Financial Requirement

UK Spouse, Partner, Family visas

How it changes from £18,600 to £29,000 and eventually £38,700

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Financial Requirement £18,600 has changed to £29,000

If you are applying for a visa as a spouse, partner or fiancée of a UK citizen, you have to meet the Financial Requirement. From 11 April 2024, the old £18,600 threshold changed to £29,000.  If you already have a Spouse/Partner or even a Fiancee visa under the old Rules, you won’t be affected by the new income rules – you can “carry on” meeting the old threshold of £18,600 for the partner. The old rules remain if you include a child (£22,400); and more if more children are applying. Not just for your next application, but also later during settlement (Indefinite Leave) or additional extensions.  

If you are applying from 11 April 2024, the income threshold of £29,000 will apply to any number of applicants, whether it is just Partner or Partner with children. 

Book a consultation here! It costs £150 and counts towards our services, if you hire us later. 

Further changes to £34,500 and £38,700

Later in 2024, the income rule will change to £34,500 per year. In early 2025 – to £38,700. Apply as soon as you can to avoid it!

Employment income 

British partner employed in the UK:

This option can be used for any partner visa type. Need to be in this employment for 6 months and during all that time on a specified salary. Depending on your situation, it is based on either £18,600 or £29,000 per annum. If your earnings fluctuate, it will be calculated based on the average. If you haven’t been with this employer for the last 6 months, then you need the current salary of £18,600 or £29,000; and total earnings of that amount from any number of jobs in the last 12 months.

Foreign partner employed in the UK:

This option can be used if the foreign partner is applying inside the UK (switching, extending, ILR) and their current UK visa allows work. Same rules apply as above.

Foreign partner employed outside the UK:

This cannot be used, even for the entry visa, even if the non-British partner is a well-paid highly-skilled professional in the country of application.

British partner employed outside the UK:

This can be used for entry visa, usually when the couple are returning o the UK together after living abroad. Same rules apply to non-UK employment as above (6 months etc). It is, however, only acceptable if the British partner also has a confirmed job offer from a UK employer with a salary of £29,000.

Savings: it’s not £16,000 !!!

This option can be used for any partner visa type. The official UKVI website says “savings over £16,000” and this is where the major confusion happens. “Over” means using a specific formula from the Immigration Rules. If you are applying under the old Rules, the balance is £62,500 for extension; or £34,600 for permanent residency (Indefinite Leave). The balance must have been maintained for 6 months, not falling before even by £1 for 1 day. The money can be in either partner’s name, or joint, and held in any country. 

If you are applying under the rules from 11 April 2024, the amount is £88,500, held for 6 months. 

Self-employed and contractors in the UK 

Important: the visa rules are different from HMRC rules!

Sole trader (self-employed without a company): you need to have a profit of £18,600 in the last UK tax year. This is if you are eligible to apply under the old Rules, otherwise the threshold is £29,000, but the other informed here applies in the same way. You have to submit a tax return for the finished tax year, even though HMRC only needs it 9 months later. Most common mistake: using the wrong financial year, such as an old tax return.

Director of limited company: you need to have received £18,600 (or £29,000) during the last financial year of your company. This is based on your director’s salary and/or dividends. Remember, your company and you are separate legal entities on paper (even if you own 100% of it), so the company’s profit or sales (invoices) won’t be relevant. The focus is what you, as a person, received from it. You have to submit annual accounts for the finished year and file a company tax return, even though HMRC only needs it 9 months later. Most common mistakes: using the wrong company’s year or focusing on a personal tax return instead of the company’s year.

Contractors: one of the major confusion points and fortunately, we are a rare company that knows all about this! A contractor is not a legal type of business, so one would normally have their own limited company or sometimes act as a sole trader. We need to establish the exact form and act according to the options above. Most common mistake: since a contractor is an employee in reality but officially self-employed, the biggest mistake is focusing on the Employment option, counting the value of invoices as ‘salary’.

Pension 

This option can be used for any partner visa type. Pension can be from a UK or non-UK provider, state or private. Can be in the name of the applicant and/or the British partner. The annual amount of income must be £18,600 or £29,000, depending whether your situation is under the old or new rules. There is no need to have had it for the whole last 12 months if you recently started receiving it. We often see it combined with savings.

Students 

The rules for students are the same as for others, so the student couples may find it difficult. If one partner is working and earning a salary of £18,600 per annum (or £29,000), they could use the Employment option. Same if one is working full-time and the other part-time but together earning £18,600.

An ongoing scholarship/bursary can also be used and the threshold is actually lower than £18,600 (approx. £15,000), although this tends to be for PhD courses. You could also use a combination of bursary and part-time employment income.

The most common scenario: a British partner finds a job paying the required salary (does not have to be a ‘career job’) and work there for 6 months. Then a foreign partner can apply for a visa. If your Student visa does not last that long, you may have to return to your country and apply from there later, but you will have a clear plan when and how to meet the visa requirements.

Property

Rental income can be used for any partner visa type. A property can be in any country. Can be held in the name of the applicant and/or the British partner as long as it is not your intended home in the UK. Rental income has to add up to £18,600 in the last 12 months. Or £29,000 if you are under the new Rules, but the rest of the approach is the same. Not in a tax year, so a tax return is completely irrelevant! Here the income is based on gross rent as on the tenancy agreement – not the profit.

If you own a property through a holding structure, such as a limited company, the rules will be different (see self-employment).

You cannot use the value of the property, but you can sell it, deduct any debts and taxes, deposit the cash in a bank account and use the Savings option as described above. You don’t need to wait for 6 months after the sale.

If you are applying for a visa as a spouse, partner or fiancée of a UK citizen, you have to meet the Financial Requirement. It can be income of £18,600 per year or savings of £62,500. If a child is also included , the thresholds go up to £22,400 income or savings of £72,000. The amounts go higher if more children are included.

There are over 70 pages of rules of how exactly it has to be presented , such as if you changed a job recently or if you worked abroad. This rulebook is our specialty!   For an individual advice please book an online consultation here .

British partner employed in the UK:

This option can be used for any partner visa type. Need to be in this employment for 6 months and during all that time on a salary of £18,600 per annum. If your earnings fluctuate, it will be calculated based on the average. If you haven’t been with this employer for the last 6 months, then you need the current salary of £18,600 pa and total earnings of £18,600 from any number of jobs in the last 12 months.

Foreign partner employed in the UK:

This option can be used if the foreign partner is applying inside the UK (switching, extending, ILR) and their current UK visa allows work. Same rules apply as above.

Foreign partner employed outside the UK:

This cannot be used, even for the entry visa, even if the non-British partner is a well-paid highly-skilled professional in the country of application.

British partner employed outside the UK:

This can be used for entry visa, usually when the couple are returning o the UK together after living abroad. Same rules apply to non-UK employment as above (6 months etc). It is, however, only acceptable if the British partner also has a confirmed job offer from a UK employer with a salary of £18,600.

This option can be used for any partner visa type. Savings can be in the UK or abroad, at any visa stage, even for permanent residency, held in the name of the applicant and/or the British partner. Amount needed for initial visa, switching or extension: £62,500 or equivalent in another currency, held for 6 months. Amount needed at the permanent residency stage: £34,600 or equivalent in another currency, held for 6 months.

Important: the visa rules are different from HMRC rules!

Sole trader (self-employed without a company): you need to have a profit of £18,600 in the last UK tax year. You have to submit a tax return for the finished tax year, even though HMRC only needs it 9 months later. Most common mistake: using the wrong financial year, such as an old tax return.

Director of limited company: you need to have received £18,600 during the last financial year of your company. This is based on your director’s salary and/or dividends. Remember, your company and you are separate legal entities on paper (even if you own 100% of it), so the company’s profit or sales (invoices) won’t be relevant. The focus is what you, as a person, received from it. You have to submit annual accounts for the finished year and file a company tax return, even though HMRC only needs it 9 months later. Most common mistakes: using the wrong company’s year or focusing on a personal tax return instead of the company’s year.

Contractors: one of the major confusion points and fortunately, we are a rare company that knows all about this! A contractor is not a legal type of business, so one would normally have their own limited company or sometimes act as a sole trader. We need to establish the exact form and act according to the options above. Most common mistake: since a contractor is an employee in reality but officially self-employed, the biggest mistake is focusing on the Employment option, counting the value of invoices as ‘salary’.

This option can be used for any partner visa type. Pension can be from a UK or non-UK provider, state or private. Can be in the name of the applicant and/or the British partner. The annual amount of income must be £18,600 but there is no need to have had it for the whole last 12 months if you recently started receiving it. We often see it combined with savings.

The rules for students are the same as for others, so the couples, where both are students or recent graduates, find it difficult. If one partner is working and earning a salary of £18,600 per annum, they could use the Employment option. Same if one is working full-time and the other part-time but together earning £18,600.

An ongoing bursary can also be used and the threshold is actually lower than £18,600 (approx. £15,000), although this tends to be for PhD courses. There is also a 1-year visa for PhD graduates that allows working in the UK and can be used as a ‘bridge’. You could also use a combination of bursary and part-time employment income.

The most common scenario: a British spouse/partner finds a job paying £18,600 pa (does not have to be a ‘career job’) and work there for 6 months. Then a foreign spouse can apply for a visa. If your Tier 4 visa does not last that long, you would have to wait (and possibly being apart) during this time, but you will have a clear plan when and how to meet the visa requirements.

Rental income can be used for any partner visa type. A property can be in any country. Can be held in the name of the applicant and/or the British partner as long as it is not your intended home in the UK. Rental income has to add up to £18,600 in the last 12 months (not in a tax year!). This is based on gross rent as on the tenancy agreement – not the profit.

If you own a property through a holding structure, such as a limited company, the rules will be different (see self-employment).

You cannot use the value of the property, but you can sell it, deduct any debts and taxes, deposit the cash in a bank account and use the Savings option as described above. You don’t need to wait for 6 months after the sale.