I have been getting a lot of enquirers lately about relying on cash savings for spouse/child or family dependent visas.
Basic UK Spouse Visa Income Threshold:
Under the current Immigration Rules, in order to qualify for any family settlement visa (spouse, fiance, family dependent etc.) you must meet the financial requirements – by earning above what is referred to as the Income Threshold. Normally, you can do this in two ways:
By earning a minimum of £18,600 annually
By having a minimum of £62,500 in cash savings.
Please note: this figure increases with each additional non-British dependent in the family, such as a child who is not British, but the figure remains unaffected by additional British family members such as British children.
What many of you don’t know is that you do not have to rely on only one method to meet the financial requirements. So, for example, if you do not meet the £18,600 annual income benchmark, you may rely on cash savings to make up for the remainder; you are allowed to combine your income with cash savings.
This rule allowing you to combine was introduced to help those who do not meet the income threshold requirement but still have cash savings.
How is cash savings calculated?
If you choose to combine your income with cash savings then you must show minimum savings of £16,000. The amount of income you need to meet to cover up the remainder is calculated via the following method:
(Amount of savings – 16,000) ÷ 2.5 = X
X – 18,600 = amount if income needed to cover the remainder
Example: £25,000 cash savings
(25000 – 16000) ÷ 2.5 = £3,600
£18,600 – £3,600 = £15,000
I have compiled a Free Calculator for those who want a shortcut to knowing how much they need in savings if they are working but not yet meeting the income threshold: Here is the link – Savings Calculator
Please note: the rule allowing you to combine cash and income savings does not apply if you are self-employed or if you are the Director of a limited company in the UK.
How to meet the income threshold using cash savings
1. General cash savings.
You may rely on general savings!!
This money must be held in your account for a period of 6 months prior to the date of your application. The money can be money which you have saved over the years or can even by a gift.
However this money must be received legally!!
IT CANNOT BE A LOAN!
**The general rule for cash savings is that you must have had the money in your account for a period of 6 months***
If you are relying on cash savings via an investment, you must show that:
- You have owned the shares for a period of 6 months prior to the date of your application.
- The value of your investment is equivalent to the necessary cash savings required.
- The investment can be in the form of stocks, shares, trust funds or a bond.
3. Income from property sales!
By-Passing the 6 Months Rules – Legally!
In order to surpass the six month rule, you may rely on cash savings from property sales or investment.
- If you have recently sold your property and would like to rely on the income received from said property to meet the income threshold requirements you can do this! The income counted is that left after you have paid off all your mortgage/loan. The remaining money is taken into account. In order to do this, you must provide:
- Proof that the property was owned by yourself or jointly with your partner for a minimum period of six months..
- Land Registry documents – or equivalent documents if your property is outside the UK.
- Letter from your solicitor or agent responsible for carrying out the sale of the property.
- Evidence to show tax payment from the sale of your property.
Whereas the cash saving options may only be a viable option for a fortunate few, a lot of expatriates returning to the UK with their family may be looking to sell their home before relocating, thus this may be the way to meet that income threshold. It is unfortunate that some UK immigration applicants may not have been advised on this option, leading to the applicant being separated unnecessarily from their spouse, so that he/she can come to the UK to work for 6 months to sponsor them, only for them to sell their house shortly after making the application.
Please note: you don’t have to keep the money in the bank for the full duration of the Spouse visa…. NO! You are still able to use the money when you get to the UK e.g. to buy a new home; just make sure you meet the income threshold by other means e.g. salaried employment, as you still need to show this when you make the visa extension application – it is worth noting that in the next application it should in theory be easier to meet the income threshold, as both the applicant and the sponsor’s income in the UK would be combined.
What documents should you provide?
Generally, an applicant may need some of the documents below, however, there may be more specific documents needed dependant on the specifics of the case, especially the country from which the applicant is coming from, so for a specific list that applies to you, make sure you run all the facts via your UK immigration lawyer and let them tailor make a list for you. These are some of the common requirements:
- Bank statements to show that cash is held in a personal bank account in your name or jointly with your partner.
- Bank statements for a period of 6 months if you are relying on general cash savings.
- If savings are a gift you must declare the source.
- Savings must be held in cash and able to be immediately withdrawn if required.
- You are in control of the account.
- Source of income is legal and the money has not been received illegally.
- Money has been declared.
- Letter from your conveyance lawyer detailing source/validity of the savings.
Please note that all bank accounts must be in yours or jointly in yours and your partner’s name!
Also, All bank statements must be from a regulated financial institution for the country you live in and cannot be from any prohibited institution.
Get Help – Play it safe!
Whereas being able to rely on cash savings, either alone or combined with other income, may come as a relief to some this option can be a bit confusing, especially if the savings you wish to rely on are abroad or your current income is variable.
The documentation requirements may also slightly differ from one case to another. I therefore advise that if you are going to be relying on cash savings, you do not take any chances and hire a solicitor to ensure that you are providing the relevant documents and showing that you meet the financial requirement.
Please note that the above advice is just in general and is given with the purpose of raising awareness of possible options, with the understanding that one will explore these option with a UK immigration Lawyer who is aware of the details of the specific case.
Also note that the government has recently become more stringent with assessing applications; it is now absolutely essential that you get your application right the first time round as having a history of rejected applications dents your immigration history, costs a lot of money to remedy and, if you are in the UK, you may not be provided with an in country right of appeal.
If you have been affected by any UK immigration matter, please contact Solicitor Tito, a UK immigration and human rights solicitor, for a free initial consultation about your legal options. Call 07544 669131/01163800744 or on Skype: tito.mbariti.