I know about the requirements concerning proof of funds for UK immigration purposes. They are well laid out in the answer to Can I convince embassies to accept my overpaid credit card as a proof of funds. My question however is not covered in the answer in the linked question.

One requirement is that the money is in liquid form and actually available to the applicant.

I will be traveling to the UK with bank statements and everything showing the provenance of the funds in my account etc. However I will not be carrying physical cash more than £20, I hate carrying cash and for even the smallest transactions I use credit cards, partly to accumulate points, the protection and the exchange rate.

For the UK, my question is will carrying a debit card linked to my accounts be considered liquid enough and a proxy for cash? What about a credit card? Note that I am not using the cards as proof of funds, my bank statements etc cover that. I am only using them as proof of liquidity. I am concerned because the immigration officer kept asking me how much cash I had on my previous visit although I had shown him credit and debit cards. I know for the Schengen areas credit cards are acceptable.

  • "I know for the EU credit cards are acceptable" So that's your answer, for at least a few years yet. May 13, 2017 at 16:29
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    @HenningMakholm Actually that was an error. Acceptable for Schengen countries. May 13, 2017 at 16:31
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    Possible duplicate of Can I convince embassies to accept my overpaid credit card as a proof of funds? The question is not a duplicate perhaps but Gayot's answer answers this one as well.
    – user4188
    May 13, 2017 at 16:50
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    @Calchas On that trip in March I carried cash along just to cover all the bases considering my adverse history with UK immigration. I get the feeling if I didn't have cash on that trip I could have been refused entry. May 13, 2017 at 16:51
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    The officer may have been asking you about cash specifically because you must declare if you bring more than €10,000 of currency in or out of the EU. That's a reason to ask specifically about paper money instead of your creidt and debit cards. You could always say something like "I have £20 with me, and I'm going to go to the ATM in the airport after immigration. I have X in my bank account." May 13, 2017 at 21:09

1 Answer 1


The question is about how people who do not need an entry clearance establish their bona fides at the landing interview stage and in particular if debit cards are useful as evidence.

The controlling technical reference for this question is Appendix V, Paragraph 4.2 (e), which says...

must have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to their visit without working or accessing public funds. This includes the cost of the return or onward journey, any costs relating to dependants, and the cost of planned activities such as private medical treatment.

As seen there are is no mention of how the person establishes this. The rule is vague by design and intent (and we like it that way; see UK visa refusal on V 4.2 a + c (and sometimes 'e') for a discussion about how the current set of visitor rules were made). So the decision is entirely in the hands of the Immigration Office conducting the interview (and if the things go badly, the duty Chief Immigration Officer).

It means two different people can have different results even if their evidence is identical, some people do well and others do not.

So the exact answer to your question is indeterminate.


Nothing in the rules prevents you from showing debit cards and being successful at gaining entry to the UK,

And I can add this...

A nearly infallible strategy with IO's is to be ready to say...

My situation is reasonable because... (your rationale goes here).

They have to respect reasonable circumstances and if you make a tenable argument, you will win. Reasonableness is one of the strongest game plans you can ever make in a landing interview.

Note: the same thing goes for credit cards. In fact if you can establish reasonableness you can show candy bar wrappers.

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