Guide – Joint Account Approval Letter For Your Schengen Visa
What Is A Joint Account Approval Letter For Your Schengen VisaApplication?
A joint account approval letter is an official letter signed by a joint account holder where it states they agree that the other joint account holder (which is the Schengen Visa applicant) performs transactions to cover the expenses for the trip to the Schengen Region.
Most of the time, a joint account has two holders but if the bank account is held in more than two names, then each one of the holders must provide an approval letter in which they agree that the holder who will be travelling to the Schengen Territory can perform transactions to cover the expenses involved by the trip.
Typically, there are two main types of joint accounts:
- “Both to sign” joint accounts
This type of joint account requires both holders of the account (or all of the holders of the account in case the account is held in more than two names) to sign for the approval of a transaction. If you hold this type of account, no withdrawal or payment can be made without both parties’ signatures.
For this reason, a debit or credit card cannot be linked to the account because this would mean that one of the holders can withdraw money without the approval of the other. Joint accounts where both parties are required to sign are more popular with business accounts than family accounts.
- “Either to sign” joint accounts
With this type of account, one of the holders can perform transactions without the approval of the other.
This type of joint account is more popular with families whose members trust one another. Also, it is easier to access this type of joint account and it is more convenient than a joint account where both parties are required to sign (especially because a debit card or ATM card can be linked to the account.)
Other types of joint accounts are available with some banks (for example, “former or survivor” joint accounts, where only one account primary holder can access and operate the account while the second account holder can operate the account only on the death of the primary holder).
First of all, you should know that Embassies/Consulates allow you to submit the bank statements related to a joint account for your Schengen Visa application as proof of financial means.
However, when you submit a bank statement related to your joint account as proof of financial means, you should also submit an official letter from the other holder of the joint account (or holders, in case that the joint account is in the name of more than two persons – but these are not common situations) in which they agree you perform transactions to cover the expenses related to your trip to the Schengen Area.
Please note that you should submit the joint account approval letter whether you are the holder of a “both to sign ” joint account or an “either to sign” joint account.
This is because Visa officers do not actually know what type of joint account you hold. Therefore, as long as they see two different names on the bank statements that you submit as proof of financial means, they want to be sure that the other holder approves the transactions that you will perform for your trip to the Schengen Zone.
The joint account approval letter is not a mandatory Schengen Visa requirement for all Embassies/Consulates.
Some of them just ask you to provide proof of relationship if your bank statements are bearing different names (e.g., copy of your spouse’s passport/ID and marriage certificate in case you and your spouse are holders of a joint account. Or, if you hold a business joint account, you can submit a copy of the passport/ID of your business partner and a document where it states that you and the other holder of the account are business partners, such as a company deed of incorporation).
Even if the joint account approval letter is optional for some Embassies/Consulates we recommend you submit it whether you are applying for a tourist Visa, student Visa, or another type of Visa. Also, we recommend you submit a copy of the ID/passport of the other holder of the account and documents that prove your relationship.
Important: Only if you opened a joint account with your minor child, submitting a joint account approval letter is no longer necessary. However, you should still submit a copy of the birth certificate of your child and a copy of their passport/ID to prove they are underage (which is important anyway so that you can prove that you have ties in your country of residence and strong reasons to return – in case you do not plan to travel with your child).
The Importance Of A Joint Account Approval Letter For A Schengen Visa Application
For all Embassies/Consulates it is highly important to ensure that you have sufficient financial means to travel to the Schengen Region. Proving that you have enough money to travel is one of the most important requirements.
Please note that if you do not have enough money to cover the expenses during your trip you must submit a sponsorship letter or an accommodation invitation letter.
The Visa officer who is processing your application wants to ensure that you can actually use the money in your account to cover all of your expenses for your trip to a specific Schengen country.
They do not want to issue a Schengen short stay Visa for an applicant who submitted proof of financial means but cannot use the money in their account anymore (because the other holder of the account does not agree that you spend money to travel to the Schengen Area).
To understand the importance of the joint account approval letter for your Schengen Visa application, consider the following two scenarios:
● Scenario 1
You and your spouse are holders of an “either to sign” joint account meaning that you can perform transactions without the approval of your wife/husband. Therefore, you may think that submitting a joint account approval letter is useless since you can perform transactions without the approval of the other holder of the account.
But what if you submit your account statements as proof of financial means, the Embassy issues a Visa for you, and then your spouse tells you that they do not agree you spend money to travel to a Schengen country? Do you have other financial means to cover all of your expenses for your trip? Or, what if once you arrive in the Schengen Region, your spouse withdraws a high amount of money from the account so that you cannot spend it and leaves you with insufficient means of subsistence?
Maybe from your perspective, it is less likely that such situations can actually occur, but Embassies/Consulates want to avoid any risk of a Visa holder arriving in Europe and not having enough money to spend (meaning that they would become a burden for the country they travel to).
● Scenario 2
You and your spouse/business partner are holders of a “both to sign” joint account. This is all the more reason why you should submit a joint account approval letter (since you cannot perform transactions without the approval of the other joint account holder).
Of course, withdrawing money from this type of account once you arrive in a Schengen country might be difficult since there is no debit card or ATM card linked to this account. Maybe you could do this if the bank where you opened the account has headquarters/branches/subsidiaries in the Schengen States you travel to.
However, the Embassy/Consulate officers are not interested to know (and cannot check) when and where you will withdraw money once you arrive in the Schengen Region. They just need supporting documents to ensure that you can use the money on your account to pay for your trip.
In addition, do not forget that most of the time your bank statements do not reveal what type of joint account you hold (“both to sign” or “either to sign” joint account). As a result, only a joint account approval letter can assure the Embassy/Consulate officers that you can use the money in your account during your trip to the Schengen Area.
How To Get A Joint Account Approval Letter For A Schengen Visa Application
A joint account approval letter is not a very common required document.
For example, if you want to buy a property using the money in a joint account you typically do not need an approval letter from the other account holder. This is because you already have access to the funds (if you have an “either to sign” joint account). Or, if you have a “both to sign” joint account, you just need the other account holder to sign in order for the transaction to be performed.
However, in most countries, you should be able to get a joint account approval letter from a public notary. We recommend you find a public notary in your country of residence and ask if they can help you make a statutory declaration in which one of the holders of a joint account agrees that the other holder of the account performs transactions to cover the expenses for a trip to the Schengen Region.
Otherwise, you should find out if another institution/professional/public official/attorney in your country of residence can issue or witness statutory declarations (but, as we mentioned above, a public notary can likely help you with your joint account approval letter).
Please note that the public notary may charge you a fee.
Important – We recommend you discuss with the notary first and explain the reasons why you need the joint account approval letter.
According to the laws in your country of residence, they may suggest you write a statutory declaration (an official letter where the other holder of the joint account declares that he/she agrees you perform transactions using the joint account you both hold) or a power of attorney (an official letter in which the other holder of the account gives you the authority to manage on your own the joint account).
Of course, getting a power of attorney for a joint account is not a common situation.
Typically, a power of attorney is made for personal bank accounts (for example, you and your spouse have separate bank accounts and he/she makes a power of attorney so that you can be legally authorised to manage their bank account. In this case, you can perform transactions on behalf of your husband/wife using a power of attorney. However, most of the time joint accounts are created to avoid powers of attorney by allowing more than one holder to access a bank account.
However, Embassy/Consulate officers are not interested in these details. They just want to have legal proof that the other holder of the account agrees you use the money in the account for your trip to the Schengen Region.
Therefore, no matter if the public notary writes a statutory declaration for you, a power of attorney, or any other type of official letter, Visa officers will accept it as long as you can prove that the other holder of the account has no objection towards you using the money in the account to fund your trip.
Also, the two samples provided in this guide have the purpose to help you have a better understanding of how a joint account approval letter should look like. But most of the time, public notaries have their own templates.
In addition, the format and template of the letter may depend on the type of official letter that they will suggest you write, according to the specific laws in your country of residence (maybe they have a special template for statutory declarations, one for powers of attorney, and one for other official letters that can be more suitable for this purpose).
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing A Joint Account Approval Letter
There are not too many mistakes that you can make when you write a joint account approval letter, especially because, if you explain the purpose of the letter, a public notary or a professional empowered to issue or witness statutory declarations will know exactly what details to include in your approval letter.
However, there are only two errors that you should avoid making:
- Do not ask the other holder of the account to write and sign a declaration on his/her own (an ordinary letter that the other person writes and signs on the computer or by hand). This mistake may not necessarily lead to your Schengen Visa refusal, but we recommend you avoid it. An ordinary letter written and signed by the other holder of the account has no legal value and does not guarantee to the Embassy/Consulate/Visa Application Centre officers that the other account holder actually agrees that you use the money in the account to cover the expenses for your trip.
- Do not submit the joint account approval letter without a copy of the ID/passport of the account holder who authorises you to use the money in the account. Also, you should submit additional documents to prove the relationship with that person (most of the time joint accounts are family accounts meaning that you should submit your marriage certificate/birth certificates of your children – which are the same documents that you should submit in order to prove that you have strong ties in your country of residence).
Applying for a Schengen Visa with a Sponsor and Need a Sponsor’s Joint Account Approval Letter?
If you have a sponsor who will be covering the expenses for your Europe trip, then it is recommended to submit a joint account approval letter from your sponsor (only if your sponsor is sharing a bank account with one or more individuals).
While this is not a mandatory requirement for all Embassies, we strongly recommend that you submit it.
This can serve as evidence that your sponsor has sufficient financial resources to support your trip to the Schengen Area, thereby increasing the likelihood of your application being approved.
Make sure you carefully read this guide and inform your sponsor on how to obtain a joint account approval letter for your Schengen Visa application.
Alternatively, you may share this guide with your sponsor to provide them with an understanding of the necessary steps to acquire a joint account approval letter.