If you are a British national who has been residing outside the UK, and has a non-EU national spouse, once you start thinking about relocating to the UK with your other half, you are probably wondering where to start.
After having a quick look at the immigration rules, you can see that you need to earn at least £18,600. Further, you need to work for at least six months. Alternatively, you can have savings of £62,500.
These numbers are a guide, however, and with the help of a UK Immigration Solicitor, there might be some options for you to meet the strict visa requirements without a prolonged separation from your spouse while you return to the UK in order to meet the income threshold.
Least disruptive options for meeting the Financial requirment for UK Spouse Visa:
One – Six months same employer abroad with UK job offer
If you have been working abroad for the same employer for at least 6 months, you might be able to use this income towards meeting the income threshold, but there is another requirement; you must also have a confirmed offer of salaried or non-salaried employment in the UK, starting within 3 months of your return.
The bad news is that you still need to meet the income threshold of £18,600, but the good news is that you can combine your income with savings. Please note that this is only possible if you have savings of at least £16,000, as otherwise your savings would be disregarded.
Although the income threshold seems to be quite high, this would definitely simplify the process for many and help them to avoid being separated.
Three- 12 months – different employer
If you have not been working for your current employer for the last 6 months, but you have been working for different employers throughout the last 12 months period, and you earned at least £18,600, you might be able to rely on this income to meet the financial requirement. However, the bad news is that you cannot combine this income with any savings.
There is also another stage and still you would need to have a confirmed offer of salaried or non-salaried employment in the UK (starting within 3 months of your return). At this stage, you generally will not need to earn £18,600 straight away, as you might be able to combine your UK income with savings.
Four – Self-employment
Another avenue, for those in self-employment abroad, is that you may be able to rely on your income from self-employment, if you wish to continue with your business in the UK, or alternatively if you have a confirmed offer of employment in the UK in order to meet the financial requirement.
Nonetheless, you must prove that in the last financial year you have had an income of at least £18,600, and you will not be able to combine the amount earned from your self-employment with any savings.
Using this route might be a bit complicated, so it is advisable to use a qualified UK Immigration Solicitor who can help you to decide on the best plan to meet the financial requirement, and who can guide you on the paperwork that will need to be submitted with the visa application.
If you have not been working abroad and there is no option that you will be able to meet the income threshold from abroad, then you probably should consider relocating to the UK, preferably with a job offer ready, so that you can start work as soon as you arrive in the UK.
Once the 6 months have passed and you are able to meet the income threshold of £18,600, your spouse would be able to apply for a visa. You might be able to combine your UK income with savings, however you would still need to have at least £16,000, as otherwise your savings would be disregarded.
In theory, your spouse might be able to accompany you to the UK on a visit visa while you are working hard to meet the immigration rules, however, this might not always be the case. Generally, those who do not need to apply for a visit visa prior to coming to the UK, would be allowed entry i.e. Australian or American citizens. However, it might not be as easy for those who need a visa i.e. Kenyan or Zimbabwean citizens, as visit visa applications might be refused, with the Home Office often arguing that there is not enough evidence of the applicant’s intention to return to their home country at the end of their visit.
I appreciate that there is a lot to think about when relocating to another country, even if this is your home country, and understand that it might be even more stressful if you need to think about visa applications.
It is often worth minimising the stress and risk of anything going wrong by using a UK qualified lawyer, who will then guide you on the visa application process and the paperwork needed. It is always a good idea to involve a Solicitor as soon as possible, as then you have a chance to discuss all the possible options and you will be able to make an informed choice on which route suits you the most.
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.