Several Ghanaians and other Africans intending to visit the United Kingdom briefly for tourism, family purposes or for specific events are increasingly being refused Visitor’s visas—and one of the most prominent reasons is in relation to the ‘Source of Funds’ in their supporting bank accounts.
There is a hovering misconception that the more money you have in your bank account, the higher the probability of being granted a UK Visitor’s visa. This is not entirely true, or not even true at all.
When my wife (then girlfriend) first visited me in the United Kingdom from Ghana for holidays about 2 years ago, she was earning 700 GHS (about £103) per month as income. Yet, she was granted a Visitor’s visa—without any problems. Her closing balance was not huge.
Of course, I was the person sponsoring her. But it is not the sponsor’s income or financial standing that the decision-makers/Entry Clearance Officers (ECO) are mainly concerned about, it’s the financial standing of the person intending to the visit the UK that largely matters.
The financial/economic standing of a person seeking a UK Visitor’s visa is just one aspect of what is termed as “strong ties” an individual retains in his home country.
While the ECOs have a wide discretionary margin when it comes to Visitor’s visas, their decisions are expected to be in consonance with the Law and Home Office’s own guidelines or policies.
In the case of Sawmynaden (Family visitors—considerations)  UKUT 00161 (IAC), the tribunal held that when assessing the eligibility for entry, entry clearance or further leave to remain as a visitor, the Entry Clearance Officer needs to take into account relevant factors such as the links that the one retains with his country of residence.
A person seeking a Visitor’s visa must adequately demonstrate that he has strong financial/economic ties to Ghana. Similarly, the person must show that he has sufficient family and social ties—such that it would be unreasonable on the face of the evidence, on balance of probabilities, for an ECO to conclude that when he visits the UK, he will not return to his country of residence.
Demonstrating financial/economic ties depend on your status in your home country. If you are employed, self-employed or a pensioner, this must be demonstrated differently. Mostly, employees provide letters of employment from their employers, their pay slips and bank statements to confirm a monthly receipt of the stated employment incomes.
For those who are self-employed, they would usually provide their business registration documents, contracts, invoices, tax payment documents and their bank statements—either in their name or in their trading names.
The problem arises when you carefully examine the provided bank accounts’ statements and this serves as one of the main reasons why people’s Visitor’s visas are refused. For instance, when a person states that he is employed and earns 2,500 GHS a month, and supports this with the above mentioned documents in relation to his employment, the ECO expects to see ONLY a monthly corresponding salary in such a person’s bank account.
But with several refusals of Ghanaians, you would see the ECOs stating that, even though they recognise the stated monthly income in the provided bank account’s statement, they also see other large deposits with the source being unexplained or unknown. Therefore, the ECOs conclude that they do are not satisfied the applicants have accurately portrayed their financial and personal circumstance in Ghana.
Here, it’s obvious the applicant has money in his bank account. The problem is, where did the money come from?