Proof of funds (POF) is a document that demonstrates that a person or entity has the complete funds needed for a specific transaction or request.
The document is typically presented in the form of a bank statement and the purpose is to ensure that the funds required to complete the transaction are both accessible and legitimate.
In the case of a POF for visa application, you must demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to cover, for example, your course fees and living expenses if you are travelling for study, work, vacation, or for any other reason. This is asides from the amount you would have paid for a visa application and the full or partial tuition fees of the university you have enrolled in if it’s a student visa application.
People applying for some visa categories are required to submit such financial documents to show that they meet the financial requirement.
In the case of Canada and other countries, for instance, the funds must be readily available to you, plus you cannot use the equity on real property as proof of settlement funds.
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Another important point is that the amount of money you need depends on the size of your family. To calculate the size of your family, you must include yourself, your spouse or partner, your dependent children and your spouse’s dependent children.
Detailed bank statement: As stated earlier, proof of funds can be provided in the form of a bank statement. This is a record of all transactions in a customer’s account over a specified period, usually monthly. The statement includes deposits, charges, and withdrawals, as well as the period’s beginning and ending balances.
The account holder’s bank statement details the account’s activity. It enables the account holder to view all transactions made on their account. Regularly, some banks send monthly statements to account holders.
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Furthermore, transactions on a statement are typically displayed in chronological order.
Many banks offer account holders the option of receiving paper statements or via email and this contains the following:
- Date of transaction
- Description of the transaction
- Credits: the amount of deposit added to your account.
- Debits: the amount withdrawn from your account
Amount of money needed as POFs: For a visa application, the first step is to know how much you need to have as proof of funds. The next is knowing how to source the funds. Finally, how to obtain the actual proof of funds which is the document you will take to the embassy.
Firstly, we will start with knowing how much is needed as proof of funds using the United Kingdom and Canada as an example.
For a UK student visa for instance, how much money you need depends on where you will be studying. You’ll need either
- £1,334 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses in London
- £1,023 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses outside London
This amounts to around N6.5 million or more (using the official rate as of 13th December 2022).
You must have this money for at least 28 consecutive days. The end date of the 28 days must be within 31 days of the date you apply for your visa. Find out more on gov.uk
For a skilled worker visa to the UK, you would need to support yourself when you arrive in the UK and usually should have at least £1,270 (N695,401) unless you’re exempt. Find out more here
To apply to study in Canada (asides Quebec), after paying from your tuition, you are required to show proof of funds. Living expenses for only you as a student would be:
- $10,000 (N4.4 million), plus $4,000 (for the first family member), plus $3,000 (for the second family member), and it goes further. Find out more here
To work in Canada under the Federal Skilled Worker or Trades Program, you need $13,310, or $16,570 (N5.9 to 7.3 million) as POFs if you are bringing a dependent, and it goes higher as you bring more dependents. Find out more here
Ways to secure funds: There are various ways to secure funds to have proof of funds for your visa application. You can either use your salary account, sponsorship from a spouse or employer, funds from a micro-finance bank, lenders or family and friends.
- Using a salary account: This usually covers a statement that includes your incoming salary or payments, and any transfers or deposits made.
- Spouse sponsorship: You can also present the bank statement of a sponsor but need to establish that you are either related to the sponsor by profession or family ties. The most recognised type of relationship is spouse sponsorship or employer sponsorship.
- If you will be sponsored by your spouse, you have to establish that you are related to your spouse by including your marriage certificate in the application
- Employer sponsorship: If you are using company sponsorship instead, you need to establish that you are an employee of the sponsoring company. This means that you should present your employment letter and personal statement of account showing salary payments from the same employer.
- Furthermore, you should also explain what the sponsor does and get a letter of sponsorship or affidavit of sponsorship to buttress your claims. With this evidence and a substantial amount in your sponsor’s account, your visa might be in for approval.
- Funds from a microfinance bank (MFB): A lot of microfinance banks (MFBs) cashed out during the ‘Japa’ period, providing loans in millions to Nigerians seeking greener pastures abroad.
- These MFBs provide loans to SMEs and businesses, but many individuals take advantage of the ability to secure loans for various purposes, including “Proof of Fund” (POF) to obtain their visas. Nigerians seek them out to obtain loans in millions of Naira with the assurance of paying back when they start earning in foreign exchange. The loans usually have an interest rate of 5% per month.
- Funds from money lenders: Securing funds for visa applications can be done through money lenders. Due to Nigeria’s Fintech revolution, online lending applications have made it simple for businesses and individuals to obtain quick loans when needed. Most online money lending apps in Nigeria only need the customers’ integrity rather than collateral.
- These platforms also provide quick loans with no paperwork. Most of them will only require your Bank Verification Number, phone number, guarantor’s contacts, etc., and your loan will be disbursed as soon as possible. These types of money lending, however, come with high-interest rates.
- Funds from family and friends: Some visa applicants just simply resort to getting funds from family and friends, which comes at a low risk at times.
Proof of Funds document: Once you have secured your funds and it has stayed in your account for 3-6 months, at times 9 months depending on the requirement of the country you are applying to, you now need to:
Get an official letter from any of the banks or financial institutions where you have the money.
The letter must:
- Be printed on the financial institution’s letterhead
- Include their contact information (address, telephone number and email address)
- Include your name
- List of outstanding debts such as credit card debts and loans
- Include for each account m, the
- Account numbers
- Date each account was opened
- The current balance of each account
- The average balance for the past 3-9 months
- Be stamped and signed
Avoid an unconvincing Proof of Funds: Ensure you meet all the requirements needed for POFs, as embassies and high commissions have zero tolerance for applicants not meeting the requirements.
Some common errors applicants make may include:
- Not having sufficient POFs
- A bank statement less than the stipulated 3-6 months
- Suspicious activity in your bank
- Proof of funds from an account holder is not allowed under your circumstance
Not meeting the requirements can result in suspicion by immigration officials and your visa application being denied.