I'll be entering the UK for 6 months, will immigration ask to see my finances?

Hi!

I (American) and my husband (Brazilian) are going to London for 6 months.

He’s going to study English - he’s already registered & paid for the course.

I’m going to be a tourist… and work on my online business.

I’ve heard UK border control can be a bit difficult and am wondering if they are likely to ask for financial evidence that we can support ourselves for six months.

I have savings in the bank, but of course I’ll also be receiving regular, stable income from the online business (I could show them a history of payments stretching back a year or more, if necessary).

Any thoughts/tips?

Thanks in advance!

how are you getting around the 3-month limit on the visa? (sorry i have not done much research on what the rules are for spouses of students…)

i know in general unless you are enrolled in a learning program, or have a work visa, you’re limited to a 3-month stay. for that they do not ask for you to prove finances.

when i went to london, the border patrol did not ask for any proof of finances, but they did ask more questions than when i went to amsterdam - they wanted phone numbers / addresses of where i was staying. they wanted to see my return ticket, etc. not too onerous but more than the quick glance and stamp i got at AMS.

Hmm, according to VisaHQ it’s 180 days (for both Brazilians and Americans, whether tourists or students).

Also says 6 mo. here: https://www.gov.uk/general-visit-visa/overview

We’ll be staying in an AirBNB for the first week until we find a place… hopefully they’ll accept that. And we’ll have an outbound ticket - though it will be onward to another country, not back to our home country.

my apologies. i was thinking of Schengen areas (of which the UK is not a part)

as long as your outbound ticket is no more than 180 days from your arrival, i wouldn’t expect much difficulty.

I don’t have any answers but was just wondering if it was wise to mention to them that you are working on an online business if you are on a tourist visa.

That’s a great point, @kathrynoh… I’ve been debating how to present that. Perhaps… I earn passive income from a business I own in the U.S.?

I could omit it altogether and simply say I’m there for tourism. But then if they asked to see 6 months’-worth of savings to support two people, I’d have to say “Actually, I’m receiving regular payments from my U.S.-based business.”

Hmm… still considering how best to go about it!

Normally I wouldn’t be so paranoid about this stuff, but now that I have a non-traditional employment situation and a spouse from a developing country, I can’t help but think about it.

Absolutely DO NOT mention to them that you are earning a single penny while in the UK or they will not let you in unless you have a work visa. Make sure you have proof of onward travel and have a number in your head of how much it will cost you to live and tell them that’s what you have in the bank.

The UK does not do well, in my experience, with non-traditional travelers. Have a list of places you are going to visit while you’re there (even if you’re not) and at least one person you can use as a local contact.

Last time I flew into the UK they almost didn’t let me in and I got a REALLY long lecture about how it was illegal and I could be arrested and deported if I did any sort of work online while I was there.

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The other option is you get a refundable ticket for, say, a month after you land and lie about how long you’re planning on staying. (I assume you have enough savings in the bank to prove you can both survive for a month). As long as you don’t overstay your 6 month visa, it’s not like they will do anything about it if you “decide” not to leave after the initial month.

IANAL: but as long as you’re not overstaying the visa, I wouldn’t worry about fabricating a better story too much…

I’m British so I’ve never had this issue but considering how many illegal immigrants we actually have in England, I have no idea why they’d give an American a hard time.

^^ That too. Or check out one of the cheap RyanAir deals and just do that. You’ll lose a few bucks but not have to waste time dealing with getting a refund.

An alternative to Skyscanner from UK is Money Saving Expert’s Flight Scanner.
You can search from a popular hub (LHR, MAN, BHX) and choose “I’ll go anywhere”. There are some seriously cheap flights out there. You could even schedule a cheapie over a weekend and actually go for a mini break!

I agree. Do not mention that you will be working!
Maybe print out a bank statement in advance in case they want proof. And the tip to book a cheap flight is great! EasyJet.com has super cheap flights in Europe.

Also, I have no idea how this works in the UK but the last time I flew to the US they wouldn’t even let me board the plane in Amsterdam because I ONLY had an onward flight to Colombia and none back to the EU. They made me buy one then and there.

@wanderingdev @Yemoonyah - Thanks - I’ll definitely not mention working online! This is exactly the type of info I needed to know.

We’ll have genuine onward tickets to leave the UK a couple weeks before our 6 months are up. And through some reshuffling of funds, I think I’ll be able to pump up my bank account enough to prove sufficient support for two non-working people for half a year.

An American might not normally get questioned, but an American + a Brazilian who plan on just studying/tourism for multiple months might be unusual.

I’ll update this thread after we travel.

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I’m an American and they questioned me for @ 45 minutes so don’t count on the ‘Americans are usually waived through’ thing.

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Great advice and I think that applies to any country–even between Canada and the US. “I’m a non-working tourist with sufficient funds abiding by all of your rules, and I have my onward ticket” is a good attitude to have.

You never want border agents thinking you’re coming to their country to work.

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Update: My husband and I got in successfully. The immigration officer asked:

  • Purpose of trip (me = tourism; husband = studying)
  • Length of trip (just under 6 months)
  • Whether we had an outbound ticket - we did - and he asked to see it
  • What exactly I would be doing while my husband was studying for 6 months - I said sightseeing. He seemed a bit skeptical and then asked…
  • How we planned to support ourselves - I said “savings” - he asked how much - I told him the amount, and he was satisfied and did not ask to see my bank statement, even though I had it printed out and ready

Hope this info helps anyone else considering staying a few months in the UK!

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Great news Shayna. I’m brazilian too, but my wife is Spanish. I got a visa family to enter in UK.
By the way, where are you working during your stay here in London?

Hi everyone, I’ve luckily never been asked to prove my personal finance when trying to get a visa but I’m just worrying that it may happen sometime in the future, so what should I prepare for it? Can I just print out the page in my online banking site or have to have a bank statement provided from the bank with some officer’s signature? Hope someone can advise. Thanks!

Working mostly from home, actually! Would love to hear suggestions about good places to work if you know of any.

For the first few days, before I had my home internet set up, I went to the Fleet River Bakery - doesn’t look big when you initially enter, but there’s a large back room and downstairs room, and they have power outlets. Important to arrive outside of the breakfast/lunch rush, though.

I had the printed page from my online banking site (printed out as close to the date of travel as possible) but the officer didn’t ask to see it. He only asked the amount, and was satisfied with my verbal answer. Might depend on the country and on the officer, though; some may be stricter than others.

I’d also look for public libraries. I used to work in the Keats Library (right next to the Keats House; very inspirational place to write a book ;-). The British Library cafe is a cool place, but gets full quickly. Google campus is another option (they have a free cafe and a paid co-working space). I worked a lot in Starbucks and Costa, since there are so many around :wink: