Unknown or Unexplained Source of Funds—One of the Principal Reasons Africans Are Refused UK Visas

5 min

UK Visa

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) [2012] 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?

The ECOs are not just interested in the closing balance of the applicant’s bank account but they examine the statement to ascertain the origin of each (large) deposit or transfer. In the absence of an acceptable explanation back with evidence of the source of any deposit, applicants are refused—for failing to show the source of the funds in their bank accounts.

It’s unconventional in the UK or most western countries for anyone to be depositing monies in other’s bank account or running their money through other’s account. Hence, it raises suspicion if large deposits or transfers, either than salaries backed by payslips as evidence, are coming into anyone’s bank account without a reasonable explanation.

The applicable Immigration Rule, Appendix V: visitor rules, V 4.2 (e) states that you “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.”

To meet the above requirement, you must also show the source of the funds in your bank account which you are presenting—any irregular deposits or activities in your bank account for the period presented must be explained to the satisfaction of the ECO.


This means, do not be depositing funds in your bank account, purposely for a visa or to deceive the ECO into thinking your financial circumstance is great when it’s not. You going to be caught and be refused.

You are probably asking how much is a reasonable amount to be shown. The answer is, that depends—but what’s important is the activities in your bank account and the picture it paints of your finances.

A lot of people erroneously think that the UK government does not want people to visit the UK. That’s not true. The UK derives a lot of money from foreigners coming to visit and therefore they want you to come and visit the UK.

It’s reported that 37.6 million overseas visitors came to the UK in 2016 and spent £22.5 billion. That’s a lot of money and the UK government wants even more.

Therefore, coming to the United Kingdom as a visitor is not a problem. What the UK government and every ECO is worried about is this: would the person go back to his or her home country after the visit, if he or she is granted a visa?

A lot of people have told the ECOs that they intend to visit the UK briefly and go back to their countries and never go back as stated. So, merely stating that you swear by God or Zeus that you will return to Ghana or wherever you are from after your visit to the UK is not persuasive enough.

An ECO needs more than your words and that’s where in assessing your application, an ECO will consider your social, economic/financial and family ties to your country of residence. And you must properly demonstrate these ties.

Free Legal Advice:

A lot of the people intending to visit the United Kingdom are mostly refused visas because they are unable to satisfy or convince the ECOs that they are genuine visitors—as in, their intention is purely to visit, they will return back to their countries after the visit and that they have the financial strength to afford the trip and maintain themselves while in the UK.

As explained above, having funds in your bank account alone does not demonstrate that you meet the financial requirements—the source of the funds must be satisfactorily shown and the funds including your intending expenditure on your visit should be proportionate to your stated economic/financial circumstance.

The most important elements to be met, for a UK visitor’s visa, are captured below, from the Immigration Rules, as:

Genuine intention to visit…

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

  1. (a) will leave the UK at the end of their visit; and
  2. (b) will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK their main home; and
  3. (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
  4. (d) will not undertake any prohibited activities set out in V 4.5 – V 4.10; and
  5. (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.


If you have recently (in the last 3 months) been refused a UK visitor’s visa, and you want to challenge the decision because it is unreasonable or intend to make any UK visa/leave application, we are able to do this for you at Adukus Solicitors.

You can call us via +447837576037 (Direct/Whatsapp). Alternatively, E-mail: [email protected]

When it comes to UK Immigration Law, I mostly represent those coming to the UK to study, visit, settle or work–by representing them in their various applications, appeals, Administrative Review and Judicial Review. If you need legal representation in securing a visa to come to the UK or overturning a refusal via Appeal, Administrative Review or Judicial Review, contact me via Whatsapp/Direct Call: +447837576037 or E-mail: [email protected].

Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri,Esq
I am Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, a lawyer, a thinker, a writer and something like a legal polymath based in the United Kingdom; I hold 2 Master’s degrees in Law; International Human Rights Law (LL.M) and Legal Practice Course (LL.M) from University of Leicester and Nottingham Law School--and also a degree in Law (LL.B). I currently work at Adukus Solicitors in London--where I use my legal brains to kick real ass, for the good of my clients and humanity. Contact: [email protected] [email protected]