For those applying for a Spouse Visa in the UK, meeting the minimum income requirement is a critical step. In 2024, this requirement is set for an increase to £29,000, highlighting recent changes in the economy and cost of living. However, in some cases, specific individuals may qualify for exemptions from the new financial Requirement.
Spouse Visa Financial Requirement 2024
New Minimum Income Thresholds: Beginning in Spring 2024, the financial threshold for all family visas, including spouse visas, will rise from £18,600 to £29,000. This increase is substantial and will require applicants to prepare accordingly. Furthermore, there will be an additional increase to a proposed amount of £38,700 by early 2025.
Fulfilling the Requirement Through Income
Securing a UK spouse visa is largely dependent on the applicant ability to demonstrate financial stability through their income. This income must be derived from the Home Office approved streams of income, being a UK salary, self-employed income, dividends, property rental income, pension income, personal cash savings etc… ensuring that applicants can support themselves and their spouses without reliance on public funds.
- Employment Criteria: The primary criterion is that the income must come from UK-based employment. This could be in the form of salaried or non-salaried work. The important factor is that the job is located within the UK, and the income is consistent and reliable.
- Combining Incomes: If the applicant is already employed in the UK, their earnings can be combined with those of their partner. This collaborative approach to meeting the financial requirement can be particularly helpful for couples where both partners are earning.
- Exclusion of Overseas Earnings: It’s important to emphasise that earnings from a job held overseas, which will not continue post-visa approval, and as such, cannot be included in the financial calculations.
Document Needed for Income Verification
Validating your income requires you presenting relevant and specific documents to the Home Office. These documents must accurately reflect your earnings and employment status.
- Employer’s Pay Slips: These should clearly indicate your earnings and be accompanied by a letter from your employer if necessary.
- Bank Statements: Your bank statements should show the regular income deposits, serving as proof of your financial stability.
- Company Tax Returns: For self-employed individuals or those running a limited company, tax returns can also be used to demonstrate income.
Using Cash Savings
In addition to income, cash savings can also contribute in meeting the financial requirements for a UK spouse visa. These savings offer an alternative or supplementary means to fulfil the financial threshold.
- Savings as a Financial Resource: Savings can be used either to complement income (if the income alone does not meet the threshold) or as a standalone source for meeting the financial provision.
- Flexibility with Savings: This approach provides flexibility, particularly in scenarios where the applicant’s income might fluctuate or be insufficient on its own.
Combining Salary and Savings
If the combined annual income with your partner falls short of the required threshold, savings can be used to contribute the remaining funds. This dual approach allows for greater flexibility in meeting the financial requirements.
Exemptions to the New Minimum Financial Threshold
Not every applicant will qualify for these exemptions as they are specifically designed for specific scenarios where the applicant or their UK sponsor is a recipient of certain benefits, displaying the UK government’s recognition of their unique financial circumstances.
Certain applicants may find themselves exempt from the standard financial thresholds if they or their UK sponsor are recipients of specific types of UK benefits.
Criteria for Exemptions may include:
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Attendance Allowance
- Bereavement Benefits
- Police Injury Pension
- War Disablement Pension, Mobility Supplement, or Constant Attendance Allowance under the War Pensions Scheme
- Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
To successfully claim an exemption, you must provide concrete evidence of your or your sponsor’s entitlement to one of the above benefits.
Examples of Providing Proof for Exemptions
- Benefit Award Letters: Submit the official letters or documents you received when awarded the benefit. These should detail the type of benefit, the amount, and the duration for which it is awarded.
- Bank Statements: Present bank statements that show the regular deposits of the benefit amount. This helps to establish a consistent pattern of receiving these benefits.
- Letters from Relevant Agencies: In some cases, letters from the Department for Work and Pensions, Veterans Agency, or Police Pension Authority may be required. These should authenticate the entitlement and provide details on the benefit’s specifics.
- Medical Documentation: If applicable, include medical documents that substantiate the reason for receiving disability-related benefits, adding weight to the exemption claim.
- Additional Documentation: Depending on individual circumstances, additional documents may be required. It is essential to closely follow any specific guidance provided by the UK Home Office or seek advice from immigration professionals.
How to Avoid Paying the Increase Financial requirement Fee
The easiest way to not pay the increased rate of £29,000 for a family based visa, is to simply apply for your visa type before the proposed date of effect, however as this date is yet to be formally announced by Home Office, at Primus we suggest all applicants apply as soon as possible. This act would subsequently place the applicant under the current immigration rules, as the Home Secretary announced that all changes to the Immigration rules in 2024 will be “forward running”.
If you are in need of Legal Assistance regarding your family or spouse visa, feel free to Contact Our Immigration Experts at Primus Solicitors!
In summary, while exemptions to the financial requirements for a UK Spouse Visa offer a pathway for those receiving certain UK benefits, they require detailed and accurate proof to be successfully claimed. Understanding these exemptions and preparing the necessary documentation is a critical step in a visa application process. However, until the Home Office release an official statement all current information should be considered with caution, as they may be made redundant in the bear future.