Spouse Visa UK Financial Requirements 2021 Guidance

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 guide, we are going to discuss the spouse visa UK financial requirements in 2021.

Since the partner visas share many of the same Immigration Rules as they apply to the financial requirement, you should read this guide if you are applying for one of the following visas:

Spouse visa DIY Application Pack

 

This article covers 5 things that you NEED to know

Do you need to earn a £18,600? Is this amount higher or lower?

What income can you count to meet the financial requirement?

What Category is your income?

How exactly do you calculate your income?

Can you combine different sources of incomes?

What financial documents do you need to submit for your UK spouse visa?

 

but first…

What are the Spouse Visa UK Financial Requirements in 2021?

As stated in Paragraph A1 of Appendix FM-SE, the spouse visa UK financial requirements in 2021 are that:

  • You must meet the level of financial requirement that applies to your application (usually £18,600);
  • You must earn this income from a permitted source of income and savings;
  • You must earn this income in a specific time period; and
  • You must include specific evidence to support your application

Let’s now talk about these, in an easy-to-understand way. 

step 1
Do you need to earn £18,600?

The majority of applications will need to evidence a gross annual income of £18,600.

However, there are three factors that can affect this.

i) Whether there are dependant children who are also applying;

ii) Whether the applicant and/or sponsor have cash savings; and

iii) Whether the sponsor receives a permitted benefit.

We will now discuss each of these.

#1 If you have children, you may have to earn more than £18,600.

First of all, children who are either British, are European nationals or have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK will not affect the £18,600 financial requirement.

financial requirement children 2019

Rather, the £18,600 minimum income threshold will only be higher if:

  • A child needs a visa to stay in the UK and is applying as a dependant at the same time as the main applicant (the non-UK partner); or
  • A child needs a visa to stay in the UK and is applying as a dependant before the main applicant (the non-UK partner) reaches settlement; or
  • The UK partner (‘sponsor’) is already sponsoring a child

The financial requirement will be higher by £3,800 for the first child and an additional £2,400 for each further child.

Therefore:

  • If no children are applying with you, the financial requirement is £18,600.
  • If you have one child who is applying with you, the financial requirement will be £22,400.
  • If you have two children who are applying with you, the financial requirement will be £24,800.
  • If you have three children who are applying with you, the financial requirement will be £27,200.

#2 If you have cash savings of £16,000 or more, you may have to earn less than £18,600.

Cash savings of more than £62,500

If you or your UK partner have cash savings of more than £62,500, then this can meet the financial requirement alone, depending on whether the £18,600 requirement (or higher) applies to you.


Cash savings of more than £16,00 but less than £62,500

If you have cash savings of more than £16,000 but less than £62,500, then this can be used to reduce the financial requirement that applies to you.

For more information about the £16,000 – £62,500 spouse visa cash savings requirement in 2021, check out this article.


#3 If you receive a ‘permitted benefit’, then you will not need to earn £18,600 as a different test will apply. 

These permitted benefits are:

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

If you receive one of the above benefits, then you will need to meet the ‘adequate maintenance test’ instead.

For more information about the adequate maintenance requirement, check out our adequate maintenance guidance for 2021 article.

In this article, we provide a step-by-step account of how you can calculate whether you meet the spouse visa UK financial requirement in 2021.  

step 2

What sources of incomes can you include in order to meet the financial requirement?

Not all sources of income can be included towards the financial requirement.

We will now discuss 7 sources of income that can be used to meet the financial requirement.

These are:

employment incomeSource 1: Employment income

#1 For applications that are being made outside the UK, it is generally only the UK partner’s (aka ‘sponsor’s) employment income that can be counted towards the financial requirement.

Example

Asma (the ‘applicant’) is applying for a spouse visa outside the UK.

Despite the fact that she earns an equivalent of £80,000 per year as a doctor in Pakistan, she cannot include this to meet the financial requirement.


#2 For applications that are being made inside the UK (such as FLR M visa), the applicant’s employment income can be included if the applicant is lawfully in the UK with permission to work (e.g. on a Tier 2 visa).

Example

Jack is in the UK on a Tier 2 (General) visa and wants to apply for a spouse visa (FLR M visa) inside the UK.

As he is in the UK lawfully with permission to work, he can include his employment income towards the financial requirement.


#3 The UK partner’s employment income can be from working both inside and outside the UK.

If, however, the UK partner (a.k.a the “sponsor”) is employed overseas and is returning with the applicant to the UK, the sponsor will need a job offer in the UK that also exceeds the minimum income threshold of £18,600 (or higher, if dependant children are applying).


self employment incomeSource 2:  Self-employment income

In UK immigration law, self-employment income includes only those who are self-employed as a sole trader, as a partner and or in a franchise.

Self-employment should not be confused with those who earn an income from a UK limited company that they own – the documents required and calculation of gross annual income is completely different.

In most cases, company owners will be considered an employee/director of a specified limited company.

For more clarification regarding this, check out our article “Specified Limited Company Guidance [Sole Directors, Owners and Employees]“.

In this article, we provide a step-by-step process that you can follow to help identify whether the income is from ‘self-employment‘ (as defined by the Immigration Rules) or an income from a ‘specified limited company‘.



dividend incomeSource 3:  Dividend income

Dividend income can be included towards the financial requirement.

However, in the Immigration Rules, there are two types of dividend income:

  • Dividend income from a non-specified limited company; and
  • Dividend income from a specified limited company.

More information regarding specified limited companies can be found here.

This is important to know because requirements will differ depending on whether the dividend income is from a ‘specified limited company’ or a ‘non-specified limited company’.


cash savingsSource 4: Cash savings

If either the applicant or UK partner have cash savings of over £16,000, this could be used to either reduce the minimum income threshold amount (usually £18,600), or to satisfy it completely.

For those where the adequate maintenance test applies, there is no minimum amount of cash savings that is required.

For the majority of applications where the minimum income threshold of £18,600 applies, £62,500 is the amount of cash savings that is generally required to meet the financial requirement alone, although if there are dependant children applying, this figure will be higher.


Source 5: Pension income

Pension income received by either the applicant and UK partner (or both) can be included, provided the correct documents are submitted.

This can be a state pension (either from the UK or from abroad), an occupational pension or a private pension.


pension incomeSource 6: Property rental income

Property rental income can be included towards the financial requirement.

There are two main requirements that must be met in order to count this, being:

i) The property must be owned by you, your partner or in both of your names jointly

ii) The property must not be your main residence and must not be the residence that you intend to live in once the visa is granted.


other sourcesSource 7: Other sources of income

In the Immigration Rules, there are several sources of income that are grouped under the label of  ‘non-employment income’.

These include the following sources of income:

  • Dividends or other income from investments, bonds, trust funds or stocks and shares (from a non-specified limited company);
  • A maintenance grant or stipend (that is not a loan) which is given because of undergraduate or postgraduate research or study;
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance, Bereavement Payment, Bereavement Allowance & UK Maternity Allowance;
  • Interest from savings
  • Payments under the War Pensions Scheme, the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and the Armed Forces Attributable Benefits Scheme.
  • On-going royalty payments.
  • On-going payments from a structured legal settlement.
  • On-going insurance payments.

Spouse visa DIY Application Pack

 

step 3
What category does your income fall under?

The category that your income will fall under will depend on a few specific factors.

If your income relates to a limited company, it is also very relevant whether shares of this company are held by you, your partner or by family members of either you or your partner.

This is because the limited company may be a specified limited company.

Determining what category your income falls under is an important step that should not be overlooked, as not getting the right category right will likely result in a refusal of your application.

Note: The majority of this article relates to the majority of applications that do not receive a permitted benefit (e.g. Disability Living Allowance or Carer’s allowance).

A comprehensive account of the adequate maintenance requirement can be found here.


Why is it important to know what category our income falls under?

  • The documents required are completely different;
  • The calculation of the gross annual income is different;
  • Completely different rules apply; and
  • The relevant time period is different.

Therefore, getting the category wrong will unfortunately result in refusal!

What income do you want to include towards the financial requirement?

Employment income

Self-employment income

Dividend income

Cash savings

Pension income

Other income from investments, stocks and shares, bonds or trust funds

A permitted benefit

employment incomeEmployment income

#1 The first thing that you need to find out is whether your employment income is from a ‘specified limited company’ or not. 

If your employment income is not from a specified limited company, the relevant categories are Category A and Category B.

If your employment income is from a specified limited company, the relevant categories are Category F and Category G.

“Is my employer a specified limited company?”

As we discuss in detail here, if shares in the employing company are not held (either directly or indirectly) by you, your partner or by family members of you and your partner, the answer is no.

If you, your partner and/or family members of you and your partner own shares (either directly or indirectly) in the employing limited company, then your employer will be a specified limited company IF ‘the remaining shares are held by fewer than five other persons’.

In such a case, the relevant Category for you is Category F or Category G.

 “Who are ‘family members’?”

Family members here include: parents, grandparents, children, stepchildren, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and first cousins.

The definition of a specified limited company is found in paragraph 9(a) of Appendix FM-SE as one in which:

i) the person is either a director or employee of the company, or both, or of another company within the same group; and

ii) 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

iii) any remaining shares are held (directly or indirectly) by fewer than five other persons.

Non-specified limited company example #1 (i.e. Category A/B)

Susie is employed by a company where the shares of this company are solely held by her boss, who is not Susie’s relative.

Susie’s employment income therefore falls under Category A or B as this is not a specified limited company.


Non-specified limited company example #2 (i.e. Category A/B)

Patrick is employed by a limited company that is owned by a family member (his dad).

However, since there are 7 other people that own shares in the employing company, Patrick’s employment income can be counted under Category A or B.

This is not a specified limited company because the remaining shares [not including Patrick’s dad’s shares], are not held by ‘fewer than five other persons’.


Specified limited company example #1 (i.e. Category F/G) 

Steve intends to meet the financial requirement for a UK spouse visa based his salary from his UK limited company alone.

Since Steve owns all of the shares of the company, the employer is a specified limited company.

Steve will therefore have to include his income under Category F or Category G.


Specified limited company example #2 (i.e. Category F/G) 

Luke is employed by his sister’s UK limited company. Luke does not own shares in this company.

Other than Luke’s sister, there is only one other shareholder in the company.

Luke must therefore include his employment income under Category F or G because he is employed by a ‘specified limited company‘ AND ‘the remaining shares are held by fewer than five other persons’.


Employment income from a non-specified limited company in the UK

#1 If the employed partner has been employed with the current employer for longer than 6 months at the time the UK spouse visa Home Office fee is paid, then you should first consider if the financial requirement is met under Category A. 

If the employed partner has been employed with the current employer for longer than 6 months but does not meet the financial requirement under Category A, you should then consider if the financial requirement is met under Category B.

This is because employed partners who have been employed for more than 6 months can choose to rely on either Category A or B.


#2 If the employed partner has been employed with the current employer for fewer than 6 months at the time the UK spouse visa Home Office fee is paid, then you only have the option of applying under Category B.


Employment income from a specified limited company in the UK

If the employed partner is including employment income from a specified limited company, then you will have to apply under Category F or Category G.

What is the difference between Category F and Category G for those who are employed by a specified limited company”

Category F’s gross annual income is based on the last full financial year (as stated in the most recent CT600 company document).

Category G’s gross annual income is based on the average of the last two full financial years (as stated in the two most recent CT600 company documents).


Want some more clarification about the different categories? 

Our article “Category A or B, F or G? [UK Visa Financial Requirements Guide]” discusses this in more detail.

self employment incomeSelf-employment income

Self-employment income is defined by the Immigration Rules as those who are self-employed as a sole trader, in partnership or as a franchise.

Self-employment income is considered under Category F or Category G.

Employment income from a specified limited company should not be confused with income from self-employment – the two are completely different in the Immigration Rules.

“What is the difference between Category F and G for self-employed persons?”

Category F‘s gross annual income is based on the last full financial year (as stated in the most recent April 6 – April 5 personal tax year).

Category G‘s gross annual income is based  on the average of the last two full financial years (as stated in the two most recent April 6 – April 5 personal tax years).



dividend income

Dividend income

If dividend income is from a ‘specified limited company‘, this is included under Category F or Category G.

If dividend income is not from a ‘specified limited company’, this is included under Category C.


cash savingsCash savings

Cash savings is included under Category D.


pension incomePension

Pension income is included under Category E.


property rental incomeProperty rental

Property rental income is included under Category C as “non-employment income“.


other sourcesOther sources of income

The following are other sources of income that can be included under Category C as “non-employment income:

  • Dividend income or other income from investments, stocks and shares, bonds or trust funds (only if this is not from a ‘specified limited company’).
  • Interest from savings.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


permitted benefits I/we receive a PERMITTED BENEFIT

Categories A-G do not apply to those who receive one of the following permitted benefits:

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

This is because the ‘adequate maintenance test‘ will apply instead.

step 4
How is the gross annual income 
calculated under each of the Categories?

So now that you should know which category your income(s) fall under (if not, please read step 3 as this is important), the next step is to see exactly how the Home Office calculate gross annual income.

There are very specific formulas that will determine the amount of income that you can include in order to meet the financial requirement.

We will now discuss them below.

Which category are you applying under?

Category A

Category B

Category C

Category D

Category E

Category F

Category G

 

Category A
Category A (Employment income from a non-specified limited company)

#1 You must first determine whether the employment income is salaried or non-salaried.

Since the Home Office calculate salaried and non-salaried employment income completely differently, it is important to get this right.

Salaried employment

Salaried employment are typically jobs that have a contracted minimum number of working hours and are paid a minimum rate that is fixed (usually annually).

Example of salaried income

Claire is a teacher.

She has a signed employment contract that says she gets paid a basic amount of £23,500 a year.

She has to work 9-5 Monday to Friday and gets paid every 1st of the month.

Claire is in salaried employment.


Non-Salaried employment

Non-salaried employment are typically jobs that pay according to the amount of work undertaken.

The hours that are required of the employee to work may also vary from week-to-week.

Example of non-salaried income

Jacob works at a bar as a bartender.

He is on a zero hour contract and gets paid £8.43 for every hour that he works.

Jacob is in non-salaried employment.

#2 You multiply the lowest salary payment received in the 6 month’s prior to the application by 12 (if salary is received monthly) or by 52 (if the salary is received weekly).

Example

Salary received on January 1st: £2000 (gross)
Salary received on February 1st: £2000 (gross)
Salary received on March 1st: £1500 (gross)
Salary received on April 1st: £2000 (gross)
Salary received on May 1st: £2000 (gross)
Salary received on June 1st: £2000 (gross)

The lowest salaried payment received (£1,500) multiplied by 12 (since the salary is received monthly = £18,000 gross annual income.


#2 Add up the gross income that you have received from employment in the 6 months before you submit the application

#3 Divide this figure by 6

#4 Multiply this number by 12.

Example

Anne has been in non-salaried employment for 8 months.

The following are previous 6 months’ gross figures (as seen on her pay slips and bank statements):

February: £1,600
March: £1,700
April: £1,400
May: £1,500
June: £2,300
July: £1,700
Total: £10,200

£10,200 divided by 6 = £1,700

£1,700 multiplied by 12£20,400.

Anne’s gross annual income from non-salaried employment is therefore £20,400.

 

Note: for overseas sponsors who are employed abroad and are returning to the UK with the applicant, they must also have a job offer that exceeds the financial requirement that applies to them.

The overseas employment income should be converted using the closing spot exchange rate as stated on the Oanda website when you pay the Home Office fees on the online application.



Category BCategory B (Employment income from a non-specified limited company)

#1 You must first determine whether the employment is either salaried or non-salaried.

We provided an overview of this here, under the sub-heading ‘Category A (Income from a non-specified limited company).

This is also discussed in more detail in our article “Category A or B, F or G? [UK Visa Financial Requirements Guide]“.

#2 There are two tests you have to pass in order to meet the financial requirement under Category B alone.

If you do not pass both of these tests, then unfortunately, the financial requirement will not be met under Category B alone.

Test 1

Your gross annual salary at the date of application must be higher than the financial requirement (usually £18,600).

This will be as is stated on the latest payslip.

If the gross annual salary is not seen on the payslip, then you should also include a signed contract of employment which states this.

In order for you to ensure that your gross annual salary, based on this payslip, is higher than the required amount, you can:

  • Multiply the amount as stated in the payslip by 12 (if you receive your salary every month)
  • Multiply the amount as stated in the payslip by 52 (if you receive your salary every week)

Example

Andy receives his salary every month.

The last salary that he received before he submitted the application was £2,000 (gross).

£2,000 x12 = £24,000.

Andy’s gross annual income at the date of application is therefore £24,000 (gross).


Test 2

You must ALSO have received, in the past 12 months prior to the date of application, more than the financial requirement that applies to you (usually £18.600).

Example of salaried income under Category B

Andy’s pay slips in the past 12 months were as follows:

March 2018: £1,000
April 2018: £1,000
May 2018: £1,000
June 2018: £1,000
July 2018: £1,000
August 2018: £1,000
September 2018: £1,000
October 2018: £1,000
November 2018: £2,000
December 2018: £2,000
January 2019: £2,000
February 2019: £2,000
Total=£16,000.

Since Andy received £16,000, which is less than the financial requirement that applied to him (£18,600), he does not meet the financial requirement.

Whilst he passes part 1 of the test, he does not pass part 2.


#2 There are two tests you have to pass in order to meet the financial requirement under Category B alone.

Test 1

Your ‘annualised average’ for non-salaried employment must be higher than the financial requirement that applies (normally £18,600).

In order to calculate the ‘annualised average’ for non-salaried employment, the following steps must be followed:

Step 1

  • Total your gross income (before tax) throughout the whole period that you have been employed (e.g. the whole 7 months if you have been employed for 7 months or the whole 9 months if you have been employed for 9 months)

Step 2

  • If you receive payment on a monthly basis, divide the total by the months you have been employed by the current employer
  • If you receive payment on a weekly basis, divide the total by the weeks you have been employed by the current employer
  • If you receive payment on a daily basis, divide the total by the days you have been employed by the current employer

Step 3

  • If you receive payment on a monthly basis, multiply this number by 12
  • If you receive payment on a weekly basis, multiply this number by 52
  • If you receive payment on a daily basis, multiply this number by 365

The figure that you reach after following these three steps will be the ‘annualised average‘.

This must be higher than the financial threshold that applies (£18,600, or higher if there are dependant children applying – see step 1 of this article).

 Example of non-salaried income under Category B

Jasmine has been employed for 4 months.

She receives monthly payslips.

In her 4 months of employment, she received a total of £10,000.

The following were her monthly payslips:

Month 1 – £2,000 (gross)
Month 2 – £4,000 (gross)
Month 3 – £2,000 (gross)
Month 4 – £2,000 (gross)

£10,000 divided by the 4 (the number of months she has been employed) = £2,500.

£2,500 multiplied by 12 = £30,000 gross annualised average income from non-salaried employment.


Test 2

You also must have received, in the past 12 months prior to the date of application, the level of financial requirement you are required to meet (usually £18,600).

Category CCategory C (Non-employment income)

The general rule is that the amount that you can include towards the financial requirement is the amount that you received in the 12 months prior to the date of application.

However, this general rule can vary, depending on the other income sources that are being included in the application (e.g. if Category C is combined with Category F).


Category CCategory C (Rental income)

The general rule is that the amount that you can include towards the financial requirement is the amount that you received in the 12 months prior to the date of application.

It is important to note that this general rule can vary, depending on the other income sources that are being included in the application (e.g. if rental income is combined with Category F).

Here, when calculating the amount of rental income that you can include towards the financial requirement, you should ignore any management fees that are paid (e.g. to estate agents).

If the UK property is also owned by a third party (e.g. a family member that is not you or your partner) you can only include income that is received from your share in the property.


Category DCategory D (Cash savings)

To avoid making this article three million words long, this is discussed this in our article “Cash Savings Guidance for 16000 – 62500+ Spouse & UK Partner visas in 2021“.


Category ECategory E (Pension income)

The general rule is that you can include the gross annual income from the pension that is being received when you pay the Home Office fees on the online application.

This means that it generally does not matter how much pension has been received in the 6 or 12 months before the Home Office fees are paid.

What does matter, however, is that the pension has became a source of income at least 28 days before the date of the application.

Example

Matthew has been a senior policeman for many years.

On 1st November 2019, he will start to receive his very generous pension, which provides a gross annual income of £40,000.

Therefore, from the 1st November 2019, he will be able to use this pension to meet the financial requirement.

The amount of pension income that Matthew can use towards the financial requirement will therefore be £40,000.


Category FCategory F (Employment and dividend income from a specified limited company)

The amount of income that you can include from a specified limited company will be the gross total of the employment and/or dividend income that was received in the period as stated by the most recent CT600 (which is the ‘last full financial year’).

This ‘CT600’ document is otherwise known as a company tax return that has to be filed in accordance with UK tax law.



The ‘last full financial year’ & the relevant time period

The ‘last full financial year’, for those who are directors or employees of specified limits companies is that as specified in the company tax return (CT600 document).

Unlike the self-assessment period for self-employed persons, the company’s tax period varies. 

It is important to know that the relevant tax year will be the one that has most recently passed.

This may mean that you will have to file your company’s taxes sooner than you normally would.

self-employment tax purposes

Example

Jodie wants to include income under Category F from his specified limited company.

Jodie wants to submit her application on 1st July 2020.

Jodie’s limited company’s company tax year is 2 February – 1 February.

The relevant financial year for Jodie would therefore be 2 February 2019 – 1 February 2020.

If Jodie changes her mind and wants to submit the application on 25th January 2020, the relevant financial year will be 2 February 2018- 1 February 2019.

More income about specified limited company income can be found here.


Category FCategory F (Self-employed income as a sole trader, in a partnership or franchise)

For those who are self-employed (as a sole trader, as a partnership or as a franchise), you should:

#1 First make sure that your accounts for the most recent financial year have been done.

Why?

Because your gross annual income from self-employment will be the gross taxable profits from your share of the business during the ‘last full financial year’.

gross taxable profits

The ‘last full financial year’, for those self-employed as a sole trader, a partner or are in a franchise, will be the self-assessment tax period that has most recently ended.

In the UK, the standard self-assessment tax return period is 6 April of one year to 5 April of the next year.

Example

Andy is self-employed as a sole trader.

Andy wants to submit a UK spouse visa application on 1st February 2020.

In this case, the most recent full financial year will therefore be 6 April 2018- 5 April 2019.

If Andy changes his mind and wants to submit a UK spouse visa application on 1st July 2020, the most recent full financial year will be 6 April 20195 April 2020.


#2 Note that the gross annual income from self-employment should NOT include any deductible allowances, expenses or liabilities that may be applied to the gross taxable profits to establish your final tax liability.


#3 Forward the above to your accountant and ask them what the figure is. 

If you do not have an accountant, make sure you get one, as it is a requirement for the visa application.

This is because you will need an accountant’s certificate of confirmation.

Make sure that your accountant is a member of a UK Recognised Supervisory Body (as defined in the Companies Act 2006) or who is a member of 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 or The Association of Accounting Technicians.

If your accountant is not a member of one of the above, the Home Office can refuse your application based on this reason alone.

Ludicrous, I know….

It should also be noted that this self-employment income must still be a source of income at the time of application.


Category GCategory G (Employment and dividend income from a specified limited company)

You must total all of the gross employment and gross dividend income received in the last two full financial years (as stated by the two most recent specified limited company’s CT600 documents).

You will then have to calculate a mean average based on these two full financial years.

If, like me, you cannot remember GCSE maths, the ‘mean average’ is where you add up all the numbers and then divide by the number of numbers.

This is the income that you can include towards the financial requirement under Category G.




Category GCategory G (Self-employed income as a sole trader, in a partnership or franchise)

You must ask your accountant what your mean average gross taxable profits from your share of the business during the most recent two full financial years are.

When calculating this, let your accountant know not to include any deductible allowances, expenses or liabilities that may be applied to the gross taxable profits to establish your final tax liability.

This is the income that you can include towards the financial requirement under Category G.

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step 5What income can you COMBINE to meet the financial requirement?

It is important to note that whilst some combinations of income can be combined (e.g. Category A and Category C), some combinations of income cannot be combined (e.g. Category A and Category B).

Let’s discuss each Category and see what can and what cannot be combined.

Which Category would you like to combine?

Category A

Category B

Category C

Category D

Category E

Category F

Category G

Category ACombining salaried or non-salaried employment from 6 months’ employment under  Category A

Category A can be combined with:

  • Non-employment income sources under Category C.
  • Cash savings under Category D.
  • Pension income under Category E.
  • Self-employment income under under Category F and Category G (as long as it falls within the relevant financial year(s)).
  • Income from being a director or employee of a ‘specified limited company’ under Category F and Category G (as long as it falls within the relevant financial year(s)).

Category A cannot be combined with:

  • Salaried and non-salaried employment income based on 12 month’s employment under Category B.

Example 1

Stuart wants to combine employment income from two different employers.

Stuart has been employed for longer than 6 months with one employer and fewer than 6 months with his other employer.

If Stuart wants to include income from both employers, both must be calculated in accordance with Category B.

This is because Category A cannot be combined with Category B.

Alternatively, if the employment from his job where he has been employed for longer than 6 months meets the financial requirement alone, he can choose to only include this income under Category A.

Example 2

Claire has been employed in the UK for longer than 6 months.

Her husband, Mohammad, has been employed in the UK for fewer than 6 months.

Since Mohammad has been employed in the UK for fewer than 6 months, they will either need to:

1) Both count their income under Category B (employment income based on the previous 12 month’s income); or

2) Wait until Mohammad has been employed in the UK for 6 months and then count both of their income under Category A; or

3) Only include Claire’s income if her income meets the financial requirement alone.

When combining Category A with Category F…

If you want to combine Category A with Category F, then the relevant time period for the calculation of Category A changes.

Instead of being based on the 6 months before the submission of the online application, the relevant time period will be as specified in Category F.

Example

Oliver has been employed by his current employer for 3 years, which is a non-specified limited company (Category A).

Sandy has been self-employed as a sole trader in the UK also for 3 years (Category F).

In order to combine their income, Oliver can only count the employment income received in Sandy’s most recent full financial year, which as a self-employed person, is the most recent April 6 – April 5 period.

Example #2 

Ralph has been employed by his current employer for 2 years, which is a non-specified limited company (Category A).

Ralph’s wife, Beatrice, is employed by her mother’s UK limited company. Since shares are held by fewer than five other persons, this is a specified limited company (Category F).

In order to combine their income, Ralph can only count the employment income received in Beatrice’s mother’s UK limited company’s most recent full financial year, which is June 9 – June 8 (this will vary from company to company).



Category BCombining salaried or non-salaried employment under Category B

 

Category B can be combined with:

  • Non-employment income sources under Category C.
  • Cash savings (to a certain extent – see the ‘combining Category B and Category D – cash savings’ box below) under Category D.
  • Pension income under Category E.
  • Self-employment income (as long as it falls within the relevant financial year(s)) under Category F and Category G.
  • Income from being a director or employee of a ‘specified limited company’ (as long as it falls within the relevant financial year(s)) under Category F and Category G.

Category B cannot be combined with:

  • Salaried and non-salaried employment income based on 6 month’s employment under Category A.

Combining Category B and cash savings under Category D…

Employment income under Category B can be combined with cash savings under Category D.

However, as we discussed above, there are two tests that must be met in order to satisfy the financial requirement under Category B.

To remind you:

Test 1 – The gross annual income, when the application is submitted, must be higher than the financial requirement that applies (e.g. £18,600+).

Test 2 – In the 12 months prior to the submission of the online application, more than the financial requirement  that applies (e.g. £18,600+) must have been received.

When combining Category B with cash savings under Category D, cash savings can only affect part 1 of the test.

Cash savings cannot affect part 2 of the test under Category B.

Therefore, including cash savings towards the financial requirement can reduce the required gross annual income that is required when the application is submitted.

It cannot, however, negate the requirement that £18,600 or higher must have been received in employment income in the 12 months prior to when the online application is submitted.



Category CCombining rental income (& other non-employment income sources)

Category C can be combined with:

  • Employment income under Category A and Category B.
  • Cash savings under Category D.
  • Pension Income under Category E.
  • Self-employment income (as long as it falls within the relevant financial year(s)) under Category F and Category G.
  • Income from being a director or employee of a ‘specified limited company’ (as long as it falls within the relevant financial years, see #4 below) under Category F and Category G.

Category DCombining cash savings

Category D can be combined with:

  • Employment income under what is known as ‘Category A’.
  • Employment income under ‘Category B’, but only with part 1 of the test (see the example listed in Category B of this step).
  • Non-employment income sources under Category C.
  • Pension Income under Category E.

Category D cannot be combined with:

  • Self-employment income under Category F and Category G.
  • Income from being a director or employee of a ‘specified limited company’ under Category F and Category G.


Category ECombining pension income

Category E can be combined with:

  • Employment income under Category A and Category B.
  • Non-employment income sources under Category C.
  • Cash savings under Category D.
  • Self-employment income (as long as it falls within the relevant financial year(s)) under Category F and Category G.
  • Income from being a director or employee of a ‘specified limited company’ (as long as it falls within the relevant financial year(s) under Category F and Category G.


Category FCombining income from self-employment under Category F or Category G

Category F (self-employed income) can be combined with:

  • Employment income under Category A and Category B.
  • Non-employment income sources (e.g. property rental income, maintenance payments, click here to see the full list) under Category C.
  • Pension Income under Category E.

Combining Category F income with Categories A, B, C and E

If you combine Category F with other categories, the other sources of income must fall within the most recent full financial year, which in the UK is April 6 – April 5.

The other sources of income, just like the self-employment income, must still be a source of income when you submit the online application.



Category F (self-employed income) cannot be combined with:

  • Cash savings under Category D.
  • Income from a specified limited company under Category F or Category G.

Category FCombining income from a specified limited company under Category F or Category G

Category F (specified limited company income) can be combined with:

  • Employment income under Category A or Category B.
  • Non-employment income sources  under Category C.
  • Pension Income under Category E.

Combining Category F income with Categories A, B, C and E

If you combine Category F with other categories, the other sources of income must fall within the most recent full financial year, which in the UK is April 6 – April 5.

The other sources of income, just like the specified limited company income, must still be a source of income when you submit the online application.



Category F (specified limited company income) cannot be combined with:

  • Cash savings under Category D.
  • Income from self-employment as a sole trader, as a partnership or as a franchise under Category F or Category G.

step 6
What financial documents do you need to submit for a UK spouse visa?

This will depend entirely on the particular source of income(s) that you are including in the application.

There are three key sources that will tell you what financial documents are required – Appendix FM-SE, Appendix FM 1.7 and Appendix FM 1.7a.

What is Appendix FM-SE?

Appendix FM-SE is the most important source of information, as this is part of the Immigration Rules.

Where Appendix FM-SE tells you one thing whilst Appendix FM 1.7 tells you another, it is Appendix FM-SE that should be followed.

What is Appendix FM 1.7?

Appendix FM 1.7 is the Home Office guidance that discusses the financial requirement for those who have to meet the standard minimum income threshold of £18,600+.

It is written in relatively understandable English and it is absolutely worth reading before you submit your application.

What is Appendix FM 1.7a?

Appendix FM 1.7a the Home Office guidance that discusses the financial requirement for those who have to meet the adequate maintenance requirement.

Similarly to Appendix FM 1.7, the English used is relatively understandable and must be read for those who receive a permitted benefit.

“Is it OK if I just submit the financial documents that are listed on the online application website?”

In some cases, yes.

In other cases, absolutely not.

Obviously, the spouse visa application is incredibly important for you and your partner and it would be incredibly risky if you did not take the time to read Appendix FM-SE and Appendix FM 1.7 in detail.

This is because the documents listed on the online application website are not exhaustive (meaning that they do not always list the documents that must be submitted.

The documents listed on the online application website also do not identify the relevant rules that apply to certain documents – which must be complied with.

If you would like to save time and help ensure that you submit the correct documentation that complies with the various Immigration Rules, feel free to check out our DIY Application Pack Service.

This service also includes general email support, too.

Hundreds of our clients have successfully used these to help prepare their application and we are so confident with the service that we offer a 100% money back guarantee.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is the financial requirement the biggest cause of partner visa refusals?

The financial requirement is absolutely the biggest cause of partner visa refusals. This is because the rules are very strict and numerous.

What is one financial requirement that is commonly overlooked?

Many partners unfortunately do not realise that their employing company is a specified limited company (as discussed above), which results in refused applications.

What will happen if I overlook one financial requirement?

Unfortunately, this will most likely result in your application being refused.

Why is it important to know what Category I am applying under?

It is important to know exactly what category you are applying under as this will completely affect the calculation of the income as well as the documents that you will need to submit.


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Summary

Hopefully you find this article helpful with what is certainly the most time-consuming aspect of UK spouse visas.

Taking the time to familiarise yourself with the rules as they relate to the financial requirement is something that partners should prioritise, as non-compliance with the financial requirement is the most common cause for refusal.

You should therefore make sure that you completely understand each of the above steps, as mis-understanding one aspect of the financial requirement can result in severe consequences for your application – as unfortunate as that is!

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