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Spouse Immigration-UK

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This page is aimed at Britsh expats who wish to bring their foreign spouses with them to live in the UK. It assumes you are already in a genuine marriage and are living abroad, outside the EEA. The full rules set are available on the UKBA website.

Contents

[edit] Applications after 9th July 2012

Note: The rules for bringing a spouse back to the UK were drastically altered on 9th July 2012. If your initial application for a visa was lodged before 9th July 2012 then these rules will not apply to you. This includes cases where the decision was made after the 9th, your case went to appeal or you received initial entry clearance and are now looking to extend you leave or request indefinite leave.

In a nutshell the new rules require (in almost all cases) a guaranteed annual income of at least £18,600 or savings of over £62,500 (more if you are also applying for non UKC children) If you are abroad then you will also need to secure a job in the UK before applying for the visa, unless you are using savings of £62,500 or above, to meet the financial requirement.

[edit] Applicable Regulations

Appendix FM (Family Migration) Family life as a partner Appendix FM-SE Family members - specified evidence

[edit] Stages

  1. Initial Entry Clearance is granted for 2.5 years
  2. Limited Leave to Remain for a further 2.5 years
  3. Indefinite Leave to Remain after a total of 5 years (or 10 years in some special cases)

[edit] Financial Requirements

The financial requirements are very strictly applied: if you fall short by 1p then you will be refused. The most common details are listed below.

There are no financial requirements for ILR.

You need adequate accomodation for the entire household.

[edit] Amounts

[edit] Income

The amount required is dependent upon the number of children in the family who are not British citizens or an EEA-citizens

  • For a foreign spouse only: £18,600 per year
  • For a foreign spouse and one child who is not a British citizen or an EEA citizen: £22,400 per year
  • For each additional child who is not a British citizen or an EEA citizen: a further £2,400 per year
[edit] Savings

If you are only using savings to fulfil the financial requirements you must show the following amounts, depending on the number of children who who are not

British citizens or an EEA citizens

  • For spouse only: £62,500
  • For one child: £72,000
  • For each each further child an additional: £6,000
[edit] Combined Savings and income

You can also combine savings with other income sources (although there are restirctions on the what youy can combine with self-employment income see FM-SE 13f) to meet the financial targets based on the following rules (E-ECP3.1(b) & E-LTRP3.1(b)):

  • £16,000 (considered the minimum savings you need for yourself) PLUS
  • Additional savings of 2.5 times any income shortfall (the Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain is valid for 2.5 years)

Some example calculations for a British citizen and foreign spouse with:

  • 2 children who are British citizens with no valid income: 16000 + (2.5 * (18600-0)) = £62,500
  • no children and total income 17,500 p.a.: 16000 + (2.5 * (18600-17500)) = £18,750 (yes, that's £18,750 to cover a £500 per year income shortfall)
  • 1 child who is not a British citizen, total income 12,000 p.a.: 16000 + (2.5 * (18600 + 3800 - 12000)) = £42,000

[edit] Salaried Employment

[edit] Requirements
  • When applying for initial entry clearance from outside the UK:
    • Only salaried employment related to the British citizen will be taken into account.
    • You have earned the equivalent of £18,600 (or more if required) per annum for the past 6 months
    • You have a guaranteed offer of a job in UK with an annual salary of at least £18,600 (or more if required) which will start within 3 months of your return to the UK
  • When applying for limited leave to remain from within the UK:
    • the income from both the British citizen and foreign spouse will be considered
  • If at the time of any application you have not been employed by your current employer for at least 6 months then you must prove that you have earned the relevant amount for the past 12 months.
[edit] Evidence
[edit] For initial entry clearance

You must provide ALL of the following evidence related to your current employment (The official wording is 'In respect of salaried employment outside of the UK, evidence should be a reasonable equivalent to that set out for UK employment'):

  • Tax statements
  • Wage slips
  • A letter from the employer(s) who issued the wage slips confirming:
    • the person's employment and gross annual salary;
    • the length of their employment;
    • the period over which they have been or were paid the level of salary relied upon in the application; and
    • the type of employment (permanent, fixed-term contract or agency).
  • A signed contract of employment for employment currently held.
  • Monthly personal bank statements corresponding to the same period(s) as the wage slips, showing that the salary has been paid into an account in your name or in joint names with your spouse.
  • Additionally you must provide EITHER:
    • a letter from an employer confirming the offer of a job in the UK, the gross annual salary and the starting date of the employment which must be within 3 months of the applicant's partner's return to the UK; OR
    • a letter from an employer enclosing a signed contract of employment for a job in the UK, which must have a starting date within 3 months of the applicant's partner's return to the UK.
[edit] For Limited Leave to Remain

You must provide ALL of the following evidence related to your current employment:

  • Tax statements
  • Wage slips
  • A letter from the employer(s) who issued the wage slips confirming:
    • the person's employment and gross annual salary;
    • the length of their employment;
    • the period over which they have been or were paid the level of salary relied upon in the application; and
    • the type of employment (permanent, fixed-term contract or agency).
  • A signed contract of employment for employment currently held.
  • Monthly personal bank statements corresponding to the same period(s) as the wage slips, showing that the salary has been paid into an account in your name or in joint names with your spouse.

[edit] Savings

[edit] Requirements
  • The savings must be held in cash on the day of application and must have been under your control in certain specific types of investment (which can include property) for at least the past 6 months (note: this is changed in 2013 - check the rules for the latest, exact details)
  • It is probably safest to have the cash in a jointly named account belonging to the British citizen and foreign spouse. (Rules FM-SE 1(a) and 11(a) regulate this, the wording of 11(a) is unclear)
  • The account must allow immediate access to the savings (with or without an interest penalty)
  • Foreign currency amounts will be converted to pounds sterling using the closing spot exchange rate which appears on http://www.oanda.com/ on the date of application
[edit] Evidence

You must provide ALL of the following evidence:

  • Monthly bank statements for at least 6 months (Note: historically UKBA have often required bank statements to be stamped and signed by an official at the bank. They sometimes accept original paper statements on bank letterhead but never accept online statements which you have printed yourself without having these stamped and signed)
  • A declaration by the account holder(s) of the source(s) of the cash savings

[edit] Other forms of income

Various other forms of income are acceptable:

  • self-employment
  • pension income (it appears the applying foreign spouse's pension income is acceptable, as well as the UK citizen's -- unlike the case for salaried income.)
  • bereavement benefit
  • property rental income
  • investment income
  • child maintenance payments
  • a maintenance grant or stipend (not a loan) associated with undergraduate study or postgraduate study or research

[edit] Exceptions

There are very few exceptions to these rules, the most notable are:

  • E-ECP3.3/E-LTRP3.3 where the British citizen must be receiving one or more of the following
    • disability living allowance
    • severe disablement allowance
    • industrial injury disablement benefit
    • attendance allowance
    • carer's allowance
  • EX1 the applicant has a genuine and subsisting parental relationship with a child who
    • is under the age of 18 years;
    • is in the UK;
    • is a British citizen or has lived in the UK continuously for at least the 7 years immediately preceding the date of application; and
    • it would not be reasonable to expect the child to leave the UK
    • Note: Under this exception the route to indefinite leave is extended to 10 years! It is also not applicable to applications made outside the UK but does remove the requirement for you not to be in the UK in breach of immigration laws
  • People who are currently economically active in a different EEA country - this is known as the 'Surinder Singh route'
  • Parents of children who are currently living in the UK, with someone who is not the applicants partner may be able to enter as a parent rather than a partner. This looks like a loophole - treat with caution!

[edit] Frequently asked questions

We've just celebrated our golden wedding - does this apply to us?
The length of your marriage is not considered a factor. Except that if married before 1983, there might be a claim to Right of Abode.
I have a job offer in the UK earning more than the required amount but the country I'm in means I've not been earning enough for the past 6 months. Can I really not come back?
Correct, if you are not able to show historical earnings above the required amount then any job offr in the UK is irrelevant. You will have to use savings or non employment income to cover the financial requirements (see example 6, Leroy, on page 54 of the Statement of intent)
My husband is the main breadwinner but I am the british citizen, I stay at home and look after the children. Now my mother is very ill and we want to go back to the UK to look after her
Only your income is taken into account when initially returning. So, no, you can't come back unless you can find a way to fall under one of the [exceptions] above.
What can I do to change the rules?
There is a parliamentary enquiry which is collating evidence between 20th November 2012 and 31st January 2013. Please, tell them your story / opinion. The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants is also active in this area.
Where can I get some moral support?
The main thread on the discussion boards is British citizen living abroad? Non-EEA spouse? This may affect you!. There is also a facebook group called "I love my foreign spouse".

[edit] Applications made before 9th July 2012

[edit] Requirements

  • Sponsor must be a British citizen or permanent resident
  • "Permanent Resident" can include a Right of Abode holder, Irish citizen, or EEA/Swiss citizen who has lived in Britain for 5 years.
  • Usually sponsor (and applicant) must be aged 21 or over
  • If not married, 2 years cohabitation is needed.
  • Marriage or relationship must be genuine.
  • Sponsor must show adequate provision for accommodation and other support needs for spouse in the United Kingdom. However, it is not usually necessary for the sponsor to move back to the UK first.

[edit] Obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

  • After 2 years living in the UK you may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
  • You must apply no sooner than 28 days before the end of your spouse visa. Do not let your spouse visa expire without applying for a new visa and keep copies/proof of everything.
  • If you are not eligible for ILR you must apply for Further Leave to Remain, ie a continuation of your existing status.

[edit] After ILR

  • After ILR, as soon as you have 3 years legal residence in the UK you may apply for British citizenship.
  • Legal residence before ILR counts towards the 3 years.
  • If your sponsor is not a British citizen, or you are not legally married, you must have 5 years legal residence including at least 12 months after ILR.

[edit] Persons Married for 4+ years outside UK

This route had now been closed.

[edit] Married before 1983, Right of Abode?

The wife (not husband) of a British citizen may be entitled to Right of Abode if married to a British citizen before 1983. One important qualifier - the wife must have been a citizen of a Commonwealth country continuously since January 1, 1983. So it doesn't work for most South Africans, for example. If married to a British citizen before 1949, a wife may be able to claim British citizenship by marriage, regardless of existing nationality.

UKBA 9 July 2012 http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/newsarticles/2012/july/15-family-mig


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