London double decker bus. Photo by Anne Morris on Unsplash.

5 Reasons Why Your Visitor Visa Could Be Refused: 2018 Edition

Article published on 28 June 2018

Who needs a Visitor Visa?

How long have you been fantasising about that amazing trip to the UK? To explore the city of London, wind through the mystical streets of Edinburgh, hunt for the Loch Ness Monster and then stop at Brighton Pier for fish and chips …There is so much to see and do, and there’s never been a better time to visit!

OR, have you been planning to invite someone to the UK? Is it about time you brought the in-laws over? Has your friend been begging to see Buckingham Palace for ages? When was the last time you saw your siblings? The season for socialising is on its way …

But there’s a problem. For many people, it’s not as simple as jumping on the first plane to Heathrow. Visitor Visas are required for citizens of these 110 countries (shaded green):

Map showing which nationalities require a visa to visit the UK

But why might your Visitor Visa be refused - how hard can it be?

What is a Visitor Visa?

At White Rose Visas, our work is built on the Immigration Rules. It’s the UK government’s law covering many different areas of immigration. The document is hundreds of pages long and can in some cases be complex and difficult to understand.

The Immigration Rules define what a Visitor Visa is, who needs to obtain one, and what the restrictions are. Essentially, Visitor Visas are for people who want to visit the UK for leisure, business or another reason (such as to receive private medical treatment). In most cases you can stay for up to six months, although there are some exceptions.

It is easy enough to apply online. However, in some cases it can be difficult to work out from the Immigration Rules whether or not your application will be successful. This is where experience helps - at White Rose Visas, we have worked with many hundreds of Visitor Visa applicants, and are in a good position to be able to advise whether your application is likely to be successful, or whether it may be refused.

Typical reasons for refusal include …

1. Financial Reasons

Financial reasons are the most common reason why visitor visas are refused. More specifically, there are four main reasons for financial refusal:

Financial Reason A: Your ‘proposed expenditure is not credible’

We see this stated a lot on refusals, so it had to be number one on our list. The phrasing is taken directly from previous refusals, but what does it actually mean? It’s a question we’ve been asked on our immigration forum many times…

Question posted on

Appendix V 4.2 is the relevant section of the Immigration Rules here. Simply put, you must have funds and maintenance to support yourself in the UK as a visitor for the duration of your trip.

The Home Office will look into your total monthly income (usually your job) and how much you have saved per month (in other words, your disposable income). They will then compare this with how much you intend to spend on the trip to the UK.

For example, let’s suppose that you plan to spend £2000 on your visit to the UK. Your total monthly income is £1200. You save £200 per month to pay for your trip to the UK.

In this example, saving for five months will amass £1000 (5 * £200 = £1000). If the trip is £2000, then clearly this isn’t enough. So if you are only saving for five months, your application will be rejected.

However, if you saved for 12 months, you’ve saved £2400 (12 * £200 = £2400). BINGO! You have a greater disposable income than you estimated your trip to the UK would cost, this means that you won’t go bankrupt visiting the UK.

visitor visa financial example

So in other words, if the Home Office deem you are unlikely to be able to support yourself on your visit to the UK, they may refuse your Visitor Visa.

In addition, the Home Office need to be convinced that savings you have built up for your trip are credible, which brings us to our next common reason for refusal …

Financial Reason B: ‘Origin of your source of funds’

This is another very common reason for refusal. In this case, you may not have provided enough evidence of where your funds have come from.

For example, when looking into your banking records, the Home Office will refuse visas if they become suspicious that funds aren’t genuine; because an applicant could not have realistically accumulated them on such a low income

Also, be aware! The Home Office will also question whether the funds have been provided solely for the purpose of the visa, meaning if you’ve loaned the money from someone else simply to obtain the visa then there is a risk of refusal on these grounds.

Financial Reason C: Funds are not ‘genuinely available for your exclusive use’

What this means is that the funds must be readily accessible to you, and only you. You should be able to access the funds from your own bank account.

Financial Reason D: You must have ‘sufficient funds available without working or accessing public funds’

Dentist chair. Photo by Daniel Frank on Unsplash

This reason points to a key fact about Visitor Visas: if you have applied and been accepted for a Visitor Visa, you are not permitted to work and earn money in the UK.Why does the Home Office place such an emphasis on finances when considering Visitor Visas? Well, in part it’s because they need to be convinced that you have the financial capability to deal with unexpected events that may happen while you are visiting the UK.

Perhaps you have lost your mobile phone, and need to buy a new one to contact friends and family back home. Or, imagine you’ve become ill on your visit and need to go to the hospital for treatment. The Home Office needs to be convinced that you’ll be able to pay for this treatment immediately from your own funds. (You are unable to access free medical treatment in the UK if you are here on a Visitor Visa.)

2. Strength of ties to the UK

Leaving financial reasons behind, the next most common reason for refusal is having overly strong ties to the UK, compared to your country of origin.

This is particularly important for those who are looking to bring family or friends to the UK to visit. The Home Office want to make sure that there are intentions to leave the UK and that people visiting the UK are genuine visitors (Appendix V 4.2).

If you have stronger connections to the UK than your home country, this may become an issue.

Unfortunately, it is not as simple as showing that your parents, siblings, partner, cousins, aunts, uncles and children live in your home country as (to the Home Office) that may not provide enough evidence that you will return home after your trip.

More effective evidence includes having a job to return to, studies to return to at university or school, multiple properties or investments in the home country or ties to your local community.

3. Evidence of accommodation in the UK

Are you going to stay with someone you know in the UK? If you are staying with them you will need to provide evidence of this - and if they will only put you up for 3 nights (Benjamin Franklin had a point) then you will need to show that you have booked into the local Premier Inn for the rest of your trip.

4. Visit is ‘poorly planned’

We all like to be spontaneous: from deciding to get a new haircut to travelling to a different country with little to no plans. It can be incredibly exciting to wake up one morning and think “I fancy visiting London this weekend…I’m going to look at flights!”.

Aeroplane. Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

But sometimes, you need to have some structure to get your travel plans off the ground.

You should provide an itinerary or booking evidence to show you have sufficiently planned the trip to the UK.

5. Previous refusal

And last, but by no means least, if you have applied for a Visitor Visa in the past and been refused, you may be refused again.

Previous immigration history will be taken into account when you make any immigration application.

It’s not quite three strikes and you’re out, however any previous refusals and the reasons for these will be taken into account when you make a fresh application. You will need to explain and evidence how your situation is different from the last time you applied for the visa - otherwise you are likely to experience a further refusal.

In these circumstances, it’s especially in important to use the expertise of a professional immigration adviser. At White Rose Visas, we offer free initial advice, without any obligation to continue to use our services. We can even assist if your visit visa application has been refused: and can also minimise the risk of refusal in the first place. You are welcome to have a free chat to us, and then continue on to submit your application yourself, if that’s what’s best for you.


0114 303 9933

0800 8600 851


White Rose Visas

Wharf House

Victoria Quays

Wharf Street

Sheffield S2 5SY

United Kingdom

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