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I am about to apply for my girlfriend from Serbia to come to the UK on a Standard Visitor visa for a 2 week trip.

She owns her own apartment in Belgrade, also has a stable job there where she has worked for 4.5 years. We are hoping to apply with me as her "sponsor" (I live in rented accommodation earning £35,000 per annum), however I am not clear about the details here. Internet searches lead me only to more ambiguity, contradictions and confusion.

I have read on some forums and other online articles that I can be her sponsor if I earn more than £18,600 per annum and have done so for 6 month or longer - for various employers I have exceeded this income level continuously for over 10 years. However, I changed job in mid-April 2019. She is planning to visit in mid-September, so I will have only been with this employer for 5 months at this point of her planned visit.

  • 1) Does this "sponsor" concept actually apply to the UK Standard Visitor visa? The gov.uk link above does not mention it?
  • 2a) If so, am I eligible to be her sponsor if I have not been with the same employer for 6 months?
  • 2b) Could I apply for her visitor visa in September, when I still have not completed 6 continuous months with one employer, but can show that by the time of her visit I would have been with my employer earning over the threshold for 6 months? Or would I need to wait until October just to apply for the visa itself?
  • 2c) If I am not acting as her sponsor, how much money will she need to have in her bank and bring for a 2 week trip to have her visa accepted?
  • I think you’re misunderstanding the term ‘sponsor’ in connection with a visitor visa. If you are legally present in the U.K. you can invite her to visit you. You can also sponsor her trip, that is, you can pay for her travel/accommodation expenses while she’s here if you wish to or if her financial circumstances are such that she can’t pay for herself. The information you’ve found about minimum income requirements does not apply to visitor visas. See V4.3 gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/… – Traveller Jul 31 at 12:40
  • @Traveller Thanks for pointing this out to me! V4.3a) yes, I have been to Belgrade 4 times for a visit; V4.3b) no, I am a British-born citizen; V4.3c) yes - but what do I need to supply as evidence do you think? – ajmedway Jul 31 at 14:23
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    Needing a sponsor can weaken an application. If your girlfriend can demonstrate she can reasonably afford the trip on her own account, IMHO you’d be better limiting your support to providing accommodation/food. See travel.stackexchange.com/questions/42529/… – Traveller Jul 31 at 15:07
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‘Sponsorship’ in the context of a UK Standard Visitor visa relates to providing funds and/or maintenance, and/or accommodation to the applicant. Anyone who is legally present in the UK can invite someone to visit them there. There are no minimum income or savings requirements other than an applicant showing they have sufficient and proportionate funds for the trip and/or the sponsor being able to demonstrate the ability to fulfil the commitment. To prove this, sponsors should provide evidence of their financial standing (6 months’ bank statements, proof of earnings such as employment contract(s) and payslips), approval from landlord if the accommodation is rented.

Sources:

Immigration Rules https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-v-visitor-rules

V 4.3 A visitor’s travel, maintenance and accommodation may be provided by a third party where the decision maker is satisfied that they: (a) have a genuine professional or personal relationship with the visitor; and (b) 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; and (c) can and will provide support to the visitor for the intended duration of their stay.

Guide to Supporting Documents https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visitor-visa-guide-to-supporting-documents/guide-to-supporting-documents-visiting-the-uk

See also related questions What supporting documents should I include in my UK visa application? and Should I submit bank statements when applying for a UK Visa? What do they say about me? and What details should a good cover letter contain to back up a UK Visit Visa application?

  • Thanks for the excellent answer! – ajmedway Jul 31 at 15:14

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