The UK is a popular vacation destination for majority of Nigerians and there are various reasons for this. One of them is the proximity – a direct flight to the UK is usually around six hours. Another reason is the fact that Nigeria is a commonwealth country, therefore we already have established ties with the UK. You will find a lot of things are common and the most obvious is language. Also, there are a lot of migrants from Nigeria who have settled in the UK, therefore, it is quite easy to find people you can put up with for the duration of your stay.
For a UK Tourist visa application, the supporting documents you must provide would depend on your status. There are some generic documents which must be provided by everyone and some which are specific to your situation:
The following documents must be provided by everyone regardless of your status:
- A completed visa application form and payment of visa application fees. The application form must be filled online, printed out and submitted with your application. See link to the application: https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa/apply
- International passport.
- Previous passports showing visas and stamps in and out from previous international trips.
- Arranged accommodation such as a paid hotel booking if you are not staying with any friends or relatives.
- If you are being sponsored by a third party such as a family member or friend, they must provide:
- Explanation and evidence of their relationship with you. They should also be able to explain why they are sponsoring your trip. This is usually easier if they are relative of yours. For any other form of relationship, it may be difficult to establish why they should be sponsoring your stay unless you are sponsoring yourself.
- Proof of their residence status in the UK such as their British Passport or whatever visa they possess showing that they are legally resident in the UK.
- They must show that they have sufficient resources to sustain themselves and to support you throughout the entire duration of your stay. As an example, if they are meant to be covering your flight, sustenance and accommodation, the balance in their account must be sufficient to cover these costs plus some extra at their disposal.
- They must provide evidence of their source of income such as employment reference and payslips.
- Proof of owned or rented accommodation such as a land register, mortgage statement or tenancy agreement and a recent utility bill. The utility bill should ideally be within the last one month or if not available, not exceeding 3 to 6 months.
- Some other documents which are not required but are ‘’nice-to-haves’’ to support your visa application and show you are of good standing are as follows:
- Evidence of your educational or academic qualifications
- Pictures to establish relationship between yourself and your sponsor
- Important – evidence that you are a tax payer (unless you are a student). If you do not have payslips which show PAYE deductions, you must provide a tax clearance certificate.
- Proof of economic ties – One of the most important factors taken into consideration when the UK Home Office decides on a visa application is evidence that you have sufficient economic ties which would compel you to return to your country at the end of your visit. This is usually the basis for majority of refusals. To address this, find below some suggested information and documents you can provide to help your application.
- Proof of family and dependents relatives in your home country. e.g. evidence such as a marriage certificate and birth certificate of your children if you are married.
- Evidence of any other savings, investments or property owned in addition to your primary source of income. You need to provide documents which show that you are in good financial standing, and therefore you have no basis not to want to return to your home country.
Specific documents for a salaried employee
- Proof of source of earnings such as a reference letter from employer confirming your employment details e.g. commencement date of employment, your annual salary package, role etc. This must include the company contact details in case it needs to be verified.
- Official payslips which are either on the letterhead of your employer or signed and stamped.
- Salary account statement showing your salary payments in the last 6 months.
- You must clearly show that you have sufficient funds available for your trip. There is no defined requirement as to how much you should have in your account. This can be held in your salary account statement or other savings or current account held. However, as a guide, if you are a salaried employee, I would recommend having at least N1 million naira available at your disposal.
Note that funds held in a fixed deposit account is usually not taken into consideration. Therefore, you must make sure that the funds are held in a savings or current account. To evidence this, you must provide a bank statement covering a continuous period of at least the most recent 6 months. Please note that this must be printed from a bank branch and stamped by the bank on every page of the statement.
Students in full time accommodation
- You must provide a reference letter from your institution of study stating your course of enrolment, year of study etc. This must be on a headed paper and should state your holiday period.
Self-employed applicants/ Business owners
- Evidence of business registration documents confirming that you are the business owner and the date the business started trading.
- Company bank statement to show the cash flows.
- Statement of account of the company showing profits made in the last financial year.
- Important: Personal bank statements showing how much you have paid yourself overtime as salary or dividends. Please note that company bank statements are never sufficient to support your visa application as it is not counted as your income, but rather as income of the company.
- Proof of tax payment such as tax clearance certificate.
Following the guidance above will boost your chances for a successful application. All the best and thank me later!