Using cash savings in your partner visa application

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In this post we consider how you can rely on cash savings to meet the minimum income requirement in your UK partner visa application under Appendix FM.

This is a sub post of our full guide on How to apply for a partner visa, which has further information on the partner visa and the minimum income requirement.

This post is intended to provide general background on the relevant issues. These rules can be complex, and the requirements of the route will vary from application to application.

Whilst we have done our best to ensure that the information here is accurate at the time of writing, the UK immigration rules change frequently, so you should always check the position at the time you make your application.

This post was written by Nick Nason, director of Edgewater Legal. Book in a free initial call with Nick if you want to discuss getting help with your application, or would like to explore what getting help looks like.

Cash savings: basics

To meet the minimum income requirement you have to show the Home Office that you have a certain level of financial resource to support yourself whilst you are in the UK.

When applying for a partner visa you are permitted to rely on cash savings which have been under your or your partner’s control for 6+ months to meet this requirement.

If the balance has gone up and down during the 6 months, you have to take the lowest balance during the period relied upon (this is the amount you have to enter in the application form).

The savings must be held in cash in a personal bank or savings account in your name (the person applying), your partner, or jointly.

The funds can be from any legal source including a gift from a relative/someone else, providing the source is declared.

You and/or your partner must confirm the money, which cannot be borrowed, is under your control. A declaration by the account holder as to the source of cash savings must be provided with your supporting evidence.

You must provide evidence that the savings have been in the bank account for at least 6 months prior to date of the application. You can do this by providing statements for the 6 month period.

In terms of the amount of documentation you have to provide, this is usually the most evidentially straightforward way of meeting the minimum income requirement.

The evidence you have to provide must be in a format specified by the Home Office (see below).

What level of savings is required?

If you are relying on cash savings alone, you need to show that you have held £88,500 for 6 months if you make your application to enter the route on or after 11 April.

If you have permission as a partner granted following an application made on or before 10 April, the relevant total where relying on cash savings alone is £62,500, unless you have dependants (in which case it will be more, depending on how many dependants you have).

In either case, if you don’t have enough to rely on cash savings alone, it may be possible to combine your cash savings with other sources of income.

Combining savings with other sources of income

The rules on exactly how you can combine cash savings can be complicated, and you should double check these if you are aiming to do this in your application.

But broadly cash savings can be combined with most other employee income or non-employment income (e.g. rent from a property), or pension income to meet the minimum income requirement.

It can’t be combined with self-employment income or income where you are a director of a specified company.

'New rulers'

The minimum income requirement went up for those applying for the first time in the partner route on or after 11 April 2024. We're going to call people applying in this way 'new rulers'.

Where the new rulers apply to extend their stay or settle they will be subject to the increased threshold in those future applications.

For the new rulers, this table provides an approximate guide of other income you will need to evidence in your entry or extension (not ILR) application depending on what you have in savings:

Total savings held Income needed from other sources to meet the minimum
£88,500 £0
£62,500 £10,400
£50,500 £15,200
£42,500 £18,400
£33,500 £22,000
£25,000 £25,400

As an example, if you had £33,500 in savings, you would need to show specified annual income from other sources of £22,000 to meet the minimum income requirement of £88,500.

Note that the savings calculations are different at Indefinite Leave to Remain stage, see below.

'Old rulers'

Those who made their first application to enter or remain in the UK as a partner on or before 10 April 2024 (who we're going to call 'old rulers') are not subject to the increased minimum income threshold.

If you are an old ruler and are applying to extend your permission (not applying for Indefinite Leave the Remain, see below), the approximate calculations are set out below (assuming there are no dependants):

Total savings held Income needed from other sources to meet the minimum
£62,500 £0
£40,500 £8,800
£33,000 £11,800
£25,000 £15,000
£17,500 £18,000
£25,000 £25,400

Note that if you have permission as a partner granted following an application made on or before 10 April 2024, the number of dependent children who are applying with you can affect these calculations.

Exactly how much will my savings count for?

If you want to work out the exact amount of your savings you can rely upon in an entry application or extension application, you have to go through the following steps:

  1. Work out the lowest balance you have held in the 6 months to the date of the application (i.e. when you pay and submit the online form)
  2. Take away £16,000 from that amount
  3. Divide the remaining amount by 2.5

You are left with the amount you can use towards the minimum income requirement, which will be either £29,000 for new rulers, or £18,600 for old rulers.

Cash savings at Indefinite Leave to Remain

If you are relying on cash savings when applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain, you are required to hold a lower amount to meet the minimum income requirement.

Essentially, the amount of cash savings that you will be able to rely upon at the ILR application stage will be your total eligible funds minus £16,000. You don’t then divide by 2.5.

As an example, if you have held £30,000 in eligible funds for 6 months, you will be able to rely on £14,000 towards meeting the requirement, and which you would have to combine with other sources to meet the required minimum (either £18,600 or £29,000 depending on if you are an old ruler, or a new ruler).

Home Office evidence requirements

The Home Office specifies that evidence provided of cash savings must meet the following requirements:

  • the funds are in a bank/savings account that is a current, deposit or investment account
  • the account is held by a properly regulated financial institution (check to see if your financial institution is regulated here)
  • regular bank statements are provided (usually monthly)
  • the statements cover the necessary time period required in the Immigration Rules
  • the savings are held in cash (or their cash value is clear)
  • the savings can be immediately withdrawn (with or without penalty, and regardless of notice period)
  • the funds are under the control of the person and/or their partner for the necessary time period required in the Immigration Rules
  • the source of the funds is legal
  • if the source of the funds were earned or acquired whilst you were in the UK, they must have been earned / acquired lawfully and while the applicant had permission, and was not in breach of any conditions attached to your permission in the UK
  • the source of the funds has been declared

The most common point that we see overlooked is that the date of the most recent bank statement prior to the date of the application (which is the date you pay the fee and submit the application) must be dated no earlier than 28 days of the date of the application.

What if the funds are held in a different currency?

If money is held in a foreign currency, this will be converted into GBP (£) using the spot exchange rate which appears on www.oanda.com for the date of the application.

So if the lowest balance you have held in your eligible cash savings account in the last 6 months is $100,000 USD, you would enter this into the OANDA currency converter to find out the amount you are able to rely upon on the date of the application, and this is the amount you would enter on the form.

Currency amounts obviously fluctuate, so this is something to keep an eye on if you are on the borderline of meeting the requirement.

What if I can’t withdraw the funds immediately?

If you can’t withdraw the funds immediately from your account then there is a risk that the Home Office would not consider these as eligible cash savings.

In the event that you are faced with this situation, it may be possible to transfer the funds to an eligible account without resetting the 6-month clock in certain circumstances (see below).

It is perhaps worth considering getting some legal advice if you are in this situation.

Can I rely on cash savings held for less than 6 months?

Unless an exemption applies, you can only rely on cash savings where you have held them under your control for at least 6 months.

You may be able to rely cash savings where you have held them for less than 6 months where an exemption applies.

There are two exemptions.

Funds transferred from investments, stocks, shares, bonds or trust funds

If you liquidate certain other financial resources or assets and transfer these into cash savings which you then rely upon, you may not have to show that you have held these funds for 6 months, provided certain criteria are met.

The criteria are set out at paragraph 11A(c)(i)-(iv) of Appendix FM-SE, but very broadly you have to show

  • the investments stocks, shares, bonds or trust funds were under your control for at least the period of 6 months prior to the date of application
  • that the cash value of the investments was clear at or before the beginning of the 6 month period
  • provide a portfolio report or similar documentation confirming the transfer

For example, if you hold £100,000 in shares which you have owned for several years, and you liquidate this 6 weeks before your application into an account that meets the cash savings requirements, you can rely on the funds held in the cash savings account even though they have not been there for 6 months.

This is a summary of the main requirements only, so if you are relying on this, then it will be important to read paragraph 11A(c)(i)-(iv) of Appendix FM-SE and which you can do here.

Funds transferred from the sale of property/land

Similarly, cash savings can be used from the proceedings of the sale of property (of a dwelling, other building or land) within the period of 6 months before the date of the application if you meet the criteria set out at paragraph 11A(d)(i)-(v) of Appendix FM-SE.

If you are relying on funds transferred from the sale of property or land then it will be important to review these rules carefully.

Is my bank correctly regulated?

You might hold your savings in an account which is not properly regulated as a 'bank'.

For example, Revolut is not technically a bank as they do not hold a full banking licence (at the time of writing they hold an 'electronic money land payments licence').

Wise is not a bank and cannot be relied on – like Revolut – as it is a fintech company that offers payment services (currently).

A full banking licence certifies that the organisation meets all the criteria to operate as a bank. By contrast, electronic money licences allow organisations to offer payment services and other financial service products, but not operate as an actual bank.

There are other online, digital-only account providers, like Monzo or Starling which are both banks and can be relied on in this type of visa application.

As stated above, there is a list of financial regulators for each country which can be found here. You can check your financial institution’s website to see who regulates them and ensure they are appropriately regulated in the country where they operate.