How to demonstrate strong ties during your visa application

When applying for a visa to another country, you mostly need to show ties to your home country. For those of us not from countries with ‘good’ passports, this is a very important aspect in your visa application.

Ties to your country are the different aspects of your life that draws you back to your home country – basically, anything that proves that you will return to your home country.

Proving these ties varies depending on your age and which ‘category’ you belong to in society. I have identified four main categories one may be in; student, employed, unemployed or self employed persons.

Depending on your category, some of these ties may be considered during your visa application.


Being a student is usually assumed a strong tie. Reason being, you are getting an education and would most likely not jeopardize it by failing to return to your home country. Of course there are students who leave their home country and never return to complete their studies. I assume this will be a small fraction of the student population. 🙂

This is how it may work for students. If you are studying for your bachelor degree for example, I recommend you apply for a visa during your second or third year. Let me explain: when you apply during the first year, there is a high chance you may not return because you have not invested a significant amount of time or money into your studies. There is nothing or very little to lose.

During your second or third year, it is assumed you have invested a lot of time and money in your education and would likely not gamble with it. This is best time I would advise you apply for a visa.

It is tricky for final year students. In as much as you have invested a lot of time and money and would like to complete your education, there is still a chance you may not return. For example, if you are aware you would not graduate because you have failed some papers.

Possible documents to show strong ties for students include:

  • Letter of introduction from you school or department stating when you are expected to graduate and the duration of your semester break
  • Transcripts

Employed Persons

This is usually the strongest tie you can show. Your job position and regular salary (paid through the bank) is of an advantage to you. When applying for a visa, it is recommended to use the following documents as strong ties:

  • Letter of introduction from your employer
  • Copy of your salary slips (at least 3 months)
  • Copy of your vacation confirmation from your manager or HR

Unemployed Persons

This is the most difficult category to belong to. Being unemployed may usually mean you have nothing to lose and are in search of greener pastures if the opportunity presents itself. There is a high chance you would not return to your home country. This does not mean you have no chance at all during your visa application. Your chances are just slimmer.

Though a weak tie, providing information about elderly parents that are dependent on you may work to your advantage. This likely means you would not permanently stay in the country you wish to visit.

If you have family (spouse and/or children) who are dependent on you, you can establish that you would not leave them behind to start a new life. Documents needed in this case will include:

  • birth certificates of your children
  • marriage certificate

Self Employed Persons

This can be considered a weak or strong tie depending on the type of work you, how long you have been working and whether you pay tax!

A strong tie here would mean you have employed other persons, you have a building where people come to work and you pay them a salary regularly. Persons falling under this particular category would most likely be considered as having strong ties at home because they are significantly contributing to the economic development of their country.

If you are engaged in a ‘one-man job’, this can be tricky. It may be easier for you to move your job to the country you wish to visit so it may work to your disadvantage. You can pack and leave and start the job in the country you wish to visit.

Although this may seem as a weak tie, if you have established the business in your own little way by abiding by the labour laws of your country, you may be in luck.

Documents to show include:

  • Registration of business
  • Invoices
  • Tax clearance (very important)


Visa applications differ from person to person. Depending on your age and travel history, you may need to show more or less strong ties to your home country.

For any of the categories, you can always provide an affidavit from another person to support your application. If you own property in your home country, this can also be considered as proof of ties to your country.


All the best in your visa application. If you have any concerns, leave me a reply. 🙂




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