Spouse Visa Applications and Appendix FM Financial Requirement
Spouse visa applications are all about love and relationships but spouse visa applicants need to meet the financial requirement as part of their Home Office visa application process. The Appendix FM immigration rules contain the complicated financial requirement rules that spouse visa applicants need to follow to secure a family visa. In this article, our spouse visa immigration lawyers consider Appendix FM immigration rules and answer your frequently asked questions.
UK Online and London-Based Immigration and Spouse Visa Solicitors
Who needs to meet the financial requirement?
The spouse visa financial requirement is not limited to spouse visa applicants. You also need to meet the financial requirement if you are applying for a partner visa, fiancé visa, or family visa.
Although the visa applicant needs to meet the financial requirement, it is often their sponsor who is earning the income or who has the savings, who needs to show evidence of how the financial requirement is met. Therefore, although the applicant needs to meet the financial requirement it is normally more of an issue for the sponsor to get their evidence together rather than the applicant who is just relying on their sponsor’s financial documents.
When do you need to meet the financial requirement?
Spouse Visa Solicitors say it is often assumed that a visa applicant needs to meet the spouse visa financial requirement once – when they enter the UK on their first spouse visa or family visa. That is not the case as you need to meet the financial requirement when:
- You apply to extend your spouse visa or family visa
- You apply for indefinite leave to remain because you meet the residence requirement for an ILR application
What is the spouse visa financial requirement for a single applicant?
The detailed spouse visa financial requirement rules are contained in Appendix FM immigration rules but in essence, the spouse visa applicant (or their UK sponsor) must have an annual income amounting to at least £18,600 gross per year.
What is the spouse visa financial requirement for an applicant with dependent children?
If you are a spouse visa applicant bringing dependent children with you to the UK then the financial requirement rises by an additional £3,800 for your first child and then by an additional £2,400 for any further children.
In practice, this means you or your sponsor need an income of:
- £18,600 for a spouse or partner with no children
- £22,400 for a spouse or partner with one child
- £24,800 for a spouse or partner with two children
- £27,200 for a spouse or partner with three children and so on….
The financial requirement figures do not vary depending on the nature of your relationship; the income figures are the same whether you are married, in a civil partnership, or unmarried.
Are there any exemptions for spouse visa applicants needing to meet the financial requirement?
Under the immigration rules if a sponsor receives specified benefits the spouse visa applicant does not need to meet the financial requirement as the receipt of the specified benefit means they meet the financial requirement.
There are other exemptions, such as:
- The spouse visa applicant has a genuine and subsisting parental relationship with a child who is under the age of 18 years and who is in the UK and the child is a British Citizen or has lived in the UK continuously for at least the last 7 years. To qualify for exemption the spouse visa applicant has to be able to show that it would not be reasonable to expect the child to leave the UK (because if the applicant’s visa application is refused and the child has to leave the UK to accompany the parent who is caring for them)
- The spouse visa applicant has a genuine and subsisting relationship with a partner in the UK and the partner is a British Citizen, is settled in the UK, or has refugee status, and there would be insurmountable obstacles to the couple enjoying family life with their partner outside the UK. One example of this could be a homosexual relationship in circumstances where in the spouse visa applicant’s home country homosexuality is illegal and same-sex relationships are not recognised
How to meet the spouse visa financial requirement through income
When assessing whether a spouse visa applicant meets the financial requirement, the income of the sponsor and the applicant is relevant if the applicant is already in the UK and is legally in employment because the applicant has the right to work in the UK. If the spouse visa applicant is applying from overseas their employed income is not counted towards the financial requirement because they will be leaving that employment to come to the UK.
Evidence of income from employment is required and can include recent payslips or a letter from an employer. The letter will need to provide salary information and a job description. If the applicant or their sponsor is self-employed then this type of income can be considered but evidence of the income needs to be produced, for example, the UK sponsor’s tax return or audited accounts.
If a sponsor (and if in the UK, the spouse visa applicant) does not meet the financial requirement on employed or self-employed income then the Home Office official can assess whether the financial requirement is met through non-employment income. Income that is acceptable as non-salary income includes money from:
- A buy-to-let property portfolio
- Investment, dividend, and savings income
- Government allowances such as maternity allowance
- Pension income
If you are not sure if you meet the financial requirement or if your non-employment income will be treated as income for the purposes of calculating if you meet the financial requirement our Spouse Visa Solicitors can help. Call 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.
Meeting the financial requirement through cash savings of over £16,000
If a spouse visa applicant or their sponsor has cash savings of over £16,000 then potentially the Home Office could take this money into account. Depending on the amount of the savings, the Home Office could say the financial requirement is met by savings alone or reduce the required financial requirement to below £18,600. The key point is that the savings must be over £16,000 and must be accessible rather than investments or funds that cannot be withdrawn.
If you have questions about your spouse visa application our Spouse Visa Solicitors can help advise you on whether you meet the eligibility criteria and submit an application on your behalf.
UK Online and London-Based Immigration and Spouse Visa Solicitors