Financial Requirement

Akeel M. Khan


Changes to financial (minimum income) requirement from April 2024

The current rules

If you’re in the UK and you want to bring your foreign partner over on a family visa, you typically need to prove you have enough money to support them. This means showing you have an income of at least £18,600 per year. This rule has been in place since July 2012. If you have children you want to bring too, you’ll need extra funds – £3,800 for the first child and £2,400 for each additional child.

The financial requirement must be met when renewing the visa every two and a half years and when applying for indefinite leave to remain after five years. These rules apply to British citizens, those in the armed forces, and settled individuals in the UK (including European citizens with EU Pre-Settled Status who got married after Brexit).

When determining if an application meets the financial requirement for a visa, only income from specific sources can be taken into account. There are five acceptable income sources:

  1. Income from employment, but only from the sponsor unless the applicant already has permission to work in the UK.
  2. Self-employment income or income as a company director, but again, only from the sponsor unless the applicant can work in the UK.
  3. Certain non-employment income from either the sponsor or the applicant, such as rental income, dividends from shares, child maintenance, and other approved sources.
  4. Cash savings from either party.
  5. Pension income from either the sponsor or the applicant.

If the sponsor receives Carer’s Allowance or specific disability-related benefits, they are exempt from the financial requirement for sponsoring a foreign spouse or partner. In such cases, the sponsor needs to show that they have sufficient funds to cover maintenance expenses, following the previous method used before the introduction of the minimum income requirement.

Human rights

If an application fails to meet the financial requirement, the Home Office is required to assess whether there are “exceptional circumstances” based on the information provided by the applicant. The presence of exceptional circumstances is determined by whether denying the visa would violate Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which safeguards the right to private and family life. This violation could occur due to “unjustifiably harsh consequences” for the family if the visa is refused.

The new rules

As of 11 April 2024, the UK government will increase the minimum income threshold for sponsoring a foreign spouse or partner from £18,600 per year to £29,000. This amount will further rise to £38,700 in early 2025.

The savings threshold will also effectively change from £62,500 to £88,500 (£29,000 x 2.5 = £72,500 + £16,000 = £88,500).

Importantly, these changes will not be applied retrospectively. Therefore, individuals who already hold a spouse/partner visa or apply for one before 11 April 2024 will only be required to meet the existing £18,600 threshold.

The exceptions for individuals on certain benefits or facing exceptional circumstances will remain in place even after the introduction of the new rules.

One significant change is that families with children will no longer be subjected to a higher income threshold. The previous requirement of needing an additional £3,800 in income to sponsor one child alongside a spouse/partner, and £2,400 for each extra child, will be removed.

Here to help

If you or a family member are impacted by the recent changes in immigration rules, do not hesitate to reach out to SMK Solicitors for expert advice and guidance. Our team is here to assist you with navigating through these adjustments and finding the best possible solutions for your situation. Feel free to contact us for support and assistance tailored to your specific needs.

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