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Temporary Exemption from Financial Requirement & English Language requirement for Family Route visas

The Home Office has today(10 June 2020) released a guidance to allow Sponsors/Applicants who are unable to meet the Financial requirement and the English language requirement, due to the COVID 19 Crisis.

Which types of Applications would benefit?

Spouse visa, Fiance/ee visa, Unmarried Partner visa, Civil Partner visa, Parent visa, etc. and any other Family route applications

Where to apply from?

All applications whether filed inside the UK or outside the UK would be eligible to take the benefit of this exemption:

1. Within UK - Switching into this visa category from any other visa, for e.g.,

moving from

  • Tier 2(General) or

  • Tier 4(Student) or

  • Tier 5(Youth Mobility Scheme)

  • and various non-family route categories

moving to

  • Spouse visa or

  • Unmarried Partner visa or

  • Fiance visa or

  • Civil Partner visa

  • Parent visa

  • and any other family route

2. Outside UK - Entry clearance applications filed from any other country

Which sources of income would benefit?

The following types of applications would benefit from this exemption:

  • Income from Salaried employment in the UK

  • Income from Self-Employment in the UK

  • Property Rental income

  • and some other sources for income, if they are affected because of COVID-19

What is the Exemption from Financial Requirement?

To benefit from this exemption, the following criteria should be met:

  • The sponsor/applicant should have suffered loss of income due to coronavirus

  • The income for at least the period of 6 months upto March 2020 should have been sufficient to meet the financial requirement.

For Salary income:

If the Sponsor and/or the Applicant have been lost their jobs or have reduced working hours:

  • The income for at least the period of 6 months upto March 2020 can be used to meet the financial requirement, so the end date of the 6 month period can be any date from 1 March 2020 to 31 March 2020. for example, the period can be 2 September 2019 to 1 March 2020 or 1 October 2019 to 31 March 2020 or any periods of 6 months in between these two periods.

If the Sponsor and/or the Applicant are Furloughed,

  • then 100% of their salary income would be considered, instead of the actual paid by the employer.

For Self-employed

If the Sponsor and/or the Applicant are self-employed,

  • any lost earnings due to a loss of annual income due to coronavirus between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 will generally be disregarded,

  • any lost of earnings due to a loss of employment income due to coronavirus between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020

  • for current and future applications - i.e. for applications filed on the basis of the Self-Employment income either:

    • in the Accounting year 6 April 2019 - 5 April 2020 or

    • in the Accounting year 6 April 2020 - 5 April 2021 or

    • any other accounting year which incorporates any period of time between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020

What if I am unable to provide the Specified Documents as per Appendix FM-SE?

The Home office has confirmed that will be able to decide the application without seeing certain specified documents if the Sponsor/Applicant cannot get them due to coronavirus.

The Home office would consider applications on a case-by case basis, if relevant to your particular case and if you are unable to produce any of the specified documents.

However, if the Home Office caseworker needs to see the specified evidence, then he/she will write to the applicant(usually by email) and require the applicant to submit such specified evidence.

It is advisable that you point it out upfront which specified document that you are missing and specify the reason for being unable to get the required specified document and attach any evidence(if any) of the efforts you have made to obtain the specified evidence. (Please seek advice from an Immigration Lawyer if you are missing any specified evidence and are not sure about how to deal with it)

Background to exemption from the English language requirement

To qualify for applications under the 5 years route to settlement under any Family Route applications(such as Spouse/Unmarried Partner/Fiance/Civil Partner or Parent visa), an applicant is required to pass an English language test either at level A1(for first application) or at level A2 (for an extension application) or at level B1(for an Indefinite leave to remain application), unless the applicant has a UK(or equivalent international) degree or is exempt, see details at -

What is the exemption from the English language requirement?

On the date of application, i.e. the date on which you make the online visa fees payment, if

  • the English test centre was closed

  • or you were already booked to attend a test but were unable to travel to the test centre due to coronavirus,

then you can apply for an exemption from meeting the English language requirement.

You should confirm on the online application that you are seeking exemption and give a reason. If you have already submitted your application, they it is better to explain in an accompanying letter.(Please seek advice from an Immigration Lawyer if you are not sure about how to deal with the English language exemption)

This article is a general advise, for detailed advice specific to your circumstances, please book an online paid consultation with us(click here)


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