Entry Clearance as a Partner
The entry clearance as a partner visa category is for those people who want to join a partner in the UK for the purposes of settlement where the UK based partner is either a British citizen, has indefinite leave to remain in the UK (known as settled status) or is in the UK with refugee leave or with humanitarian protection. A ‘partner’ can be any one of the following: spouse, civil partner, fiancée or proposed civil partner, or a person who has been living together with the applicant in a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership for at least two years prior to the date of application.
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An applicant must meet all the eligibility requirements for entry clearance as a partner. Broadly, the eligibility requirements are:
English language requirement.
Entry Clearance Requirements
One of the main reasons why applications are refused is that applicants are unable to establish that their relationship is genuine and subsisting and that they intend to live together permanently in the UK. We help our clients to overcome this hurdle by advising them as to the types of evidence which will prove to the Entry Clearance Officer that their relationship is genuine and subsisting.
Another reason why applications are regularly refused is that applicants are unable to meet the minimum gross annual income level of £18,600. If any non-British citizen or settled in the UK children are included in the application, then an extra £3,800 is required for the first child and a further £2,400 for each additional child on top of the basic £18,600 requirement.
You can meet the financial requirement through a combination of income from employment or self-employment, rental income, shares, maternity, paternity, adoption or sick pay, pensions and cash savings.
Your cash savings need to be above £16,000 and the first £16,000 does not count. For example, if your cash savings are £25,000 then only £9,000 is available and this must be divided by 2.5 (to reflect the 2 ½ year period of leave to remain that will be granted if your application is successful). Therefore, if your total cash savings are £25,000 then you can only use £3,600 towards meeting the financial requirement.
Following the Supreme Court ruling in the case of MM (Lebanon) & Others v SSHD  UKSC 10, the Home Office has widened the pool of acceptable sources of income that can be used by a family wanting to live together in the UK. Additional sources of income can be relied upon but only where there are ‘exceptional circumstances.’ If successful, you will be placed on the 10-year route to settlement in the UK, so it will take you 5 years longer to obtain permanent residence if you rely upon ‘exceptional circumstances’ to meet the financial requirements.
You can be exempt from the £18,600 financial requirement if your sponsor is receiving any of the following UK welfare benefits:
Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment;
Severe Disablement Allowance;
Industrial Injury Disablement Benefit;
Attendance Allowance; or
If your sponsor is receiving one of the above benefits, then the maintenance requirement applies in place of the financial requirement. The maintenance requirement means you need to prove that, after income tax, national insurance contributions and housing costs have been deducted, there must be available to you and your sponsor the level of income that would be available to you if you were in receipt of income support as a couple. The income support rate for a couple is currently £114.85 per week. We have prepared and submitted successful entry clearance applications in many such cases.
You must provide evidence that there will be adequate accommodation without recourse to public funds for the family in the UK. You or your sponsor do not need to own any property in the UK. The property can be rented by your sponsor or owned by a family member who has given you and your sponsor permission to live there.
English language requirement
The Home Office requires that people who want to join their partner in the UK should have a basic understanding of the English language in order to be able to participate adequately in British society. You can meet the English language requirement in the following ways:
If you have passed an English language test in speaking and listening at a minimum of Level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages with a provider approved by the Home Office;
If you are a national of a Home Office designated majority English speaking country then you automatically meet the English language requirement – these countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America;
If you can produce an academic qualification from an educational establishment in one of the above English-speaking countries which was taught in English and is equivalent to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in the UK; or
If you are exempt from the English language requirement – the exemption only applies to people aged over 65 or those with a disability (physical or mental condition) which prevents them from meeting the requirement, or if there are exceptional or compassionate circumstances which prevent them from meeting the requirement prior to entering the UK.
At Saxon Solicitors, we have a detailed understanding of the evidence that is required to persuade the Entry Clearance Officer to grant entry clearance as a partner / spouse visa applications. We have a very high success rate due to our expertise in this area of law and we can represent you at any stage of your application for entry clearance as a partner (including if your spouse visa application has been refused and you need advice on how to appeal).