Update on Visa reference letters

We’ve been providing letters confirming income for clients for many years now. One of the most involved has been the letter to support Visa applications, in particular Tier 1 Visa applications and extensions.

The requirements for Visa reference letters have become more complex over the years following the introduction and subsequent future removal of the Tier 1 (General) visa category due in 2015. There are stricter criteria and proof of income required by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) for other categories such as the Entrepreneur category.

The change with the biggest impact has been that it is now common for our clients to enlist the services of an immigration specialist to guide them through their visa application and we therefore provide a bespoke service, tailored to their requirements.

We continually enhance our software and services to ensure that this part of our service is both compliant and efficient as possible for our clients. For more information on what’s required see our guide in the Knowledge Hub.

The UKBA requires the letter to be produced by an accountant that is a member of one of two recognised professional bodies; either the ICAEW (for Chartered Accountants) or the ACCA (for Chartered Certified Accountants). This means that one of our Chartered Accountants needs to produce the letter with support from your Account Manager. Your Account Manager will ensure you have all your details and records up to date and collect any information we need; for example all your business transactions are checked to ensure they are compliant and provide an evidence-based audit trail of your income.

Because a lot of the information you provide requires verification and checking, it takes considerable time to produce the letter. We provide two options for this service; our standard 5-day service and an expedited 2-day service. We believe that our fees for both services are very competitive and our service standards are exceptional.

If you are due to extend your Tier 1 Visa or need to move from the Tier 1 (General) to another category next year, you can find more information from the UKBA here. You can also speak to your Account Manager for advice on how to prepare for the submission and what you need to do to ensure your financial records are up to date with us. They can talk you through the process, provide pricing information and help you get started.