UK Spouse Visa’s Financial Requirement – how to qualify?

On 9 July 2012, the UK Border Agency introduced a new financial requirement for family members of British Citizens and/or individuals who are already present settled in the UK. It is important to note that a very different requirement based on maintenance applies to migrants with limited leave to remain under the Points Based Scheme.

To clarify, “settled” means that the sponsor has been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK while “family members” refers only to the following: fiancé/proposed civil partner, spouse as well as civil and unmarried partners, minor children under 18 years of age at the time of the initial application (biological children, step children and adopted).

Applications under the family routes can be very complex as each case will need to be prepared and assessed bearing in mind the specific circumstances as well as the applicant’s immigration and personal history.

In particular, the UKBA will consider the authenticity of the relationship, the funds available to support and accommodate the applicant and any of his/her dependants in the UK, the English language requirement (set at level A1 in listening and speaking) and the good character of the migrant. However, an Entry Clearance Officer’s decision will be based mainly on the type of evidence provided.

The financial threshold has been set at £18600 for a couple, and £22400 for a couple with a son/daughter as well as £2400 for each additional child. However, this requirement does not apply to a child who is a British Citizen, EEA national or who is settled in the UK.

The UKBA will not exercise any discretion in terms of the level of the financial requirement which, if not met, will lead to a mandatory refusal In addition, the UKBA will need to assess the source of the funds, the time period and permitted combinations as well as the evidence required for each permitted source. The onus remains on the applicant to demonstrate that he/she satisfies the requirement by submitting the mandatory documents listed under Appendix FM- specified evidence.

Since, in most case, the applicant will not have a right to work in the UK, the UKBA will only consider the gross earnings accrued in the last 12 months or financial year by his/her the British partner.

Please note that the only exception to meeting the financial requirement occurs when the British sponsor is in receipt of carer’s allowance, disability living allowances, severe disablement allowance, industrial injuries disablement benefit as well as personal independence payment. In this cases, the couple will only need to evidence that they can meet the “adequate maintenance” requirement showing that they will have at their disposal sufficient funds to support and accommodate without any additional recourse to public funds.

In most cases the applicant will not have a right to work in the UK legally and as result, the UKBA will only consider the gross earnings of the British partner.

Our next article will review the type of evidence to be provided when the sponsor is (a) in employment (b) in self-employment (c) when the couple is relying on cash savings and (d) non-employment income.

Our immigration team has dealt with all kinds of visa applications and will offer you the highest standard of client care ensuring that you and your loved ones receive accurate advice and are truly looked after.

The content of this article is for general use and information only. Since each case should be prepared on its own merit and in light of the constant amendments to the Immigration Rules, it is important to note that the information provided must not be relied upon unless Migra & Co has either given written consent or has been officially engaged in relation to a specific immigration matter. As a result, Migra & Co will take no responsibility for any damage, cost or loss resulting from relying on the information contained in this article, blog and website.