What is the proof of intention to leave requirement in relation to visitor visa applications from visa national countries?

Proof of ‘Intention to Leave’ on Visa Applications       

What requirements need to be met in order to succeed in a visitor visa application?

Firstly, the purpose of visit requirements restricts certain activities for the visitor. Common purposes are holiday, family visits or transacting business. Secondly, the duration of the visit must be specified and it must not exceed six months. Thirdly, maintenance and accommodation requirements must be met by both the visitor and their sponsor, in family visitor visas. Lastly, a key requirement which shall be explained here is proof of intention to leave at the end of the allocated period of time.

How can an applicant prove their intention to leave the UK at the end of a visit?

The applicant must only prove their intention to leave to the low, civil standard of the balance of probabilities. All this means is that the immigration officer (or Immigration Judge if the visit visa reaches the appeal stage) must decide that it is more likely than not that the applicant will return. In order to meet this standard of proof, however, the applicant must submit circumstantial evidence to aid the immigration officer in making this judgement. The sponsor, too, may submit evidence to help provide a fuller picture of the intentions of the applicant.

The incentives that this applicant has to return to their home country will be considered. For example, if there are strong family, work or property commitments to return to then this will make a stronger application as the immigration officer is more likely to regard the proof of intention to leave requirement as being met.

However, the tribunal has ruled that an apparent lack of incentive to return should not itself be treated as a reason to refuse a visit visa application. Otherwise, travellers with a relative lack of engaged or committed lives would have less chance to travel perhaps precisely at the stage of their life when there are able to do so.

A lack of incentive can be taken into account if further requirements are not met and in developing a fuller picture of the applicant’s overall intentions. It is common for this requirement to be cited in Reasons for Refusal letters (Notice of Immigration Decisions) precisely because it is not as straightforward for the applicant to prove.

Additionally, an applicant must show that they can meet the cost of the return or an onward journey from the UK. The purchase of the return or onward ticket is the simplest way to prove this to an immigration officer or Judge.

Is there stereotyping and discrimination when considering the difference in economic circumstances between the home country of an applicant and the UK?

There are many cases where this reasoning is demonstrated by immigration officers and Entry Clearance Officers who judge a difference in national economic circumstances as an incentive to overstay a visit visa.

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For more information on:

  • What is the basis of government scepticism about the intention of visitors to return home?