Regardless of which visa you are applying for, there will normally be a financial aspect to the requirements which you need to satisfy as part of your eligibility. Visitors, partners, students, workers and business people all have different financial requirements, but what are they and how can you avoid your application being refused by failing to meet them? Let's take a look at a few scenarios.
If you intend to make an application to visit the UK, there is no strict or defined amount that you will need to show for your trip. However, you must:
"...have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to [your] visit without working or accessing public funds, including the cost of the return or onward journey, any costs relating to [your] dependants, and the cost of planned activities such as private medical treatment. [You] must show that any funds they rely upon are held in a permitted financial institution..."
A common reason for UKVI refusing a visitor visa application is failure to meet this requirement. For example, an applicant may, on the application form, claim that they have £1,500 available to spend for their planned two-week trip, but then fail to provide evidence of these funds in their supporting documents. Another applicant may prove the funds are in their account but will be refused for providing bank statements from last year.
If you intend to make an application to study in the UK, the funds you will have to show will vary depending on your institution's location and course length.
Those intending to study at a Residential Independent School must have:
"Sufficient funds to pay outstanding fees (course fees and boarding fees) for one academic year."
In all other cases, for prospective students who will be attending an institution in London, they must have:
"Sufficient funds to pay any outstanding course fees as stated on the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies, and £1334 for each month of the course (up to a maximum of 9 months)."
Prospective students who will be attending an institution outside of London must show that they have:
"Sufficient funds to pay any outstanding course fees as stated on the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies, and £1023 for each month of the course (up to a maximum of 9 months)".
What we see from the financial requirements for students is a more defined approach. However, it is clear that there is no set approach for everyone. An applicant's specific circumstances will dictate the funds that must be shown in support of their application.
For example, if an applicant intends to come to a university in London and pays a £5,000 deposit for a 12 month Master's degree, the total tuition fees for which are £15,000, they would have to show funds of £10,000 (£15,000 - £5,000) for tuition fees AND £12,006 (£1,334 x 9 months) for living costs. The total maintenance amount this applicant would have to show in this scenario is £22,006 (£10,000 + £12,006).
Skilled Workers (Tier 2)
For points-based immigration applications such as the Skilled Worker route, there are two sides to the financial requirements.
The first is the applicant's prospective employment income from the job they are applying to come to the UK to do. Each job falls under its own occupation code, and each occupation code has its own required salary or 'going rate'. These requirements are clearly defined and failure to meet them will result in the application being refused. For example, an architect (code 2431) who wants to make up the points required via Option A would need to have a Certificate of Sponsorship issued by the prospective employer showing they would earn the 'going rate' of £32,900 (£16.87 p/hour). If that same applicant decides to obtain points via Option B, they would only have to show a prospective salary of 90% of the 'going rate', which is £29,610 (£15.18 p/hour).
The second side concerns how much money an applicant has available to them. Applicants applying to come to the UK must show that they either "have funds of at least £1,270" or their "A-rated sponsor must certify that they will, if necessary, maintain and accommodate the applicant up to the end of the first month of their employment, to an amount of at least £1,270." If relying on their own funds, the applicant will have to show that they have held these funds for a 28-day period.
Since April 2023, the Innovator and Start-up routes have been replaced by a single Innovator Founder visa which has removed the previous requirement for applicants to have access to at least £50,000 for their new business. However, much like Skilled Worker route, applicants under the Innovator Founder route still have to show that they have enough funds to support themselves by having "funds of at least £1,270" held in their accounts for a 28-day period.
If you intend to come to the UK as the partner or spouse of a British citizen, the financial requirements depend on your specific circumstances. UKVI does not exercise any discretion or flexibility with regard to the level of the financial requirement that must be met. As a matter of public policy, UKVI operates its financial requirement based on a minimum income requirement for the sponsorship of partners and children. For example, applicants who do not have children must show a minimum gross annual income of £18,600. If the couple has children, an additional £3,800 must be shown for their first child and an additional £2,400 for each child after that. This can be from one or multiple sources of income, savings, investments, pensions, maternity allowances, or a combination of any of them. It may appear straightforward knowing which sources applicants can rely on to meet the financial requirement. However, ensuring ineligible funds are not included can be tricky. For instance, cash savings of up to £16,000 can be used but only if held by the applicant or their spouse for at least 6 months.
What are the rules governing financial requirement in visa applications?
The rules applicable to the financial requirements of over 30 immigration routes are contained in Appendix Finance. This sets out various rules including currency conversion, permitted financial institutions and lawful acquisition of earnings/savings.
UKVI will use the spot exchange rate on www.oanda.com to covert money held in foreign currency to Great British Pounds (GBP).
UKVI will not consider any fund held by an institution for which they cannot make "satisfactory verification checks", or where that institution is "not regulated by the appropriate regulatory body for that country", or where that institution "does not use electronic record-keeping".
The applicant's full name must be listed as account holder on record, showing they have "control of the funds". Where the applicant is applying as a Student, and they are relying on their parents'/guardian's funds, they must show evidence of their relationship AND written consent by that parent/guardian to use those funds.
The 28-day Rule
As we have seen with the Student, Skilled Worker, and Innovator Founder routes (plus many more), applicants must show the necessary funds have been in their account for 28 consecutive days before the application date. However, this does not mean that the funds must be held for the 28 days leading up to the date of application. The length of time for which funds are held will be calculated by counting back from the date of the closing balance on the most recently dated piece of financial evidence. The most recently dated financial evidence must be dated within 31 day before the application.
For example, an applicant from China who makes an application for a Skilled Worker visa on 31st May 2023 can show evidence of the funds (at least £1,270) in their account via a bank statement, dated 1st May 2023, from a regulated Chinese financial institution for the month of April (1st April to 1st May), as long as the funds were held continuously and did not drop below £1,270 at any time during those 28 days.
Contact us if you are unsure whether you meet the financial requirements for your specific immigration route. Our experienced advisers will assess your documents and provide the most appropriate advice.
These are the most important financial requirement in Visa Applications