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My daughter in law who has been a British Citizen for over 7 years wanted her brother and sister to come on a visit to see our family in the UK over the Christmas holiday.

We as a family have told them that while they are here there would be absolutely no cost to them as we would be paying travel and all living expenses.

To this end we sent copies of our bank statements and clear instructions to show that we were able to do this but they were advised that because their bank accounts did not have sufficient funds they were refused.

Can anyone help me to sort this out?

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    Can you indicate the nationality of the visitors – skv Nov 24 '14 at 13:05
  • In addition to the brother and sister's nationality, can you add exactly who's bank accounts were sent with the application? Plus any docs showing your daughter's employment status? This will help. – Gayot Fow Nov 24 '14 at 13:29
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    In most countries, you can provide proof of accommodation, but the proof of return (ticket) and desire to return/ties to original country, as well as financial ability to prove sufficient means of subsistence is on the travelers to provide. The country needs to know that your family has the means to live on their own, should the need arise, be able to return to their country of origin, and most importantly, have a legitimate DESIRE (or need) to return. Heaven forbid anything happen to you, but if it did, and your own property were to be in probate, how would they survive until return. – CGCampbell Nov 24 '14 at 13:51
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1) Pay for the travel. Don't just say you will, but actually provide the return tickets. Assuming you can get refundable ones for a sensible price, in case the visas are rejected again. Slightly risky, especially if you can't get a refund, but will prove their intent to go home again, and their ability to get home. If they're staying in a hotel, make an advance hotel booking if possible

2) Send them some money. If the money is in their bank account, they have the means to provide for themselves while in the UK. There's nothing to stop you paying for anything while they're here, and then they can send you the money back again. The point is that they're not relying on your credit card, they have the funds in case you fell out or (god forbid) worse. Risky unless you trust them, but if they're close enough family and you can afford to, then it will help. Of course, they could just use the money to fund the trip, rather than you paying for things while they're here.

3) Book tourist things - theme parks, tower of London tour etc. If they've got a clear tourist itinerary, it makes more sense

This way they can present evidence of their return travel already being paid, them having the funds to provide for themselves. If they've got hotels running up to the day of their return flight and events in that two week (or whatever) window, it's a lot easier for the visa-stamper to look at it and say "They're coming over for x time, they've got a hotel for the same time, they've got a holiday plan and the funds to provide for it... they're clearly coming for a holiday" #stamp#

Open ended applications are what give the visa agencies the jitters - give them a nice clear "this is what will happen, most of it is paid for" and they'll be much happier.

And if one of your family members has a new job/full time job/education course to return to, or some family event back home (wedding, christening?) to mention, that could help.

  • No, not for the UK. The Foreign Office specifically advises against paying for travel in advance; and if people do it anyway, it can go against them! And for sure evidence of parking funds will get another refusal. – Gayot Fow Nov 24 '14 at 15:49
  • If it's not parking funds, though, it's a gift to pay for a holiday, do they hold that against you? I didn't realise the UK was so draconian (as a UK citizen, travelling elsewhere usually seems pretty easy!) – Jon Story Nov 24 '14 at 15:57
  • 'Gift', or whatever term is used, amounts to the same thing. Yes, they are draconian (depending chiefly on the nationality of the applicant), but when Parliament rises this winter, expect it to be WORSE :) – Gayot Fow Nov 24 '14 at 16:01
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    For UK visa, it's not enough to show that you have funds in your account. They request to see your bank statements for the last three months - specifically to prevent this sort of thing with money transfers. That said, my mother-in-law has visited us in the UK several times, getting her family visitor visa in exactly the same circumstances: we provided a letter stating that we'll be covering the costs of the trip, including travel, visa, etc. costs. We provided last three months of our bank statement as well as employment confirmation letters from our employers in the UK. – Aleks G Nov 24 '14 at 21:31
  • @AleksG, essentially the three points listed in this answer are uniformly wrong and actually harmful. Let's hope he edits with corrections. – Gayot Fow Nov 25 '14 at 14:47

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