Requirements when sponsoring an immigrant
If you’re looking to sponsor your partner to live with you in the UK, before any application is submitted you should be aware that there are some financial requirements that must first be met. This financial responsibility is to demonstrate that you and your partner have the financial capacity to afford their stay in the country.
Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules sets out the requirements clearly, and whether you and your partner are applying for “leave to enter” or “leave to remain”, the rules are pretty much the same.
When making an application for your partner’s visa, there are two requirements you must meet: minimum income and adequate accommodation. This helps prove to the Home Office that your partner can come to live in the UK without the need for state help, so no visa will be granted until you can both meet the threshold for these requirements.
Minimum income requirement
According to the Immigration Rules set out by the Home Office, in order to sponsor your spouse or partner you will need to be earning a minimum income. How much will depend on current job and whether or not your partner has children.
If your partner is alone, then you’ll need to be earning an annual income of at least £18,600 before tax in order to sponsor them.
If your partner has dependent children, then clearly this will have financial implications, therefore you’ll be required to have a higher income in order to sponsor the applicant. How much higher the income requirements are will depend on the number of dependent children your partner has. For the first child, the additional gross income must be at least £3,800. After that, for every other child your income must be at least £2,400.
Here are the Home Office’s financial requirements when sponsoring your partner’s visa application, set out clearly:
- Sponsoring a partner with no children – minimum income of £18,600
- Sponsoring a partner with 1 child – £22,400
- Sponsoring a partner with 2 children – £24,800
- Sponsoring a partner with 3 children – £27, 200
Please note, the legal definition of “child” is anyone under the age of 18 who is not a British citizen, a settled person or an EEA national.
What qualifies as income?
When you’re declaring how much you earn, it’s important to know what qualifies as income. This will allow you to accurately assess whether or not you meet the minimum income requirement.
In this instance, you can declare the following when you’re looking to sponsor your partner’s visa application:
- Income earned from employment (only work done in the UK)
- Income from self-employment (you must have been earning for at least six months)
- Maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay
- Other income from rent, shares or investments.
If your partner is applying from abroad, then their foreign income amount will not be taken into account. However, if they are already in the UK and looking to stay here, then their income can count towards the minimum income requirement.
What if my annual income is insufficient?
If your income falls below the minimum income requirement to sponsor your partner, all is not lost. That’s because it’s possible to make up some or even all of the minimum income requirements with any savings you have.
To do this, your savings must amount to national minimum wage at least £16,000, plus the difference x 2.5.
For instance, if you require an income of £22,400 to sponsor an application for your partner and her child, but your annual income is only £20,000, you’d need to have at least £22,000 savings (£16,000 + total income shortfall of £2,400 x 2.5).
As stated before, the applicant’s annual income cannot be counted when applying for entry to the country. However, if applying to extend their stay, then the income of both the applicant and household income of the sponsor will be taken into consideration.
In addition to cash savings, any savings the applicant has, whether they’re applying from abroad or not, can be used to help make up any shortfall in income.
What evidence do I need to prove my income?
As a sponsor, you must provide specified evidence pertaining to your annual income to allow the Home Office to establish whether or not you meet the minimum income requirement. One of the most common reasons for the refusal of visas is the failure to submit the correct evidence required by the above Home Office guidance, so try to avoid making this mistake yourself.
The Appendix FM-SE sets out all the details on how documents must be presented. It says any bank statements must be original copies, or stamped by the bank on each page. The account linked to the statement must also be owned by the sponsor, or joint-owned by the sponsor’s income, and the applicant.
Similarly, payslips must also be in their original form. If you cannot obtain the original copies then you’ll need to provide a letter from your employer.
All savings must be in accounts that are easily accessible. In addition, any foreign currency must be translated using Oanda.com. Currencies can fluctuate, so be aware of that when making your application as you may end up with too little if the amount you have in savings is right on the threshold when you first commence the application.
As well as needing to prove you have sufficient income to give financial support for your partner with the minimum income requirement, as a sponsor you’ll also need to show that you can provide a place to live.
According to rule E-ECP.3.4 in Appendix FM, when making the application, “the applicant must provide evidence that there will be adequate accommodation, without recourse to public funds, for the other family members.”
Accommodation is defined as a house, flat or room occupied exclusively by the first family member. This accommodation must be paid for in full by the sponsor, without the help of any benefits.
The term “adequate”, when relating to accommodation, means the property will not be overcrowded when the applicant comes to live with the sponsor. If there is insufficient room or the property doesn’t conform to public health regulations then this would not be deemed acceptable, or “adequate”.
The government’s housing regulations set out what is classed as overcrowded. Official guidance from the Home Office explains how these can be used in the context of immigration, stating:
“The room standard is contravened under the Act when the number of persons sleeping in a dwelling and the number of rooms available as sleeping accommodation is such that 2 persons aged 10 or over of the opposite sex who are not living together as a couple must sleep in the same room.”
In Layman’s terms, this means everyone over the age of 10 who is of the opposite sex needs their own room. Children aged 1-9 will count as half a person, so no more than to in each household member per room. Obviously, couples can share the same room and children under the age of 1 are disregarded.
Unless you can provide accommodation that meets all of these requirements, you should not attempt to sponsor the applicant as you will not be eligible. When making your application, you will be asked to submit a description of your property. The housing guidance set out by the Home Office also states that “the applicant should provide sufficient evidence that the accommodation will be adequate.” This means you may also need to submit evidence from your landlord, local authority or housing association.
When you’re looking to sponsor your partner or spouse in their application to stay or come to the UK, there are a number of requirements you must both meet. Chief among them are the minimum income requirement and adequate accommodation, so before you make any application, be sure you qualify to act as sponsor.
Advice from immigration lawyers on minimum income when sponsoring an immigrant
If you’d like some advice on the financial requirements when you’re looking to sponsor your partner or spouse, then get in touch with our Manchester immigration lawyers by calling 0203 411 1966. We have a team of highly trained lawyers who specialise in this area and can advise you on the best course of action.
We’ve expanded all of our services and capacity so we can offer more assistance to those who need immigration advice during these difficult times. We’re currently offering our full range of services, remotely, including over the telephone and via Skype, and we’ve also extended our opening hours to 7:30am – 22:00, 7 days a week.