Having incentives to return home is really important and the deciding factor.

You can afford the related cost of your trip without working or accessing public funds.

Swearing by Zeus or Thor in your application that if granted a visitor’s visa, you will return home is not enough.


The Entry Clearance Officer assessing your application works with evidence—and if you don’t have evidence to back whatever you are saying, she is not going to buy into it.




After all, millions of people said they were just visiting the UK for a few weeks—and when they entered the UK, they did not leave as stated. So when it comes to Visitor’s Visa, you are like a suspect until proven otherwise.




Now, you may be saying to yourself: How do I demonstrate that I am a genuine visitor?


You do this by clearly defining your intentions of coming to the UK—backed by evidence of course. And then also providing solid evidence of your personal and financial circumstances back home.


This ties in with the obligation to demonstrate that you will leave the UK at the end of your visit. This is where you will have to convince the Entry Clearance Officer that you have stronger ties—such as economic/financial ties, social, family, and even property ties—and that you cannot, and do not intend to abandon these ties to remain in the UK as an overstayer.


In the case of Sawmynaden (Family visitors—considerations) [2012] UKUT 00161 (IAC), the tribunal held that when assessing the eligibility for entry, entry clearance, or further leave to remain as a visitor, the Entry Clearance Officer needs to take into account relevant factors such as the links that the one retains with his country of residence.


Therefore, your ties back home are the strong deciding factors.


You need to also understand that UK visa applications are largely evidence-based. So for instance, if you say you are married with 3 children (family ties) and therefore you will go back to your family—you will need to provide evidence in support of this—which will be your marriage certificate, children’s birth certificates, and other related documents.


Once you have satisfied the Entry Clearance Officer that you are a genuine visitor and that you will leave the UK at the end of your visit, the next hurdle is for you to prove that you can pay for the related cost of your trip to the UK without working or assessing public funds. Here, evidence is once again required.


If you are paying for the trip yourself or if someone else, called a sponsor is paying for it, you will have to provide evidence that has sufficient funds to cover this trip.


Importantly, the source of funds in any bank account you present as evidence of strong ties or as evidence of your ability to pay for the trip must be known or shown with evidence. Else, the Entry Clearance Officer could conclude that the origin of the funds in a provided bank statement is unknown and therefore she is not satisfied that you can really afford the trip or that you have provided an accurate representation of your personal and financial circumstances back home.

While visitor’s visa applications may seem easy on the face of it, it is never so—and therefore if you can afford it and if you want to be sure, always seek an expert legal representation.


Using an expert UK Immigration lawyer who understands the relevant applicable rules and what is expected from an applicant in terms of evidence will definitely increase your chance of obtaining such a visa.

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