I’m concerned about meeting the Minimum Income Requirement to renew my / my partner’s visa

At the moment, people still have to meet the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) when applying to stay in the UK as a spouse or partner. However, the Home Office has announced some small concessions. If your income dropped between 1 March 2020 and 1 January 2021 due to COVID-19, this will be disregarded - but only if you met the MIR in the 6 months before the date when your income dropped.

Similarly, if you previously earned enough to meet the requirement but your salary has dropped because you have been furloughed, you can still apply as if you were earning 100% of your income. There is full detail regarding this on the Home Office coronavirus advice page.

We're asking the Government to suspend the MIR completely due to the economic impact of COVID-19. Write to your MP today asking them to raise this issue with the Home Secretary as soon as possible. If you are personally affected by this, please do make this clear by personalising the message to your MP, explaining in as much detail as you can your situation and why the MIR must be urgently lifted. You can email [email protected] if you'd like guidance on how to do this.

I’m concerned about me / my partner not being able to leave the UK when a temporary visa expires

The Home Office has an extension scheme for people who are in the UK with temporary leave and cannot leave due to travel restrictions. If your visa ends between 1 December 2020 and 31 January 2021, you can contact the Home Office and ask for something called 'exceptional assurance' - there is more information about how to do this here

People who are in the UK as visitors can also switch straight into a spouse / partner visa, as long as all the other conditions (for example, the Minimum Income Requirement and relationship requirements) are met. So people who are, for example, in the UK visiting their partners can currently apply for a spouse / partner visa to remain with their partners, as long as the general requirements for this type of visa are met. You can find more information about the general requirements here

I'm concerned about me / my partner accessing Statutory Sick Pay

If you are self-isolating because of coronavirus, according to government advice, you can get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as long as you fall into certain eligible categories. SSP is available for people who are employed (including if you are employed on a zero-hours contract) and earned on average £118 or more per week, before tax. SSP is not classed as a public fund, so if you are here on a spouse visa and have No Recourse to Public Funds you can claim it.  

I can't afford the application fee

If you or your partner need to apply for a spouse visa to remain in the UK but can't afford the application fee, you might be able to apply for something called a fee waiver - if this is granted, you won't have to pay the Home Office application fee, and / or the Immigration Health Surcharge.

This is only open to applicants who are not required to meet the Minimum Income Requirement, because they are exempt or because they are applying using a third party's income due to their exceptional circumstances. If you are in this category and can't afford the application fee for a follow-up spouse visa, you might be able to apply for a fee waiver. Our information sheet on fee waivers has more detail about who is eligible, what evidence applicants must provide and how to apply. 

I’m concerned about NRPF restrictions meaning that I / my partner cannot claim enough benefits

If you're in a couple where one partner has No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) as a condition of their visa, you won't usually be able to claim Universal Credit to cover both of you (there are exceptions for couples in which the partner with NRPF is a Turkish national).

If you can access benefits but your partner can't, you can still apply for benefits including Universal Credit as an individual, without this impacting on your partner's status. However, any income brought to the household by your partner will be taken into account when the DWP assesses how much financial support you can get. You should let the person assessing you know that your partner has no recourse to public funds, to be sure that their benefit calculation is correct. There is more information about this here

People subject to the NRPF restriction can apply to have them lifted if they are experiencing hardship. Those currently on the 5-year route to settlement will be automatically switched to the 10-year route if they get NRPF restrictions lifted. 

These restrictions cause huge financial hardship - couples in which one or both partners have lost income or work will need adequate financial support to get them through. That's why we're calling on the Government to scrap NRPF. 

I'm here on a fiance(e) visa but can't now get married within 6 months as required

If you are in the UK on a fiance(e) visa but your wedding has been postponed due to COVID-19, you should inform the Home Office, to make sure that you still have leave if your fiance visa runs out. The Home Office is calling this 'exceptional assurance'. There is more detail on this, and details of how to contact the relevant team within the Home Office, here.

I want advice on supporting people with precarious immigration status during the pandemic

People in your community who have precarious immigration status may be particularly at risk during the pandemic. Many may be too scared to access the healthcare they need, and may struggle to access information and daily necessities. You can find suggestions on how to support people with precarious immigration status, and links to further resources, here.  

Write to your MP now!