UK Spouse Visa Requirements

What Are the New Spouse Visa Requirements in 2024?

The content of this article was updated on April 11th, 2024.

As of April 11th, 2024, the new Spouse Visa Financial requirement has officially changed from £18,600 to £29,000. This means that if you want to sponsor your foreign partner on any UK family visa route from now onwards, you now must meet this new financial requirement.

This rule was first put into play in December 2023 by the UK Conservative-led government, which decided to drastically change the financial thresholds of the Spouse Visa and all other UK Family Visas, making applications much harder so they can reduce immigration figures.

In this article, our UK immigration experts will explain the new spouse visa requirements and how they will change again in 2024. We will also discuss everything from basic requirements to the application process for the UK Spouse Visa in 2024. Whether you are applying from within the UK or outside, our expertise and services have you covered.

Understanding the UK Spouse Visa Financial Requirements in 2024

When the price of immigration applications changes, this can certainly cause some confusion, especially when it impacts areas like family and spouses. That is why it is very important to understand the new rules so that you do not waste any time or money on submitting an application that will not suceed due to the new rules. For any information that this article does not cover, you can contact our spouse visa experts who can advise you and help you understand the process first hand and submit the application on your behalf.

What Are The Current Financial Requirements Of the UK Spouse Visa?

Fulfilling the financial conditions for a UK Spouse Visa is a crucial part of the application process. The sponsor and the applicant must prove their financial stability to ensure that they can sustain themselves and any dependents without assistance from the government. Here’s a comprehensive look at the financial criteria:

The current financial requirement for UK Spouse Visas is £29,000 as of April 11th 2024. This is set to change to £34,500 later in the year, after which it will rise further to £38,700 by early 2025. This threshold is subject to regular modifications by the UK government. For the most recent information on how to fulfil these financial requirements through income, savings, pensions and investments, we encourage you to read our page on family visa financial requirements or get in touch with us.

Under the current rules, if a couple has children or other dependants, the threshold increases:

  • For the first child, an additional £3,800
  • For each additional child, an extra £2,400

However, under the new financial rules, when the financial requirement rises in April, the costs for children may be stopped. It is yet unclear. However, we will update you once the information is public.

Acceptable Sources of Income

The income can come from various sources, including:

  • Employment Income: Both from the sponsor’s employment within the UK and the applicant’s lawful employment outside the UK.
  • Savings: A certain amount of savings can offset the current income requirement. As of April 11th 2024, the amount is £88,500.
  • Pension: Includes both state and private pensions.
  • Self-Employment: Profits from a business can be considered if properly documented.
  • Rental Income: From properties owned, excluding the couple’s main residence.
  • Dividends from Investments: If they are consistent and can be verified.

For more info on how to meet the application through savings and other means, read our article here,

Will the Spouse Visa Financial Requirements change again in 2024?

According to the UK government, the Spouse Visa Financial Requirement is set to change again later in 2024 from £29,000 to £34,500 and then once again in early 2025 to £38,790.

How to avoid meeting the new 2024 spouse visa financial requirement?

The only way to avoid additional hikes in the financial requirement criteria is to apply now. This is because the further increases in financial thresholds, which are set to transform the UK Spouse Visa Route once again in the coming months, may limit your eligibility. Based on this, our spouse visa lawyers advise that you act fast if you are planning on making a spouse visa application and process it as soon as possible to avoid being subjected to the rising financial thresholds that are set to come into effect later in the year.

To get your application started immediately or to speak with a spouse visa expert, pls do not hesitate to contact us.

Read More: UK Family Visa Financial Threshold Update 2024

Why is the financial requirement changing?

The spouse visa financial requirement is changing because the current UK Conservative government wants to reduce the UK immigration figure from over 6000,000 to under 300,000, a plan unveiled by Jame Cleverley from the Home Office in late December 2023.

What if my application fails because I do not meet the New Financial requirements for Spouse visas?

If your Spouse Visa is refused based on financial grounds, it’s essential to understand your options and the steps you can take to address the refusal. Here are some strategies and considerations:

The refusal letter from the Home Office will detail why your application was denied. Understanding the specific reasons for the financial refusal is crucial for determining your next steps.

If you do, in fact, meet the criteria and the refusal was due to a mistake and occurred because you were missing documents or incorrect financial information, you might be able to rectify the issue and reapply.

If you were refused because you were close to meeting the financial requirement but fell a bit short at the end, consider ways to increase your income or savings to meet the threshold legitimately. This could involve securing a higher-paying job, adding savings to meet the cash savings requirement, or including permitted additional sources of income.

If your application was refused because the Home Office was not satisfied with the financial evidence provided, look into submitting alternative evidence that clearly demonstrates you meet the financial requirement. This might include more detailed bank statements, additional payslips, or letters from employers.

Seek professional advice from an immigration lawyer who can assess your refusal and advise on the best course of action. They can help you identify any errors in the Home Office’s decision, advise on the viability of making a new application, or whether to appeal the decision if an error of law is identified.

Remember, each Spouse Visa refusal based on financial grounds has its unique context and reasons. It’s important to approach your next steps with a clear understanding of the refusal reasons and a strategy to address them effectively.

Benefits and Privileges of Holding a UK Spouse Visa

Holding a UK Spouse Visa brings forth a wide range of benefits that facilitate the transition into UK life:

  • Right to Work: The visa holder can enter the UK and seek employment or start a business without any restriction, thus making it easier to work on a spouse visa.
  • Access to Education: The visa permits access to public and private educational institutions, enabling academic growth and skill development.
  • Healthcare Benefits: With the UK Spouse Visa, you are entitled to use the NHS, the UK’s public healthcare system, ensuring medical security.
  • Potential Pathway to Citizenship: After living in the UK for a certain period on the spouse visa, you may become qualified to apply for indefinite leave to remain. It is a process that can help the applicant to settle in the UK.

Other requirements needed to make a successful Spouse Visa Application

To qualify for a spouse visa, besides meeting the financial requirements, you need to fulfil various requirements, including meeting the English language requirement, accommodation requirements, and more. 

Here’s a detailed breakdown of each aspect with the most up-to-date information for making a Spouse Visa Application in 2024.

1. Sponsor Status and Age Requirement 

When it comes to the UK Spouse Visa application, the sponsor’s status is a critical element. The sponsor must be a British or Irish national or have settled status, such as ILR within the UK. Alongside this, the applicant’s requirements must also be met, which include:

The sponsor and the applicant must be at least 18 years old to qualify for a UK Spouse Visa. This ensures alignment with the legal marital age in the UK. Sponsor status is a foundational aspect of the UK Spouse Visa application process and must be understood in conjunction with other requirements.

2. Relationship Requirement

An authentic and ongoing relationship is the cornerstone of a successful UK Spouse Visa application. This requirement confirms the authenticity of the connection between the sponsor and the applicant. The relationship requirement ensures that the UK Spouse Visa supports genuine couples intending to build their lives together in the UK. 

3. English Language Requirement for a UK Spouse Visa

English language requirements must be met to apply for the UK spouse visa. The applicant must exhibit a fundamental command of the English language at the A1 CEFR level if applying for entry clearance as a spouse. 

Applicants must take a test with an approved provider. Common tests include:

  • IELTS for UKVI: A special version of the IELTS exam tailored for UK Visas and Immigration.
  • Trinity’s ISE: A test offered by Trinity College London at various UK locations.

The scores required will depend on the test, and the provider’s guidance should be followed. Some applicants may be excused from the requirement, such as:

  • Those aged 65 or over
  • Applicants whose mental or physical state prevents them from fulfilling the requirement.
  • Nationals from the majority of English-speaking countries

Also Read: UK Spouse Visa English Test 2024:  Comprehensive Guide

4. Accommodation Requirement for the UK Spouse Visa

An essential UK Spouse Visa requirement is the provision of suitable accommodation. The applicant and sponsor must show that they have adequate accommodation available for themselves and any dependents that are not overcrowded as per the Housing Act’s standards. It must be free from public health hazards.

Living with others is possible, provided there’s exclusive use of sleeping rooms and no overcrowding. However, temporary places like hotels can’t typically be used as evidence of accommodation.

Document Checklist: Spouse Visa Supporting Documents

To apply for a spouse visa in the UK, you will have to present a number of papers, including the following:

  1. Passport: Valid passport or other travel documents.
  2. Proof of Relationship: Marriage certificate or evidence of a genuine relationship.
  3. Financial Evidence: Pay slips, bank statements, proof of savings, etc., to meet the financial requirement.
  4. English Language Test Results: If applicable, from an approved provider.
  5. Accommodation Evidence: As discussed earlier.
  6. Tuberculosis (TB) Test Results: If applying from certain countries.
  7. Previous Immigration History: Any previous visas, refusals, or immigration correspondence.
  8. Sponsor’s Information: Including their passport, employment details, etc.
  9. Children’s Documents: If children are included, their birth certificates and other necessary information.
  10. Photos: Passport-sized photographs meeting the UK specifications.
  11. Online Application Form: Properly filled and submitted.

Understanding the document requirements, ensuring that all the essential documents are properly organised, and providing clear and accurate information are essential for the success of the UK Spouse Visa application.

Also Read: When to Apply for Spouse Visa Extension

The UK Spouse Visa Application Process

The UK Spouse Visa application process is a crucial pathway for those wishing to live permanently in the UK with their spouse or partner. While the application process might seem complex, understanding the steps and meeting the UK Spouse Visa requirements can ensure your application is successful.

1. Initial Preparation

Before embarking on the UK Spouse Visa application process, thoroughly understand the visa category you’re applying for. Familiarise yourself with all the requirements we discussed above. 

2. Choosing the Correct Application Form

Whether you are applying from outside the UK or already living in the UK, the UK Spouse Visa application form is typically completed online. You can apply for a spouse visa from both inside and outside of the UK.

3. Complete the Application Form

When filling in the UK Spouse Visa application form, accuracy is paramount:

  • Personal Information: Provide accurate details about yourself and your spouse.
  • Addressing the Requirements: Carefully answer questions about the financial and English language requirements, relationship status, and accommodation arrangements.

4. Compile Supporting Documents

The supporting documents for the spouse visa are vital for the application’s success, as discussed above. Depending on the applicant, the necessary paperwork may vary. So, be sure about the required documents and assemble all documents required for submission.

5. Biometrics Appointment

You’ll be required to attend a biometrics appointment as part of the spouse visa application process. Here, your biometrics and photo will be collected.

7. Submission

Pay the application fees and submit your application. If you are applying from outside the UK, your spouse visa application, along with supporting documents, will typically be forwarded to a UK visa application centre in your country. If you’re in the UK, follow the instructions provided online.

Processing Times and Fees

The standard processing period for a UK Spouse Visa application presented outside of the United Kingdom is approximately 12 weeks. Applying from within the UK might take up to 8 weeks. There are options for expedited processing at an additional cost.

  • Application Fee: As of 2024, the standard fee is £1,846 to apply for a spouse visa from outside the UK and £1,048 if applying from within the UK.
  • Health Surcharge: An annual fee to access the National Health Service (NHS), which if £1,035
  • Optional Premium Services: Such as expedited processing or assistance at a Visa Application Centre.

Budgeting for these costs and planning the application submission in line with the processing times can help ensure a smooth transition to life in the UK.

What if My Spouse’s Visa is Refused for other reasons?

A refusal of a UK Spouse Visa, whether it be based on finances or not, can be catastrophic, but that doesn’t imply you have to leave the UK or can’t come to the UK. Understanding the reasons and the next steps after a denial can make the situation more manageable.

If your UK Spouse Visa was refused for another reason besides finances, it may have been because of:

  • Insufficient Evidence: Failing to provide enough evidence to meet the requirements for a UK Spouse Visa, such as having adequate accommodation or relationship evidence.
  • Mistakes in the Application: Errors in the application form or incorrect documents are provided.
  • Failure to Meet English Language Requirement: Not being able to fulfil the required level of English language mastery.
  • Concerns About the Authenticity of the Relationship: If the authorities believe that the relationship is not genuine.

How can I Appeal or Overtun a Spouse Visa Refusal?

If the UK Spouse Visa application is refused, you may have the right to appeal or request an administrative review. Here are the general steps:

  1. Understand the Refusal Letter: Carefully read the refusal letter to understand the exact reasons.
  2. Consider Professional Legal Advice: A solicitor specialising in UK visas and immigration may be helpful.
  3. Prepare the Appeal: Gather the necessary evidence to counter the reasons for refusal.
  4. Submit the Appeal: Follow the guidelines in the refusal letter to raise the appeal or administrative review.
  5. Wait for a Decision: Appeal decisions can take several months.

In some cases, it may be wise to explore alternatives such as:

  • Fiance Visa: If planning to marry in the UK.
  • Unmarried Partner Visa: If you have lived together in the UK for at least two years.
  • Reapplying: After addressing the reasons for refusal, you may choose to submit a new UK Spouse Visa application.

Depending on what the home office letter says, you may even be able to submit a free application by providing more robust evidence to support your case. In any case, understanding the reasons for refusal and taking swift action can have a significant impact on the outcome. As dealing with a refusal can be complex, it’s wise to seek legal advice.

Also Read: Stay Outside the UK on a Spouse Visa: Rules and Regulation

Conclusion

The new financial requirements of the UK Spouse Visa process might seem overwhelming, but careful planning and adherence and ensuring you meet other aspects of the document checklist can give you a higher chance of successfully obtaining this visa.

Whether you are already in the United Kingdom or applying from outside the United Kingdom, it is essential to understand the precise requirements you must meet. Every detail matters, from meeting the financial and English language requirements to securing suitable housing in the United Kingdom.

Read More: UK Fiance Visa and Spouse Visa: Which is Faster?

Need Assistance With Your Spouse Visa Application? Let UK Spouse Visa Lawyers You!

If you find the spouse visa process coming changes, especially due to the new financial requirements, or if you’ve faced a refusal already and want to get it overturned, professional help can be highly beneficial. At UK Spouse Visa Lawyers, we specialise in Spouse Visa applications and have assisted countless couples to settle in the UK. Our expert team understands the application process, financial requirements, English language requirements, and everything else to make an application successful.

Why choose us?

  • Expert Guidance: From document checklist to appeals, we’ve got you covered.
  • Up to date advice: We know everything you need to know about the new rules, including the new financial requirements and when they will change at each phase
  • Personalised Service: Every relationship is unique, and so is every application.
  • Proven Success: Years of experience in spouse visas and a high success rate.

Contact us today to discuss your UK Spouse Visa application or any concerns you may have about the requirements. Don’t leave your future to chance; allow us to help you every step of the process. Your dream of living together permanently in the UK could be just a consultation away!

You Ask, We Answer

FAQs About The UK Spouse Visa updates

The current conservative government aims to reduce net migration by approximately 300,000, as it was estimated at 672,000 in the year ending June 2023. The increase is part of efforts to reduce these numbers further.

The income requirement for UK spouse visa applicants is set for several increases. It has already experienced a staunch rise from £18,600 to £29,000 in April 2024. Later in 2024, it will increase to about £34,500, and by early 2025, it will reach approximately £38,700.

The increase from £18,600 to £38,700 represents an over 200% rise. The Home Office aligns these thresholds with UK earnings percentiles, with the new figures representing the 25th, 40th, and 50th percentiles of earnings for RQF3 skill-level jobs.

Yes. According to the House of Commons Library, Immigration Rule changes typically become effective automatically unless opposed by the House of Commons or Lords within 40 days, which is not a common occurrence.

No, these changes will only affect new applicants. Current applicants, including those applying before the increase and children joining parents in the UK, will be assessed under the current requirements. The same applies to those on a fianc(é)e visa applying for a spouse visa.

Individuals on different visa types who wish to switch to the five-year partner visa route must meet the new income requirement once it becomes effective.

It’s possible that under the new rules, there may not be additional financial requirements for children, but this is still to be determined.

Those currently on a spouse visa applying for ILR are expected to be exempt from the new threshold. Further details will be provided in the Home Office’s “transitional provisions”.

There are no specific exemptions mentioned for the financial requirements of a UK Spouse Visa. Applicants must meet the minimum income threshold, which varies depending on whether they have dependents.

The new policy restricts most students from bringing dependants to the UK. This change is expected to reduce the number of dependants accompanying students significantly.

Under the new immigration rules announced by Home Secretary James Cleverly on December 4th, 2023, care workers will no longer be allowed to bring family members to the UK. This change is part of the broader strategy to reduce net migration.

The immigration health surcharge increased from £624 to £1,035 per year starting January 2024. This rise will affect Spouse Visa applicants starting in January and will be the new mandatory fee for accessing the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

Those considering a UK spouse visa should consult an immigration solicitor as soon as possible to understand their options and prepare for the upcoming changes on April 11th, 2024.

Yes, the family visa requirements in the UK, like many immigration policies, are subject to change and can be influenced by the outcomes of political elections. If a different party wins an upcoming election and forms a government, they may have different views and policies regarding immigration and may change the financial requirements as a result of this.

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Disclaimer

The information provided in our articles is intended solely for guidance and should not be considered legal advice. We do not assume responsibility for any liabilities arising from the information in written articles and recommend that all readers seek professional advice before taking any action. For those wishing to discuss their case with a professional, please feel free to contact us directly.

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