To join your spouse in the UK under the Spouse Visa, you will first need to prove you meet the financial requirement.
If you are already in the UK on a different visa, you may be able to switch visa category to reflect your newly-married status.
What is the financial requirement for a Spouse Visa?
Since 2012, the Immigration Rules have contained a financial requirement to be met by a non-EEA national partner of a person who is a British citizen, settled in the UK or in the UK with refugee leave or humanitarian protection.
Unless exempt, you must meet the financial requirement for spouse visas in the form of a minimum income threshold. For a partner applying under Appendix FM, without dependent children, the threshold is a gross annual income of at least £18,600.
If you are applying with a dependent child, you must prove an additional £3,800 for the first child, together with an increase of £2,400 for each additional child. The higher financial requirement for spouse visas applies to any child who is not a British Citizen, an EEA national or permanently settled in the UK.
How do I meet the financial requirement for spouse visas?
You can generally meet the financial requirement for spouse visas in the following ways, although this list is not exhaustive:
- Income from salaried or non-salaried employment of you or your partner. If your own income, you would need to be in the UK with permission to work.
- Income from self-employment, or income as a director or employee of a specified limited company in the UK, of you or your partner. Again you would need to be in the UK with permission to work.
- Non-employment income, for example, from property rentals, child maintenance, or dividends/income from investments, stocks and shares.
- Money from a state (UK or foreign), occupational or private pension in your name or that of your partner.
- Maternity allowances or bereavement benefits received in the UK. Income-related benefits will not be counted towards the financial requirement.
You may also be able to use cash savings over £16,000 if held by you or your partner for at least 6 months. This can be combined with some of the other sources of income to meet the minimum income threshold.
Am I exempt from meeting the financial requirement for spouse visas?
Where your partner is in receipt of certain benefits or allowances in the UK, you will be exempt from meeting the financial requirement for spouse visas by providing evidence of “adequate maintenance”. This includes:
- Carer’s Allowance.
- Disability Living Allowance.
- Severe Disablement Allowance.
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
- Attendance Allowance.
- Personal Independence Payment.
- Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.
- Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme.
- Police Injury Pension.
You must, however, also provide evidence that you and your partner are able to maintain and accommodate yourselves and any dependants adequately in the UK, without recourse to public funds.
Will I be granted leave once I satisfy the financial requirement for spouse visas?
If you satisfy the financial requirement for spouse visas, you may be able to live in the UK for a period of up to 2.5 years. Thereafter, you will need to apply to extend your stay. However, you will first need to satisfy the other eligibility criteria, including proving your knowledge of the English language.
Once you are granted leave to remain in the UK, the earliest you can apply to settle is after you have lived in the country for 5 years continuously.
What if I don’t meet the financial requirement for spouse visas?
If you do not meet the financial requirement for spouse visas, you may still be able to apply for a visa or extend your permission to stay if:
- You have a child in the UK who is a British citizen or has lived in the UK for 7 years and it would be unreasonable for them to leave the UK.
- There would be very significant difficulties for you and your partner if you lived together as a couple outside the UK that could not be overcome.
- There are exceptional circumstances that could render refusal of your application a breach of your human rights.
In particular, consideration may be given here as to whether the minimum income requirement is met if other credible and reliable sources of income, financial support or funds available to you are taken into account.
What are the other eligibility criteria for Spouse Visa?
To apply for a spouse visa, in addition to the financial requirements, you will need to satisfy the remaining eligibility criteria.
Both you and your partner need to be 18 or over. Your partner must also be either:
- A British citizen in the UK
- Present and settled in the UK, ie; they have indefinite leave to remain or a permanent residence card
- In the UK with refugee leave or with humanitarian protection.
If you are not yet married, you will need to prove that:
- Your relationship is “genuine and subsisting”;
- You must have been living together in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least 2 years when you apply, or you are a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, and you are seeking entry to the UK to enable your marriage or civil partnership to take place.
- You must plan to marry or enter into a civil partnership within 6 months of arriving in the UK, and;
- You and your future spouse or civil partner intend to live together permanently in the UK.
Further, you will need to prove you have a good knowledge of English (either by way of an academic qualification or by taking a test), and that you can financially support yourself and any dependants. The following guidance sets out in detail the financial requirement for spouse visas.
What are the common pitfalls relating to the financial requirement for spouse visas?
One of the main pitfalls in satisfying the financial requirement for spouse visas is in proving you have reached the minimum income threshold. You will be required to produce a number of specified documents to evidence the level of income and/or savings upon which you are relying.
If you want to combine different sources of income, either your own or your partner’s, proving that you have met the financial requirement for spouse visas can become even more complicated. Further, certain sources of income cannot be combined when calculating your total income.
Do you have a question about the financial requirement for spouse visas?
If you are applying for a visa to live with your future spouse or civil partner in the UK, you will need to satisfy the financial requirement for spouse visas. This process can often become complicated, with much at stake.
DavidsonMorris are specialists in UK immigration, working closely with individuals to provide guidance and support through Home Office applications, including spouse visas. Contact us for advice on your UK spouse visa eligibility and application.