What is an Accountant’s Certificate of Confirmation? [for UK Partner Visas in 2024]

 

Like many aspects of the Immigration Rules, the Home Office guidance does not elaborate on what an ‘accountant’s certificate of confirmation’ is. 

This is crucial to know because an accountant’s certificate of confirmation, for the vast majority of applications, is a mandatory document. Failing to submit one can result in a refused application. 

In this article, we are going to discuss…

What is an accountant’s certificate of confirmation in 2024?

What are the accountant’s certificate of confirmation requirements?

Who NEEDS to include an accountant’s certificate of confirmation?

Who does NOT need to include an accountant’s certificate of confirmation?

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What type of applications can require an accountant’s certificate of confirmation?

The following type of applications can require an accountant’s certificate of confirmation – depending on the source(s) of income relied on: 

  • UK Spouse visas (spouse visa applications submitted from outside of the UK);
  • FLR M visas (those who switch into the partner visa category from another visa or those who are extending their current partner visa application from inside the UK);
  • Unmarried partner visas;
  • UK Fiancé(e) visas & proposed civil partnership visas;
  • Parent of a child in the UK visas;
  • Adult dependent relative applying for Indefinite Leave to Enter or Remain; and
  • Indefinite leave to remain in one of the above categories.

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part 1

What is an accountant’s certificate of confirmation?

An accountant’s certificate of confirmation is a letter from a qualified accountant stating that they prepared and/or approved a set of unaudited accounts. 

We know this because:

  • Most of our advisors at Migrate.org.uk have worked for the Home Office;
  • We, Migrate.org.uk, have been involved with 3,000+ partner visa applications; and
  • Our accountant’s certificate of confirmation template has been used hundreds of times without any issues. 

We feel that this article would be helpful to partners as: 

  • The Immigration Rules and Home Office guidance does not provide a definition; and
  • We have asked over 100 accountants whether there was an agreed definition among accountants regarding what constitutes an accountant’s certificate of confirmation and none have provided a clear answer.

How much would it cost to get an accountant’s certificate of confirmation?

We have seen fees range from £150-£1,500 to obtain this certificate, so this can vary.  

Can you provide me with an accountant’s certificate of confirmation template?

An accountant’s certificate of confirmation template is included as standard as part of our DIY Application Pack Service for self-employed persons and directors/employees of ‘specified limited companies‘. 

Spouse Visa UK DIY Application Pack

 

step 2

What are the accountant’s certificate of confirmation requirements?

Only an accountant who is a member of one of the following can provide you with this document:

  • a UK Recognised Supervisory Body (as defined in the Companies Act 2006); or
  • the Institute of Financial Accountants;
  • The Association of Authorised Public Accountants;
  • The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy;
  • The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants;
  • the Association of International Accountants; and
  • The Association of Accounting Technicians.

If it is not clear from the accountant’s website whether they have such membership, your accountant will be the best person to ask regarding this. 


“What if my accountant is not a member of one of the above bodies?”

If you submit a partner or parent visa application and your accountant is not a member of one of the above regulatory bodies, then there are three outcomes that your application may encounter.  

These possible outcomes are as follows: 

Possible outcome #1 – Your application is refused.

If the accountant is not a member of one of the above-listed bodies, this technically gives the Home Office caseworker grounds to refuse the application.  

Possible outcome #2 – You will receive an email from the Home Office requesting you submit an accountant’s certificate of confirmation from a qualified accountant.

They will typically grant you 7-14 days to provide this document.

Possible outcome #3 -Your application will be granted even though the accountant is not a member of one of the above regulatory bodies.

With this being said, in light of the significance of the application, we would always recommend erring on the side of caution and ensuring that this requirement is met before you submit the application.  


Does the accountant’s certificate of confirmation need to be an original document?

The accountant’s certificate of confirmation that you submit can be a digital or paper copy.  

part 3

Who needs to include an accountant’s certificate of confirmation?

For applications that include income from being self-employed as a sole trader, a partner, or as a franchise, an accountant’s certificate of confirmation will not be required if:

  1. The business is required to produce ‘annual audited accounts’; or
  2. You can provide a certificate of VAT registration and the VAT return for the last full financial year (a copy or print-out) confirming the VAT registration number if the turnover is more than £85,000 or was more than the threshold which applied during the last full financial year; OR
  3. You can provide evidence that appropriate planning permission or local planning authority consent is held to operate the type/class of business at the trading address (where this is a local authority requirement); OR
  4. You can provide a franchise agreement signed by both parties.

For applications that are including income from a specified limited company, an accountant’s certificate of confirmation is required if the business is not required to produce ‘annual audited accounts’. 

In 99%+ of applications, specified limited companies will not be required to produce annual audited accounts.

Typically, companies must produce annual audited accounts if they meet at least two of the following criteria for two consecutive years:

  • Annual turnover of more than £10.2 million.
  • Assets worth more than £5.1 million.
  • More than 50 employees on average.

If you are unsure whether the company in question is required to produce annual audited accounts, the best person to ask will be an accountant.

 part 4Which categories of income will not require you to submit an accountant’s certificate of confirmation?

If you are unfamiliar with the different Categories, you must familiarise yourself with them before submitting your application as this completely changes the calculation of income and required documentation.

We discuss the Categories in detail in our spouse visa UK financial requirements for 2024 article.

Category A#1 Partners including non-specified employment income under Category A. 

Category A is for employment income earned from non-specified limited companies only.  

This includes both salaried and non-salaried employment.  

This category is generally designed for individuals who have been employed with their current employer for longer than six months at the time of application.   

“What is a non-specified limited company?”

A non-specified limited company is technically one where any of the following does not apply:

  • The company is a UK limited company registered in the UK;
  • The person is a director or employee of the company, or both, or of another company within the same group;
  • Shares are held (directly or indirectly) by the applicant, their partner or the following family members of the person or their partner: parent, grandparent, child, stepchild, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece or first cousin; and
  • Any remaining shares are held either directly or indirectly by fewer than five other persons.

Category B

#2 Partners including non-specified employment income under  Category B.

Like Category A, Category B is for employment income earned from a non-specified limited companies only and includes salaried and non-salaried employment.

Category B is designed for individuals who:

i) have been employed with their current employer for fewer than six months on the date of application 

OR

ii) Have been employed with their current employer for longer than six months on the date of application but do not meet the financial requirement due to the way that Category A is calculated.

More information on this can be found in this article.

Category C

#3 Partners including non-employment income under Category C.

Other sources of income fall under Category C.

These include non- employment income such as:

  • Dividend income or other income from investments, stocks and shares, bonds or trust funds (only if this is not from a ‘specified limited company’).
  • Maintenance payments from a former partner of the applicant in relation to the applicant or any children of the applicant and their former partner. Also, maintenance payments from a former partner of the applicant’s partner in relation to that partner.
  • Interest from savings.
  • Payments under the War Pensions Scheme, the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and the Armed Forces Attributable Benefits Scheme.
  • UK Maternity Allowance, Bereavement Allowance, Bereavement Payment and Widowed Parent’s Allowance.
  • Ongoing insurance payments.
  • Ongoing payments from a structured legal settlement.
  • Ongoing royalty payments.
  • A maintenance grant or stipend (not a loan) associated with undergraduate study or postgraduate study or research.

Category D

#4 Partners including cash savings under Category D.

Cash savings come under Category D and will generally only be accepted if they have been held for at least six months and meet these specifications: 

  • The savings are held in cash
  • The financial institution that holds the cash funds must be regulated by an appropriate regulatory body
  • The bank or savings account that holds the cash funds must be a current, deposit or an investment account
  • The savings can be immediately withdrawn
  • Regular bank account statements must be provided
  • The source of the funds must be legal
  • The statements must cover the necessary time period required in the Immigration Rules 
  • The funds must be under the control of the applicant and/or partner  
  • The source of the funds must be declared.

For more information on meeting the financial requirement via cash savings, check out our post “Cash Savings Guidance for 16000 – 62500+ Spouse & UK Partner visas in 2024“.

This article will also discuss the two exceptions regarding the six month cash savings requirement. 

Category E

#5 Partners including pension income under Category E. 

Gross annual income from a pension currently being received may be used under Category E.  

Category F

#6 Partners including self-employment or specified limited company income under Category F or G who are required to produce ‘annual audited accounts’.

As we discussed above, an accountant’s certificate of confirmation is only required where a company is not required to produce annual audited accounts. 

Want help?

Our comprehensive full legal representation service caters to partners seeking to optimise their application process with minimal time and stress. Tailored to your specific needs and situation, our bespoke service entails dealing your application from beginning to end.

This service is offered by Ed Lowe, Matthew French and Wendy Foy – all of whom have worked for the Home Office – the UK government department that will process your application. 

If you would like further help with your visa application, feel free to check out our DIY Application Pack service which will provide you with: 

  • Tailored document checklist(s);
  • Tailored letter templates;
  • Tailored written guidance; and 
  • General email support. 

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