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 answer the most common questions regarding using cash savings for UK partner visas in 2021.
We will answer:
- What is the minimum amount of cash savings that can be included towards the financial requirement?
- How much cash savings do you need to meet the minimum income threshold (usually £18,600) alone?
- What sources of income can be combined with cash savings?
- What sources of income cannot be combined with cash savings?
- How do you calculate cash savings?
- What are the cash savings requirements in 2021?
- Do cash savings need to be in a bank account for at least 6 months?
This guide is for those who want to apply for one of the following UK visas:
- UK spouse visa
- Application for further leave to remain as a partner – FLR(M)
- Unmarried partner visa
- Fiancé visas
- Civil partner visas
What is the minimum amount of cash savings that can be included towards the financial requirement?
If you do not receive a ‘permitted benefit’, the minimum amount of cash savings that you will be able to include in your partner visa application is £16,000.
The following are permitted benefits:
- Disability Living Allowance;
- Industrial Injury Disablement Benefit;
- Severe Disablement Allowance;
- Personal Independence Payment;
- Attendance Allowance; Carer’s Allowance;)
- Constant Attendance Allowance,
- Armed Forces Independence Payment or Guaranteed Income Payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme; and
- Mobility Supplement or War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme.
If you receive one of the above benefits, then the adequate maintenance test applies.
How much cash savings do you need to meet the minimum income threshold (usually £ 18,600) alone?
This varies depending on whether you are applying with any dependent children who are not British or EEA nationals.
If you are NOT applying with any dependent children…
…you will need £62,500 in cash savings to meet the financial requirement using only cash savings.
There are exceptions to this if the UK partner receives a permitted benefit – in which case the required amount of cash savings will be lower.
If you are applying with dependent children who are under the age of 18 (who are also not British or an EEA nationals)…
…you will need more than £62,500 in cash savings in order to meet the financial requirement using only cash savings.
Again, this is the case unless the UK partner receives a permitted benefit.
In such a case, the amount required will be much lower.
What sources of income CAN be combined with cash savings?
#1 Employment Income under Category A
Category A is relied on by employed partners who have been employed by the current employer for longer than 6 months when the application is submitted.
Under Category A, you can combine employment income with cash savings in order to meet the financial requirement.
Nisha has been employed for longer than 6 months.
In the past 6 months, Nisha’s gross annual salary was £15,000.
Therefore, Nisha does not meet the financial requirement under Category A from employment income alone.
However, she can combine her cash savings of £40,000 with her employment income in order to satisfy the financial requirement.
We will discuss how cash income is calculated below.
#2 Employment Income under Category B
Category B is for employed partners who:
- Have been employed by the current employer for fewer than 6 months when the application is submitted; OR
- Have been employed by the current employer for longer than 6 months when the application is submitted BUT do not meet the financial requirement under Category A because of the way in which Category A calculates income.
There are two parts of Category B that must be met.
We discuss this in more detail elsewhere but in summary, part 1 of the test requires you to currently have a gross annual income that is higher than the financial threshold that applies (usually £18,600).
Cash savings can be combined with part 1 of the test.
Part 2 of the test requires that the application shows that an actual income has been received in the 12 months prior to submitting the online application that is higher than the financial threshold that applies (typically £18,600).
Cash savings cannot be combined with part 2 of the test.
Zack has been employed for fewer than 6 months.
When he intends to submit the application, his current gross annual salary is £17,000.
Zack can use cash savings of more than £16,000 to make up the shortfall of £1,600 (so that his gross annual income surpasses £18,600) in part 1 of the test.
However, in the past 12 months before the application is submitted, he has not received more than the amount required (£18,600) in employment income.
Despite the fact that Zack has cash savings of £45,000, he cannot use this in order to meet part 2 of the test.
Therefore, Zack would be advised to wait until he has been employed for longer than 6 months and then apply under Category A (due to the way in which Category A income is calculated).
#3 Non-employment Income
Non-employment income includes the following:
- Property rental
- Interest from savings
- Maintenance payments from your previous partner in respect of you or any children of you and your previous partner
- Dividends or other income from investments, stocks and shares, bonds or trust funds
- A maintenance grant or stipend (not a loan) associated with undergraduate study or postgraduate study or research.
- UK Maternity Allowance, Bereavement Allowance, Bereavement Payment and Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- Payments under the War Pensions Scheme, the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and the Armed Forces Attributable Benefits Scheme.
- Ongoing payments from a structured legal settlement.
- Ongoing insurance payments.
- Ongoing royalty payments.
Cash savings can be combined with non-employment income in order to meet the financial requirement.
Steve receives a gross annual income of £12,000 from property rental.
Accordingly, he does not meet the financial requirement from property rental income alone.
However, he can use combine his £54,000 cash savings with property rental income in order to meet the financial requirement.
#4 Pension Income
Pension income can also be used to satisfy the financial requirement.
The gross annual income from any State (UK Basic State Pension and Additional or Second State Pension, HM Forces Pension or foreign), occupational or private pension received by you or your UK partner, can contribute towards the financial requirement.
Cash savings can be combined with pension income in order to meet the financial requirement.
Jacob receives a gross annual income of £14,103 from his state pension income.
Therefore, he does not meet the financial requirement from his pension income alone.
He can, however, combine £44,300 in cash savings with his state pension income in order to meet the financial requirement.
What other sources of income CANNOT be combined with cash savings?
#1 Self-employment Income
The income from self-employment that the applicant (if they are in the UK with permission to work) or the sponsor (a.k.a. “UK partner) earn is the “gross taxable profits 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”.
It is important to note that cash savings cannot be used in order to meet the financial requirement in respect of self-employment.
Because as stated in Appendix FM 1.7:
“this would not be an accurate indicate of the real level of financial resources available to the couple. It could also lead to the same money being counted twice, once as earnings and later as savings”.
Patricia earns approximately £16,000 a year as a self-employed musician.
Accordingly, she does not satisfy the financial requirement from her self-employed income alone.
Whilst she has £35,000 in cash savings, unfortunately, she cannot combine this with her self-employment income.
Patricia therefore does not satisfy the financial requirement.
#2 Employment income from a ‘Specified Limited Company’
As mentioned in our post, Most Common 19 Marriage Visa Mistakes, it is incredibly important that you are aware of whether your employment income is from a ‘specified limited company’ or not.
You will be considered to be an employee of a specified limited company if:
- You are an employee of a UK limited company (or an employee of a company within the same group); and
- Shares of the employing company are held (directly or indirectly) by the applicant, sponsor or family members of the applicant or sponsor; and
- The remaining shares are held (directly or indirectly) by fewer than five other persons.
‘Family’ here includes parents, grandparents, children, stepchildren, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces or first cousins.
Lewis is an employee of his father’s company.
Since shares are held by fewer than five other persons, the company is a specified limited company.
In the company’s last full financial year (as stated in the most recent company tax return), Lewis earned a gross annual salary of £17,000.
Despite having £40,000 in cash savings, Lewis would be advised to ensure that he earns a gross annual salary of more than £18,600 in the company’s next full financial year since cash savings cannot be combined with his employment income in this case.
How do you calculate cash savings?
If you are applying as a Partner or Child under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules, you can calculate cash savings using the below formula:
The cash savings formula
- Identify the lowest figure as seen in the bank account in the 6 months prior to submitting the online application
- Minus 16,000 from this figure
- Divide this amount by 2.5
Nancy wishes to apply for entry clearance as a spouse.
Nancy’s husband, Roger, received inheritance of £40,500 six months ago in a new bank account.
The cash savings never went below £40,500.
Therefore, the lowest figure as seen in the bank account in the 6 months is £40,500.
£40,500 minus £16,000 is £24,500.
£24,500 divided by 2.5 is £9,800.
Nancy and Roger can therefore include £9,800 towards the financial requirement using cash savings.
Since Roger earns a gross annual income of £15,000 from employment, he meets the financial requirement by combining employment income and cash savings.
To give you a quick idea whether you have enough cash savings, we have created the following table:
Cash saving example table
|Cash savings||Amount that can be included towards the financial requirement|
- the above table is based on the UK partner not receiving a permitted benefit
- the above table does not apply to Indefinite Leave to Remain applications.
The amount of cash savings that you can include towards the financial requirement is the lowest figure that the cash savings reached in the 6 months prior to submitting the online application.
Jeremy wants to satisfy the financial requirement using his cash savings only.
He wants to submit the spouse visa application in June.
The following are based on the bank statements that he has just received:
January’s lowest cash savings figure: £75,000
February’s lowest cash savings figure: £75,000
March’s lowest cash savings figure: £25,000
April’s lowest cash savings figure: £75,000
May’s lowest cash savings figure: £75,000
June’s lowest cash savings figure: £75,000
In the above example, the amount of cash savings that can be included towards the financial requirement (if the application is to be submitted in June) will be £25,000.
If Jeremy has no other sources of income, he would be advised to wait 3 months until the lowest figure throughout the 6 months prior to submitting the online application is above the required amount.
Because the cash savings relied on “must be held throughout the period of 6 months prior to the date of application”:
If the cash savings are not in British Pounds (GBP), it must be converted using the closing spot exchange rate that appears on www.oanda.com when you submit the application.
If the adequate maintenance test applies, cash savings is calculated in a slightly different way.
As stated in paragraph 12B of Appendix FM-SE, you will have to:
(a) Establish the total cash savings that can be used towards the financial requirement;
(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 this figure to the weekly net income (before the deduction of housing costs) available to meet the requirement.
What are the spouse visa cash saving requirements in 2021?
The following is an overview of the cash savings requirements that apply in 2021:
#1 The bank or savings account must be a current, deposit or an investment account;
#2 The account that holds the cash savings must be a financial institution (bank) that is regulated by the appropriate regulatory body for the country in which that institution is operating;
#3 Regular bank account or savings statements must be provided;
#4 The statements must cover the necessary time period required in the Immigration Rules (usually 6 months);
#5 The savings are held in cash (or their cash value is clear);
#6 The savings can be immediately withdrawn (with or without penalty);
#7 The funds must be under the control of the applicant and/or sponsor for the necessary time period required in the Immigration Rules, which is usually 6 months;
#8 The source of the funds must be legal;
We advise our clients to declare the source of the funds in their letter of support.
If you would like us to tailor you and your partner’s letter of supports, this is one of the many documents included in our DIY Application Pack Service.
Do cash savings need to be in the bank for 6 months?
The general rule is that cash savings must have been in the bank for 6 months or longer.
There are two circumstances when this is not the case:
#1 Sale of a house
If you or your partner have sold a house in the 6 months before your application, you can use these funds to count as your cash savings for the purposes of your application, as long as:
- The property is a residential property, any other building or land;
- The property (or share of the property) was owned by you, your partner or in joint names at the beginning of the 6 months period before the date of application;
- The funds in your bank must be the net sum of the sale, after any mortgage/loan secured on the property (share of the property) has been paid. Taxes and professional fees (such as legal fees) affiliated with the sale must also have been paid;
- If you share ownership of the property in question with another party, only the share you or your partner owned (individually or jointly) counts toward your cash savings.
To summarise, if at the date that the application is submitted, the cash savings held are proceeds of a property sale – then the period of time the property was owned (before it was sold) in the 6 months before the application can be counted toward the 6 month period.
So, any funds in your possession at the date of the application can have resulted from the sale of a property for the first part of the 6 month period before the date that the online application is submitted and as cash savings for the rest of the 6 months period as long as all the above requirements are met.
#2 Sale of Investments, Stocks, Shares, Bonds or Trust Funds
Under paragraph 11A(c) of Appendix FM-SE, any money held as cash savings by you, your partner, or by you both jointly at the date of the application can have been consigned from investments, stocks, shares, bonds or trust funds within the period of 6 month prior to the date of application, on the proviso that:
- The cash savings have been owned and controlled by you, your partner, or you both jointly for at least the period of 6 months before the date of application;
- The ownership of the aforementioned funds, the cash value of the funds at or before the 6 months period before the date of application, and the transfer of the funds into cash – are all verified by a portfolio report or other suitable documentation from a financial organisation regulated by the relevant regulatory body for the country in which that organisation is running;
- All other requirements of Appendix FM-SE are met in regards to cash savings held at the date of application, apart from that the 6 months period will be reduced by the amount of that period the applicable funds were held in the form of investments, stocks, shares, bonds or trusts funds.
To summarise, where cash savings have, in the past, been held as investments, stocks, shares, bonds or trust funds that are owned by and under the control of you, your partner, or by you both – this period of ownership can be counted towards the 6 month period.
Frequently Asked Questions
When does the financial requirement need to be met?
The financial requirement needs to be met on the date of application, which is the date the Home Office fees are paid on the online application website.
So it is fine if we spend the cash savings once the online application has been submitted?
That is correct. It is also worth noting that there is no requirement for you to continually satisfy the financial requirement throughout the duration of the visa.
What will happen if we do not meet the financial requirement?
Unfortunately, the most likely outcome is that your application will be refused.
What is the biggest cause of partner and parent visa refusals?
The financial requirement is the biggest cause of refusals. This is because the Immigration Rules insist that many certain rules 'must' be met.
If you do not receive a permitted benefit and do not have cash savings of more than £16,000, then unfortunately cash savings will be irrelevant to your UK partner visa application.
If you have more than £16,000 in cash savings, then this can be used to reduce the minimum income threshold (which is usually £18,600) or it can be used to meet the financial requirement of your spouse visa completely (if you have more than £62,500 in cash savings).
Please make sure that you satisfy the partner or spouse visa UK financial requirements, as it is unfortunately the biggest cause of refusal for partners.
If you are interested in our full legal representation service, our Head of Immigration, Ed Lowe, offers this for a fixed fee of £1,850. Ed has worked in the Home Office for 20+ years, with many of those years being a Senior Home Office executive.
If you would like a document checklist and set of letter templates that are tailored to your circumstances, we offer a £285 DIY Application Pack Service.
This has been successfully used in hundreds of cases and the feedback from our customers has been so good that we offer a 100% money-back guarantee.