Understanding financial requirements for spouse, civil partner and unmarried partner visas

Understanding financial requirements for spouse, civil partner and unmarried partner visas

Understanding financial requirements for spouse, civil partner and unmarried partner visas

Date: 12 February 2013

New Immigration Rules were set in force from 9 July 2012 which provided for a financial requirement for spouse, civil partner and unmarried partner visas. Frequently, our clients ask us whether they can satisfy the financial requirements. This article analyses and simplifies these provisions so that it is easier for you to understand and looks upon the more common means of satisfying the criteria. The ‘UK partner’ and ‘sponsor’ have the same meaning in this article and are used interchangeably.

Level of financial requirement

The level of financial requirement is £18,600 and increases by £3,800 for the 1st child, and by £2,400 for each additional child. For example:

  • Applicant with no children: £18,600
  • 1 child + Applicant: £22,400
  • 2 children + Applicant: £24,800
  • 3 children + Applicant: £27,200

General rule

The general rule that applies is that only the UK partner’s monies can count and if the applicant is in the UK, then his/her monies can count too. Monies from third parties (e.g. parents, other family members, friends) will not be counted.

Salaried employment for 6 months or more – Category A

Salaried employment, known as Category A, can count if the UK partner (and/or the applicant if they are in the UK) have been working for their current employer for more than 6 months. It is the gross annual salary that is counted.

Can add non-employment income

The most common non-employment income is rental property income and this can be added to the salary that is earned. The property has to be owned by the UK partner or the applicant. For example, the UK partner earns £8,000 gross annual salary. He has rental property income in the past 12 months amounting to £9,000 and he continues to own the property. The sponsor’s total income is therefore £17,000.

Can add cash savings

If the applicant (and/or partner if in the UK) cannot satisfy the £18,600 requirement, then cash savings may be used. The minimum amount of cash savings required is £16,000. The amount of savings that can be used (Y) is:

[Savings (X) – £16,000] / 2.5 = Y

For example, the UK partner has £25,000 savings. (£25,000 – £16,000) divided by 2.5 = £3,600. Therefore £3,600 can be added to the salary earned.

Salaried employment for less than 6 months – Category B

If the UK partner (and/or the applicant if in the UK) have been working for less than 6 months for their current employer, the test will be:

  1. Gross annual income from their current employer must meet the financial requirement; and
  2. Gross annual income for the past 12 months must meet the financial requirement.

Both (1) and (2) must be satisfied. The following two examples illustrate this:

(a)    The applicant’s partner works in the UK. She started a new job 3 months ago and her gross annual salary is £22,000. She meets part (1) of the calculation for Category B because she is in salaried employment at the date of application and her gross annual salary at the date of application meets the financial requirement.

In addition, she must have received in the 12 months prior to the application the level of income required to meet the financial requirement, part (2). Before starting her new job, she worked for other companies for 8 months during the last 12 months. The total she earned from this employment in the last 12 months was £20,000.

She can use Category B to meet the financial requirement because she earned more than £18,600 in the last 12 months and is currently in a job also paying at least £18,600.

(b)   The applicant’s partner works in the UK. She started a new job 3 weeks ago. Her gross annual salary is £20,000. She meets part (1) of the calculation for Category B because she is in salaried employment at the date of application and her gross annual salary at the date of application meets the financial requirement.

In addition she must have received in the 12 months prior to the application the level of income required to meet the financial requirement, part (2). She has had no other job in the last 12 months as she has been travelling and therefore has had no income in the last 12 months.

She meets part (1) the Category B calculation because she is currently in a job paying at least £18,600 but not part (2) as she has not earned more than £18,600 in the last 12 months. Therefore she fails the requirement and cannot apply under Category B.

Can add non-employment income

As with Category A, non-employment income can be added to the salary earned.

 Can add cash savings for (1) but not (2)

Cash savings can be added for (1), i.e. the period when the sponsor (or applicant if in the UK) has been working for his/her current employer. However, cash savings cannot be added for (2), i.e. the period when the sponsor (or applicant if in the UK) was not working or working for a previous employer.

Cash savings – Category D

The minimum amount of cash savings required is £16,000 and needs to have been held for more than 6 months.

The following equation is used:

(x minus £16,000) divided by 2.5 = y

Where x is the total amount of savings held and y is the amount which can be used towards the financial requirement. 2.5 represents the length of the visa as each visa is granted for 2.5 years.

At the Indefinite Leave to Remain stage, the whole of the amount above £16,000 can be used. The following equation is used:

(x minus £16,000) = y

Self-employment – Category F

If the UK partner (and/or applicant if in the UK) is in self-employment, they can use income from the last full financial year. Self-employment earnings can be combined with salaried employment (Categories A and B) and non-employment income (Category C). However, cash savings cannot be used in combination with self-employment.

This article hopefully assists your understanding of the financial criteria. As each case is different on the facts as well as the complicated Immigration Rules, we do advise that applicants seek expert legal advice before submitting their application.