All You Need is Love (and Cash): How to Get a UK Partner Visa for your Chinese Spouse

All You Need is Love (and Cash): How to Get a UK Partner Visa for your Chinese Spouse
Sep 23, 2015 By Alex Schofield ,

Disclaimer: The information in this article is well researched and up to date as of September 2015, but I am not a qualified lawyer and it’s not to be taken as a substitute for legal advice.

If you’re British, committing the crime of falling in love with someone from outside the European Union will be a source of major inconvenience at the very least, and a living hell at the very worst thanks to controversial new measures introduced in 2012 to curb immigration. In order to acquire the partner visa enabling your partner to live in the UK, the British citizen in the relationship must now meet a draconian income requirement that places major obstacles in the path of couples that wish to live in the UK.

It is particularly inconvenient for those where one partner is NOT in the UK presently, for example couples where both parties are relocating to UK from China. Here I’ll give an overview of the relevant policies, an outline of the requirements and also a couple of possible workarounds.

Money Can Buy You Love, or At Least a Visa

Since 2012, the UK government has stipulated that the British partner in a marriage to a non-EU national must earn a minimum of 18,600 GBP per year in order to sponsor a visa for his/her spouse. The non-EU partners’ income is deemed irrelevant as well as either partners' assets such as property. Financial help from family members is not permitted, however income from financial products such as investments and property income (i.e. if you rent out your home) does count. Basically, it is VERY difficult to meet this requirement if you are not currently in the UK. To meet it you would have to do one of the following:

• Move back to UK, gain employment at a salary of 18,600 GBP or above and hold the position for a minimum of six months before applying for your husband or wife’s visa, they can then join you. This would mean you would be separated from your spouse (and your children if they are not British nationals) for a period of 6 months to a year.

• Get a secured job offer in UK with a salary of at least 18,600 GBP per year BEFORE moving back to the UK, and apply for your spouse’s visa based on this. If you do this you must show that you have held a position paying at least 18,600 GBP per year (or the equivalent in foreign currency) for the year preceding your application. Self-employed income does not count. However, if you have held a teaching position in China paying at least 16,000 RMB per month, for example, this is a possible option for you, providing that you’re able to secure a new job in UK.

Anyone who has been sent to China by their company and plans to remain with the same company upon returning to UK should have no issues providing their income is over the threshold and they have worked there for at least a year.

Have You Got 62,500 GBP Lying Around?

Another option is to meet the cash requirement of 62,500 GBP. As the initial period of the spouse visa is 30 months they calculate the requirement like this:

18,600 GBP per 2.5 year period of spousal visa = 46,500 GBP
Added onto the 16,000 GBP threshold = 62,500 GBP

16,000 GBP in savings is the amount deemed by the government to be the level that no one can claim state benefits, so they will only take your savings above 16,000 GBP into account.

It’s this simple, you’ll either have this money or you won’t. If you come into a lump sum of money, for example through a loan from a family member, inheritance etc., you must have the money in your bank account for the six months preceding your application. In this case your spouse’s savings can be taken into consideration, so you basically need to club together 62,500 GBP between you in fully liquid cash, which is a tough ask for most people.

The Surinder Singh Route: A Workaround

This solution to the issue is named after a British/Indian man who lived in Germany for two years in order to bring his wife to UK under his rights of free-movement under EU law.

What it basically entails is that the couple both move to another EU member state (for purposes of this discussion I will assume you moved to Dublin, Ireland). The non-EU spouse can acquire a Schengen visa on the basis that he/she is accompanying an EU national. Upon arrival

• Both parties must acquire a residence card

• The British national must either find employment or be able to show means of support through self-employment

• You must live together, and must either buy or rent a property with both of your names on the deeds/tenancy agreement

What you have to prove here is that your “centre of life” is in this EU country, in our case Dublin. You may have to prove to the UK Border Agency that you attempted to “integrate” into that society, for example taking language lessons if you lived somewhere such as Germany or France.

There is no minimum length of time you need to maintain this arrangement, but in a 2014 court case involving a couple who did precisely what I’m describing here lived in Netherlands for six months which was deemed to be adequate for them to prove that their “centre of life” was indeed in Netherlands.

The purpose of this is that after a period of time your spouse will be able to move to UK under an EU law regarding free-movement as they are accompanying an EU national, which overrides UK immigration restrictions. This solution has been used by many couples looking to settle in UK, both from those leaving UK as they don’t meet the income requirement to sponsor their spouse’s visa and by those looking to return from abroad.

Here are a few links to news stories, information and groups that are involved in this issue:



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Keywords: partner visa UK financial requirement UK visa


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Apr 06, 2016 19:08 Report Abuse


Or just take your spouse on a visiting visa (providing you have 50,000 RMB lying about), move, land the job, and re-apply after 6 months. Seems far simpler than moving to Ireland.

Sep 24, 2015 23:19 Report Abuse



Sep 27, 2015 12:10 Report Abuse


Current UK government are dismantling the welfare state so if they continue to get their way it'll be basically like China without the traditional family support culture.

Sep 23, 2015 18:32 Report Abuse


Ireland opted out of the Schengen Agreement as well as the U.K.

Sep 23, 2015 18:18 Report Abuse


What a set of utter tw*ts the UK government are. This wage criteria exclude 48% of the UK population, but if you are from another EU country you can bring whoever you want no questions asked. We are discriminated against by our own government! Disgusting!

Sep 23, 2015 03:15 Report Abuse


thanks for all info

Sep 23, 2015 02:36 Report Abuse