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UK Spouse Visa: Changes to the Minimum Income Requirement

7 Jun 2024

If you are settled in the UK, or a British citizen, and you wish to bring your partner from another country to live with you in the UK, the changes to the Minimum Income Requirement may affect you.

This article provides a concise update of the key financial changes to the Minimum Income Requirement, as of 11 April 2024, for UK Spouse Visas.


What is the Minimum Income Requirement?

In order to bring a spouse from a different country to the UK for permission to enter, stay or settle, evidence must be provided of sufficient funds to support them. This is a key requirement for a Spouse Visa to show that the applicant can be appropriately maintained without relying on public funding, such as benefits. This requirement has been in place since 2012, and further changes earlier this year have been proposed and implemented.

For an overview of the UK Spouse Visa and what is required to satisfy this, please follow this link here.

This figure needs to be proved by the settled partner in the UK and varies depending on the type of application being made and the couple’s specific situation. For advice and guidance on this, it is best to contact a legal professional.

Minimum Income Requirement for applications made before 11 April 2024

Before 11 April 2024, the required earning for the UK sponsor was £18,600 annually. This was assessed by their gross annual salary.

The Ministerial Statement released on 30 January 2024 outlined the proposed incremental increase to the MIR over the span of several years. Eventually, the Government intend to increase the Minimum Income Requirement to £38,700.

Minimum Income Requirement for applications made after 11 April 2024

After 11 April 2024, all new applications made under the Immigration Rules require the UK sponsor to earn £29,000 annually. Additionally, for Members of the Armed Forces, the Minimum Income Requirement is now £23,496.

Proposed upcoming changes to the Minimum Income Requirement

Lord Sharpe discussed the Government’s intention to gradually increase the Minimum Income Requirement.

“The MIR will be increased in incremental stages to give predictability. In Spring 2024, we will raise the threshold to £29,000”

Lord Sharpe, House of Lords

In regards to when we can expect to see the conclusive alteration to the figure, the current Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, told the BBC on 22 December 2023 that this is expected to reach £38,700 by ‘early 2025.’ However, this is still uncertain.


To further express the conciseness of this requirement, please see the table below:

Spouse Visa applications made before 11 April 2024 Spouse Visa applications made after 11 April 2024 Proposed (early 2025)
Minimum Income Requirement  

£18,600

 

£29,000

 

£38,700


What if I have already applied to sponsor a Spouse Visa?

If you have already applied to sponsor a visa for your partner and have not yet had a decision, then you will be considered under transitional arrangements. If you already meet the new higher requirement, then you will already have met the Minimum Income Requirement. Otherwise, if this new requirement is not met, you should not be disadvantaged by the increase if you satisfy the old requirement.

For those who come under the following categories, please see below for how you can expect this change to impact any current or future applications:

  • If applicants already have a Family Visa within the Five-Year Partner route, or have applied before 11 April 2024, their application will be assessed against the old requirement. The increased threshold would not affect their application
  • If applicants already have a Fiancé Visa before 11 April 2024, their application for a Family Visa within the Five-Year Partner route would be assessed against the old requirement. Again, the increased threshold would not affect their application.

What happens if my Spouse Visa application is refused?

If your Spouse Visa application is refused, any new applications you make will be subject to the requirements at the time the new application is submitted.

What happens if I cannot meet the new Minimum Income Requirement?

If you cannot meet the Minimum Income Requirement to apply for a Spouse Visa, there may be some cases in which you can bring your partner across, such as in exceptional circumstances. These types of applications can be complex and require legal advice and substantive evidence. It is best to consult a legal professional in order to receive tailored advice on your case specifically.

What other requirements for a Spouse Visa have changed?

As of the date this article was written, no further changes to the requirements for a Spouse Visa have been amended. This means that along with these changes, any new applications for a Spouse Visa require applicants to prove that they are in a genuine and eligible relationship with suitable accommodation in the UK. The applicant arriving from abroad must also meet the English language requirement.


How we can help

Our Immigration legal team can provide personalised advice and guidance in relation to your UK Spouse Visa application. If you are interested in making a Spouse Visa application or require any further information, we would be happy discuss with you. Please contact us (click here).

For personalised legal guidance on your UK Spouse Visa application, contact our immigration legal team today.

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