The Financial Requirement for UK Spouse Visas
Navigating the world of immigration can often be fraught: it brings ever changing legislation, and detailed criteria which are often not obvious. Among these, the financial requirement for a UK Spouse visa is one of the most complex, specifying that a UK national must earn an annual income of at least £18,600 to bring their non UK spouse or partner to the UK. But what if your circumstances are different? What if you’re self-employed, retired, or taking a career break? Luckily, the UK government allows for a variety of ways to meet this financial requirement. Let’s take a detailed look at four distinct routes: employment, self-employment, savings, and other income.
Employment is the most straightforward way to satisfy the financial requirement. The UK sponsor must show that they have been employed and earning the required minimum amount for at least six months before the application date. The income can come from salaried or non-salaried employment or even a combination of both. Evidence must be provided in the form of payslips, a letter from the employer(s) confirming the employment and the wage, and bank statements verifying the income. For those who have recently changed jobs, it is still possible to apply providing that you are currently in employment with an annual salary of at least £18,600, and you can show that in the 12 months prior to the application you have received at least this amount in all employment.
For those who are self-employed or directors of a specified limited company in the UK, fulfilling the financial requirement involves providing more detailed evidence. This can include your most recent accounts, Self-Assessment tax return from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and proof of trading. Note that the calculation of income from self-employment is based on the gross income received after the deduction of business-related expenses. Meeting the financial requirement through self-employment can be intricate due to the varied nature of self-employed work, so it may be wise to seek professional advice if you’re navigating this route.
Savings can also be used to meet the financial requirement. However, this route demands a significantly higher threshold. You must have £62,500 in savings held for at least six months before the application date. These savings can be in the name of the applicant, the sponsor, or jointly. The savings route can also be combined with income from employment or self-employment. This can be a valuable avenue if your employment income is just short of the threshold. If savings have not been held for at least six months, it may be possible to proceed with an application providing that the funds have arisen from the sale of property or investments, and that these have been in the name of the applicant or sponsor for at least six months before sale.
4. OTHER INCOME
Aside from employment and savings, other income sources can also be used to meet the financial requirement. This includes income from pension, property rentals, or investments and stocks. For each of these, specific evidence is required. For pensions, for example, the sponsor can provide letters confirming the pension, alongside bank statements showing the payments. For rental income, a rental agreement with related bank statements is acceptable. Similarly, for income from investments, evidence of ownership, along with dividend vouchers or bank statements showing the payment of dividends, can be submitted. It’s important to note that these other sources of income can be combined with any of the other categories. However, income from specific types of state benefits or allowances can’t be used to meet the financial requirement.
Meeting the financial requirement for a UK spouse visa can be an intricate process, as it takes into account various income sources and their combinations. It’s crucial to understand the different routes - employment, self-employment, savings, and other income - and their specific evidentiary requirements. Remember, everyone’s situation is unique, and it can be beneficial to seek legal advice tailored to your circumstances. After all, securing a future with your spouse in the UK is a journey worth every step of preparation. If you have more queries or need help understanding the nuances of your situation, please feel free to get in touch with us.
Jessica Walker, Immigration Adviser at White Rose Visas, comments: “Even if your financial circumstances are untypical, there are still ways to meet the financial requirement for spouse visas. Pension income, rental income, self-employment, and savings can all be used to evidence this requirement. It is even possible to combine different categories, though in that case we would recommend having a chat to an immigration adviser to make sure that your application is going to be successful.”