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Certified letter for visiting parents now that no visa is needed?

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chssvi
Junior Member
Posts: 72
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:51 am

Certified letter for visiting parents now that no visa is needed?

Post by chssvi » Wed Nov 23, 2022 5:24 pm

I am originally from Colombia but been a UK citizen for almost seven years now.

My parents have come to visit about 5-6 times now, requiring a visa each time, including earlier this year. However, the UK has now (thankfully) removed the visa requirement for Colombians on a short/tourist visit. Having said that, visitors would need to show proof of a place to stay (i.e. hotel reservation) and funds, which is the usual requirement.

For their visa application I've normally sent them a simple letter saying that they would stay with me and my wife at our home and, having the visa, I was always relatively relaxed that they wouldn't have any issues through immigration. They have also been able to prove sufficient funds by themselves, but I could have stepped in if needed.

I'm wondering if now that there is no visa, the same would be sufficient. A cousin who lives in France was having her parents over (Colombians do not need a visa to travel to Shengen countries either), but the lady at the Air France counter at the airport almost didn't let them board because she said that the "plain" invitation letter that they had was insufficient and they needed either a hotel reservation or a certified/notarised letter. Worth noting that for all the grief they gave them at the airport, they were waived through at immigration in Paris :roll:

In any case, I know that the UK is different but I'd hate for them to stress out during check-in (or at immigration for that matter) because they don't have a hotel reservation and only have a plain letter. As such, would it be useful to get some sort of certified or notarised letter? Or maybe just send the letter, copy of my passport and copy of the land registry certificate with my name or something like that so that they can print it out?

Maybe being unnecessarily paranoid, but just wondering...

Thanks as always

lolo2
Member
Posts: 241
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:14 pm
Venezuela

Re: Certified letter for visiting parents now that no visa is needed?

Post by lolo2 » Wed Nov 23, 2022 9:23 pm

chssvi wrote:
Wed Nov 23, 2022 5:24 pm
I'm wondering if now that there is no visa, the same would be sufficient. A cousin who lives in France was having her parents over (Colombians do not need a visa to travel to Shengen countries either), but the lady at the Air France counter at the airport almost didn't let them board because she said that the "plain" invitation letter that they had was insufficient and they needed either a hotel reservation or a certified/notarised letter. Worth noting that for all the grief they gave them at the airport, they were waived through at immigration in Paris :roll:
I suspect this happened at the airport in Bogotá?

It's pretty common in our countries to find airline employees clueless about the rules of the countries where passengers are travelling to, sometimes asking for documents that are not required by the destination. I recently had a similar experience with my mother traveling to Spain en route to the UK.

These are the requirements for Colombian visitors to the UK:
What you need at the UK border
You must provide a valid passport or travel document. Your passport should be valid for the whole of your stay in the UK.

You may also be asked to prove that:

you’re visiting for tourism
you’re able to support yourself and your dependents during your trip (or have funding from someone else to support you)
you’ve arranged accommodation for your stay
you’re able to pay for your return or onward journey (or have funding from someone else)
you’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit
Check if you need a visa - Colombia

You also might wish to have a look at social media platforms. Some Colombians who have traveled to the UK since this new rule came into force have shared their experience there.

AmazonianX
Diamond Member
Posts: 4178
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:09 pm

Re: Certified letter for visiting parents now that no visa is needed?

Post by AmazonianX » Wed Nov 23, 2022 10:59 pm

chssvi wrote:
Wed Nov 23, 2022 5:24 pm
I am originally from Colombia but been a UK citizen for almost seven years now.

My parents have come to visit about 5-6 times now, requiring a visa each time, including earlier this year. However, the UK has now (thankfully) removed the visa requirement for Colombians on a short/tourist visit. Having said that, visitors would need to show proof of a place to stay (i.e. hotel reservation) and funds, which is the usual requirement.

For their visa application I've normally sent them a simple letter saying that they would stay with me and my wife at our home and, having the visa, I was always relatively relaxed that they wouldn't have any issues through immigration. They have also been able to prove sufficient funds by themselves, but I could have stepped in if needed.

I'm wondering if now that there is no visa, the same would be sufficient. A cousin who lives in France was having her parents over (Colombians do not need a visa to travel to Shengen countries either), but the lady at the Air France counter at the airport almost didn't let them board because she said that the "plain" invitation letter that they had was insufficient and they needed either a hotel reservation or a certified/notarised letter. Worth noting that for all the grief they gave them at the airport, they were waived through at immigration in Paris :roll: overzealous employee are sometimes encountered and is not the norm

In any case, I know that the UK is different but I'd hate for them to stress out during check-in (or at immigration for that matter) because they don't have a hotel reservation and only have a plain letter. As such, would it be useful to get some sort of certified or notarised letter? Or maybe just send the letter, copy of my passport and copy of the land registry certificate with my name or something like that so that they can print it out?

Maybe being unnecessarily paranoid, but just wondering...

Thanks as always
A simple letter outlining what you stated above should suffice. Notarising it does not provide stronger backing in this case.

chssvi
Junior Member
Posts: 72
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:51 am

Re: Certified letter for visiting parents now that no visa is needed?

Post by chssvi » Thu Nov 24, 2022 9:47 am

Thanks for the replies!

Yes, it was indeed at Bogota's airport. I also suspected it was some clueless employee (or just someone who gets their kicks from stressing people out unnecessarily - people exercising their "micro-power" as a former boss used to say) but it does make you wonder.

I guess the fact that they've visited several times before and have previous stamps and visas on their passports should be proof enough.

Also, my parents don't speak any English but last time they came I told them to have a printout of the letter. My dad told me that at immigration the official asked them something but he just handed him the letter and he read it and just said "OK" and stamped their passports (I'm assuming he was asking about where were they staying).

Let's see how it goes. Have been dreaming for twelve years now of friends and family being able to come and visit without the hassle (and cost!) of the visa, and now that it's here, it almost feels too good to be true!

JB007
Diamond Member
Posts: 1535
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2019 2:14 pm

Re: Certified letter for visiting parents now that no visa is needed?

Post by JB007 » Thu Nov 24, 2022 6:14 pm

chssvi wrote:
Thu Nov 24, 2022 9:47 am
Have been dreaming for twelve years now of friends and family being able to come and visit without the hassle (and cost!) of the visa, and now that it's here, it almost feels too good to be true!
Just in time for the UK's new Elecotronic Authorisation Scheme
At present, certain cohorts of people do not require a visa for short stays, or other specified immigration status, before travelling to the UK. This means that UK border control and law enforcement authorities have less information and time to assess whether a risk is posed in advance of their arrival in the UK.

Through the Nationality and Borders Bill, to fill the current gap in advance permissions, we will introduce an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme broadly for those passengers visiting the UK or transiting through the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays, or who do not already have an immigration status prior to travelling.

The scheme will give the UK more control of our borders, allowing us to block threats from entering the UK, whilst also providing individuals, and carriers, with more assurance at an earlier point in time about their ability to travel to the UK.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... -factsheet

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