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On 4 to 5 March 2014, the Court of Appeal heard the Home Office’s appeal against the 5 July 2013 High Court judgment in a legal challenge to the minimum income threshold for spouses/partners and children applying in the family route.
The income threshold applies to non-EEA national spouses/partners and children applying to settle in the UK with someone who is already resident here. These are generally applications under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules.
UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) is continuing to put on hold decisions in some spouse/partner and child applications for a settlement visa or leave to remain until the legal challenge is finally determined by the courts. This may take several months at least and means UKVI will not decide the application during this time. You will be told in writing if this happens to your application.
UKVI has published information on the number of non-EEA applications on hold pending the outcome of the case.
The hold on decision-making applies to applications made under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules where the application would be refused solely because the rules relating to the minimum income threshold are not met. This includes, where relevant, the evidence requirements in Appendix FM-SE.
The same approach is being applied to a small number of adoption cases that would be refused on this ground alone and to relevant applications under Appendix Armed Forces.
Applications which meet the rules or which may be refused on other grounds, such as requirements for English language or a genuine and subsisting relationship, will be processed and decided as normal.
The adoption applications affected are those made on or after 9 July 2012 that are required to meet the minimum income threshold under paragraph 314(i)(a), 314(i)(d), 316A(i)(d) or 316A(i)(e) of Part 8 of the Immigration Rules.
Other family categories, like adult dependent relatives or spouses/partners subject to the two-year probationary period are not affected. They do not need to meet the income threshold requirement and will continue to be assessed against the rules which apply to them.
If your application is currently on hold and you want to withdraw it, you may do so. UKVI will not refund your application fee.
If you applied outside the UK and, while your application remains on hold, you want to request the return of your passport to travel, you can do so by contacting your visa application centre.
If you applied in the UK and wish to travel outside the Common Travel Area, you can contact UKVI to request the return of your passport. But you will have to withdraw your application and UKVI will not refund your application fee.
You can still submit a spouse/partner or child application under Appendix FM as normal, by post or in person (including at a premium service centre in the UK). But if the income threshold is the only requirement you do not meet, UKVI will put your application on hold until the legal challenge is finally determined by the courts.
If UKVI decides that you meet all the rules that apply to your case, including the income threshold requirement where this applies, it will grant your application.