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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7620
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Dear Sir/Madam, I need advice / help on UK Visa applications

Resolved Question:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I need advice / help on UK Visa applications for a Colombian friend of mine who I would like to bring over to the UK for a two week holiday.

I have known my friend for a couple of years and we met face-to-face whilst I was on a business trip. There is the potential for a romantic relationship, we are effectively starting to get involved. So, next year if all is going well then I'm likely to ask her to come back to the UK again to live with me for 6 to 12 months. If that goes well then we'd likely get engaged, she would go home, we would apply for a Fiancée Visa; then she would come back and we'd get married.

So, we want to ensure that anything we do now in terms of visas etc does not have a negative impact on future visas/plans. Additionally, we don't want our potential future plans to cause problems with applications for current visas!!

I believe we should apply for a general visitor visa for now (is this correct?). However, we need some advice on how best to complete it. General advice/tips are very much needed, but, we also have some specific questions;

a) I am paying for everything (flights/food/travel/accommodation); would it be a good idea to include:
1: A letter of invitation? I'm pretty sure the answer is yes to this, so:
1.1: Presumably I should include the fact that I am paying for everything?
1.2: Should I include anything about forming a relationship / future plans?
1.3: What else should I put into a letter of invitation?
1.4: Are there any good templates around?
2: Six months worth of my payslips?
3: A photocopy of my passport to show that I have the right to live here as a British Citizen?
4: What else should I provide?

b) As I am paying, there is a box on the visa application form asking why. Is it a good idea to explain that we are potentially building a relationship? Or should we leave this out? If we should leave this out, then, what would be a good reason to put in?

c) If there might be concerns around me trying to keep her here for marriage straight away, would it be a good idea to include (either in the application form?, letter of invitation?, both? or neither?) the fact that I am currently married and going through a divorce (which will take time) and my marriage will likely still be in place for this first trip. Therefore, we really couldn't get married!

d) Do these general visitor visas allow for multiple entry? My friend has just about completed a modern languages degree and as part of that studied French. I would like to take her to Paris for a weekend. Does this 1: need to be included on the application and 2: will she be allowed back into the UK on our return from Paris?

e) How long can she stay in the UK on one of these visas? If - next year - we wanted her to live with me for 6 - 12 months (as this would help us decide if it can really work between us and). If she can only stay 6 months and we wanted to try to live together for one whole year, would she have to return to Colombia and then we reapply for another general visa?

f) Is it going to be a problem if there are several month gaps, e.g. this year, I was planning for her to come to the UK in Summer, I go to Colombia in Autumn, and then she come back here in Winter?? I.e. can she do this all on one visa? Also, would it be good to include all of this in the letter of invitation or not?

g) How many general visas can she apply for? could we get one long, say, two or three year general visa with multiple entry?

h) How much freedom of movement would she be allowed on the trip to the UK? The visa form asks for an itinerary, but, I don't necessarily know yet all the places I want to take her. I'm thinking of places like Edinburgh, Cornwall, Lake District, Oxford, Bath, Cambridge, and London (as well as Paris). These are not all (in any sensible fashion) able to be included in one two week trip!! Do I have to decide all now, or, can we just give my home address as the location she's staying?

i) If we're using my home address, because of my divorce, I've actually moved back in with my Mother. Therefore, would it be a good idea to include a letter of invitation from her also? If yes, then, what should go into that letter? We're likely to actually be spending most (if not all) of our time in hotels, but I was planning to organise that closer to the time. So, should I just organise all the details of the trip/holiday now and provide all hotel confirmations and Eurostar tickets etc for any trip to Paris? Or, could I just use my Mother's address?

j) Assuming everything goes well and we're happy, and we end up married... Would she be able to work in the UK once she's married to me.

k) Once (and if) we're married; if she wants to, when and how could she apply for British Citizenship?

I have been on the UK Border Agency website, however, whilst there is a lot of information there, it is a) not always very clear and b) lacks advice on what best to include in applications etcetera.

Kind regards
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: UK Immigration Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.

Hi Chris,


Thanks for your question.


  • a) If you believe it may develop in to a relationship then just be honest in the application.. This may lead them to suspect she is a risk of an overstay to be with you.


If you will assist her during the intended stay you should go to a local solicitor to draft a sponsorship declaration in which you state the terms of the visit, that you are to return at the end of it, that although you are in a relationship with her (if you actually are) you both know that she MUST leave at the end of the visit because it would harm the chances of any future application made to secure leave to remain on the basis of that relationship, that you shall accommodate you and shall pay the costs of any unforeseen expenses that should occur during his stay so that nether of you will need to access public funds. It should cost around £50_Vat.


You have to try and show them that she has continuing obligations in Columbia which will continue after the visit and therefore convince them that he is not a risk of overstay because she at present has compelling family and social/work ties to Columbia which mean that she will not attempt to secure a permanent stay here whilst she is visiting. Things like a letter from his employer stating she has a job (if he does) and is expected to return to continue that job, return flight tickets, evidence of continuing accommodation (eg. tenancy agreement of evidence of ownership of a property), bank statements showing the money she has available, letters from relatives/friends confirming any obligations she has to them.


You should both include the previous 6 months bank statement/payslips/


  • b) State you are meeting most of the costs because you want to see if the relatiosnhpi develops.
  • c) You should confirm that you are already married to dampen their fees you might marry. Include a copy of your marriage certificate to prove this.
  • d) Generally visitor's visas are for one entry. The French trip could prove to be a problem. I would suggest doing the trip at the end of the visit
  • e) They are granted for 6 months. No visitor can stay in the UK more than 6 months in any twelve month period. She would have to make a further visitor's visa application if she wished to return for another visit
  • f) If you are doing this then you should apply for Mult-entry visitor's visa
  • g) You can apply for a multi entry visitor's visa. You can call the UKBA to provide the forms for this.
  • h) She can move within the UK, if your address is your "base" address then use this. The key is being open and honest with the UKBA.
  • i) Yes, if this happens it would be best to have a letter from your mother, as well as proof of her identity/home ownership (ie. Land registry official copies)
  • j) Once married she would have to apply for settlement (ie a spouse visa). Complicated application which she would have to make from her home country (I can provide further advice if you post another question to the board requesting me via my profile and marking your questions "FAO Tom". Once here on her spouse visa she would be able to work
  • k) Once her on the spouse visa she would have to remain on it for two years in the UK before applying for Indefinite Leave To Remain, then wait a further 12 months and then apply to be naturalised as a UK citizen





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I will answer your follow up questions you may have.

Kind regards,


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Tom,

thanks so much for the reply.

Given a somewhat erratic bank balance (though never actually in trouble), would 6 months payslips be better than 6 months bank statements. I earn easily enough to support her here for a long time, indefinitely should we wish in the future..

She currently rents an apartment for her family (parents and sisters), would this suffice as a compelling enough tie to Colombia? She is also currently teaching English at a university, but this job will have finished by the time she comes here.

Also, I assume by "sponsorship declaration" you mean the invitation letter?

Kind regards
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.

Hi Chris,


You should submit 6 months of both payslips and bank statements, if you do not they may reject for insufficient evidence.

Yes, the tenancy will help as proving she has compelling ties but she should also state that she considers Columbia her home and has every intention of returning there.


A sponsorship letter is just a simply letter. A Sponsorship Declaration is a sworn statement executed before a Solicitor and is therefore more persuasive for these purposes. Slightly different then.

Trust this clarifies, please click accept.

Kind regards,


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Tom,

sorry, last question then.. Given that I've been going overdrawn on/and off over the last few months.. Would it be better to wait and show 6 months of bank statements in a good order?

Thanks for all your help

Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.

Hi Chris,


6 months was playing it safe, you can probably get away with 4 months at a push but it should show your account in a relatively healthy state. The problem with overdrafts is that they are conditoins and so the capacity to use the money in an overdraft is not regarded as funds you own by the UKBAl


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