Family Visa UK Requirements: Insights on the New Rules and Regulations

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*Collaborative Post

As a foreign national, you can enter the UK to join your partner, child or close relatives via a Family visa. You must meet some eligibility requirements to be issued this visa. There are different types of Family visa UK namely; the Spouse visa, UK Ancestry visa, Parent visa and so on.

Recently, new rules and regulations were introduced to the UK Family visa and consequently raised the financial requirements of the visa. Therefore, for your UK-based family member to sponsor you to come and join them in the UK, you and your sponsor must meet some eligibility requirements.

What Is a UK Family Visa?

The UK Family visa is designed for foreign nationals who want to join their UK-based family members. As stated above, the Family visa is of different types and they vary in validity period, processing time, and cost. The exact Family visa type you must apply for depends on your relationship with a family member who lives in the United Kingdom.

For instance, a Spouse visa is issued to the partner or spouse of the individual resident in the UK, and a Parent visa is issued to parents of a UK-based person. However, you may not qualify for a Family visa if you’re currently in the UK on a temporary Student visa or Work visa. Additionally, if you’re already residing in the UK on a Visitor visa which is valid for 6 months or less, you may not qualify for the Family visa.

UK Immigration New Rules 2024

In December 2023, the UK Home Secretary, James Cleverly, took strong action in a bid to change the country’s immigration system. The change to the immigration system came as a result of the government’s concern about the unsustainable and unfair migration levels in the country. 

The changes in the immigration rules that impact UK Family visas came into effect from March to April 2024. They include the restriction of newly arriving care workers from bringing their spouses or immediate family and the increase in the minimum income for spouse or partner visa applicants.

Family Visa UK Requirements

You must be issued a Family visa to join your immediate relative in the UK. Before that happens, you and your UK-based sponsor must meet several requirements and obey the UK immigration new rules 2024. The new rules on a Family visa are typically emphasized on minimum income requirements. 

However, if you would like to join your spouse in the UK via a Spouse visa which is a subcategory of the Family visa, adhere to the below requirements:

Minimum Income Requirement

Before the UK visa new rules 2024, the minimum income requirement for obtaining a Spouse visa used to be £18,600. However, from April 11, 2024, your UK-based sponsor or spouse is required to have a minimum income of £29,000.

Later in 2024, this minimum income requirement could increase to £34,500 and even up to £38,700 by 2025. Before the new rules, you’d need to provide £3,800 yearly for one of your children in the application and £2,400 yearly for every other child joining the application. However, you may only need to prove that you earn £29,000 yearly if the amount you’d have because of your children will be more than £29,000.

Previously, applicants who have a cash savings of £62,500 could meet the Spouse visa minimum income requirements but after the recent change in the immigration rules, applicants are now required to have a minimum of £88,500 in cash savings.

Exceptions to the Minimum Income Requirement

The exceptions to the minimum income requirement are:

  • If you are applying to extend a visa, having applied as a civil partner, fiance or fiancee of a UK person before April 11, 2024.
  • If your partner is receiving carer or disability benefits.

Genuine Relationship Requirement

To be issued the Spouse visa, you must prove to the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) that you currently have a genuine and subsisting relationship with your UK-based sponsor. You can prove this by:

  • Showing that you’ve been staying together for up to 2 years.
  • Preparing to get into a civil partnership or married within 6 months of entering the United Kingdom.
  • Being in a marriage or civil partnership which is legally accepted in the country.

English Language Requirement

Another requirement for the UK Family visa subcategories’ applicants, especially the Spouse visa is the knowledge of the English language. You must prove that you have a good command of the English language at level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR) in speaking and writing. You may also fulfil this requirement if you have an academic qualification or a degree which was taught in English.

Accommodation Requirement

You and your UK-based sponsor must prove to the UK authorities that there is adequate accommodation for you and any other dependent coming to the country with you. Your accommodation must:

  • Have a sufficient living space.
  • Not have public health hazards.
  • Be owned by you and your spouse in the UK.

Final Thoughts

If you’re applying for a UK visa as a family member of a UK-based person, you must meet the Family visa requirements. Note that your relationship with an immediate relative living in the United Kingdom will determine the subcategory of the Family visa UK you must obtain. Therefore, if you want to join your partner via a Spouse visa, you and your partner (UK-based sponsor) must consider the Spouse visa UK update in making a decision.

Ultimately, it’s best to seek guidance from a professional immigration lawyer who will assess your situation and help you choose the Family visa subcategory that best fits you. Additionally, professional immigration lawyers are always updated with the recent changes to immigration rules. They will gladly assist you in meeting all the visa requirements and fast-track your goal of joining your partner in the UK.

Description: Recently, new rules and regulations were introduced to the UK Family visa and consequently raised the financial requirements of the visa.

*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.

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