Generally, a third party may sponsor your maintenance and accommodation in the UK. This person may either be inside or outside the UK. However, their sponsorship may not necessarily determine your eligibility for the visa. It is your personal circumstances in your home country that will count in assessing your eligibility. Therefore if the officer finds that your friend or relative has sufficient resources to maintain you but there are question marks on your claimed personal circumstances, they will refuse your application.
Can another person pay for my visit?
The Rules state that your maintenance and accommodation may be provided by a third party, including your relatives, friends and other persons with whom you have a genuine personal or professional relationship. This will of course include organisations, employers, etc. However, it is not sufficient for your proposed sponsor to merely provide evidence of their ability to pay for the cost of your trip. You must satisfy the officer that there is a genuine relationship between you and your proposed sponsor.
Evidence to consider in assessing genuine relationship
In assessing whether there is a genuine relationship, the ECO will consider the nature of the relationship, how you met the person, how often you communicate and by what method you use to communicate. A genuine relationship may generally be presumed when your proposed sponsor is a parent, spouse, child, sibling, or employer. However, it is not sufficient to merely state that you are related to the person without providing evidence of the relationship. In many cases, a birth or marriage certificate identifying you or the proposed sponsor will suffice.
If your sponsor is based in the UK, you must also provide evidence of regular communication or contact by reference to phone records, Whatsapp or Facebook records, email, money remittances, greetings or anniversary cards, etc. The burden to provide evidence of a genuine relationship becomes more pronounced where your proposed sponsor is an aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, cousin, etc. In many cases, official documentary proof of such a claimed relationship may be lacking. You must therefore provide evidence that the person has ongoing financial commitments to you or has previously sponsored other relatives.
For example, the officer may doubt your claimed sponsorship if you submitted documents affirming your uncle’s willingness to pay for your visit, but fail to provide satisfactory evidence of why your uncle will be willing to pay for the cost of your trip when he has not provided you with any previous or ongoing financial commitment or has no history of paying for other family members to visit the UK or elsewhere.
Sponsorship inside the UK
Your friend or relative in the UK may provide you with maintenance and/or accommodation provided they are not in breach of any immigration rule at the time of the decision on your application. In addition, the officer must be satisfied that your sponsor has enough funds available to adequately support themselves and anyone normally dependent on them, as well as you.
It will therefore not be sufficient to merely provide evidence of their bank statements and other supporting documents showing their ability to pay for you. They must explain in their letter the number of any dependents they have, the amount of money they propose to spend on you, and a statement that this should be sufficient to maintain them, their dependents and you.
Sponsorship outside the UK
Your relative or friend outside the UK may pay for your maintenance or accommodation. However, if the officer finds that your proposed sponsor has no previous history of paying for visitors, this may call into question their intention and ability to do so for your application. This may also be the case if your employer proposes to sponsor you but you fail to establish that your employer has previously sponsored other employees on similar trips.
If your sponsor is an individual, you must show that their monthly income minus their financial commitments leaves them with a disposal income sufficient to pay for the cost of your proposed visit. If you fail to establish this, your application will be refused.
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 for Acheampong & Associates Ltd, an immigration law firm in Accra. He may be contacted on [email protected]