In July 2012 the UK immigration rules were changed to introduce a minimum income threshold required for a British citizen or settled person (ie a non-British person with indefinite leave to remain in the UK) to able to sponsor spouses, unmarried partners, civil partners, fiancés and children to live with them in the UK.
There is a minimum income requirement of £18,600 in order to sponsor spouses, fiancés, partners and civil partners for settlement in the UK. If a child (other than a British or European child) is also sponsored the minimum income requirement will be £22,400 and £2,400 for each additional child.
The spouse / unmarried partner / civil partner / fiancé visa applicant will be able to meet the financial requirement through one or more of:
- Income from employment or self-employment of his/her British spouse / unmarried partner / civil partner / fiancé (known as his/her sponsor)
- Specified non-employment income of the sponsor and/or applicant
- State (UK or foreign) or private pension of the sponsor and/or applicant
- Any Maternity Allowance and bereavement benefits received in the UK by the sponsor and/or applicant
- Cash savings of the sponsor and/or applicant held by the sponsor and/or applicant for at least six months (the amount of cash savings required is set by a formula prescribed by the UK’s Home Office)/li>
- Exemption from the financial requirement, where the sponsor is in receipt of a specified disability-related benefit or Carer’s Allowance in the UK
In addition to meeting the minimum income requirement a South African spouse / unmarried partner / civil partner / fiancé visa applicant will need to have passed one of the specified English language competence tests approved by the UK’s Home Office.
If you succeed with your spouse / unmarried partner / civil partner visa application you will be issued with a visa valid for 2.5 years after which you will need to apply to extend it for a further 2.5 years and you will need to meet similar financial requirements to those outlined above. After 5 years in the UK on a spouse / unmarried partner / civil partner visa you will qualify to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK (permanent residence) and once again you will need to meet similar financial requirements to those outlined above. 12 months after you obtain your indefinite leave to remain you will become eligible to apply for British citizenship.