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How do I Sponsor a Visitor to the UK?

The UK Visit Visa or Standard Visitor Visa makes the visitor eligible to stay in the UK for a maximum period of 6 months. UK Visit Visa can be issued for shorter periods also. The UK Visit Visa is meant for those who travel to the UK for tourism, to visit members of a family who are in the UK, or for medical treatment or professional purposes.

For more information on how to sponsor a visitor to the UK, including what you need to do to be eligible for it, how to apply, and expert advice for your application, reach out to us today on 0333 305 9375 or contact us online.


Overview of the UK Visit Visa

As a prospective visitor to the UK, there are several requirements you will need to meet before you are permitted entry into the country. Primarily, Home Office entry clearance officers are most concerned with ensuring that only those who are genuine and credible visitors are given entry. Another aspect of the checks carried out by the Home Office on visitors to the UK is to ensure that they have both accommodation and sufficient money while they are here.

This category of visitors may qualify for any of several visa types which include: General Visitor Visa, Family Visitor Visa, Child Visitor Visa, Business Visitor Visa including Visas for doctors, dentists and academics, Sports Visitor Visa, Entertainer Visitor Visa, Prospective Entrepreneur Visa, Private Medical Treatment Visa and Approved Destination Status (ADS) Visa are replaced with the UK Visit Visa.

In this article, we will outline the evidence required to show that a third party can sponsor a visitor to the UK.

Eligibility Requirements to Sponsor a Visitor to the UK

Third-parties who wish to invite their friends and relatives to the UK on a visit visa are required to:

  • have a genuine professional or personal relationship with the visitor.
  • Ensure that their visitors are not, or will not be, in breach of UK immigration laws at the time of decision or the visitor’s entry to the UK.
  • To provide support to the visitor for the intended duration of their stay
  • Note that the sponsor does not have to be based in the UK, they can be outside (in which case the second of the three requirements above does not apply).
  • To prove that they have enough funds available to adequately support themselves and anyone normally dependent on them, as well as the visitor.

Supporting Documents to Sponsor a Visitor to the UK

The documents required to sponsor UK Visitor Visa include:

  • Proof of accommodation and the sponsor’s bank balance.
  • Also, the sponsor should provide a letter of invitation for the trip to be undertaken by the visa applicant.
  • The letter of invitation should be following Paragraph 35 Part I of the Immigration Rules.
  • As proof of accommodation, the sponsor is required to furnish evidence of the residential property where the visitor will be staying during his UK visit.
  • The sponsor may also provide the latest bank statement to prove that he/she can maintain the visitor during his/her stay in the UK.

Main Legal Aspects of the UK Visit Visa

Those who want to visit a family member in the UK can apply for a UK family visitor visa. The applicant for a UK family visitor visa should be outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. The applicant should also meet all other eligibility requirements. Those who have a UK family visitor visa can stay in the UK for up to 6 months.

Don’t let the process of sponsoring a visitor to the UK overwhelm you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get started on your journey.

UK Visit Visa Application Procedure

If the applicant is a visa national or they have chosen to apply for a Standard Visitor visa before travelling to the UK, they must:

  • Pay to submit a Standard Visitor visa application online; and
  • Attend an appointment at a Visa Application Centre to provide their biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) and documents.
  • They should upload their documents online before attending the Visa Application Centre to avoid added fees.

The earliest they can apply is 3 months before their intended date of travel.

Standard applications take 15 working days (3 weeks) from when they attend their appointment at a Visa Application Centre. They should also allow an extra week for their passport to be endorsed with an entry clearance vignette (visa sticker).

They may be able to pay extra to upgrade their application to the priority service (5 working days) or super priority service (end of the next working day). Please check what services are available directly with the Visa Application Centre they apply through.

UK Visit Visa Application Requirements

The visa applicant should meet the following requirements:

  • The visitor should be able to understand English.
  • The UK Visit Visa applicant should produce proof of his/her confirmed return ticket as well as confirmed hotel booking.
  • The applicant should show a clear reason for his/her visit to the UK and should also show his capability to support his/her dependents along with himself/herself.
  • The applicant should keep ready all the documents that are necessary to apply for UK Visit Visa.

Supporting Documents Required to Acquire a Visit Visa to the UK

Those who apply for UK Visit Visa are required to submit the following documents:

  • Filled up a manual application form or the completed online Form from the Visa4UK website
  • Two colour photographs taken within the last 6 months
  • A passport. Should be valid for 3 more months from the date the applicant plans to leave the UK after the visit. The passport must have one blank page for the Visa.
  • Bank statements or payslips for the last 6 months to prove that the applicant is financially sound to meet all expenses during his/her stay in the UK.
  • Document to show where the applicant will be staying during his/her visit to the UK
  • Detailed travel itinerary including how, when and what the applicant plans to do in the UK, dates of travel, places he/she will be visiting, details of booked tours, details of arranged meetings, festivals that he/she will be attending, etc.
  • Tuberculosis Test Results
  • If the applicant will be staying with a friend or family member during his/her visit to the UK, a letter of invitation should be submitted. The host must be either a UK national or a legal resident of the UK.
  • Receipt confirming payment of Visa fees
  • Certified translations of documents that are not in either English or Welsh
  • Applicants who are under the age of 18 should submit a birth certificate and adoption papers, if applicable. In case those under 18 are travelling alone or with somebody other than parent or parents they are required to produce a signed letter from the parent confirming details of the person who accompanies the minor and should also submit a copy of the biographical page of the passport of parent/legal guardian.

Financial Requirements To Sponsor a Visitor to the UK

Those who apply for UK Visit Visa should prove that they have sufficient funds to manage all reasonable expenses in connection with their UK visit without accessing public funds. The expenses include:

  • Their onward/return journey, expenses incurred by dependents and the costs of specified activities like private medical treatments.
  • In cases in which the visit is sponsored by a friend or family member, the sponsor documents should show that the travel expenses, living expenses and accommodation costs will be covered by the sponsor.
  • The supporting documents to be enclosed by the applicant include bank statements, pay slips, dividend vouchers and tax documents.
  • The applicant need not show that he/she has a prescribed level of funds to meet living expenses, travel expenses and costs of accommodation.

Who can Write a Sponsor Letter?

The consular office can consider a visa sponsorship letter in support of a visa application when the letter is written by a UK citizen. The letter can also be written by a lawful UK permanent resident. The resident is required to have a well-defined relationship with the visa applicant. They could be relatives or friends, or partners.

The UK resident should have a registered place of residence in the UK. They should also have enough room to accommodate the visitor to which they issue an invitation letter. They must cater for their visitor in terms of accommodation for the entire period of their visit. The only exception to this is when the visitor can provide clear evidence of alternative accommodation.

Our team of immigration experts has extensive experience in helping sponsors like you bring visitors to the UK.

How to Write a Sponsor Letter?

The process of writing a visit visa sponsor letter is not that complicated. Especially if you already have experience in writing sponsor letters, either for a visit visa or a visa to any other country.

The letter should be short and clear, giving all the necessary information on the sponsor’s identity as well as the expenses of the applicant that they will be covering, and their relationship. Do not give any information that you cannot support with documents, which you have to submit alongside the letter of sponsorship.

Structure of a Sponsor Letter

  • The letter should be addressed to the staff of the embassy with the opening salutation ‘Dear sir/madam’. Next, give your name and other personal details as to where you live and what you work, the reason why you are writing the letter and for whom.
  • Give information on the expenses you are going to cover and how you will be doing that. Give the dates when the trip of the applicant will take place, and if he/she will be staying over at your place in one of the Schengen states, mention that, giving the address of the place.
  • If you will be spending time with the applicant, while in Schengen, it would be nice if you wrote just a few words on the places you are planning to visit together, kind of like a short one-paragraph travel itinerary.
  • Do not forget to mention that you “have attached supporting documents” to the letter of support you are sending. Sign the letter at the end, under your name. Do not leave out details like the date when you wrote the letter.
  • Despite the guideline given above, you need to take into account some small pieces of advice when writing the letter. Below find the ultimate tips on how to write a sponsorship letter for a Schengen visa.
  • Do not make it too personal – it is one thing to explain in the letter your relationship with the applicant, and another to tell throughout the whole letter how much you have missed them, love them, and want to see them. The consular officer does not care about that, he just wants to make sure you will be paying the expenses of the applicant. Besides, such details will make the letter longer, which you are strongly advised not to do.
  • Do not give unnecessary details – above we advised you to explain why you are sponsoring the applicant, as well as to give details on the expenses you have to cover. However, do not go way too much into details giving unnecessary information such as, where you will be eating breakfast each day and how much each breakfast will cost you. The consular officer is not interested to hear that. Instead, just show the available amount of money that you are sponsoring the applicant with, and explain the expenses he or she will be able to cover with that money, i.e. accommodation and food.
  • Do not make it too long – as we said a few times now, try to avoid unnecessary information and keep your letter short and clear. The consular officers do not have the time, nor the wish to read a two-page letter, which could have instead been shortened to a few paragraphs.

Another important thing you shall not forget, aside from your name, occupation and home address, take care to also submit your phone number and email, so in case of need, the embassy will be able to contact you and you will have the chance to clarify any of the information if needed.

Supporting Documents for the Sponsor Letter

There are no general rules guiding what documents sponsors providing an invitation letter should submit. Inviting someone to live with you in the UK may require the following documents:

  • A scanned copy of your passport or ID to confirm your identification
  • Evidence of your immigration status in the UK, such as a visa
  • Proof of your residence in the UK, such as a mortgage statement or tenancy agreement
  • Proof of funds where you undertake to financially support the applicant during their stay in the UK, such as bank statements or pay slips
  • If you are arranging accommodation for the applicant, you will need to provide evidence of this in the form of a letter from the landlord/agent, or confirmation of a bed and breakfast/hotel booking
  • If the visit is for a special family occasion, for example, celebrating a wedding, birth or important anniversary, consider including an invitation giving details of the event, as well as when and where it is to take place
  • Any other document that you believe will help the applicant in getting their visa, for example, a short travel itinerary of the places you plan to visit together in the UK.

If you’re looking to sponsor a visitor to the UK, our team of immigration advisors is here to assist you.

How IAS Can Help

Sponsoring a visitor to the UK or acquiring a UK visit visa can be a reasonably daunting procedure. There are a handful of documentation submissions to be done which may prove time-consuming as you progress.

If you require any assistance with your visit visa application such as if you’re unsure or uncertain about the application method and what you need to do to be granted a visit, IAS can help.

We are a formidable team of professional and knowledgeable immigration lawyers who have years’ worth of experience working in UK immigration law. We have helped countless people overcome hurdles to come and settle in the UK, and we can help you to do the same, too.

For more information about how to sponsor a visitor to the UK, including what you need to do to be eligible for it, how to apply for a visit visa, and expert advice for the application, reach out to us today on 0333 305 9375 or contact us online.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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Frequently Asked Questions

It is usually valid for 6 months. i.e you are allowed to stay up to 6 months at a time.

This can take up to a month. It usually depends on the time and place of application.

No. This is not permitted.

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