Adequate Maintenance Guidance for UK visas [2021 REQUIREMENTS]

Want the latest COVID-19 updates as they relate to UK partner visas?

We discuss this in detail in our Partner & Spouse visa Coronavirus (COVID-19) update article.

In this article, we are going to discuss the adequate maintenance test & requirement for UK partner and parent visas.

Please note

As we discuss below, the adequate maintenance test only applies to applications where certain ‘permitted benefits’ are received.

If none of the ‘permitted benefits’ are received, then the adequate maintenance test does not apply.

Instead, you will be required to meet the minimum income threshold of £18,600 (or higher, if you are also applying with dependant children).

For applications where the adequate maintenance does not apply, this spouse visa UK financial requirements for 2021 article will be helpful.

This article is split into the following 6 steps

Find out whether the adequate maintenence test applies to your case

Find out what the ‘adequate maintenance’ test and requirement is (A – B ≥ C)

Calculate your ‘weekly net income’, which is part A of the equation

Calculate your weekly ‘housing costs’, which is part B of the equation

Calculate the ‘Income Support’ entitlement, which is part C of the equation

Find out what documents are required for the Adequate Maintenance Test

Spouse visa DIY Application Pack

step 1Find out whether the ‘adequate maintenance test’ applies to your case

The adequate maintenance test only applies in cases where the sponsor (the ‘UK partner’) who receives one of the following ‘permitted’ benefits

  • Disability Living Allowance.
  • Severe Disablement Allowance.
  • Industrial Injury Disablement Benefit.
  • Attendance Allowance.
  • Carer’s Allowance.
  • Personal Independence Payment.
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.
  • Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme.

#1 This article is for those who are applying for a UK visa on the 5 year route to settlement applications, including:

  • Spouse visa UK (spouse visa applications being made inside the UK)
  • FLR M visa (spouse visa applications being made inside the UK)
  • Fiancé(e) visa UK & proposed civil partnership visa
  • Unmarried partner visa
  • Parent of a child in the UK visa
  • A child whose parent is applying for, or has been granted, entry clearance or leave to remain as a partner and the parent’s partner ( ie the UK sponsor) receives a specified benefit
  • A child whose parent is applying for, or has been granted, entry clearance or leave to remain as a parent
  • Adult dependent relative applying for Indefinite Leave to Enter or Remain
  • Indefinite leave to remain in one of the above categories

#2 This article does not apply to those who are on the 10-year route to settlement

Most applications where the partner or parent visa requirements are met are made under the 5-year route to settlement.

There are, however, some partners and parents who are on the 10-year route to settlement.

Most typically, where a partner or parent visa is made from inside the UK and the financial or English language requirements are not met, the partner or parent will be put on a 10-year route.

This article does not apply to applications submitted under the following routes:

    • The 10 year partner route;
    • The 10 year parent route;
    • Those applying on the basis of their private life (these can be incredibly complicated applications!); or
    • Those who have exceptional circumstances and are asking the Home Office to discretionally grant their visa not on the basis of the Immigration Rules.

step 2What is the ‘adequate maintenance’ test & requirement?

In short, the adequate maintenance test/requirement will require you and your partner to prove that the level of income available to your family unit (after income tax, National Insurance contributions and housing costs have been deducted), is equal or exceeds the level of Income Support an equivalent British family of your size is eligible for. 

In other words, you need to make sure that you satisfy the following adequate maintenance calculation:

The adequate maintenance calculation

A – B ≥ C
(A minus B is greater than or equal to C)

A is the net income (after deduction of income tax and National Insurance contributions);

B is housing costs (what needs to be spent on accommodation)

C is the amount of Income support an equivalent family unit can receive in the UK.

OK, I know that will not make much sense to you at first and you are probably wondering the following questions:

What income can I include in the application?”

“How do I calculate the amount of income that I can use in the application?!”

“What housing costs do I have to include?!”

“What is the income support figure for my application?!”

“How do I find out what documents to include?”

We will discuss each of the above in this article below.

Spouse visa DIY Application Pack


step 3

Calculate your ‘weekly net income’, which is part A of the equation

To remind you…

The adequate maintenance calculation

A – B ≥ C
(A minus B is greater than or equal to C)

A is the net income (after deduction of income tax and National Insurance contributions);

B is housing costs (what needs to be spent on accommodation)

C is the amount of Income Support an equivalent family unit can receive in the UK.

It is worth stressing that the calculation of income under Categories A-G, as discussed in the Appendix FM 1.7 document, does not generally apply to the way income under the adequate maintenance is calculated.

This is because Categories A-G are mostly concerned with how to calculate the ‘gross annual income’ from different sources of income.

The adequate maintenance test, on the other hand, is concerned about the ‘weekly net income’.

The word ‘net‘ here refers to the amount of income left after income tax and National Insurance contributions have been deducted from the gross income.


So what can be included as net income?

You can only include certain permitted sources of net income under the adequate maintenance requirement test.

These are:

employment income#1 You can include income from salaried or non-salaried employment (from a non-specified limited company)

Net income from salaried or non-salaried employment in a non-specified limited company can be included towards the adequate maintenance test – if the employed person is in the UK with permission to work.

Therefore, this means that applicants who do not have a UK visa cannot include their employment income towards the adequate maintenance calculation.

What is a ‘non-specified limited company’?

A non-specified limited company is a company that is:

  • A limited company that is registered outside of the UK; OR
  • A limited company that is registered inside the UK (that provides the applicant or sponsor with an income) where shares of this company are NOT held (directly or indirectly) by the applicant, sponsor, or by family members of the applicant or sponsor; OR
  • A limited company that is registered inside the UK (that provides the applicant or sponsor with an income) where shares of this company ARE held (directly or indirectly) by the applicant, sponsor, or by family members of the applicant or sponsor, but there are MORE than four other persons that hold shares.

We discuss income from a specified limited company in #2 below.


#2 You can include income from a ‘specified limited company’

Income here can be employment income and/or dividend income.

What is ‘specified limited company’?

A specified limited company is defined in paragraph 9(a) of Appendix FM-SE as one in which:

  • The limited company is a company that is registered in the UK; AND
  • The person is either a director or employee of the company, or both, or of another company within the same group; AND
  • Shares are held (directly or indirectly) by the person, 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 (directly or indirectly) by fewer than five other persons.

Note the word ‘and‘ here – all of these must be present in order to fall under the category of a specified limited company’.


cash savings

#3 You can include cash savings

You may rely fully or partly on cash savings held by you, your sponsor, or jointly, to meet the adequate maintenance requirement requirement.

There is not a specified minimum level of cash savings that you will need to have in order to include cash savings towards the adequate maintenance requirement.

Unlike cases where the adequate maintenance test does not apply, you do not need to be in possession of at least £16,000.

However, the supporting documents to evidence your cash savings must meet the following specifications:

  • The level of cash funds must have been held by you, your sponsor, or jointly, for at least 6 consecutive months prior to the date the application is submitted
  • The funds must be under your, your sponsor’s, or joint control
  • The funds must be held in a cash/savings account which allows immediate access to the funds (it does not matter if there are any withdrawal penalty fees)

For further information about the cash savings requirements, feel free to read our 62500 spouse visa cash savings article.


#4 You can include pension income 

Pension income can be from a State pension (UK Basic State Pension and Additional or Second State Pension, HM Forces Pension or foreign). Alternatively it can be from an Occupational or private pension.

A pension can be from the UK or from outside the UK and can be received by you or your sponsor.

With this being said, certified translations must be provided if the supporting documents are not in English or Welsh.


self employment income#5 You can include income from self-employment as a sole trader, in a partnership or as a franchise

It is important that you are familiar with the definition of self-employment under the Immigration Rules.

This is because the supporting documents required and the calculation of income is different depending on whether you are self-employed or the director/employee of a specified limited company.

According to the Immigration Rules, only those who are self-employed as a sole trader, in a partnership or as a franchise are self-employed.

If income is earned from a private or public limited company, this will not be considered self-employment.


permitted benefits#6 You can include benefit/allowance income from the sources below:

  • Carer’s Allowance.
  • Disability Living Allowance.
  • Severe Disablement Allowance.
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
  • Attendance Allowance.
  • Personal Independence Payment.
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.
  • Constant Attendance Allowance, Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme.
  • Police Injury Pension.
  • Working tax credit,
  • Child tax credit,
  • Child benefit,
  • Income-related benefits,
  • Contributory benefits,
  • Benefits payable to armed forced veterans and their partner

other sources#7 You can include the following sources of income (these are called ‘non-employment income’ by the Home Office):

  • Property rental;
  • Dividends (from a non-specified limited company) or other income from investments, stocks and shares, bonds or trust funds.
  • Interest from savings;
  • Maintenance payments –  from your former partner or the former partner of your UK sponsor in relation to yourself or your UK sponsor, or your children or those of your UK sponsor.
  • UK Maternity Allowance, Bereavement Allowance, Bereavement Payment and Widowed Parent’s Allowances.
  • Payments under the War Pensions Scheme, the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and the Armed Forces Attributable Benefits Scheme.
  • A maintenance grant or stipend (not a loan) associated with undergraduate study or postgraduate study or research.
  • Ongoing insurance payments.
  • Ongoing payments from a structured legal settlement.
  • Ongoing royalty payments.

What cannot be included as net income?

Let us now explore which sources cannot be used.

#1 Financial support from a third party

Promises of third party financial support cannot be counted.

The Home Office’s reason for this is that this is because there may be a change in that third party’s circumstances, or a change with your relationship to that third party.

However, there are some exceptions which are permitted sources of third party support.

“What are the exceptions to the no financial support from third-party rule?”

The exceptions are:

  • A gift of cash savings in an account held and controlled by you, your partner or jointly, for at least 6 months at time of application
  • Alimony payments or maintenance payments from a former partner
  • An academic grant or stipend (one that is not a loan)

#2 Any potential future entitlement to benefits after your arrival in the UK


#3 Employment income from potential employment


The next question is…

How should I calculate the weekly net income?

#1 First of all, please note the following general things about calculating weekly net income

The Home Office guidance specifically states ‘net’ income (after Income Tax and National Insurance contributions).

This is different to non-adequate maintenance applications where the Home Office is generally considered with ‘gross annual’ income.

What ultimately matters is the ‘current total weekly income’

This means therefore that the standard Category A-G applications (as seen in non-adequate maintenance calculations) do not generally apply.

If the weekly net income varies, a weekly ‘mean’ average must be calculated

For those who cannot remember what was taught in GCSE maths (including myself), a ‘mean’ average can be calculated by adding up all the numbers, then divide by how many numbers there are.

For example, if we want to calculate the mean weekly average of the income from the following three weeks:

  • £500 (week 1)
  • £400 (week 2)
  • £300 (week 3)

… then we add up all of the income and then divide by 3 (since there are 3 weeks that we want to calculate the mean average of).

£1,200 divided by 3=£400.

£400 is therefore the weekly average (the ‘mean average’) based on the above figures.

Where the weekly net income is calculated to a part of a penny , the figure should always be rounded down and not up.

Let’s take the example of £100.016.

This must be rounded down to £100.01 – it should not be rounded up (which would be £100.02).


employment income

#2 If you want to include non-specified limited company employment income…

We discussed the difference between specified limited companies and non-specified limited companies in step 3 of this article.

Since this is a very important distinction, you need to make sure that you understand whether the relevant employing company is a non-specified limited company or a specified limited company.

For employment income from a non-specified limited company, you want to work out the equivalent weekly amount (after income tax and National Insurance) have been paid based on the employment income that you have received.

The following are steps that you should follow for each source of employment.

Step 1 – First you have to know what the relevant time period is for the employment income that you can use in the calculation 

“My current employer will have employed me for 6 months or longer by the time I submit the online application…”

If you have been employed with the current employer for 6 months or longer, then you will want to use the past 6 month’s employment income as the relevant time period.

Example

Steve has been employed for 4 years with his current employer doing the same job.

Steve intends to submit the online application sometime in October 2021.

Therefore, the relevant time period will be 6 months before the date he submits the online application.


“My current employer has employed me for fewer than 6 months by the time I submit the online application…”

If you have been employed with the current employer for fewer than 6 months, then you will want to use the period since you started employment as the relevant time period.

Example

Sarah started her job on 14th January 2021.

Sarah plans to submit the online application on 18th February 2021.

Therefore, the relevant time period to calculate the equivalent weekly amount (after income tax and National Insurance has been paid) will be 14th January  2021 – 18th February 2021.


Step 2 – If you have received the same amount of employment income throughout the relevant time period (6 months or less), then you can use this figure in order to calculate the equivalent weekly amount.

Weekly income example

Angela has been employed for 3 months.

Since day 1, she received a weekly income of £438 (after income tax and National Insurance has been paid).

Therefore, the amount she can use towards the adequate maintenance requirement will be a weekly amount of £438.

Monthly income example 

Mark has been employed for 8 months.

In the last 6 months, Mark received a monthly income of £2,000.

Since the same amount of employment income was received in the relevant time period (6 months), Mark can use this figure in order to calculate the equivalent weekly amount.

Therefore, Mark will want to calculate the equivalent weekly amount based on the monthly income.

In order to do this, he should do the following:

  • £2,300 x 12 (in order to calculate the annual amount based on the monthly figure) = £27,600.
  • £27,600 divided by 52 (in order to calculate the weekly amount based on the annual figure) = £530.76.

Therefore, the amount he can use towards the adequate maintenance requirement will be a weekly amount of £530.76.

In order to calculate the weekly income based on the monthly income, it would be wrong to simply divide the monthly figure by 4.

This is because of the varying amount of days there are in months of the year.


Step 3 – If you have received a variable (different) amount of employment income throughout the relevant time period (6 months or less), then you must calculate a weekly mean average.

In order to calculate a weekly mean average, you should do the following:

  1. Add up all of the employment income received in the last 6 months (note: employment does not need to have been held for 6 months);
  2. Divide the total by the number of weeks employment has been held (up to a maximum period of 6 months).

Example

Hannah has been in employment since 1st January 2021.

She intends to submit the application on the 28th January 2021.

Hannah received £2000 in total (after paying income tax and national insurance) during the 4 weeks from 1st January 2021 to 28th January 2021.

£2000 divided by 4 (the number of weeks employment has been held)  = £500 weekly net income.

Therefore, the amount of employment income that Hannah can include towards the adequate maintenance requirement is £500/week.

Tip: in order to calculate how many weeks there are between two dates, you can use this rather useful website.


Step 4 – If the above figures are based on gross employment (i.e. does not take into account income tax and National Insurance), then this must be accounted for in the weekly employment income figure


#3 If you want to include employment and/or dividend income from a specified limited company…

Step 1 – You have to first know what the gross amount of employment and/or dividend income that you or your partner received in the specified limited company’s most recent full financial year.

The specified limited company’s most recent full financial year will be as stated in the company tax return CT600 document.

It is again important to note that you’ll likely need an accountant in order to meet the accountant’s certificate of confirmation requirement.


Step 2 – Then, in order to calculate the net income, deduct any income tax and national insurance contributions from this figure.


Step 3 – Then, divide this figure by 52 in order to calculate the weekly net income that can be included towards the adequate maintenance requirement calculation.

In your application, you must provide evidence of on-going employment as a director or employee of the company.

If you are unable to do this (i.e. because you sold the specified limited company or the specified limited company has stopped trading), then you will not be able to include your specified limited company income towards the adequate maintenance requirement.


cash savings#4 If you want to include cash savings…

“How is cash savings converted into a weekly net income figure that can be used towards the adequate maintenance equation?”

Where cash savings are used fully or partly to meet the adequate maintenance requirement, the Home Office caseworker will use the following calculation:

(a) Establish the total cash savings which meet the requirements;
(b) Divide this figure by the number of weeks of limited leave which would be issued if the application were granted (or by 52 if the application is for indefinite leave to enter or remain);
(c) Add the figure to the weekly net income (in part A of the calculation).

Cash savings can be used to meet the adequate maintenance test in full or it can be combined with other income sources (e.g. employment income or benefit income).

Let’s break these steps down…

Step 1 – (a) Establish the total cash savings which meet the requirements;

As discussed in our cash savings article here, if the total savings figure fluctuates over the period of 6 months prior to the date of the application, decision makers should use the lowest figure evidenced for that period.

Unlike cases where the adequate maintenance test does not apply, you can use all cash savings (even if it is below £16,000) in order to meet the financial requirement.

Example

The following are Patrick’s lowest cash savings figures in each of the 6 months prior to submitting the online application:

Month 1: £2111

Month 2: £4126

Month 3: £5156

Month 4: £1103

Month 5: £3345

Month 6: £4123

The amount of cash savings that can be included in the application here will be £1103, assuming that the 2021 cash savings requirements are met.


Step 2 – (b) Divide this figure by…

  • 130 (if you are making a FLR (M) visa application inside the UK as a married partner, unmarried partner or civil partner; or
  • 143 (if the spouse visa UK, unmarried partner or civil partner visa application is made outside the UK);
  • 52 (if the application is for indefinite leave to remain or enter);
  • 24 (if a fiancé visa UK or proposed civil partner application is being made).

“Hold on, did you say to only divide the figure by 24 for fiancé visas?”

That’s correct – and it does indeed make it relatively low threshold to satisfy the adequate maintenance requirement for fiancé visas.

This is because of paragraph 12B(b) of Appendix FM-SE which states that the total cash savings that meet the requirements of paragraphs 11 and 11A of Appendix FM-SE is to be divided by “the number of weeks of limited leave which would be issued if the application were granted”.

As stated by D-ECP.1.1. of Appendix FM, fiancé(e) and proposed civil partners are “granted entry clearance for a period not exceeding 6 months”.

6 months is 24 weeks.

But the Home Office guidance says that entry clearance applications are to be divided by 143 weeks, not 24?! Surely the Home Office guidance cannot be wrong?

The Appendix FM 1.7A Home Office guidance is indeed incorrect, which does not make a distinction between those applying as a fiancé(e) and those applying as a married/civil/unmarried partner:

appendix fm 1.7a wrong

Since Appendix FM-SE has primacy (i.e. takes priority) over Appendix FM 1.7A, ultimately it is what is stated in Appendix FM-SE that matters.

Therefore, for fiancé(e) visas, the relevant number is 24 and not 143.

Example

Let’s say that your sponsor has cash savings savings of £3,000.

£3000 is then divided by the number of weeks in the leave period granted.

If your UK spouse visa application is being made from outside the UK, £3,000/143 = £20.97 can be added to the weekly income in part A of the calculation.

If your FLR(M) visa application is being made from inside the UK, £3,000/130 = £23.07 can be added to the weekly income in part A of the calculation.


Step 3 – Write this figure down!

This is the amount that you can include towards part A of the adequate maintenance equation.


self employment income

#5 If you want to include self-employment income as a sole trader, as a partnership or in a franchise…

Step 1 – You have to first know what your gross taxable profits are from your share of the business in the relevant financial year(s), not including any deductible allowances, expenses or liabilities which may be applied to the gross taxable profits to establish the final tax liability.

This is something that your accountant will know.

You will likely need an accountant in order to meet the accountant’s certificate of confirmation requirement.

The relevant financial year, for those who are self-employed in the UK (as sole traders, as a partnership or in a franchise), is the period of 6 April – 5 April that most recently passed.


Step 2 – Then, in order to calculate the net income, deduct any income tax and national insurance contributions from this figure. 


Step 3 – Then, divide this figure by 52 in order to calculate the weekly net income that can be included towards the adequate maintenance requirement calculation.

Please note

In your application, you must provide evidence of on-going self-employment.

If you are unable to do this (i.e. because you stopped being a self-employed person since the end of the most recent full financial year), then you will not be able to include your self-employment income towards the adequate maintenance requirement.


#6 If you want to include non-employment income…

The general rule is that the amount of income from non-employment sources of income that you can include the amount towards the adequate maintenance requirement is based on the amount received in 12 months prior to submitting the online application.

Therefore:

  1. First total the amount received from non-employment income sources in the 12 months prior to submitting the online application.
  2. Deduct any income tax and national insurance contributions are paid or owed (if relevant)
  3. Divide the total by 52, which will provide you with the weekly mean average that you can include towards the adequate maintenance calculation.

There are also a few things that should be noted regarding including non-employment sources of income.

i) The assets or savings must be in the name of the applicant, sponsor or by the applicant and sponsor jointly.

ii) Any non-employment income assets or savings must be held or owned by the applicant, sponsor or by the applicant and sponsor jointly when the online application is submitted.


#7 If you want to include pension income…

As long as pension income from the applicant and/or sponsor has become a source of income at least 28 days prior to the online application being submitted, this pension income can be included towards the adequate maintenance calculation.

You should do the following in order to calculate the amount of pension income that can be included towards the adequate maintenance requirement.

  • If you receive the pension monthly, multiply the amount received by 12 and then divide the figure reached by 52.
  • If you receive the pension weekly, then use this figure
  • In order to work out the weekly net income, you must then minus any income tax and national insurance contributions (if relevant) from this figure.

This is the weekly net amount that you can use towards the adequate maintenance requirement under part A of the equation.


#8 If you want to include benefit-related income…

The amount that you can include towards the adequate maintenance requirement is the amount that is currently being received when you submit the online application.

Therefore, if you receive the benefit-related income weekly, you can use this figure towards the adequate maintenance equation.

If, on the other hand, you receive the benefit-related income monthly, multiply this by 12 and then divide the result by 52 in order to calculate the weekly figure that can be included towards the adequate maintenance equation.

Spouse visa DIY Application Pack

step 4Calculate your weekly ‘housing costs’, which is part B of the equation

The next step for you would be to calculate the housing costs for the accommodation in the UK in which the applicant lives or will live with the UK partner, if the application is granted.

This figure should include other family members who are or will be part of the same household.

The adequate maintenance calculation

A – B ≥ C
(A minus B is greater than or equal to C)

A is the net income (after deduction of income tax and National Insurance contributions);

B is housing costs (what needs to be spent on accommodation)

C is the amount of Income Support an equivalent family unit can receive in the UK.


What housing costs have to be included in the adequate maintenance calculation?

There are three main costs that will need to be included and evidenced:

  • Rent;
  • Council Tax; and
  • Mortgage payments

Remember – only deduct the weekly housing costs – personal debt should not be taken into consideration in the calculation.


How do I calculate the housing costs for the purposes of the adequate maintenance calculation?

You will want to calculate the weekly figure for housing costs.

Therefore:

i) If the housing costs are paid annually, divide the annual amount by 52 in order to reach the weekly figure that can be included in the adequate maintenance calculation.

ii) If the housing costs are paid monthly, multiply the housing costs by 12 and then divide the figure that you reach by 52 in order to reach the weekly figure that can be included in the adequate maintenance calculation.

Where the weekly equivalent of income or housing costs is calculated to part of a penny, decision makers should always round this figure down.

It’s important to note that the costs that you include towards the adequate maintenance requirement must be based on evidence that is submitted.

If you fail to provide sufficient documentation to evidence the housing cost figures, then unfortunately, your application is likely to be refused.


step 5Calculate the Income Support entitlement, which is part C of the equation

The final step in the adequate maintenance calculation is the amount of “Income Support an equivalent British family of that size can receive”.

The adequate maintenance calculation

A – B ≥ C
(A minus B is greater than or equal to C)

A is the net income (after deduction of income tax and National Insurance contributions);

B is housing costs (what needs to be spent on accommodation)

C is the amount of Income Support an equivalent family unit can receive in the UK.

The starting point will be the Rightsnet.org.uk 2020-2021 benefits rates poster, which can be found at this link.

Do not use the link provided for in the Home Office guidance, as it is out of date.

The gov.uk page on Income Support can be found here.

The personal allowances element is something that you will likely be entitled to.

The poster lists the entitlement amount for couples, both 18 or over as £114.85.

There are, however, other ‘premiums’ listed here:

Premiums Weekly entitlement amount
Carer £37.50
Disability (Single) £34.95
Disability (Couple) £49.80
Enhanced disability (Couple) £24.50
Severe disability £66.95
Pensioner couple £148.40
Personal allowance (Children) £68.27
Family premium (Children) £17.60
Disabled child premium (Children) £65.52
Enhanced disability premium (Children) £26.60

Which of these premiums do I have to include?

Like many aspects of the Home Office guidance (& Immigration Rules), the guidance is quite ambiguous about this.

On the one hand, there are a couple lines in the Home Office guidance that seems to suggest that it only takes into account the size of the family.

This is seen on page 7 of Appendix FM 1.7A which states:

Calculate how much a British family unit (of equivalent size to the sponsor and their family unit) would receive if they were in receipt of Income Support (C).

Similarly, the words “equivalent sized” are also used on pages 9, 11, 23 & 24.

On the other hand, it is our view that the Income Support level to be used in the calculation is the amount of income support that you and your family specifically will be able to receive (as a British family).

This is also in line with the only case law cited in Appendix FM 1.7A where the judge states that there are good reasons for the adequate maintenance calculation to take into account the particular circumstances of the applicant and sponsor’s family unit (at paragraph 8).

Therefore, we would recommend looking into and evidencing the amount of income support that your family will be able to receive, assuming they are all British.

The Home Office caseworker is unlikely going to be an expert on Income Support and so such evidence will certainly help.


step 6Find out what documents are required for the Adequate Maintenance Test

The adequate maintenance documents that you are required to submit is something that is dependant on your particular income sources, housing costs and entitlement to income support.

There are two main sources of information that will tell you what financial documents are required – Appendix FM-SE and Appendix FM 1.7a.

What is Appendix FM-SE?

Since Appendix FM-SE is part of the Immigration Rules (unlike Appendix FM 1.7A), Appendix FM-SE is the most important source of information as it relates to the adequate maintenance requirement.


What is Appendix FM 1.7A?

Appendix FM 1.7A is a helpful Home Office document that discusses the adequate maintenance requirement.

The english used in this document is relatively understandable and should absolutely be read if you or your partner receive a permitted benefit which means that the adequate maintenance requirement will apply.


Will be application be successful if I only submit the financial documents listed on the online application website?

In some cases, yes, the online application website will provide you with the documents that you will be required to submit.

In other cases, however, it will not tell you some mandatory (& other important) documents.

If you submit an application without a mandatory document, it is important to know that the starting position of the Home Office caseworker is to refuse the application.

Sure, the Home Office caseworker may decide to get into contact with you and ask for required documents that were not submitted, but this should absolutely not be relied on – especially since, more often than not, applications are instead straight-out refused.

It is for this reason why you should read the guidance to absolutely ensure that:

  1. Mandatory and other helpful documentation are submitted; and
  2. All documents submitted comply with the specific immigration rules that apply to certain documentation.

Can you help me with our my application?

If you would like assistance with your application from start to finish, we offer a full legal representation service for £1,850.

This service is offered by our Head of Immigration, Ed Lowe, who worked in the Home Office for 20+ years (with many of those years being a senior Home Office executive).

Spouse visa DIY Application Pack

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the rules relating to the adequate maintenance documents different to other applications?

The Immigration Rules for adequate maintenance applications are indeed different to minimum income threshold applications.

What happens if I do not satisfy the adequate maintenance requirement?

Unfortunately, those who do not satisfy the adequate maintenance requirement will likely be refused.

Do adequate maintenance applications automatically get a fee waiver?

Unfortunately, no. Only those who are able to satisfy the Home Office caseworker that they are destitute can obtain a fee waiver.

Can incomes be combined to satisfy the adequate maintenance test?

Yes. The majority of permitted income sources can be combined to satisfy the adequate maintenance test.

Summary

The adequate maintenance requirement, at first look, looks somewhat complicated.

However, most partners will understand the adequate maintenance requirement if they take the time to sit down and read the guidance. 

The general rules regarding Categories A-F should be somewhat disregarded – what ultimately matters is that A (the total weekly net income when the application is submitted) – B (the total weekly housing costs when the application is submitted) must be greater or equal to C (the amount of income support an equivalent British family of your size will be entitled to receive).

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