It’s a fact that some countries like Canada need people, giving their generous immigration programs and pathways that have enabled people to immigrate to the country. However, they won’t let just anyone immigrate into their country. And one way to disqualify yourself from being accepted into another country is by making avoidable mistakes when showing proof of funds in your application. Many people have their applications declined at this point. Imagine having everything else in place but your proof of funds, isn’t that a weak link that should be fixed?
Whether you’re reading about proof of funds for the first or hundredth time, you’ll be armed with wisdom on how to avoid mistakes when showing proof of funds.
You should also read: Strategies to Fund your Immigration Plans; Japa 101 for Nigerians
What is Proof of Funds?
Proof of funds is a document that demonstrates an individual or business’ ability to pay for a transaction. For immigration purposes, it is proof that you can sustain yourself in that country. Showing proof of funds is necessary for visa application and any immigration program.
The key thing immigration officers look out for in a proof of funds document is evidence that you, and/or all your sponsors have the financial means to support you and still take care of other financial commitments they have.
Hence, when applying for any program that requires proof of funds, it’s advisable to show that you have excess funds that will remain after covering your relocation or study cost without having to work in the country.
For instance, if you’re applying for a study visa, the amount of money you need is the total of your tuition (usually for the first year alone irrespective of the duration of your program), plus your living expenses in the first year, and other additional expenses like flight fee.
So if the total funds you need for all of these is say $30,000, you should prove that you still have some more funds that you can access. And if you got a scholarship that will not cover flight expenses and other things, prove that you have funds for these expenses too.
Also, if you’re being sponsored by a family member or employer, your sponsor should not just have the exact amount you need in their account, they should have that amount and much more. This is because it will not be convincing enough to say they are giving you all they have, even if they are your parents.
If you’ll be accompanied by dependents, maybe your spouse or children, your proof of funds should also cover their living expenses in the first year. For the amount of money required for your living expenses in Canada, you can check the IRCC website here.
Source of Funds
While the visa office is usually interested in the raw funds you have for your first year in the country, they also want to know that you or your sponsors have genuine sources of income to support and prevent you from being stranded in subsequent years. Hence, after presenting proof of funds for your expenses in the first year, you should also prove that you have funds to sustain you and your dependents in the second and subsequent years without having to work in the country.
Preferred sponsors are usually one or a combination of two of the following;
- Direct siblings
- Other close relatives (who can show that they are genuinely supporting you)
- Study loans from reputable organizations
- Partial or fully-funded scholarships
Some of the ways you can prove these sources of funds are through assets like:
- Applicant or sponsor’s income and investments
- Property documents with valuation and proof of ownership
- Applicant or sponsor’s proof of business ownership
- Letter of employment provided by the employer of the applicant or sponsor
- Employee payslips, proof of annual income provided by the employer of the applicant or sponsor
- Letters from financial institutions
- Other sources of income or assets that can be easily liquidated to raise funds like rental properties, fixed investment, pension funds, etc.
Common mistakes to avoid when showing proof of funds
Having discussed the sources of proof of funds, you need to learn the mistakes to avoid when showing proof of funds. Some of these mistakes can be unpardonable and would lead to a visa refusal. A visa refusal can be very heartbreaking and discouraging for anyone. You wouldn’t want to go through that.
These are some common mistakes to avoid when showing proof of funds:
Providing incomplete documents
It is important to provide all the necessary documents required for your proof of funds. These documents include bank statements, investment portfolio, and other financial records.
2. Presenting outdated or incorrect documents
You have to ensure that the documents for your proof of funds are up-to-date, accurate, and match the immigration program requirements. Outdated and inaccurate documents can have them question the authenticity of the documents.
3. Failing to show the source of funds
The visa officers would want to know the source of the funds you’re presenting to them. You must prove the origin of the funds, especially if they are from a sponsor, inheritance, loan or gift.
4. Withholding important information
It is better to err on the side of providing too much information than to be perceived as withholding important information, whether deliberately or mistakenly. Provide all the information you can think of when showing proof of funds and write in a clear and concise manner.
5. Giving false information
The documents you present in your proof of funds application will be vetted. If they discover any false information, it can lead to a refusal and sometimes a ban from immigrating to the country. The ban can last for as long as five years.
6. Having mis-matched names in your documents
Check that your name, account number, and other personal information match the information on your application. If you changed your name for any reason, maybe marriage, explain it in your application with proof. Discrepancies of any kind may lead to delays or even the rejection of your application.
7. Not reviewing the program requirements
Before providing proof of funds, review the requirements carefully to ensure that you have all the necessary documents. Different immigration programs may require different proof of funds, so it is essential to understand what is needed.
8. Not organizing the documents
Keep your proof of funds documents organized and easy to understand. Label each document clearly, and ensure that they are presented in a logical order. This will help the officer reviewing your application to easily understand your financial situation.
9. Not seeking professional advice
If you can’t get it done on your own, it is wise to seek professional advice. There are people whose jobs are to provide guidance on matters like this. Financial advisors, travel agents, immigration lawyers and even people that have scaled through this process successfully can hold your hands while you navigate this and prevent you from making mistakes.
10. Having unexplained lump-sum deposit
If for any reason you have to deposit a large sum of money in your account a few months to your application, especially an amount that isn’t a regular deposit, you must explain it in your proof of funds. Leaving it unexplained will raise questions. Did you liquidate an asset to fund your immigration plans? Or did you get an inheritance or a loan? Explain it in detail with clear proof to avoid having your application rejected.
Avoiding these mistakes when providing proof of funds can ensure a successful application. By reviewing the requirements, preparing and organizing the documents and seeking professional advice, you can minimize delays and increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.