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UK Citizens Returning to the UK With Spouse

If you are a British citizen returning to the UK, you can bring your overseas spouse or partner with you if they meet the UK partner visa requirements. The main requirements that your spouse or partner will need to meet to join you in the UK include the:

  • Relationship requirements: your partner can join you in the UK if you are both married, in a civil partnership, or you have been living together for at least 2 years before they apply.
  • Financial requirements: a combined annual income of £18,600
  • Accommodation requirements: have a suitable place to live
  • English language requirements

In this article, we will discuss the main immigration requirements for partners and spouses of British citizens and British passport holders returning to the UK, including some of the complications that may arise and how these can be overcome.

Financial requirement

The financial requirement states that partners and spouses of British citizens returning to the UK must have a combined annual income of £18,600 (i.e., the joint income of both partners). The partner visa annual requirement is higher for those with children. The financial requirement can be met in a number of ways, including through employment, self-employment, rental income, income from investments, and savings.

For pensioners and those just moving back to the UK, including those coming back to the UK after Brexit, it can sometimes be hard to prove they have sufficient income from employment. If you are a British citizen returning to the UK with your spouse, the following employment criteria must be met:

  • You must be in employment on the date the application is submitted and has been with the same employer 6 months or more before that date. You must receive a gross annual salary that meets the financial requirement – this can be combined with other sources of income, and
  • You must also have a confirmed offer of salaried or non-salaried employment in the UK that starts within 3 months of arrival here. The job must pay a gross annual salary that meets the financial requirement – again, this can be combined with other sources of income.

For those with no employment income or other sources of income, it is possible to qualify for a partner visa if you have cash savings of £62,500. If you do not have enough savings, you can also include any income from your UK state pension or private pension.

Spouse visa applicants with a partner who is not in employment often rely on a mixture of savings, pensions, and income from other sources, such as investment dividends, to meet the financial requirement.

Accommodation Requirements

To meet the accommodation requirements, you will need to show you, your partner, and your children have a suitable place to live. The spouse visa accommodation requirements state that the property must be:

  • Owned or legally occupied by the family for their exclusive use
  • Not provided at cost to the British public (i.e., it must be without recourse to public funds)
  • Not currently overcrowded and will not be in the future
  • Meets the UK public health regulations

The accommodation requirement can sometimes be difficult to meet for older applicants and pensioners who plan to live in a care home with their elderly spouse, especially if this is being provided through the use of public funds.

If you do not meet the accommodation requirement, we can advise other ways you will be able to do so or suggest an alternative immigration route for you and your partner. Please speak to one of our friendly and approachable immigration solicitors in complete confidence on 020 3744 2797 or email mailto:info@reissedwards.co.uk.

English Language Requirement

The spouse visa English language requirement states that applicants must either come from an exempt country, have a degree taught in English, or have passed an English language test (CEFR level A1). Spouse visa applicants over 65 do not need to meet this requirement.

How can Reiss Edwards help

Our immigration lawyers can assist with any aspect of your partner’s spouse visa application, allowing them to join you when you return to the UK. We can explain whether it will be advantageous for your partner to apply for a spouse visa from within the UK or from outside.

For example, it may be easier for you to secure employment from inside the UK or to meet the financial requirements if you receive benefits such as the disability living allowance, severe disablement allowance, industrial injury disablement benefit, attendance allowance, or carer’s allowance.

Delayed applications and spouse visa refusals may also mean that you are separated from your spouse for a long period. If you are moving back to the UK after Brexit or for any other reason, engaging the assistance of Reiss Edwards will provide you with the reassurance that you will only be separated from your spouse for the shortest possible time.

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