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Visit visas - avoiding refusal for not showing a ‘genuine intention to visit’

It is a requirement for leave to enter as a visitor that the applicant has a genuine intention to visit and a very common reason for refusal is that it is not accepted that an Applicant does so.

The Genuine Intention to Visit Test

Paragraph V 4.2 sets out the requirement to have a ‘genuine intention to visit’ as follows:

V 4.2 The applicant must satisfy the decision maker that they are a genuine visitor. This means that the applicant:

(a) will leave the UK at the end of their visit; and
(b) will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK their main home; and
(c) is genuinely seeking entry for a purpose that is permitted by the visitor routes (these are listed in Appendices 3, 4 and 5); and
(d) will not undertake any prohibited activities set out in V 4.5 – V 4.10; and
(e) 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.

There are 5 elements to this definition and failure to satisfy the Entry Clearance Officer of any one of them is likely to lead to refusal of a visit visa.

How is the ‘Genuine Intention to Visit’ requirement assessed?

When making decisions on visit visa applications, Entry Clearance Officers should consider the Guidance given by the Upper Tribunal in the case of Sawmynaden (Family visitors – considerations) [2012] UKUT 161. The Upper Tribunal set out a number of relevant considerations that might be material in assessing whether an applicant is genuinely seeking entry as a general visitor. These include:

  • The amount of time the visitor spends in his country of residence and the UK;
  • The reasons for the visit;
  • The length of time since the last visit;
  • The links the applicant retains to their country of residence, and in particular any family they have there;

The Home Office Guidance on Visitors also sets out factors which should be considered. In addition to the factors in Sawmynaden they include:

  • The applicant’s previous immigration history, in particular the duration of previous visits;
  • The applicant’s financial circumstances and economic ties to their country of residence;
  • Whether the reasons given for the visit are “credible and correspond to their personal, family, social and economic background”

Considering this Guidance makes clear the importance of providing evidence about many elements of an applicant’s life in support of the application.  Unfortunately, many applicants fail to do this, or fail to explain the evidence they have provided, and this leads to refusals.

What evidence should be provided to show a ‘Genuine Intention to Visit’?

There is no ‘Specified evidence’ for a visit visa application, but to avoid refusals, applicants should consider providing evidence of:

  • The Applicant’s reasons for wanting to visit the UK;
  • The Applicant’s family ties to their country of residence;
  • Evidence of any work or other economic ties or income in the country of residence;
  • Any other reasons the Applicant has to return to their country of residence;
  • The Applicant’s general financial position;
  • The likely cost of the visit to the Applicant (and anyone else who will be contributing to the cost of the visit)
  • The reasons for previous visits and, in particular, the reasons for previously staying longer than planned on previous visits (if applicable);

When a visit visa is refused, in almost all circumstances, the only way to challenge the refusal is by judicial review which is an expensive and lengthy process.

New evidence cannot generally be added after the date that the application is made.

It is therefore very important to make sure that visit visa applications are carefully prepared and supported by detailed evidence and explanation.

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance in relation to either an application for a visit visa or challenging a visit visa refusal, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via our enquiry form.


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