One of the most onerous aspects of applying for a spouse visa in the UK is meeting the financial requirement. On the surface it looks relatively straightforward with the sponsor or applicant needing to be earning £18,600 a year. If there are children who are not British nationals then the income requirement rises by £3,800 for the first child and £2,400 for each additional child after that.
You must prove you have been in this position for at least 6 months at the time of application and provide evidence to substantiate this in the form of payslips, bank statements, p60s and employer letters. While this is the most common way of meeting the income threshold, there are however a number of other ways it can be met which we will explore below. It is possible to combine some of these categories and for less straight forward cases particularly we would strongly advise you take professional advice.
Savings must amount to £16,000 plus the shortfall between the salary earned and the amount required, multiplied by 2.5 (this is the length of the visa). So if you earn £17,600 and want to sponsor just your spouse you would need to hold £18,500 in savings (£16,000 + £1000 x 2.5).
You can also rely solely on savings to satisfy the requirement. For 1 dependant this would be £62,500 (£16,000 + £18,600 x 2.5), for a spouse and 2 children, for example, this would be £78,000.
Employment Held for Less than 6 Months
It is possible to use employment you have held for less than 6 months if your total income over the past 12 months has totaled at least £18,600 and you will be employed for the foreseeable future. The evidential requirements are more complex, and we would advise anybody pursuing this route to take professional advice.
You can also use income earned from dividends, stocks, self-employed income and a variety of other sources to satisfy the financial requirements. You must provide extensive documentation to demonstrate how you meet the requirements using this method. Simply providing bank statements will not be sufficient and preparing the appropriate documents is a technically demanding task.
Returning to the UK with your Partner
If you and your partner are intending to return to the UK together there is a provision to allow you to meet the financial route despite obviously not being employed in the UK at the time of application. You (the sponsor) must have a confirmed job offer from a job willing to pay at least £18,600 which starts within 3 months of your planned return to the UK. You must provide evidence of this with your application.
10 Year Route
Should you fail to meet the financial requirements listed under the permitted routes it is possible you may be granted discretionary leave under what is known as the 10 year route. What this means is that you will only be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain after spending 10 years on this route instead of the ordinary 5. You are able to swap back to the 5 year route but the clock will be reset.
You will still have to demonstrate your partner will have adequate accommodation and be supported without recourse to public funds. How this evidence is provided can take many forms.
Whether you are granted leave despite failing to meet the financial requirements is discretionary and things like the best interests of any children you have, and whether there are insurmountable obstacles to you and your partner making a life together in another country.
Meeting the financial requirements for a spouse visa can be incredibly complex and evidence heavy. We strongly advise that you take professional advice when applying for this visa category. Our experts have extensive experience managing family visas and are happy to help. Get in touch on 01403 801 801 or email us at [email protected] for a consultation.