Meeting the income requirement if you're in work

  • The sponsor will have to meet the Minimum Income Requirement of at least £18,600. This rises to £22,400 if you're sponsoring your partner and a child who is a non-EEA national, and rises by £2,400 for each additional child. So if you're sponsoring your non-EEA partner and their 3 non-EEA national children, you must prove an annual income of at least £27,200. If your children are British nationals, you won't have to pay any extra - you'll have to meet the standard minimum income requirement of £18,600 a year

  • Usually, only the income of the sponsor (the British citizen or settled resident) counts towards the income requirement. If you're in salaried employment (so you're paid a fixed amount per year, usually on a monthly basis), you will have to show 6 months of payslips. Make sure you are using the most recent payslips when you come to apply - the most recent document included in your application should be dated no more than 28 days before the date of your application. If you're in unsalaried employment (you are paid by the hour) or you are self-employed, you will have to prove your income for the entirety of the financial year before you apply

  • If you don't currently have an income, you can still apply using savings. If you are meeting the income requirement through savings alone, you need to have at least £62,500 in savings. These savings have to be in cash - so they must be easily accessible liquid assets, not tied up in things like property. If you are applying using savings, an amount above the required minimum needs to have been in the bank account of the sponsor or the applicant for six consecutive months

  • You can also apply using a mixture of savings and income, if for example you have an income but it is less than £18,600. To do this, you need to do some calculations. Work out your annual income, and then minus this figure from the income requirement to work out the difference. Then, multiply this by 2.5, and add 16,000 - the total is how much you'll have to have in savings to push you over the income requirement. This is because a spouse visa is valid for 2.5 years, so the Home Office wants to know that you have enough savings to keep you above the income requirement for the whole duration of the visa. These calculations can be tricky, so let's look at an example:
    • The sponsor, who is applying for their partner alone, earns £15,400 a year, but has some savings available. To work out what level of savings the sponsor needs to show, the calculations are as follows:
      • 18,600 (the Minimum Income Requirement without any children) - 15,400 = 3,200
      • 3,200 x 2.5 = 8,000, plus 16,000 = 24,000
    • So the sponsor will need to prove that they have £24,000 in savings, as well as their income of £15,400. 

  • There are a number of other ways that income and savings can be combined. The rules on this are complex - should you need more information about this, you can find it here

What if I'm working overtime or in more than one job?

If you earn over £18,600 a year gross (your earnings before taxes), you meet the requirement, even if this income includes overtime pay or salary from more than one job. If the amount of overtime you earn fluctuates during the six months before you apply, you need to make sure your earnings push your basic pay over the threshold. To do this, add up the amount you earn each month and divide it by 6, then add it to your basic rate of monthly pay. For example: 

  • You earn a basic rate of £14,500 a year, but also work overtime to push you over the threshold. Over the six months prior to applying, your overtime pay was: 
  • February: £550; March: £240; April: £610; May: £550; June: £310; July: £185 
  • Over the 6-month period, you earned a total of £2245 from overtime. To get the average over the 6-month period, divide this by 6: £407.50. Then multiply by 12 to get the annual average: £4890. Then add your averaged annual overtime pay to your annual pay - £14,500 + £4,890 = £19,390. So your normal earnings plus overtime pushes you over the income threshold.

Accommodation requirements

  • You also have to prove that you can provide "adequate" accommodation for yourself and anyone else you live with. So along with your application you should include a description of the property where you, your partner and any other person you share a property with will live, as well as documents confirming that you reside there.
  • The description of the property is so the Home Office can check that it is "adequate," and that there are enough rooms for all the people living there. There should be enough rooms for everyone living in the property, bearing in mind that:
    • A couple can share the same room
    • You can include a living room when counting the number of rooms
    • Children under 1 don't have to be counted
    • Each child aged between 1 and 9 counts as half of a person
    • Children who are 10 or over count as one person, and children of the opposite sex who are 10 or over should never have to share the same room
  • So if you're living in a house with 3 bedrooms and a living room, your property is counted as having 4 rooms. If the residents are an adult couple, a 4-year-old and a 9-year-old and twin 6-month-old babies, this accommodation will be more than adequate - 1 room for the adult couple and one for the children, who each count as half a person. You can read the Home Office's detailed guidance on adequate accommodation here